Car Washing for Dummies

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay Blog | Blog Post of Cheryl Tay

Let’s admit it – how many of us here actually diligently wash our cars regularly? Say once a week? I know I keep telling myself, I must start washing my car more often, I must start washing my car more often.. and I will make it happen soon. With Chinese New Year just around the corner, why not make the effort to wash your car clean and proper so you can proudly take it for visiting?

car washing for dummies

Also, with the recent case of cars getting stolen at the car wash in Johor Bahru, why not just take to washing your car yourself? Washing your car can seem like a very arduous task, but just think of it as a workout. Clean it well and you don’t have to wash it that often.

Here are some tips for washing your car:


Wash your car in the shade under a shelter or on a cloudy day. Washing your car in the hot sun is bad for the paint as the cool water will cause the hot surface to contract and might crack the paint.

Washing in a sheltered area also protects you from rain or shine. A cool car surface is essential too, if you are applying sealant or wax after the wash.

Washing the car

Use a good quality wash mitt or sponge. It is recommended to have a separate one for different sections of the car, so as to reduce the possibility of your car getting scratches or swirl marks.

Check that the windows (and sunroof if you have one) are closed before you start.

Hose the entire car down before you start washing so you can remove surface dirt. If you are using a shared car wash bay, it might be more advisable to use a bucket and a scoop.

For hard-to-reach areas like tyre rims, you may want to use a brush. For the side skirt, which is usually heavily soiled and has large physical sediments like sand and mud, do use a separate sponge.

Rinse the rag often to get rid of grease and dust particles. You can consider having three pails to hold the shampoo – one for non-side skirt areas, one for side skirt area and one for tyre rims.

Use gentle cleansers such as commercial car-washing products, not laundry or dish soap or detergent.

Always use a top-down approach when rinsing and shampooing the car. This is recommended as the flow of shampoo will begin from the top of the car to the side skirt. This will assist you in shampooing the car and flush the physical sediments from top to bottom. It also reduces the probability of getting scratches or swirl marks on your car.

Follow this chronological order:

  • Top of the car
  • Windscreen/Side Mirror/Windows
  • Body (bonnet, side doors and rear)
  • Side skirt
  • Tyre rims

Following any other order might mean getting large physical sediments trapped in the wash mitt or sponge that might cause scratches or swirl marks when shampooing other areas.

After shampooing the whole car, rinse off with water thoroughly and use a PVA chamois cloth to wipe off the water. It absorbs water well and glides with dragging.

The last step is to use a micro fibre cloth to wipe the car.

Once you are done with the washing, you can consider applying a protective coating such as Permanon Platinum, a nano sealant that will help to protect the car surface.

With these tips on hand, try washing your car now!

*This was first published on

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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