How to clean your car at home

Healthy Driving  |  By

Keeping your car clean not only makes it look cool and shiny, but can also burn a surprising number of calories. The average person can expect to burn around 103 – 178 calories for 30 minutes of  car washing. Everyone is different though and if you work up a sweat or do more than one car it could be more! [1]

Here is everything you need to clean your car at home.

What products do I need to clean my car at home? 

You don’t need much to achieve that showroom shine, but there are a few things you’ll find helpful:

  • A pressure-washer is great, but if you don’t have this then a garden hose with a spray gun attachment will do just fine.
  • Two buckets, yes two! You can get these pretty cheaply and it will become clear why two are essential.
  • A wash mitt or a big soft sponge, some car shampoo and a microfibre drying towel. Again, you don’t have to spend a fortune and can pick these up cheaply.

A wash mitt, some car shampoo and a microfibre drying towel.

How much time do I need to clean my car at home? 

Firstly, you need to give yourself enough time if you want really good results. An hour should be sufficient.

Avoid rainy days as it marks the finish. If it’s sunny, try to work in the shade, as car shampoo dries too quickly in the sunshine and can leave streaky marks on your paintwork.

Step One: Pre-rinse

Before you wash the car, you want to clear the bits that could get stuck in your wash mitt and scratch the paintwork. Using your pressure washer or hose, start at the top of the car and work down, spraying off all the loose grime and dirt. This will save you time during the actual wash too. While you’re there you can wash the insides of the wheel arches to avoid corrosion.

Pro tip: you can get alloy wheel cleaning sprays, and if you want a real sparkle to your wheels, spray them once you’ve rinsed the car and leave to soak in for a few minutes.

Step Two: The wash

Here is where the two buckets come in! Fill one with car shampoo and water, and the other with clean water. Simply wash the car using the shampoo bucket, but, before dipping the mitt back in the shampoo bucket give it a quick rinse in the clean water to remove any dirt particles.  Again, start at the top, work down and repeat until you’ve done the whole car.

Pro tip: you can go a step further with your clean water bucket and get a gravel guard. This sits in the bottom of the bucket to catches any dirt and gravel so it doesn’t end up in the shampoo bucket.

Step Three: The rinse

Like step one, use your pressure washer or hosepipe to rinse the shampoo from the car; again working top to bottom. Use the microfibre towel to dry the car off – you might need more than one to get the car totally dry.

Pro tip: you can get a post wash wax from most car stores. This is sprayed on the car when still wet then wipes off with the microfibre towel and gives the car a nice shine with minimal effort.

Step Four: The inside

So, that’s the outside done! The inside is a little easier but just as important.

  • Give the glass a clean with a glass cleaner product, but try to avoid furniture polish as this can cause smears and obscure your vision
  • For the interior trim, use a damp microfibre cloth, or there are interior cleaners which remove slightly more dust and dirt. Try to avoid cleaning products on the steering wheel, gear stick, and brake – these can leave them clammy or slippery in your hands.
  • Finally remove any car mats, shake them off, and give them a good vacuum along with the carpet inside your car.

As you can see it’s pretty easy to clean your car at home. The steps are easy when you break them down, and you can burn a decent number of calories while you do it. So, the only question is, who is going to look better, you or the car?

If you want some more car tips, check out our blog: Is premium petrol worth the extra cost?

  1. Calories Burned While Washing A Car – Weight Loss Made Practical

Read Next