During lockdown, many car owners found that there were restrictions on travel that were not essential – this even included “travel” to your local car wash. Some have always preferred to wash their vehicle themselves, but for some, it was a new experience. If you have decided that taking your car out for a wash is too expensive or you just like to do things yourself, here are some tips for keeping it shiny and looking like new.
Choose the appropriate place and time
You don’t want your vehicle to get dirty while you are in the process of washing and cleaning it. Make sure that you stay away from sandy or dusty roads and don’t park under trees where leaves or insects could fall onto your vehicle. Keep it away from heat and sunlight, these could cause the cleaning solution to dry before you even have the opportunity to rinse it off.
Choose the right equipment
Many people still use a hose pipe, or garden hose for washing their vehicle. However, we have to keep the environment in mind – and this consumes a lot of water. So, it is important to be able to wash your car without one. You can use regular buckets – one for the water with the cleaner, and the other for rinsing. It is highly recommended to use a cleaning solution designed for the purposes intended for both car and tyres. Read the instructions carefully so that you have the correct ratio of cleaner to water. Regular washing up liquid could damage the finish or even strip wax off the paint, so best stay away from that. You will also need some cloths for cleaning, drying, and polishing (chamois and microfibre are perfect for this) – and perhaps a stiff brush for those stubborn spots on the wheels and tyres. Do not use a pressure washer, as this could damage the paint as well.
Start with the wheels
Start with the wheels – since they are the dirtiest – you should clean them first. First, using a cleaning cloth and brush, get rid of any dust, grime, salt or whatever else has got stuck onto your wheels. Wash them with the soapy cleaning solution, rinse, and dry.
Now the car
Now you can continue with the rest of the car. First make sure it is nice and wet, that will make it easier to clean. Start on the roof with your “soapy” water and work towards the bottom making sure that you rinse each section with clean water as you go, so that the soap doesn’t have a chance to dry.
Give it a final rinse
Use fresh, clean, water, go over it again to make sure that you have completely removed all of the soap.
Drying and waxing
Use a soft cloth, preferably microfibre or chamois, for drying and buffing. If you decide to apply wax now, you can choose from a variety of products such as spray, paste, or liquid wax .Be sure to read the instructions on each type of wax and to follow them correctly.
Washing without water
It may sound counter-intuitive, but yes – it is possible to wash your vehicle without water. Waterless products for washing vehicles are gaining in popularity for a variety of reasons. People are choosing this option because it is better for the environment. Others may be living in regions where water has become scarce.
Make sure that you buy a spray intended for waterless cleaning – not just a standard cleaning spray. Use microfibre cloths – paper, or kitchen towels are not as effective at cleaning debris or catching small particles. A proper wiping technique is also very important – make sure to wipe evenly and fold your cloth whenever a side becomes too grimy – so that you are using a fresh side as often as possible. You may need one or more cloths, depending on their size, to finish your entire vehicle.
Don’t forget the windows
Remember to give your windows a nice polishing-up. You can use a standard household window cleaner, or one especially made for car windows.
Washing your car in the rain
While some may think this is a great way to take advantage of a rainy day, most experts agree that this may actually be damaging to your vehicle. Rain may make it look cleaner by removing dirt, insects, dust, etc. – but rain also contains dirt particles and – if you live near or in, a large city – acidic pollutants.
How often should I wash my car
Needless to say, you should wash your car when it appears dirty. However, a general rule is once or twice a month.