Rub A Dub: Car Wash Basics


 I have very fond memories of washing the car as a youngster.  We had a black Buick Electra which at the time seemed like the size of Montana.  Occasionally we would drive through a car wash.  The giant rolling brushes and foam shooting hoses made me feel as if I was in the Wonka factory.

More often than not, we washed the car at home.  This was equally good fun.  I admit that doing it with my siblings was much more entertaining than when I do it alone as an adult.

The truth of the matter is that washing the car is not essential, but I do so love driving around all shiney and new.  There are some who believe that keeping a clean car will increase fuel efficiency.  I’m not sure that the improvement is equal to the effort you expend, but one thing is for sure... it will remove the “wash me” note that someone wrote in the dust on your car door.

savour... hose wars

Get the rest after the jump...

Washing the car


Before you start:

Be sure to use bio-degradable cleaning solutions.  Your waste water will likely land in the sewer system or on your nearby landscaping.

What you will need:

Garden hose

Water source

Car wash brush

Car wash mitt (optional)


Terry cloth (or other soft fabric) rags

Car cleaner

Window cleaner



Dry towels

Large bucket

The steps:

  1. Choose a shady spot.  make sure it is not under a tree that drips sap.
  2. Close all doors and windows.
  3. Prepare car soap according to instructions or use about 1 tablespoon of dish detergent to 1 gallon of water.
  4. Hose off excess dirt from the car.  Start with the roof and work your way down to the tires.
  5. Lather a soft cloth (terry works great) and wash the roof of the car.
  6. Rinse the roof when completely clean.
  7. Wash one side of the car including windows, mirrors, fenders, and tires.  Then rinse from top to bottom.  Repeat for the other 3 sides.
  8. Give the car a final rinse when all sides have been washed starting with the roof and working your way down to the tires.
  9. Use a leather chamois or “shammy” type product or towel to dry the car by laying the towel flat on the surface and dragging it along to pick up any excess water.  As always, start with the roof and work your way down.
  10. Clean the windows with window cleaner and balled up pieces of newspaper.
  11. Rub chrome with a dry rag to brighten and remove any water spots.