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How To Wash A Car At Home In The Summer

Summer storms, like the monsoons we get here in Arizona, can do a number on your car. The storms are fun to watch as the big wall of dust swallows the land from east to west, but it’s no fun to watch as your car becomes victim to the dirt and moisture left behind. 

Once the skies clear and you’ve cleaned up the debris that has accumulated around your home, it’s a good idea to wash your car before the dirt left behind damages the car’s paint. Dirt particles that are left on your vehicle can create tiny scratches that are unsightly and may even reduce your car’s resale value. 

Learn how to properly wash your car during the summer months, how to prevent water spots after a car wash, and how to dry the car after washing to protect your car’s exterior and to give it that shiny, new car look.

How to Wash A Car At Home

The purpose of a good car washing is to remove particles and contaminants from the surface of your vehicle. That’s why adopting the Three Bucket System is an ideal way to wash your car. You wouldn’t wash your dishes in a sink with dirty dishwater would you?Washing Your Car At Home

The concept with the Three Bucket Method is the same. 

One bucket is filled with clean, soapy water while another bucket is filled only with water. The water bucket is only to be used to rinse off your sponge or soft rag before placing it back into the bucket with soap. 

The third bucket should be used for cleaning your wheels. Wheels are one of the dirtiest areas of your car because of their direct contact with the road and bits of brake dust that have collected in the wheel wells. 

Once you’ve prepared your three buckets, you can begin the washing process.

  1. Evaluate how dirty your car actually is. Does it have mud caked on from your off-roading adventure? Is it dusty from a recent monsoon? Is it covered in bird droppings from the time you parked under the big tree? Or are you just giving your car some TLC? Knowing how badly your car is in need of a wash will help you determine how much product is needed for the wash. Is it a quick wash, deep scrub down, or an all-day wash and wax project?
  2. Ensure you’re using the right products for your vehicle. Using the wrong kind of product could permanently damage the car’s paint. Stick to products that are made specifically for car washing. Do not use household laundry detergents or dishwashing soap.
  3. Wash one area at a time. Begin your wash with the wheels. Once complete, wash from the top down, panel by panel. For particularly stubborn areas, rinse the area down with water first to remove larger areas of dirt. Then, add soapy water to the exterior with a sponge or soft rag. Wash, rinse, and dry each area before moving to the next to help prevent water spots. 
  4. Dry thoroughly. Dry each area with a soft, microfiber towel or damp chamois. Look closely for streaks or water spots that you may have missed.
  5. Wash the windows. Use ammonia-free window cleaners made specifically for car windows to prevent damage to the tint or glass. 

Tips For Washing Your Car in the Summer

Avoid Direct Sun

Wash your car under a shaded awning or covered area. Water evaporates faster in higher temperatures which means you will have difficulty washing your car in the middle of the afternoon. Wash your car early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures have gone down a bit and the sun is not as high. 

Use Superior Shampoo Products

Some car wash formulas are made for use in sunlight and in higher temperatures. Be sure the product is mild, gentle, and a PH neutral product with natural ingredients. Using higher quality products helps prevent streaking, water spotting, and other residues that could damage paint.

Be Prepared

Ensure you have everything you need to wash, rinse, dry, and wax your car before you begin. The last thing you want to do when washing your car is to have to stop to go get supplies or other items. While you’re off trying to find your lucky chamois, the sun is baking the soap right into your sudsy car’s paint. Your wash buckets should be prepped ahead of time and sponges, soft rags, and the hose should be within reach.

Be Quick but Don’t Rush

Avoid rushing through the car wash process but do move faster than you would in cooler temperatures. Plan which areas you will wash and create a methodical and efficient process that works for you. Higher than normal temperatures will work against you when trying to wash, rinse, and dry the whole car. Similarly, this is why you should plan to only wash one section of the car at a time.

How Often to Wash a Car in the Summer

Most vehicle experts recommend washing your car every two weeks throughout the year. Vehicles that are exposed to salt such as from winter roads or those that are lucky enough to live near the ocean, should plan to wash their cars more often as salt can cause metal to corrode and develop rust.

Similarly, if you travel over rough terrain such as dirt roads plan to wash more often. If you notice bird droppings on your car, don’t wait to have your car washed. Bird droppings are so acidic, it’s capable of eating right through your car’s paint if left on for long periods of time. 

If you park your car in a garage or drive seldomly, you can go longer between washes than the average driver. 

Now that you know how to wash your car in higher temperatures, you needn’t worry about driving in Arizona’s weather or the next monsoon that rolls into town. Save yourself some money and spend your morning or evening with your car by giving it the TLC it deserves with a car wash at home!