For many people, the car they drive is an outward expression of who they are. The person who drives the Volkswagen van, for example, is far different from the person who drives the BMW. Many of us have a special attachment to our cars, whether they are vintage classics or modern-day SUVs. We spend a great deal of time in our cars, commuting to work, driving the kids to soccer practice, and going out for groceries. As a result, many people treat and care for their cars with great attention. And this certainly is not a bad idea. The car that is well cared for will last longer, look better, and, should you decide to sell or trade, will retain a higher retail and trade-in value. One way to keep your vehicle looking its best is to treat it regularly with a car wash and wax.

While some people opt for the drive through car wash, these can add up very quickly, and often do not allow sufficient drying time before you have to drive off into heavy traffic and dirty streets. One way to quickly add more dirt and grime to your car is to drive it into traffic while wet with a fresh coat of wax! Obviously, this completely defeats the purpose of a car wash and wax! A more economical way is to do a home car wash and wax. It doesn’t take as much time as you might think, and it’s a great way to enjoy a beautiful afternoon. What’s more, a home car wash and wax uses significantly less water than commercial car washes, which is good for the environment. You do not need nearly that much water to clean your car effectively. All you need is a good quality car wash and wax product, a bucket, hose, and non-abrasive towel. That’s it!

When choosing a cleaning product, many people opt for whatever is around the house. However, some cleaning agents, such as dishwashing liquid, will clean right through the wax on your car, leaving it vulnerable to the elements. Even dishwashing detergent labeled “gentle” is not appropriate. The “gentle” refers to how it will affect your hands, not how well it cuts through grease, grime, and wax. A better solution is to choose a product specifically designed as a car wash and wax. This type of car wash liquid, in contrast to a dishwashing or other liquid cleaning agent, will not damage the finish on your car or scratch the paint. Even some liquid household cleaners that appear “soft” can contain abrasives that can cause many tiny scratches on your car, leading to a dull appearance and rusting vulnerability. A car wash solution is designed to clean, shine, and protect. Many are designed for multiple purposes, combining both cleaning and waxing agents, which make the job of cleaning your car that much easier. It’s a one-step process. When cleaning your car, use the “top down” cleaning method. The concept is that you start at the top and work your way down, so that the dirt flows downward and off your car. In other words, allow gravity to help you. Fill a bucket with cool water and either follow the directions on the car wash solution product label or simply add a small amount. These products are concentrated, and you don’t need much to obtain a good clean. If your car has some buildup, such as dirt, road tar, grease, or bugs, consider using a car mitt specifically designed for use on vehicles with a car wash liquid. Again, these products are designed to not scrape or scratch the finish on your car. Also, when using a quality car wash and wax product, there is no need to use a high-powered spray nozzle. Some people do not use any type of a nozzle at all, but simply wet the car with a light flow of water from the hose. Dip the mitt in the bucket so that the dirt will fall off as you remove it; this helps ensure that no dirt will scratch your car. After all, there’s no point in using a good quality car wash and wax if you’re only going to scrape your car with the dirt you’re trying to remove! Use gentle scrubbing motions with the mitt, and rinse and dry as soon as you are finished. Many absorbent towels are available for use on vehicles and other specialty uses that won’t scratch or damage. A good, 100% cotton towel is best. To ensure that you don’t damage the finish, use blotting motions rather than wiping.

If your car wash solution is designed for both cleaning and waxing, you’re done!