How to Give Your Car a Professional-looking Wash at Home

Mud Car Dirty
Chris Clor/Getty Images

Not a fan of paying to get your car washed just to have it sullied by birds, pollen, and dirt? Save some serious cash and do it at home.

Of course, getting that spotless sheen and polish can be a daunting task, something Cincinnati’s Michael Trevor, who’s spent 20-plus years in detailing, knows well. Here are his secrets.

1. Prep right

Start with the proper products—you’ll need professional car wash soap, two buckets, three wash mitts, microfiber towels, and more—all of which are cheaper and easier to find online.

The day of the wash, make sure you’re in the shade and the car’s surface is cool to the touch. Place your wash mitts in one bucket and fill it with water. Put 3-4oz of car wash soap in another bucket.

2. Wash smart

Using a garden hose with a nozzle set to a wide spray, rinse the car from top to bottom. Take the wash mitt from the water bucket, squeeze out all the water, and swish it in the soap bucket.

Now start washing the roof, windows, and top of the hood and trunk. As the mitt runs out of soap, wash it first in the water bucket, ring it out, then put it back in the soapy water bucket.

Repeat this process with the second mitt, using it to scrub the front bumper, doors (top three-quarters), and front and rear fenders. Finally, use the third wash mitt for the lower quarter of the fenders, doors, and back of the car. Rinse thoroughly.

Dry the car top-down using a waffle-weave towel. Or, to reduce the risk of scratching even further, use an electric leaf blower.

3. Finish shiny

To make your car really gleam, use a quick detail spray, spray wax, and sealant. Use two or three sprays of each on one panel at a time. Wipe dry with the rolled edge of the microfiber.

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!