Two Girls Washing Car Together


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Wax On, Wax Off

With the astronomical cost of cars, gas, and pretty much anything auto-related, car owners are desperate to save money. That can mean waiting in long Costco gas lines or skipping frivolous services like car washes altogether. But as perpetual penny pinchers know, there’s almost always a cheaper way — especially when it comes to car washes. Have a dirty car? With the proper know-how, you’ll save time, money, and your sense of dignity if you wash at home. If it’s been a while since you’ve unfurled a hose and filled up a bucket of soapy water (don’t use dish soap!), rest assured that his guide will equip you with everything you need to wash your car at home like a pro.

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Car-Washing Supply List

The items in the chart below are recommended by Cheapism and buyer reviews. Click the product names to find out more or purchase. 

Man cleaning car wheel with brush.Photo credit: djedzura/istockphoto

Step One: Clean Your Wheels and Tires

A man with a high pressure hose applies foamPhoto credit: Juleta Martirosyan/istockphoto

Step Two: Clean the Body

  • Optional: Spray your car with a lubricating car foam using a foam gun. Let the foam sit for around 10 minutes, but keep your car out of direct sunlight so that it doesn’t dry. After letting it sit, rinse your car off. The foam ensures that dirt and debris won’t scratch your vehicle when you wash it with a mitt.

  • Fill two buckets with water. Add car shampoo to one bucket, reserving the other bucket for clean water. You can add a grit guard to the buckets, which will trap unwanted dirt.

  • Begin to scrub your car with the mitt and shampoo, starting with the roof and the side glass and working downward. Move the mitt in a straight line; scrubbing in a circular motion could lead to swirl marks. When your mitt gets dirty or runs out of soap, rinse it off in your bucket of clean water before reapplying car shampoo.

  • Use the nozzle or foam gun to rinse off the car.

Man after washing wipes white car with a rag at car wash.Photo credit: Harbucks/istockphoto

Step Three: Dry the Car

  • Optional: Use a leaf blower, like this cordless option, to dry your car. Contactless drying methods like this one reduce the chance that you could damage the car’s paint. But if you have a 15-year-old beater and/or don’t have a blower on hand, skip this (admittedly over-the-top) step.
  • Use an absorbent microfiber towel to dry your car, making sure to squeeze out excess water and change towels as you go.
  • Optional: Use a streak-free glass cleaner and microfiber glass towel to make your windows shine.
  • Optional: Once your car is completely clean and dry, you can spray your car with  protective wax. The wax won’t just make your car shiny; it will also protect the vehicle's clear coat.

@blacklinecarcare How To Wash Your Car! Full Wash Tutorial On This Suburban! #detailing #howtowashyourcar #howto ♬ Blade Runner 2049 - Synthwave Goose
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