How to Hand Wash Your Car and Preserve the Shine
These tips and methods will help you do a great job washing your vehicle in the least amount of time while preserving the shine. Regular washing is good but also takes its toll on most car finishes. The biggest enemy of washing is the wiping and drying motion which often cause fine “wiping scratches” especially on dark colored vehicles. So the objective is to wash your vehicle frequently, without spending a lot of time, and to alleviate wiping marks that ruin your shine.
You will need:
A microfiber car wash mitt in good condition and clean
Proper car wash soap
One or two soft terry towels
Synthetic chamois (shammy) (optional)
Firstly with the hose or pressure wand, spray the vehicle down with water to remove any dust and heavy dirt, and to wet the entire vehicle. Wet your wash mitt and apply some car wash soap to it or add car wash soap to a bucket of clean, preferably warm, water. Starting at the top and working around the vehicle and downwards, “hand agitate” the surface in a bumper-to-bumper rather than a circular motion. Do not wipe the lower areas or wheels yet.
If you drop your wash mitt or if something gets on it, rinse it out before proceeding. Rinse thoroughly before the surface dries. If you are in the hot sun you may want to do this process in sections. After rinsing, work on the lower areas such as bumpers, rocker panels and wheels. The reason for this is so that grit does not get on your mitt and get rubbed onto the paint. Rinse well and be sure to rinse your wash mitt well or better yet, throw it in the washing machine and dryer for the next time.
If you decide to dry your car, using a chamois will be the gentlest method. Dampen it and continue to wring it out being careful not to get any grit or debris on it. Be sure to shake out the towel and wipe the glass first to soften the towel and to remove the initial sharp edges from the fabric. Again, wipe in a bumper-to-bumper motion working from the top down. Lastly, wipe the lower areas, wheels, and door jambs. Throw towels in the washer and dryer for next time.