FAQs on the do-it-yourself car wash
Don't... wash your car when the body is hot, such as immediately after driving it or after it has been parked
in direct sunlight for awhile. Heat speeds the drying of soap and water, making washing more difficult and
increasing the chances that spots or deposits will form.
Don't move the sponge in circles. This can create light, but noticeable scratches called swirl marks. Instead,
move the sponge lengthwise across the hood and other body panels. And don't continue using a sponge
that's dropped on the ground without thoroughly rinsing it out. The sponge can pick up dirt particles that
can scratch the paint.
Do... rinse all surfaces thoroughly with water before you begin washing to remove loose dirt and debris
that could cause scratching. Once you begin, concentrate on one section at a time, washing and rinsing
each area completely before moving on to the next one. This ensures that you have plenty of time to rinse
before the soap dries. Start at the top, and then work your way around the car.
Work the car-wash solution into lather with plenty of suds that provide lots of lubrication on the paint surface. And rinse the sponge often. Using a separate bucket to rinse the sponge keeps dirt from getting
mixed into the sudsy wash water.
When rinsing, use a hose without a nozzle and let the water flow over the car from top to bottom. This creates
a sheeting action that helps minimize pooling of water.
How should I dry the car when I'm done?
Don't... let the car air dry, and don't expect a drive around the block to do an effective job. Either will leave
watermarks, which in areas with hard water are the minerals left after evaporation. In addition, don't use an
abrasive towel or other material that can leave hairline scratches in the paint.
Do... use a chamois (natural or synthetic) or soft terry towels. If you choose towels, you may need several.
It's best to blot the water up instead of dragging the towel or chamois over the paint. The drying process
can be speeded up by using a soft squeegee to remove most of the water on the body, but be sure the rubber
is pliable and that it doesn't pick up bits of dirt that can cause scratches.