Image: www.washingtonian.comBy Frank Ling

Washing your car—how difficult could this be? As it turns out, there are some things that you should and shouldn’t do to have a successful car wash.

One major tip is not to use dish washing detergent because this kind of soap strips away car wax and special polymers. You may have a clean car at the end but it will look really dull and lack shine.

If you want to avoid water spots after drying, taking the car for a quick spin on the freeway won’t do the job. You’ll have to bite the bullet and hand-dry it by using a car chamois or other absorbent material to soak up the water.

Use Two Buckets

Professional detailers use two buckets to wash cars. One is filled with clean water to rinse the sponge, and the other bucket is filled with soapy water.

If you use only one bucket with soapy water, every time you put the sponge back in, you’re picking up old dirt and putting it back onto the car.

After each wash cycle, rinse the sponge out in the plain water bucket, and then pick up new suds from the other bucket.

Wash When It’s Cool

Washing a car after it has been running means the hood will be hot. Washing the car at this stage will make the water and soap evaporate on the surface and make the chances of water spots showing up higher.

If it’s a hot day and the car has been sitting in the sun, move the car into the shade if possible.

Use the Correct Dilution

When buying soap that is specifically made for car washes, be sure to follow the instructions on what the ratio of soap to water is. If you are too heavy on the soap, this can leave streaks or spots. It also makes washing off the soap more difficult.

Don’t Skimp on the Suds

You want as many suds as possible when washing your car because the suds help to carry away the dirt and grime on the car’s surface.

Rinse Before You Wash

Give your car a good spraying down with water from a hose to loosen dirt before you start the car wash. This pre-treatment helps to get rid of the top layer of grime and makes the wash a little easier.

Source: Consumer Reports

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