Washing cars comes with a lot of different cultural connotations. When we imagine washing a car we often see neighbors wave to one another from their drives as they cover their family cars with suds or perky college girls washing cars in bikinis to raise money. Washing cars has also been a reliable way to earn some pocket money for kids, much like the lemonade stand.
But washing your car probably doesn’t really reflect any of these realities. Lots of suds and smiles might look great on film but, really, the ultimate car wash is more about using the right equipment and products.
So, here is the recipe for the perfect car wash. (The bikinis are optional!)
The Steam Wash
Steam washing your car is one of the most effective ways to remove dirt while protecting the paintwork. Using a better than optima steamer is quick and uses significantly less water than an automated car wash or even a couple of bucketfuls at home. This makes this method more environmentally friendly.
Steam washers may also be adapted to clean the interior of your car and, due to the low water level, can be used on suede and leather seating. Similarly, as the jet of steam is quite narrow, it can also be used to clear out cup holders and door jambs and trims. Family cars often end up a bit crumby and sticky so being able to get into tight spaces to clean is ideal.
Once you have cleaned your car thoroughly, applying a layer of wax will ensure that your paint stays bright and shiny. It’s really important that you follow the instructions on the wax that you buy, however, the general rule is that you must apply an even coverage using around a nickel-sized blob of wax for a section about 2 feet by 2 feet on your car.
It’s a good idea to move panel by panel so that you know where you are up to. Slowly work the wax into the paintwork but wipe away any wax that goes onto the surrounding plastic or rubber. Once you have covered the car completely, you should remove the wax using a dry microfiber cloth. You may need to use a couple of cloths to remove the wax from the car completely.
Since the outside is now looking so good, you should definitely turn your attention to the inside of your car. The steam cleaner can really help to remove the dirt but you might prefer to start the process by clearing out the junk and giving the whole interior a vacuum. If there is a bad smell, you could try generously sprinkling baking soda over your seats and mats before vacuuming – this also works wonders on your carpets at home.
To get the new car feeling, you might like to add an air freshener to your rearview mirror just like they do at professional car washes. This will give you the feeling of a job well done and your car will be good to go.
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