A Guide To... Washing a Car Like a Pro

Washing your car can be a very relaxing way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. Do it wrong however, and you could be causing all sorts of damage to your pride and joy. Follow Ricky’s guide to make sure you clean your car like one of the professionals.

What you'll need

Before you do anything else, make sure you’ve got right gear. Whatever you don’t have, you’ll be able to find in your local car accessory shop. Don’t skimp though; the pro’s don’t cut corners with quality, neither should you! You’ll need:  Access to a hose pipe, Car shampoo, a spray bottle , Wash Mitt, 2 Buckets, wheel cleaner, paint brush, chamois leather, a selection of micro-fibre towels, a clay cleaning bar, black trim cleaner, good quality wax, spray wax. Oh, and a dirty car!

Cleaning process

 Make sure the car is in a shaded area, cleaning cars in direct sun light is a big no no!  Pretreat any particularly dirty bits with some neat car shampoo in a spray bottle.  Spray the wheels with wheel cleaner and use a paint brush to get into all the crevices of your wheels. Make sure your wheels are cool before you do this as otherwise you could cause damage. Once done rinse with the hose pipe.  Next, give the car an initial rinse down with the hose, starting at the top and working down.  Now, use the 2 bucket system. Fill one bucket with warm water and plenty of shampoo, and the other with clean water.  Starting with the roof and working down, GENTLY soap down the car with the wash mitt loaded with soapy water. Do small sections at a time, then rinse the mitt in the bucket of clean water before re-soaping it in the mixed solution. This is very important as it helps prevent you dragging dirt and dust across the car causing scratches.  If you come across any stubborn stains, don’t be tempted to increase the pressure on the mitt, as again this can cause scratches. Take a bit longer on them. If they still won’t shift, don’t worry, we can deal with that later.  Make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies with the wash mitt.  Once you’ve gone from top to bottom, give the whole car another quick going over, remembering to keep rinsing and re-soaping the wash mitt.  NEVER use the wash mitt on the wheels as this will transfer dirt and grit straight on to your paintwork.  Using the hose, rinse all the soap suds off the car.  Dry the car off with a clean chamois leather, taking care not to press too hard.  Re-dry it with a micro-fibre cloth getting into all the tight spots.  DON’T use those plastic blade things to try the car, they simply drag dirt across your paint work.  Use a window cleaner spray and a clean cloth to clean the windows, remembering to lower them slightly to get to the edges.  For any stubborn stains that remain on the bodywork, use a cleaning clay bar to remove them.  Treat all the plastic trim with an application of cleaner, Back to Black for example. It’s best to use a cloth rather than spray the trim as it gets everywhere!  Apply a good quality wax to the paint work, following the instructions on the product.  Use a spray wax on the wheels. This will protect against brake dust in between washes.

Follow these simple steps and you'll have a car that looks a million dollars!

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