How to wash your car – STEP-BY-STEP Car Washing Tips

If you’re serious about learning how to buy and sell cars, I’d advise you also learn how to wash your car yourself. Selling a car privately means you’re responsible for the preparation before screening potential buyers. That was the idea behind this post, to provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to wash your car before selling a car privately. I have also summarised the post in a checklist format so be sure to download it!

How to wash your car – Car Washing tips

You need to make sure you learn how to wash your car properly as it is possible to do more harm than good. I have attempted to provide an outline of car washing tips for the serious car flipper in a way that will save you money and help you to sell your car faster. The idea is to get a professional finish so if you’re serious about flipping cars then you should be prepared to invest in some products. They are not expensive by any means and will last for a few car flips so don’t stinge out!

Start with the interior!

What you’ll need:

  • Dashboard Wet Wipeshow to wash your car-car washing tips 6
  • Earbud / pen
  • Microfiber towel
  • Window Cleaner
  • Anti-fog spray / Toothpaste
  • Bin Bags
  • Hoover
  • Hose / Jet Wash
  • Scrub Brush
  • Soap

Learning how to wash your car is fairly simple. I always advise to start with the inside of the car first, the reason being is that the car mats can spread a lot of dust and debris when there taken out and shaken. The last thing you want is a layer of dirt to spread on your freshly cleaned car. (Pro car washing tips #1).


The first thing to do is to get a bag and remove any and all rubbish from the car, ideally the inside of the car is practically empty so as to help any potential buyers imagine the car as their own, rather than them feeling like they are sat in someone else’s vehicle.


how to wash your car-car washing tips 5The key to cleaning the inside is to pay extremely close attention to small details. Remember this when figuring out how to wash your car. This means looking in every little crevice, fold, nook and cranny. Places like the seal between the leather handbrake case and the plastic interior, the gap between every console on the dashboard. This is something I picked up on when learning how to wash my car. You should buy yourself some dashboard wipes (bought from the pound shop in the UK) for the large areas of the interior. Try using an already used wipe, wrap it around an earbud or a thin pen and use this as a prong to reach deep cracks and gaps. Another idea is to use an old toothbrush. (Pro car washing tips #2).


Remove all of the car mats, and take them to an area far away from the vehicle. (Pro car washing tips #3). If they are entirely made of carpet then give them a good smack to remove any dust before hoovering them properly with a small hoover head (usually provided with any hoover). If they are rubber however then pull out the hose and given them a wash with soapy water. You will have to use the hose for the exterior of the car anyway so you might as well get it out now. After you’ve done this leave them to dry in the sun, ideally hung on a line. If you’re just learning how to wash your car then be sure until they’re completely dry before putting them back in the car. You don’t want mould to start growing in the car and cause a smell to linger. Don’t waste any shine product on the floor mats, it’s enough to just make it look clean, plus it could cause the surface to be slippy which is dangerous when driving. (Pro car washing tips #4).


how to wash your car-car washing tipsThe entire vehicle should then be vacuumed thoroughly, including under the seats (move them both front and back to be sure to get everything. Be sure to pull out the small head of the hoover and clean in between the cushions.

After you have cleaned the interior move on to the windows from the inside. This should be done carefully in order to avoid smear marks after it dries. Use microfiber towels along with a window cleaner and move your towel in lines from the top to the bottom of the window until the entire window is done. You may choose to move the towel in circular motions but that depends on how you choose to wash your car. Microfiber towels are definitely the way to go as they avoid causing smears and spreading dirt around. (Pro car washing tips #5). You can also use them for the exterior and just throw them in the was when your done so be sure to invest in a bunch of them.


Iv mentioned in another post about the use of an anti-fog spray for the interior windows. You simply spray it on the window and that’s it. This product stops the inside of the car steaming up in the rain and in my opinion is so useful. This is something I advise you buying if you’re still figuring out how to wash your car. I also think it’s a good conversation starter and when you’re selling the car. (Pro car washing tips #6). Best thing is, it’s super cheap! If you don’t feel like spending any money on this item, you can actually use toothpaste instead, rub it into the windows and then wipe off. Crazy right?

