How To Hand Wash a Car Without Missing a Spot

hand car washing with soap and sponge

"CLEAN ME" or "WASH ME." Not me; a vehicle, silly. You've doubtlessly seen those commands written by hand in the thin film of dirt covering a vehicle.

Whether your car has experienced that or not, you definitely want to wash your car when it's dirty. To wash a car with extra care and precision, do so by hand. To learn how to do so, READ ME.

Wash a Car Like a Boss

"Working at the car wash / Working at the car wash, yeah," Rose Royce once sang in their hit song. Washing a car by hand is a timeless, beautiful art. Like all successful results, it starts with the proper preparation. 

Park your car out of direct sunlight. Close all windows and retract the antenna. Get those windshield wipers away from the windshield and clicked into a propped position.

Next is gathering your supplies. Grab some car wash detergent, three buckets (one for rinsing, two for washing), plenty of water, a hose, and towels or microfiber cloths to dry the car. Also, assemble a large sponge, two to three wash mitts, a stiff scrubbing brush, and a brush to scrub your tires with.

Then, fill two buckets with water: one for washing and the other for rinsing.


Now let's get down to the business of washing the thing.

First, hose it off to soften and loosen the dirt. Keep the water pressure low and aim the jet of water downwards. 

Second, wash those wheels. They're usually the dirtiest, so you want to wash them first with a long, skinny-wheel brush.

Third, get a large wash mitt. Soak it in soapy water, wash out dirt in it, then start scrubbing the car's surface. Don't use a brush on the car body.

Cleaning the car body is a multi-step process. Begin at the top, circling around the car many times and washing a little lower each time.

If you find splattered bugs or bird droppings, remove them immediately with a wash mitt or damp rag. Throughout the entire cleaning process, keep the wash mitt clean by rinsing the dirt out of it using plain water in the bucket. Don't let grit, grime, or dirt build-up in the mitt.

Rinse your car regularly, rinsing a section before moving on to the next one. Keep it wet the whole time by using the hose. Near the end of your car wash, clean the lower body, the tire sidewalls, and spray the car's bottom.

At the end, dry the car with fresh towels, wax it, treat paint damage and rust, then finally apply a water-repellent treatment to its windows. Check out this post to see how to wash a vehicle wrap.

The Careful Art of Washing a Car by Hand

As you can see, washing a car by hand is a meticulous and multi-faceted art form. Preparation, drying, waxing, and so many other steps prove to be just as important as actually scrubbing the vehicle clean.

Now that you know how to wash a car by hand, learn how to best do other household chores by giving the Home and Garden section of the site a read.


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