How to Wash Your Car:
The devil is in the details

Any Internet search on how to wash your car will deliver up a mind blowing amount of results. The problem is not enough information, but too much information!

It is what I call information over-load. But this is just the beginning of the much deeper and bigger problem. The greater problem is verifying the accuracy of the results delivered up to you after you do any of the search queries.

how to wash your car wash kit

Not only do you have access to an unlimited supply of "how to" information, but the bar has been lowered as far as it can go. Now anyone can deliver their opinion regardless of their experience and regardless of their opinion being credible or not.

This presents all of us with a unique challenge of attempting to filter out the bad information from the good. And when t comes to washing your car, there grows an increasing number of opinions that seem to take this basic task of car care, and grow it to absurd levels of concern and theatrics!

How to Wash Your Car
One bucket, two bucket, three bucket or more!

I will illustrate by using just one example of the many ways so-called experts and the industry itself wants to glorify car washing to a level of concern that has many people confused, frustrated, and fearful!

For decades washing your car with a basic bucket of water, car wash soap, and a wash mitt would easily and effectively remove the dirt from your car.

Now the industry and "wanna-be detailers" that have flooded YouTube have you thinking that unless you adopt the two-bucket car wash method, you are committing a grievous act of harm to your car.

Which leads many people like yourself scratching their heads trying to figure out the basics of how to wash your car:

  • What is the best way to wash your car
  • What is the best car wash soap
  • Is washing your car really as complicated as the industry wants you to think

These and many other questions about how to wash your car will be answered for you. Not only will you be more informed than ever, but you will know more than that "know-it-all neighbor" who seems to want to make a mountain out of every mole hill.

Car Washing is Not Rocket Science

I find it ironic how often I talk with someone who expresses their deep, passionate love for their car as I stand there observing how they have allowed months of dirt to accumulate on their car.

They continue to talk about how they would never let anyone else touch their car out of this over-developed fear they have of someone using inferior car washing techniques on their car and possibly scratching it.

Somehow these very same people always have the time to tell you how concerned they are for their car, but never have the time to actually wash their car. In the meantime, their car continues to collect more and more layers of dirt!

How to Wash Your Car:
Car washing made simple

First off, you need to accept that washing your car yourself will still be work. Even if you take your car to a local car wash, you will be faced with a different kind of "work".

It won't be physical work, but it will be work in the form of inconvenience, frustration, and perhaps poor results. Everything in life comes with trade-off's.

If you accept that you want to learn how to wash your car in the most effective, safe, and efficient way then you have come to the right place.

But first you need to open your mind and allow me to apply some critical thinking that goes counter to what this industry wants you to believe.

And also let me help you get more of what you really came looking for: a clean car, more often not less often.

Car Wash Kit

Chemical Guys HOL133 Best Detailing Bucket Kit (5 Items), 16. Fluid_Ounces

  • Perfect car wash kit
  • Delivers exceptional results in a basic, no-frills kit
  • Top rated car wash soap
  • Exact car wash mitt I use professionally
  • Dirt trap insert for a safer car wash experience

Darren's Tips: I love detail kits! Save time and money with this car wash kit by getting top rated products and tools that will deliver a great car wash, while also delivering a great user experience.

Car wash soap that will create plenty of lubricating suds for a safer car washing and leave a gloss most car wash soaps cannot do.

Best Car Wash Mitts

Car Wash Mitt 2 Pack - Extra Large Size Clean Tools Kits- Premium Chenille Microfiber Winter Waterproof Cleaning Mitts - Washing Glove with Lint Free & Scratch Free

  • I love having two different colored chenille wash mitts as a professional
  • I reserve one colored wash mitt for the cleaner work, and the other for the dirtier work

Darren's Tips: having two chenille wash mitts are redundant in many ways if you purchase the car wash kit above. While these two extra wash mitts are not mandatory by any means, I do like having two distinct wash mitts that I dedicate to specific car washing duties.

The different colors allow me to easily identify which wash mitt is reserved for which job. One color is reserved for dirty chores of car washing like the lower half of the car, washing the wheels, and washing the door jambs.

The other wash mitt I reserve for the top half of my car as it is only used on the "cleaner" dirt which is more about basic removal of the dust that collects on the top half of my car.

Best Car Drying Towel

Zwipes Auto 879-2 Professional Microfiber Waffle Drying Towel, 25 in. x 36 in, 2-Pack

  • The "friendliest" car drying towels
  • More absorbent, safer, and lint free drying!

Darren's Tips: It is hard for me to believe how many so-called car enthusiasts I see in my travels still using traditional bath towels to dry their cars after performing a quality car wash.

In many ways, people do more damage to their car by using a bath towel to dry their car than using a professional, top rated micro-fiber drying towels like these.

