You don’t have to be a car enthusiast to appreciate the look of a well-cleaned car shimmering under the summer sun. However, before you take to the driveway with your garden hose and five gallon bucket, there a few important things to note. The dirt and grime on your vehicle can actually scratch your paint if you don’t wash your vehicle properly, and nothing ruins a good wash like leaving water spots behind. To get a streak free, paint safe shine this summer, give these summer car wash tips a try:

  1. Use a high quality soap, sponge and drying towel – A good soap will be foamy, have an appropriate pH level, lubricity, will be gentle and have gloss enhancing ability. Before grabbing the cheapest soap off the shelf with the word ‘car’ on it, it’s always good to do your research. You’ll want a high quality sponge or car mitt to avoid streaking or scratching as well as a waffle knit microfiber towel for a gentle yet effective dry.
  2. Fill up TWO buckets, not one – Fill up the first bucket with the proper amount of soap and water (always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the bottle.) The second bucket should be filled with just clean water. Use this to rinse your mitt or sponge every two to three swipes. You want to remove the dirt from your mitt as you pick it up so that you’re not dragging it back across your paint.
  3. Choose a shady spot – You want your car to remain moist during the washing process. The water and soap will help to loosen the debris from the surface and prevent scratching. If your car is in the sun while you’re washing it you will end up with spots that dry more quickly than you can get to them. This will also cause water spots.
  4. Wash your car on a breeze-free day – Again, a breeze will cause your wet car to dry faster than you want it too. It will also pick up dirt into the air which will just stick to your wet vehicle.
  5. Always wash your vehicle from the top down – The bottom of your vehicle has the most dirt and grime, so washing from the top down reduces the amount of dragging this dirt back across your paint. Never opt for circular motions when washing your car; you want to use two gentle long strokes across your vehicle. The first will pick up the majority of the dirt and the second swipe will grab what remains. No need to press down.
  6. Save the wheel wells, rocker panels and bumpers for last – These parts of your car are generally the grimiest and as we have previously stated, you don’t want to drag their grime upwards unintentionally. A best practice is to actually use a separate sponge or mitt specifically for these areas, rinsing it often.
  7. Use two towels to dry your car off – Again, just like when washing your car, you want to avoid using too much pressure when drying it. Use the first microfiber towel to dry your car in the same motions in which you washed it and ring it out often. Once the initial layer of water is wicked off of the surface, go back with the second dry towel to snag the remaining water for the best water spot free shine.

Happy washing!