How to get your car Looking Super Clean

Monday, 15 September 2014

We've all seen them on the roads - hapless car drivers with 'Clean Me' written across their dirty paint work by a "hilarious" passerby. We're looking at you, white van men. To avoid a similar fate, give your vehicle the TLC it deserves. Having a super clean car might not save you money or make your car go faster, but it will impress anyone who sees you on the road. To give your car a professional clean, have a look at our simple guide.

Get the right gear

You're only as good as your tools, so having the right kit is key. You’ll need:

  • Specialist soap - normal dishwashing soap might look like it gets the job done, but it can also damage the rubber fixings and remove the wax coat. Use a soap designed with cars in mind for a professional finish

  • A wash mitt - microfibre and sheepskin are best as they actually pick up dirt rather than just pushing it around. Using a mitt gives you more control over the washing process than a regular sponge

  • A waffle cloth for drying - while chamois leather is the traditional choice, it can actually scratch the surface of your car. Professionals use waffle-weave drying towels

Shady behaviour

Washing your car in the sun is great for the tan, but the light and heat can dry the water before you’re ready. To avoid watermarks, it’s best to wash your car somewhere dark and shady.

Time for a ho(s)edown

Start by pre-treating stubborn stains such as sap and bird mess by applying some soap to them, and leave it to soak while you have a cup of tea and prepare your car washing playlist. After 10 minutes or so, hose down your vehicle to remove the soap and any other loose pieces of dirt.

Wheely clean

Sparkling wheels are a quick cheat for making your car look cleaner than it actually is. Start with the tyres - this way if any dirt splashes up onto the chassis, you can clean it when you wash the rest of the car. Make sure you:

  • Use a cleaner specifically designed for wheels - pick one that's water-based and doesn’t contain any chemicals that could damage the rubber

  • Use a wheel brush to remove all the dried dirt

  • Rinse thoroughly before moving on to the next wheel

Double up on buckets

Use two buckets: one with soapy water and one with clean water. Dip your sponge in the clean water and squeeze it out every time you need to reload it with soap. Rinsing your sponge first means getting rid of grime instead of spreading it to the next part of your car, and prevents those psychedelic swirl marks.

Wax on, wax off

Cleaning your car means more than running a sponge over it. Use a pre-wax cleaner to remove any contaminants that are damaging the paint. Choose a chemical cleaner, as silicone ones can be quite ineffective. High quality polishes are a good option as they feed the paint and can give a really high quality shine. Once you’ve cleaned the paint, you can apply a coat of wax to keep it protected.

Now for the bad news: even though your car is now super clean, to keep it that way you’re going to have to wash it regularly. Practice makes perfect!

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