Best Car Wash for the DIY'er


A clean car reflects well on its owner. Washing the car is not rocket science, pull out the bucket, grab some dish soap, and freshly cut old t-shirts and start washing the car. Once the wash has commenced it is time to dry using some old bath towels. Presto! It’s clean. Well it is clean, but what occurred in the cleaning process was a lot of micro scratches and the dish soap stripped any wax that was on the surface.

We recommend you use two buckets, but if you half way care about your paint you can use one bucket with a grit guard. This may seem like a process, but once you get used to it, it will become second nature.

Supplies needed for the best washing experience:

5 Gallon Bucket(x2) cost about $10-12 for two. You can find these at Hardware stores, Walmart, and even paint stores.

Grit Guard $10-20 Amazon, Chemical Guys, Car Supplies Warehouse, AutoGeek to name a few.




Car Wash Shampoo-Cost about $5. Car wash shampoo is formulated to not strip waxes, and most are ph balanced, so they don’t leave spots. You can find these at most big box stores and online.


Towels- Microfiber costs $10-20+ depending on brand. You can find these at HomeDepot, Lowes, Walmart, etc. You can also use a high quality wash mitt. If you use a wash mitt, we suggest using two.


Wheel Cleaner- you have two options 1) PH balanced, if you have aftermarket wheels,( I prefer to use non acidic cleaners on these). 2) Acidic wheel cleaners these are more powerful and you’ll need watch how long they stay on the surface. In all cases if you are unsure, most non-acidic wheel cleaners will get the job done. Chemical Guys Diablo wheel cleaner works fantastic.


A good quality spray/ garden nozzle about $5, you can find these at any home improvement or garden store and online.


(Optional) Spray Wax or quick detailer optional $8-12 found at most Auto Parts stores, Walmart and online.

Now that you have all the supplies it is time to commence the washing process.


Step 1: Start with the wheels old t-shirts are fine. A wheel brush is much faster and probably better. Spray wheels and tires with cleaner according to the directions on the bottle. You can use that old bucket here or buy a new one, it's your choice, just don’t use the same bucket for wheels and tires. We suggest rinsing before moving to the next wheel, or you can rinse one side at a time.


Step 2: Fill one bucket with shampoo and leave the other with fresh water. See the youtube video for a visual: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-es6AfSc94c

Step 3: Take 2 microfiber towels/mitts and dunk them in the wash bucket with shampoo and start with a rinse from top to bottom.


Step 4:

Grab a towel or mitt from the bucket start washing the roof. We suggest doing half of the roof with one side of the towel or mitt and reversing/flipping it over for the next side.

Pro Tip: Repeat this process for each section with a rinse in clean bucket, wring and submerge in soap bucket. This is a good time to switch out to the second mitt/ towel. You can also do the side windows in this step. Hold off on the front/back windshield for now. Note you do not have to rinse between sections. The shampoo is ph balanced so it will not dry and leave a mark on the finish, even in direct sun.


Step 5

Wash the sides starting below the windows and working your way half way down to the first body moulding. See image below.


Stop at the first body molding on the door. Do each door as you did the roof one side for each door, rinse, wring, grab the next mitt/towel and do the other side.


Pro Tip: You can also wash

Step 7: Clean the hood like you did the roof you can also clean the upper part of front fenders with this step and you can clean the windshield here.

Pro Tip: Make sure all debris are removed from around the windshield it may require opening the hood.


Step 9: Wash the front bumper with the other clean mitt.

Step: 10 wash the rear starting at the rear windshield and work your way down to the bumper and stop before the bumper flat section lip.

Step 11: Now it is time to wash the lower half of the car starting at the doors. This will be the dirtiest part of the car and may require you to wring, dunk, and switch up mitts for each door.

Step 12: Finish the wash by washing the bumper.

Step 13: Towel dry using a clean microfiber towel or a clean leaf blower. You can also use a quick detailer or spray at this process for added shine and a little protection.

Step: 14 Apply your favorite tire shine.

Step 15: clean up and wash your towels/mitts in hot water using a small amount of laundry detergent and a second rinse, and dry on low.

Step 16: Optional show off to your neighbors.

Andrew's Auto Care established in 2020 provides mobile car and motorcycle detailing to the Metro Atlanta area. We are fully mobile and setup at your location, so you can go about your day.


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