How To Wash a Car at Home: The Ultimate Guide to DIY Car Washing in the United States

Learn how to wash your car at home like a pro with our comprehensive step-by-step guide. Save money, maintain value, and enjoy the satisfaction of a sparkling clean vehicle.

Aug 1, 2023 - 18:21
Aug 17, 2023 - 14:13
How To Wash a Car at Home: The Ultimate Guide to DIY Car Washing in the United States
How To Wash a Car at Home: The Ultimate Guide to DIY Car Washing in the United States

When you drive around in a sparkling, clean vehicle, there's a certain satisfaction that comes along with it. It's not only about appearance but also about maintaining the value and longevity of your car. However, getting it to that sparkling clean state can often feel overwhelming. We're here to help with that!

Just as the seemingly choreographed rainclouds gather each time after a professional car wash, so can you conquer the art of car washing at home. Not only will it save you money, but it's also a great way to become more familiar with your vehicle. Plus, it's a fantastic workout!

This article provides a comprehensive step-by-step guide on washing your car at home using simple tools and techniques. It's time to swap those dollar bills for a bucket of suds and a sponge.

Safety Precautions

Before we begin, let's prioritize safety. There aren't many risks in washing your car, but gloves are a good idea if you're using chemicals that could irritate your skin. And remember, if you're using a power washer, be mindful not to accidentally blast your leg or any sensitive parts of your vehicle.

Everything You'll Need


  • Water hose
  • Spray nozzle
  • Two buckets
  • Two dirt traps
  • Microfiber car wash mitt
  • Microfiber towels
  • Two drying towels or a shammy
  • Wheel brush


  • Car wash soap
  • General automotive degreaser
  • Wheel cleaner

The Process

It's time to start once your tools and products are ready. The steps outlined below will help you efficiently wash your car at home while maintaining its shine and luster.

Step 1: Park in the Shade

Avoid washing your car under direct sunlight, as it can make the soap dry up too quickly, leaving unsightly spots and streaks. Find a shady spot or wait until the sun starts to set.

Step 2: Rinse the Car Down

Use a hose, spray nozzle, or pressure washer to rinse the car, hitting every nook and cranny, including the underside and wheel wells. This initial rinse helps loosen and wash off the large dirt particles that can cause scratches during washing.

Step 3: Wash the Wheels and Tires

Before washing the car's body:

  1. Clean the wheels and tires.
  2. Using a wheel brush and a microfiber towel, spray wheel cleaner and scrub the wheel surfaces, including the backside.
  3. Once done, rinse them thoroughly.

Step 4: Wash the Car in Sections

After cleaning the wheels, rinse the car again. Then, with your two buckets ready—one with car wash soap and another with clean water—begin washing the car. Use your microfiber mitt to wash in sections, starting from the roof and working your way down. This two-bucket method ensures you always use clean water and soap to wash, which helps avoid scratches.

Step 5: Rinse it Again

Once you've washed the entire car, it's time for another rinse. Aim to wash off all the soap suds to prevent stains and streaks. Never allow the car to air dry, as it leads to water spots and possible mineral deposit stains.

Step 6: Clean Sill and Jambs

Wipe off the dirt on the door sills, jambs, and bottom edges with a damp microfiber towel. These areas often collect grime and dirt, which can lead to corrosion over time if not cleaned regularly.

Step 7: Dry the Car

To avoid water spots, it's essential to dry the car immediately after washing. The two-towel method works well here. Use one towel to remove most of the water, then follow up with the second towel to detail dry and pick up the remaining moisture.

Step 8: Wax Your Car

After a thorough wash, waxing your car is always a good idea. Waxing adds a beautiful shine and protects against environmental factors like UV rays, dirt, and bird droppings.

Step 9: Enjoy Your Clean Car!

Now it's time to sit back, relax, and admire your hard work. A clean car not only looks good, but it also feels great to drive.

READ ALSO: How to register an Airtel SIM card by yourself (online and USSD)

Final Words

Remember, washing your car at home isn't just about saving money – it's also about the satisfaction of giving your vehicle a good clean. By following the steps outlined above, you'll be able to keep your car in top shape, maintain its value, and enjoy the pride of a well-maintained vehicle.


Can I wash my car with household soap? 

- No. Household soaps can strip the protective wax off your car and damage the paint. Always use a car-specific soap.

How often should I wash my car?

 - It depends on the environment and car usage, but a general rule is to wash your car every two weeks.

What is the best time to wash a car?

 - The best time to wash your car is early morning or evening to avoid direct sunlight.

What's the best way to dry my car after washing it?

- It's best to use a microfiber drying towel or a shammy to avoid water spots and streaks. Air drying isn't recommended as it can leave water spots on the car's surface.

What can I use to wash my car if I don't have car-specific soap? 

- If you don't have car-specific soap, use a mild liquid detergent or baby shampoo as an alternative. However, these should be used sparingly as they can strip away protective coatings from the car's surface.

Should I wash my engine bay? - 

Yes, but be cautious. The engine bay can be washed, but it's crucial to cover sensitive components such as the alternator, intake, and electrical connections to prevent water damage.

Is it necessary to wax my car after washing it?

 - While not necessary, waxing your car after a wash can provide protection against the elements, UV damage, and minor scratches while giving your vehicle a glossy finish.

Joseph Richard Joseph Richard, a leading contributor to, uses his decade-long expertise in finance, business, and technology to offer clear, reliable guides and analyses. His work aids Kenyans in making informed financial and business decisions, earning him a reputation as a trusted industry authority.