3 Quick and Easy Ways to Wash Your Car (Step by Step Guide) 1

3 Quick and Easy Ways to Wash Your Car (Step by Step Guide)

I love washing my car.  It’s good exercise!  At least that’s what I tell myself.  But sometimes I just want to get it clean quickly.  Here are some quick and safe car washing methods you can try.

Car paint is delicate and can scratch easily.  These scratches are especially visible on dark-colored cars.  When we wash by hand, we don’t want to add any more scratches than we already have.  

If your car is very dirty and muddy you may have no choice but to dig out your buckets and grit guards.  But if dirt is relatively light you can try some of these methods from time to time.

All of these washes are just quick maintenance washes.  If you are planning on detailing your car you should spend a lot more time washing it because you will want to get ALL of the dirt off to minimize the number of scratches you create when claying or polishing.

Method 1 : Rinseless (best way)

Optimum No Rinse (ONR) is the magic ingredient here.  It’s a rinseless car wash product.  

So you are saving time because you only need one bucket and you don’t need a hose.  I do recommend that you use multiple microfibre cloths though as dirty cloths can cause scratches.

ONR works by bonding itself to your clear coat and to the dirt which protects your paint from scratches.  In the bucket, it forces dirt and dust to the bottom so don’t dip your cloth or sponge too deeply.  A grit guard will be useful.  

  1. Add the recommended about or ONR to a bucket of clean water.
  2. Add some of the solution to a spray bottle.
  3. Soak one of the microfibre cloths in the bucket.
  4. Spray a single panel or the car.
  5. Wring out some of the solution from one of the clean cloths.
  6. Wipe along the surface in one direction
  7. Use as little pressure as possible.  Don’t scrub.
  8. Use another dry cloth to buff the area.
  9. Rinse the cloth in the solution.
  10. If the cloth looks too dirty grab another clean one.
  11. Repeat.

Amazon Links

Method 2 : Snow Foam Cannon (most fun way)

A pressure washer and foam cannon are needed for this one.  Multiple mitts are also needed.  Rather than rinsing the mitts as you would in the two-bucket method you just grab a clean one to save time.  The type of shampoo you use is important.  Some foaming shampoos are designed to be rinsed off before you begin hand washing using another safe shampoo.  The one I recommend gives thick sticky foam that also protects during the hand wash.

  1. Foam car including wheels.
  2. Use the first mitt on the roof and use straight line wipes.
  3. Don’t use too much pressure.  Don’t scrub.
  4. Use the other side of the mitt to do the next section.
  5. Grab a clean mitt for each section.
  6. You could end up using 6 or more mitts.
  7. Rinse off with the pressure washer.
  8. Dry with a large microfibre drying towel.
  9. Put everything in the washing machine.
  10. TIP : If you have time, blast off heavy dirt with the pressure washer first.

Amazon links

Method 3 : Waterless Wash (fastest way)

This is the most convenient way to remove light dirt and dust from your car.  But it can cause the most scratches if your not careful.  The key is to use plenty of what ever product you chose.  Cover the whole area you are cleaning.  Use extra if the area has more dirt.  The more microfibre cloths you use the better.

Meguiars Waterless Wash is probably my favorite product of this type.  One bottle is designed to wash four cars so it can work out to be expensive.  But it’s super convenient.  

READ MORE : Best Waterless Wash for Black Cars.

I also keep some of this in my car to deal with bird-dropping emergencies.  

  1. Park in the shade
  2. Saturate the area to be washed
  3. Spray a little on your clean microfibre cloth
  4. Wipe in one direction to remove dirt
  5. Use a different cloth to buff the area
  6. Use a clean part of your cloth on the next area.

Amazon Links

Things not to do

  • Don’t dry wipe your car ever.  It’s the golden rule.
  • Don’t wash if the paint feels hot.
  • Don’t use detailer spray.  It doesn’t offer enough protection against scratches.

Key points

  • Read (and follow) the instructions of whatever products you buy.
  • Contact the manufacturer if you have issues.  They’re usually very helpful.
  • Use good-quality microfibre towels or wash mitts.

I’ve got scratches, what can I do?

You can either take your car to a professional detailer or you can polish and compound your car yourself.

Further Reading…


Sometimes you just want to quickly get your car clean.  It’s possible to do this without causing too much marring and scratching.

Your technique is key to getting good results and minimizing scratches.  In fact, it’s more important the products you use.

Optimum No Rinse (Amazon link) is the safest and cheapest way to clean your car quickly.  

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