Car Washing at Home

by TheMaven

Keeping your auto clean with frequent car washing is key to maximizing the enjoyment of your vehicle as well as protecting your investment. You love your car, so give it the proper wash that it deserves. Below you will find everything you need to wash your car by hand like a pro. Hand washing your car at home takes an initial investment, but will quickly pay for itself by saving you and your family trips to the local car wash.

When you are ready to take your car cleaning to the next level, check out our Auto Detailing List for restoring your car's showroom finish.

Buckets
Buckets

You need 2 five gallon buckets for a proper wash. The two bucket wash system is used by any serious car washer. Use one bucket to keep the clean, soapy water, and the second bucket for rinsing. This keeps the soapy water clean. Once you see how dirty the water in the second bucket gets, you will wonder why you ever used one bucket in the past. To save on shipping, you can just pick up your buckets at a local hardware, auto parts, or retail store

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Grit
Grit Guard

This is another item you will wonder how you did without once you use it. The grit guard goes in the bottom of your rinse bucket. When you put your sponge in to rinse, you just rub it against the grit guard and it removes the dirt and grime while trapping it in the bottom. This will keep your rinsing water from getting dirt on your sponge. Another trick is to buy 2 grit guards and stack them both on top of each other in the rinse bucket. This provides double protection.

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Bucket
Bucket Dolly

A bucket dolly is optional, but if you don't feel like lugging 2 five gallon buckets full of water around, you may want to invest in a dolly. Your back will thank you.

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Car
Car Wash

Car wash is the soap for washing. Mothers makes a good product with the right amount of suds. Some car wash products are advertised as "wash and wax", but just stick with something that does it's one job really well. If you need wax, then spend the time to apply a quick coat of wax. You can use a quick, synthetic wax product, or go with a more effective carnauba wax. You can check out our auto detailing list for a thorough look at everything you need to detail your car like a pro.

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Wash
Wash Mitt

Some prefer sponges for washing, but for best results, invest in a microfiber wash mitt. These Griot's Garage set of 2 micro fiber mitts give great results and are super convenient since they are easier to keep on your had during washing.

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Microfiber
Microfiber Cloths

You will quickly realize that it seems you can never have too many microfiber cloths when you are washing the car. Use them for removing streaks, cleaning your windshield and windows, and numerous other things that require a smooth application.

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Shop
Shop Towels

Use the cheaper shop towels for dirty applications that don't require a smooth application. You can use them to apply dressing to your trim, clean your wheels, apply protectant to your interior, etc. These come in handy no matter if you are washing your car or just changing your oil

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Wheel
Wheel and Tire Sponge

Always use a separate sponge for cleaning your wheels/tires than the rest of your vehicle. You don't want the tire and wheel grime to ever touch your paint!

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Meguiar's
Meguiar's Water Magnet Drying Towel

I suggest getting a couple of these towels just in case you have a big vehicle or you are washing multiple vehicles. I have tried many different products for drying, but the water magnet has had best results when it comes to absorbing water, drying the vehicle, and leaving little water streaking or spotting.

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303
303 Aerospace Protectant

Say goodbye for good to Armor All. The 303 Aerospace Protectant is superior for protecting your dashboard, interior, and a number of other surfaces. Get some and you will never buy another bottle of Armor All.

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Leather
Leather Cleaner

If your car has leather interior, you will want to use specialized leather care products. Fiebings Saddle Soap is one of the best leather cleaning products available.

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Leather
Leather Honey Leather Conditioner

After you use a leather cleaner, you will want to also use a conditioner to keep it smooth and supple. The leather honey is a great and highly recommended product. If you want to save a few bucks, I have often used and recommend Leather CPR

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Meguiar's
Meguiar's Hyper Dressing

Meguiar's Hyper Dressing is another personal favorite. I have lost count of how many different products I have used for dressing tires and exterior trim, but hyper dressing is the best I've encountered. Because the product is concentrated, you will need to get a spray bottle and mix hyper dressing and water to your personal shine preference. The ratio recommendations are 1:1 for high gloss, 2:1 for medium gloss, 3:1 for a satin finish, and 4:1 for a natural finish.

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Spray
Spray Bottle

Use this spray bottle for your Meguiar's Hyper Dressing

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Wheel
Wheel Cleaner

Sonax wheel cleaner is one of the better wheel cleaning products on the market and it is safe for most wheel finishes, including aluminum, chrome, painted, and clear coat.

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Wheel
Wheel Brush

Use a wheel brush to get the tough to reach spots in between your wheel spokes and other areas.

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Stoner
Stoner Invisible Glass

This is another product that will have you thanking us for the recommendation. Stoner Invisible Glass is one of the best products available for cleaning your windows, headlights, and mirrors.

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Rain-X
Rain-X

It may seem a little out of place to suggest Rain-X in a car washing guide, but you might as well add it while you are washing your windows anyway. Once applied, water beads and rolls off the window vastly improving visibility during rain. Once you use Rain-X, you will never want to go without it.

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Step
Step Ladder

If you have a larger vehicle like a truck, van, or SUV, you will want to get one of these handy step ladders for those harder to reach areas like the roof. The 2 step ladder is lightweight for easy portability and folds up straight for storage.

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Wash
Wash Mop with Handle

One other product you may want to keep in mind if you own a larger vehicle is a wash mop with a telescopic handle. This product by Detailer's Choice will help with those hard to reach areas.

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