When it comes to the maintenance and repair of your vehicle, it’s nice to have the pros handle the hard stuff. However, when it comes to washing your car, there are some perks to doing the dirty work yourself. In fact, hand washing your vehicle can be a fun, satisfying, and frugal way to keep your car looking like new. If you decide to suds up, here are five tips that will help you achieve those shiny results you’re looking for.

Car Wash Soap and Washing Tools

You wouldn’t use dish detergent or glass cleaner to launder your clothes, and you should not use them to clean your car either. Those substances will gradually damage your car’s paint, leaving it looking like a washed-out pair of jeans. Instead, use a car wash soap that has lubricants and is specially formulated for cars.

Regular towels and cloths are also too harsh for your vehicle’s surface. They can scratch your car’s paint and damage its protective coating. Use thick microfiber or wool cloths, sponges, or car-washing mitts instead.

Wash When It’s Cool

If you can help it, never wash your car when it is hot, especially after driving or when it’s parked in a sunny spot. Washing a vehicle while it’s hot will only cause the soap to dry faster, making it harder to effectively rinse from the car’s outside surface. Leaving this layer of dry soap on isn’t good for your car and it won’t look very good either.

Always Rinse First

Thoroughly rinse your car to get rid of any loose dirt and dead bugs before washing it. Removing these tiny particles from the surface will help to protect your vehicle’s paint and give it a brighter and cleaner finish. After rinsing, wash your vehicle from top to bottom. By working your way downward from the roof, you can avoid transferring filth and oil from the dirtiest part (the bottom) to other areas. Also, to prevent swirl marks, rinse your cleaning cloth before re-dipping it into the soap while washing your vehicle.

Wash Weekly

Washing your car on a weekly basis helps to preserve its paint job and appearance. Waiting any longer than that to wash your car increases the risk of dead bugs, dirt, grime, and other substances hardening and scratching its exterior. Waiting will also increase the chances of your vehicle needing a paint job early in its automotive lifecycle.


Don’t allow your vehicle to air dry. Doing so will either leave watermarks or cause mineral deposits to eat into your vehicle’s paint. Use soft terry cloths or a chamois to thoroughly dry your car and prevent tiny scratches to its exterior.

When it comes to regular maintenance, sometimes its best to leave the dirty work to the pros. Washing your car, however, might be the perfect time to roll up your sleeves and do the work yourself. Do-it-yourself hand washing is fun, offers financial benefits, and produces great results. It also gives you the opportunity to pamper your vehicle and give it a new-car finish that will last.