by Robyn Bardgett
While cleaning your car has aesthetic benefits, there are also lasting benefits to keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape. Many mechanics will suggest cleaning your car on a regular basis for maintenance and giving you a longer lasting car. And that goes for both the interior and exterior of your vehicle.
But not all cleaning is made equal, so we’ve got some tips below for getting the best clean for a car that will last.
Choose the right products
It’s important to select products that are made for cleaning your car’s exterior (see sidebar for our top picks). Using household cleaners such as hand soap, dishwashing detergent or household glass cleaner can strip off your car’s wax. Most car-specific products have guidelines for how to use the product, so make sure to read the label.
Rinse your car
Before adding any products to your car, make sure to give the whole car a good rinse. This will remove loose contaminants such as dust, dirt, mud and any larger pieces of dirt. Once you’ve given the car a good rinse, you can add soap. Suds should be applied with a large, soft, natural sponge or mitt. Make sure you use
a separate sponge to clean the wheels and tires, which may be coated with sand, brake dust, and other debris that could mark your car’s clear coat. That last thing you want to do is wash the car with dirty water, which only reintroduces those same contaminants you’re trying to remove.
Take the time to dry
After the initial rinse, work methodically, washing and rinsing the soap off one section at a time, top to bottom. Use a separate bucket to clean your sponge to prevent dirt from getting mixed into the sudsy wash water. Air drying can potentially leave streak marks. It takes an extra five minutes to use a chamois (natural or synthetic) or soft terry towels to blot the water.
Don’t forget the windows and wheels
The windows are another important part of the car where it’s essential to use the right products. Look for a specific car window cleaner that will help get that streak-free shine. Specific products for cleaning your wheels will also help to maintain the look and performance of your car.