Car owners feel a sense of therapeutic relief after washing their cars by hand. So it’s great, because washing is also the best way to maintain a clean car. However, you should watch out for some things so as not to damage the finish. With the DIY approach, it is possible to safely clean the car without ruining its paint.

Check the condition of your vehicle

You must determine how dirty the car is before taking out the hose, buckets, and cleaning supplies. Has mud covered the rocker panel? Has the car been exposed to a lot of dust? Does salt need to be removed after driving on an icy road? An entire arsenal of products may not be required for quick cleaning. New cars normally have their paint intact, but older cars may require a full cleaning regimen for their paint.

Car condition

Check the label for information

Before applying anything to your vehicle, make sure to read the label thoroughly. You can find automotive cleaner in a variety of strengths. You can ruin paint, clear coat, or other finishes by using the wrong product. When in doubt, you should use the mildest cleaning products you can find. By following the instructions, you will save time and money.

Use three buckets

The deep cleans main objective is to remove contaminants from a vehicle’s surface. The water you use to wash the car should not be dirty. A three-bucket system is an effective method in such a case. The first bucket contains only plain water, and the second is filled with soapy water. For rinsing and cleaning the mitt before re-soaking in the soapy bucket, use the bucket with plain water. The third bucket will only be used for the wheels and will be filled with a mixture of cleaning products and water.

Before you start cleaning the car, move it out of the direct sunlight if you can. This will minimize the amount of evaporating water and cleaning products as you work.

First wash the wheels

It is a good idea to start off by cleaning the dirtiest part of the car: the wheels. Put your third bucket for cleaning wheels to use. You should make sure there is no residue of cleaning products left on the tires. A tire may splash the product onto the paint when driving. To get rid of any leftover cleaner, spray the wheels with water.

Washing the wheels

Clean the headlights

As the car gets older, the headlights become cloudier and yellower. Many headlight restoration kits include UV blockers, which preserve the headlights from further damage from the sun. The masking tape must be applied on the surfaces surrounding the headlights.

Wash the car exterior

An essential step of the process is to wash the car’s body, which removes dirt, dust and mud. To get rid of large chunks of dirt, rinse with clean water before using soapy water. You should not use soap or cleaning agents that are not designed for car washing. Dish soaps and detergents can harm the wax on the car’s paint. A microfiber towel or slightly damp chamois is the best way to dry your car.

Exterior car wash

Now clean the windows

It is also important to choose the right product for your project. The exterior glass of the car can be damaged by household glass cleaners, since they contain ammonia. Rather, use a special car window cleaner. There are no easy solutions to removing streaks, you’ll just have to use elbow grease.

Check the surface of the car

When the car’s clean, it’s easier to spot the deeper stains in the paintwork. Although the car has been just washed, you may still feel the presence of contamination with your hand. To remove these hard spots, apply a clay bar.

Scratch removal

The process of removing scratches is much more challenging. You can buff out minor scratches and scuffs by using some toothpaste along with elbow grease. If this doesn’t work, you may want to try using a specialized polishing compound. In addition, you will need to apply it several times to hide a scratch. 

You can fix deeper scratches with paint pens from parts stores or dealerships. If the paint has faded, the colors may not match perfectly. Then you can ask the shop for the correct color specified in the vehicle manual. Primers must be applied first if the scratch is down to bare metal. You can apply this in two or three thin layers. Each layer should be allowed to dry for about 20 minutes. Apply the paint and then a layer of clear coat for further protection. Always allow time to dry between layers. After several days of drying you may then buff the area with a fine rubbing compound to blend with the existing paint. 

Polishing with wax

Polishing for a glossy look

Polishing your car will make it shine like a mirror. Applying the polish is not necessary, but you can do so by hand or with a dual-action polisher. You have to be careful with these polishing tools, because a heavy hand will cause unnecessary swirls. Feel free to do this step by hand if you’re not confident with the tools.

Adding wax protection

A lot of people believe that waxing their paints will make them shine, and they are right. Wax provides a protective barrier which prevents fading by blocking UV rays. Protective wax also shields your car from anything corrosive that may come in contact with it. There is a choice between carnauba wax and synthetic waxes. Those made of synthetic materials are much easier to use.