How to Wash Your Car Like a Pro

There’s nothing like a professional car cleaning. Running your car through the automatic wash just never even comes close to how great your car looks after the pros detail it. If you want to get your car as clean as they do, here are some tips.

Pick the Right Place and Weather

Before you even begin washing your car, make sure it’s parked in a shady location. The sun will work against you by drying the car quicker than you want it to. You should also do it when it’s cool outside. Heat will also dry your car too quickly, and this can leave soap spots.

Rinse Well

Start off with a good rinse of your entire vehicle. Rinse from top to bottom, starting on the roof and going down the sides. The purpose of this first rinse is to remove dirt and larger pieces of grime so it’s easier for you to clean by hand, and so that there’s nothing left on the car that could scratch it.

Hand Washing

Before you wash your car, mix soap and water in your bucket, and get a couple good car sponges. You’ll want to use soap that is specifically intended for your car and not anything else, like dish soap. Prepare the water and soap according to the directions on the bottle. Start washing your car by rubbing in circles with a soapy sponge. Always start at the top and work your way down, overlapping rows so you don’t miss any spots. Before putting your sponge back into the bucket for more soap, rinse it with a hose so you’re not transferring all the dirt and grime to the bucket. Do your tires last, because they are dirtiest, and use a small scrub brush to really get the crevices clean.

Hand Dry

After you’ve washed your car, rinse off all the soap, again from top to bottom. When it’s rinsed, you should use clean, dry towels to hand dry the car. If you let it dry on its own, you may end up with water spots, which you don’t want.

Clean the Interior

When you move on to the interior, start by thoroughly vacuuming the car. Make sure you take out the floor mats and vacuum underneath them, as well as the mats themselves. You should use a vacuum cleaner with attachments, and use the smallest one in order to really get every area of the car, even the very hard to reach ones. After you’ve vacuumed, clean the windows with glass cleaner. Then, wipe down the dashboard and vinyl surfaces and seats with vinyl wipes specific for use in your car. If your seats are leather, follow the directions on your leather cleaner.


Waxing your car is what will really give it that professionally-clean sheen. Follow the directions on the car wax, and also wax from top to bottom. You can also wax any metal surfaces on the interior of your car. For your tires, use tire shine to really make them gleam.

Kyle Roark is a car expert and freelance writer who works in Nissan sales and likes to give advice to others on vehicle maintenance.

Photo Credit: bark


  1. Eliz Jasmin Mijares says:

    I really like this post How to Wash Your Car Like a Pro. It would save me lot of money going to car wash. I will be able to clean my own car like a Pro. I don’t know that we need to use dry towels to hand dry the car, If I let it dry on its own, I may end up with water spots, which I don’t want.

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