In Two for Tuesdays #9, I gave you a money-saving tip that could save your up to $600 per year, or more. That is, if you pay to get your car washed and detailed.
Wash your own car. Here's how to do it, step by step. Make sure you read the SECRET at the end of this post.
- Get all your supplies ready.
- Hose with spray nozzle
- Car wash detergent
- Wash mitten
- Sponges, if needed
- Old rags (terry cloth is good)
- Glass cleaner
- Paper towels
- Spray-on wax
- Spray-on tire cleaner/dressing
- Spray-on wheel cleaner
- Spray-on interior treatment
- Spray-on bug remover
- Preferably when the sun is low on the horizon (you don't want direct sunlight on a car you're washing), rinse car off with water. Use a fairly high-pressure spray nozzle. Pick one up for a few bucks at Orchard Supply or other hardware store (Home Depot or Lowe's works too). This first rinsing will wash away the surface dust.
- Pour in a minimal amount of car wash solution in an empty bucket, and fill bucket with warm (not hot, not cold) water.
- Put on your wash mitten and dunk it in the sudsy water. Start at the top of the car (the roof) and work your way down. Don't let the car dry at all while you're soaping. If it's taking too long, rinse the car again. Also, don't let the soap dry.
- At this point, don't try to clean the wheels or tires.
- Rinse liberally. The entire car must remain wet.
- Look things over. If you've missed spots, rinse, wash, and rinse again.
- Now, go for the wheels. Using your spray-on wheel cleaner, spray wet wheels one at a time. You don't want this stuff to dry on your wheels. Scrub with a terry cloth or sponge until all the grime is removed. Rinse liberally. You don't want any residue to remain on the wheels.
- Next tires. Using the same method as you used in Step #8, except this time with your sudsy bucket of soapy water, clean like the dickens. Rinse liberally.
- During steps #8 and 9, keep the entire car wet.
- Now, go over any bug grime somehow left on your car. Use the bug remover to get off the gunk. Rinse liberally.
- Give your car one more rinsing.
- It's now time to dry. Wet your chamois and wring it out. Start at the top and work your way down. Wring out the chamois often (as in every two or three swaths).
- Once dry, now's the time where the real magic happens. Again, starting at the top of your car, spray on the wax in sections. Wipe off immediately. Once the whole car has been "sprayed on, wiped off," you can begin with the windows.
- Spray glass cleaner on one window at a time. Spray on, wipe off.
- Open the doors. Spray the interior treatment all throughout the non-cloth interior (leather, vinyl, wood, plastic). Wipe off immediately.
That's about it. The SECRET is Buffalo Milke. They offer a full line of automotive care products in a convenient package and value price. All of your supplies can be carried in their Buffalo Bucket, which comes fully stocked for $59.95 plus shipping. They're an independent company (not affiliated with McGuiars, Mother's, Turtle Wax or any other "big name"). They will treat you right.
Using their system of products and the steps above, you can wash and wax your car in about half an hour. Assuming you wash one car per month, you're getting a car wash for about $5 a pop (plus your time, but it's so zen-worth it).