Washing Your Car

Simple best practices on how to wash a car. The washing of your car can enhance your vehicle’s appearance, reduce surface contamination, and help the wax coating on the paint last longer, provided you have the right car wash supplies.

What you need:

Initial Considerations

The exterior surface of the vehicle should be cool—never hot. Make sure the vehicle is in a shaded or garage area, out from the sun. Never wash the car in direct sunlight. None of the cars surfaces should be hot.

Spray and rinse the entire surface of the car liberally with a good stream of water. This removes most of the easily soluble contaminants and accumulated dirt, dust, and grime which is on the painted surface. It also softens any contaminants which had dried on the surface, making it easier to remove while washing with soap and water.

Washing Process

Fill about two to three gallons of water into each of the buckets. In one bucket add a capful of Helius Car Shampoo, a concentrated liquid pH balanced soap. Work the soapy bucket into a rich lather to provide lubricity to the cleaning action of the soap. Do not use household detergents or degreasing detergents on the paint as it will remove the wax from the car.

Rinse the natural sea sponge in the bucket of clear water. The natural sea sponge has a cellular structure which allows the body of the sponge to absorb soapy water into its pores to pull the accumulated dirt particles and grime from the paint surface.

Always use straight strokes and do not go in circles as this will eventually create swirl marks. Use a separate sponge just for wheels and low areas of the car as those areas are more prone to have dirt particles on the surface. The advantage of a natural sea sponge is that it does not drag dirt particles across the surface such as a chamois or a wash mitt. Frequently squeeze the sponge to discharge all of the soapy water and dirt from the body of the sponge. Rinse the same sponge in the clear water bucket, and then recharge the sponge with soapy water. Do not spare the amount of clean soapy water used on the vehicle – it is the cheapest insurance for maintaining your car’s exterior appearance. Liberal use of soapy pH balanced wash water is the rule.

Rinsing and Drying

After areas of the car have been washed and before the soapy wash water dries on the surface, liberally rinse the area just washed. Consider washing small areas of the vehicle and rinsing before moving onto another area.

The rinsing process further removes dirt and grime from the vehicle that has been loosened by the sponge but perhaps not picked up by it.

Terry towels should be used to blot and soak up water on the surface. When wet, a well-waxed vehicle, (due to the hydroscopic nature of the premium carnauba wax) will create beading of the water, many of which will run off vertical or angular services of the car. When the beading of the water becomes flatter and less pronounced, it is the first indication that your vehicle needs to be re-waxed.

What you are unable to dry with towels will air dry.

Additional Thoughts

Always rinse your car as soon as possible to remove dead bugs, tree sap, and bird droppings. Each of these contains chemicals which can leach acids which will strip away wax and eat into the paint.

Always rinse your car after rainy weather to remove atmospheric contaminants, especially in areas which have acid rain. The acid in the rainwater remains on the surface after the water has evaporated which can etch into the surface of the paint and leave a permanent mark.

It is advisable to use a separate sponge for washing wheels and tires. These areas have high concentrations of grime and you do not want to pull those particles across your paint or clearcoat.

Helius Multi Purpose Cleaner can be used in areas which require more cleaning action.

Products Mentioned In This Article