Say good-bye to the micro-scratching that bath towels will put into your car paint every time you dry your car. these micro-fiber drying towels are far more absorbent, far safer, and completely int free!

What is the Best Way to Wash Your Car

The best way to wash your car is any car washing method you are willing to do more often, not less often.

It is that simple!

Everyone is different and everyone will come to a different conclusion as to what this actually means. The most important thing to know is that dirt is your biggest threat to your car, and washing it as often as you are willing is the best defense against dirt.

professional car wash kit

What Soap Can You Use to Wash Your Car

While this is a common question and I could easily answer this by telling you that you could use plain tap water to wash your car, but I believe most people really want to know what is the best soap to wash your car.

And to this I say that you really don't have to overthink this part of washing your car. The main goal is to get the dirt off your car as frequently as possible.

The next goal is to get that dirt off with as little scratching as possible. What people often forget is that the longer you wait to wash your car, the more dirt you will be challenged with in trying to wash your car without also scratching your car.

And for this reason I recommend a dedicated car wash shampoo that will be formulated with ingredients that will work to lubricate the dirt particles as you wash your car.

What Should You Wash Your Car With

best products to wash your car

Since I answered what soap can you wash your car with, I will tell you what I consider the best "tool" to wash your car with and that is a chenille wash mitt.

By using micro-fiber material and designing these into the endless "fingers" of a chenille wash mitt, provides the safest way to wash your car.

What Should You Dry Your Car With

Using a dedicated micro-fiber drying towel (usually in the form of a waffle weave micro-fiber towel) is the best and safest way to dry your car after washing your car.

I am amazed at how often I see people still using a household bath towel to dry their car. Bath towels may feel safe and soft to your skin, but are actually damaging to your car paint when compared to the soft micro-fiber material.

Bath towels are also less absorbent and leave tons of annoying lint on your car. A quality micro-fiber drying cloth is the safest, most absorbent, and provides a lint free car drying experience.

How Often Should You Wash Your Car

My simple answer would be as often as you are willing. You cannot wash a car too frequently so long as you are not using inferior wash products and methods.

Of course you will ear some people claim that washing your car too much is bad for your car, but only if you use products and tools that cause damage to your car.

All the recommendations I make on this page will provide excellent results as well as deliver a safe car washing experience.

Can You Wash a Car Too Often

No. Not unless you use unsafe products and wash methods. Many so-called experts looking to get your attention by adding drama will certainly be willing to tell you how you can damage your car by washing it too often, but this simply is not true.

best car drying towel

The more often you wash your car, the less dirt you will also be washing off your car each time. Often people allow excessive amounts of dirt to build up on their car and think there will be some magical way in which to remove the excessive layers of dirt without doing some degree of scratching.

We need to apply a bit of critical thinking and realistic expectations here! The "take away" here is that washing your car using quality products and superior techniques is encouraged, and should be done as often as you are willing.

Are Automatic Car Washes Safe

Yes and no. Not all car washes are created equal.

I can tell you that learning proper car washing techniques and using quality products and tools will prove safer than most automatic car wash tunnels.

If you must rely on an automatic car wash, then I recommend one that is 100% cloth car wash, versus one of the automatic car wash tunnels that use the nylon brushes to wash your car.

Finding a 100% hand car wash facility will prove to be the safest yet. But if you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can achieve the safest car wash possible as you remain in complete control.

Will Dish Soap Damage Your Car paint


But you will have most "wanna-be" professional detailers (especially the endless YouTube detailers) tell you how you will damage your car paint if you use dish soap to wash your car.

While dish soap will strip away virtually all of the wax that may be on your car, it will not damage your car paint in the traditional sense.

will dish soap damage your car

You simply need to understand that every time you use dish soap to wash your car, you will continue to not only strip away the car wax, but you will continue to dry out your clear coat more and more.

This drying out will manifest itself years later when your clear coat begins to "burn out" from not keeping a quality car wax on your car.

Dish soap is easy to default to since most people have it around the house, but II do not recommend using it long term to wash your car. It is perfect if you want to intentionally strip any wax off your car before waxing your car with a new type of car wax, but I do not recommend it long term.

Can You Wash A Car With Water Only

Yes. Officially you could "wash" your car with any liquid product. But the ability to do something is not the same as recommending to do something.

Water certainly will not hurt your car nor will it strip the wax from your car, but water will not have any of the lubricants that dedicated car wash soaps are formulated with that help lubricate the dirt particles during the car washing process.

How to Wash Your Car Summary

If you have made it this far down my how to wash your car tutorial, then you deserve a badge of honor! Respect to you for your commitment in learning proper techniques in washing your car.

I realize the ideas and recommendations I make on this page are a tiny fraction of the endless opinions floating around the Internet. I hope I have helped in some small way so you can better results in your part of the world!


Darren Priest

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