Woman's hand washing car with a yellow sponge
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How to wash your car

For some people, washing their cars is therapeutic, for others it’s simply a way of saving money. Whatever the reason for rolling up your sleeves instead of driving down to a car wash, we’ve got some top tips: 

Cleaning outside 

  • Try not to wash your car on a sunny day or in extreme heat. If you do, the sun will dry your car before you wipe it, leaving streak marks. Park your car in the shade, if possible, or wait for a cloudy day. 
  • Use your hose or buckets of water to soak your car all over before you start washing it properly. This ‘pre-wash’ should remove some of the dirt and muck. If you decide to use a pressure washer, don’t stand too close or you could damage your car’s paintwork. 
  • Ditch the washing up liquid and use car shampoo instead, as this is kinder on your car’s paintwork. 
  • Use wash mitts instead of sponges to reduce your chances of scratching your car. Move up and down or left to right, don’t use swirling movements. 
  • Use two buckets rather than one. Have the first bucket filled with car shampoo mixed with warm water and the second just with warm water. Ideally, they should both be fitted with grit guards to catch the dirt and keep your water clean. 
  • Don’t forget to keep cleaning your wash mitts as you go or you could be undoing your work. 
  • Clean from the roof and make your way down the car to prevent drips. 
  • When cleaning the windscreen, use an ammonia-free glass cleaner and two microfibre cloths. You can use one cloth to wipe with the glass cleaner and the second to buff. Clean both inside and outside. 
  • If you can feel bumps on your paintwork caused by grime, you can use a clay bar to get rid of them. 
  • The last areas you should wash are the dirtiest parts – the wheels, bumper and bottom of the doors. They could benefit from a jet-wash before you start cleaning. An alloy cleaner can help remove grime and dust from your wheels. Make sure any cleaning products you use are suitable for your type of wheels and invest in some good wheel brushes. 
  • Use triple-layered microfibre cloths, folded into squares to dry your car and prevent streaks. 
  • Wax your car at least every three months to keep it looking at its best. 
  • Don’t forget to clean the door hinges and sills.

Cleaning inside 

  • Get rid of all rubbish and any items that don’t belong in your car. 
  • Use a damp cloth and multi-purpose spray to wipe your dashboard, steering wheel and interior, getting rid of any dust. Don’t be tempted to use silicone-based sprays on your pedals as this can make them slippery. 
  • Hoover the seats, footwells and car mats thoroughly. 
  • If you’re going to use a new product on leather seats, test on an inconspicuous area first. You don’t want to cause any damage. 
  • If there is lots of hair or fluff on your seats, use a lint roller or some Sellotape to remove them. 
  • It can be worth leaving a packet of baby wipes or car cleaning wipes in your glove compartment in case you ever need to give your interior a quick freshen up. 
  • Don’t forget to hang an air freshener on your mirror to leave your car smelling sweet.

We hope you can use some of our tips next time you clean your car.

If your car insurance is due for renewal soon, why not get a quote for Rias cover?