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How to Wash Your Car at Home

Whether it's on the road or sitting all day in a parking lot, a vehicle attracts a lot of dirt on a daily basis. While cleaning a car on your own might take time, the cost of running a vehicle through a public wash can add up and it might not always do the job right. Here is an easy way to wash your car at home.

What you'll need:

  • Hose. Use a hose connected to running water so you can wet or rinse your vehicle.
  • Car soap. Find a special soap to handle grease and dirt that sticks to your car's exterior.
  • Two buckets. Add soap and water into one bucket and just water into the other bucket.
  • Sponge. Use this to scrub dirt off the vehicle's exterior.
  • Tire cleaner. This helps remove hard dirt and grease that soap and water can't always wash out.
  • Scrub brush. A hard-bristle brush should effectively scrub any dirt off your tires.
  • Three microfiber cloths. Use one microfiber cloth to dry the body of your car and another to dry the tires. Use the third cloth remove the car wax.
  • Tire dressing spray. This spray gives your tires a wax finish and additional reinforcement.
  • Car wax. Apply wax to give your car a shiny coat.

Step 1: Keep your vehicle shaded.

It's important to have your car out of the sunlight. Premature drying can cause soapy or dirty water to leave marks all over the exterior.

Keep your vehicle shaded

Step 2: Spray your car with the hose.

This helps soften up the dirt and grease so you can remove it more easily. Make sure to use aim the hose downward on a lighter setting and not in a high-powered stream.

Spray car with water

Step 3: Apply soap with a sponge.

Soak the sponge in the bucket of soap and water. Once the sponge is soapy, start scrubbing your vehicle. Remember to rinse out your sponge frequently in the other bucket.

Apply soap with a sponge

Step 4: Wash different sections of the car.

Don't scrub the entire vehicle at once before rinsing it off. Clean individual smaller sections of the vehicle so they don't dry before being rinsed. Dry soap can create splotches and stains.  

Wash car in sections

Step 5: Rinse each section off accordingly.

After you scrub the dirt off each section, use your hose to rinse off each section of the vehicle. Make sure to spray the entire car frequently so water spots don't form on the exterior.

Rinse each section

Step 6: Dry off the vehicle.

When you're done washing and rinsing the entire car, use one microfiber cloth to dry the vehicle thoroughly.

Dry off the car

Step 7: Clean the tires.

Before finishing the job, remember to clean your tires with an appropriate cleaning solution and a scrub brush. Once they're clean, rinse them off and dry them with the other microfiber cloth.

Learn more about how to clean your tires

Clean the tires

Step 8: Apply tire dressing.

Spray the tires with dressing in a clockwise motion around the sidewall and outer tread pattern of each tire. Tire dressing adds a wax finish and protective coat to car tires.

Apply tire dressing

Step 9: Wax your car.

Most car wax comes with a pad, however if the wax you purchase doesn't have one, use a specially padded car polisher. Apply the wax in small circular strokes to different sections of the exterior. Once each section is finished, remove the wax residue with another clean microfiber cloth.

Wax your car