Washing the exterior of your car

  • Hose / Jet Wash
  • Sponge
  • Soap
  • Wheel (bristle) brush
  • Telescopic car wash brush
  • Chamois / Microfiber cloth
  • Tyre Shine

I won’t drag this out as the topic may seem overly basic to most however, be sure to follow some key points as it is possible to fluff this up majorly and end up damaging your car.

how to wash your car-car washing tips 2

Start with the wheels and alloys, the reason being is the brake pads will let off tiny metallic specs from the brake pads, this of course car scratch up your body work so lets get rid of this first. A jet wash is ideal for this, there not too expensive and are so useful, plus they make alloy wheels look amazing. Unfortunately its not really possible to do a proper job with a simple hose as the water doesn’t have enough pressure to reach behind the wheel and remove dirt from the wheel trim and brake pads.


You can of course scrub with a sponge and a hose but it doesn’t have the same effect. If you can’t afford to invest in a jet wash then pay a few pound/dollars at a hand car wash who will jet wash your wheels for you. Use a hard bristled brush to scrub the alloys with soap and be sure to get into every nook and cranny. Rinse off again and move on. I cannot emphasise how important and how big of an impact a shiny set of wheels makes when buying a car. (Pro car washing tips #7). Remember this when picturing how to wash your car. Bearing this in mind, invest in some tyre shine, this along with a shiny set of alloys makes it look like your car is wearing a brand new pair of sneakers.


After you have washed and rinsed off the wheels and alloys move onto rinsing your car carefully, otherwise you could end up scrubbing the car with the layer of dust and dirt that is already on it. This will cause you to make lots of tiny circular scratches on your bodywork. Again, using a jet wash was is ideal.


how to wash your car-car washing tips 1After the entire car has been thoroughly rinsed off and excess gunk and dirt has left your car you can begin washing the car with soap. Start with small sections of the car and wash with a soapy sponge. Always work from top to bottom as gravity will pull the dirt downwards. Try not to work in direct sunlight as this will cause the soap to dry before you get a chance to rinse it, causing spots on the bodywork. (Pro car washing tips #8).

This could mean just waiting for the right time of day that gives you some shade.  If you’re still planning how to wash your car, then try waiting for a cloudy day. After you work on one panel at a time and move onto the next. If you notice the soap drying before you get a chance to rinse it off, wash and rinse one panel at a time.


If you have a large vehicle then you could buy a car brush with a telescopic pole, they are cheap and so handy for reaching hard-to-get places such as the roof and the top of the bonnet.

After you have washed and rinsed off the body work you need to dry it with a chamois or a microfiber cloth. This means squeezing the cloth dry every 20 seconds however there is a fancy alternative that bypasses this issue. It is essentially a rubber wiper that wicks off the water without scratching the bodywork. I like using it, and giving the bodywork a once over with the cloth just to be sure.


how to wash your car-car washing tips 4

I generally don’t recommend washing your engine with a hose as you might do some damage. Instead I recommend using all of the dirty wipes from the interior cleaning to remove the scum and oily residue from the surfaces, only to make it look nice. You can then get some fresh wipes if you like and polish it up a little nicer if the car’s design allows however most cars have a plastic cover on top of the engine so you just want to aim to get that looking nice.


If your intention is aimed at buying and selling cars, make the extra effort and spend a little now as first impressions are what matter the most. As I mentioned previously, buyers decide in the first few second whether they willing to buy so make this count.


Anyway that’s enough for this post. I hope it’s helped you in the planning phase of how to wash your car. Or at least given you a few car washing tips that you didn’t know. Be sure to download the checklist that summarises this post to help you save time. If you have any additional car cleaning tips then post a comment!

Author: Bayda Natik

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