Proper Car Washing, Polishing and Waxing from the Experts


How can you keep your car looking really clean, shiny and gorgeous? You could have it professionally detailed, and pay for it, however, costs can be quite high for this type of service. Expect to pay up to $150.00 in most parts of the country for an upgraded package which includes steam cleaning, carpet shampooing and protectant for vinyl surfaces.

It is possible, with a smaller investment in the right type of products, to get excellent results by doing it yourself. An online search of automotive websites will reveal a large array of products to keep your vehicle clean and protected against the elements. Car washing liquids, spray cleaners, polishes, and waxes can be purchased to get the best possible outcome from your at-home car care. You may even want to invest in an electric buffer to get a top-notch result.

Experts agree that the first step in getting your car really clean is a thorough washing. Wet your vehicle completely with cool water from a garden hose. Use a car washing liquid specifically made for this purpose, rather than dishwashing soap, which can actually damage the paint. Then use a soft mitt for applying the soap. These are usually made of lambswool, and are great for getting the dirt off while remaining non-abrasive and highly absorbent. Working in sections, wash and then rinse the surface of your car to remove all dirt and grime.

Products made for tree sap removal and bug residue removal are available, and can take those contaminants off your car’s paint finish safely and effectively. Degreasers are specially made for cutting through hard-to-remove grease and grime and will restore your tires and hubcaps to a newer condition. They should be sprayed on and left to work for a few minutes before following with soap and then completely rinsed.

Dry your car with thick microfiber cloths after washing, to avoid lint and get a smooth dry finish. Washing and waxing your car on a cool, cloudy day will avoid several problems. First, your car won’t get water spots from drying too quickly in the sun. Waxing will also be easier when the layers applied don’t evaporate too fast either, thus requiring you to use a lot more elbow grease in the process.

After washing, it is most likely necessary for you to polish your car before applying wax to it. You will also be removing the grit, pollutants and overspray that still remains after washing, and can be trapped or embedded into the paint. Professional car detailers often polish cars using a special type of clay which is very gentle on the paint surface while removing these particles and small scratches. Skipping this step and using an electric buffer to apply wax directly after washing can actually drive dirt particles into paint, making the finish look dull. This can be very difficult to remove in subsequent waxings.

Car waxes come in two major types, natural and synthetic. Natural wax is made from carnauba, a plant from Brazil, and imparts a deep shine and gloss to the surface of your car. Carnauba wax generally lasts from 30 to 60 days before needing another application.

Synthetic wax, also known as polymer wax, is a paint sealant providing long-term protection. It can be used as a base coat, with carnauba wax as a second layer for the best possible result. Apply thin coats, and work in sections on your auto, allowing the wax to dry somewhat before going over it with microfiber cloths to remove the residue. Electric buffers can be used to get a very even coat. Lambswool buffing pads are often used with the buffer, and can be machine washed in between uses. Foam pads are also used in final finishing.

An investment in professional-grade products can allow you to wash, polish and wax your car yourself, while getting results that look like a million dollars!

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