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Car Washing Tips: How to Clean Your Car

Want that just-valeted shine for your car, without the high price tag? Follow our handy car washing tips to ensure your prized motor looks great, inside & out.



How to Wash a Car

When it comes to washing your car, don’t just settle for a quick spray with the water hose. If you want to know how to car wash like a pro, read on for our useful car washing tips.

Wash your car in the shade rather than full sunlight – if the exterior dries before you get a chance to buff it, you’ll end up with a streaky finish.

How to Clean a Car Exterior

What you’ll need:

  • Car washing soap

  • Large non-abrasive sponge

  • 2 buckets

  • Chamois leather or microfiber drying towel

  1. First, prep your car. Don’t forget to fully close the windows and doors (the last thing you want are soggy seats!) and hose or rinse off any dust or clumps of dirt. Lift up the wipers so you’ll be able to clean underneath.

  2. Fill one of the buckets with warm water and add car-washing soap according to the label’s instructions. Avoid using washing up liquid, as it can dry out rubber car fittings and cut through wax polish. Fill the second bucket with warm water.

  3. Thoroughly soak the sponge in the soapy bucket and start applying the solution to the car. Use large circular motions (don’t scrub) and start from the top of the vehicle and work your way down. Save the wheels until last, as these are usually the dirtiest part of the car. Use the bucket of plain water to rinse dirt off your sponge between applications.

  4. Use a hose or a fresh bucket of clean water to rinse off any bubbles and soap residue (pro car washing tip: don’t allow the soap to dry, otherwise you’ll get streaks).

  5. Starting from the roof down, use the chamois leather to buff the car dry. Again, use a circular movement to prevent streaks and develop a high shine.

  6. When your car is clean and dry, you can also apply a wax or specialized polish for extra shine and protection. For best results, always follow the product instructions.

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How to Clean a Car Interior

What you’ll need:

  • Vacuum cleaner (with hose attachments)

  • Lint-free cloths or paper towels

  • Car cleaning spray or wipes

  • Glass cleaner or solution of 1 part white vinegar, 2 parts water in a spray bottle

  1. To clean a car interior, first you’ll need to empty out any rubbish. Take out any floor mats for separate vacuuming.

  2. Next, give the interior a full vacuum using the appropriate attachments, paying particular attention to seat crevices, carpeted areas and door pockets.

  3. Using the car cleaning wipes or spray, wipe down the dashboard, console, steering wheel and gear stick, buffing slightly so that you don’t get any streaks.

  4. Next, clean the windows by spraying lightly with glass cleaner or vinegar solution. Always read the instructions before use, and if windows are tinted, check to see if the product is suitable. After spraying, use the lint-free cloth or paper towels to buff the glass clean and dry.

  5. Replace the vacuumed mats; add an air freshener if you like, and enjoy driving your clean and fresh car once more!

  • Make sure you’re well equipped – have sponges, buckets, cloths and car-wash soap to hand in order to save time.

  • Don’t use abrasive products on your car exterior – these could damage your paintwork.

  • Always wash wheels last, as these are usually the dirtiest part of the vehicle.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Originally published