Mastering the Art of DIY Carwash

Posted on by Simoniz Garage

 Everyone loves a clean car, and there’s something about that DIY approach that makes it shine that much brighter, but even the most well-intentioned car owner makes mistakes when it comes to washing/detailing their car. We’ve compiled a list of the most common and offensive mistakes we see at the Simoniz Garage, and how you can avoid them.

 1. The idea of washing your car at home invokes a picture of a sudsy wash bucket and dirty car in the middle of the driveway on a sunny summer day – but is this really the best time/place to wash your car? Our experts say no. Not only does this make the job of getting a streak free clean harder, it may also do damage to your vehicle’s finish. The heat of the direct sunlight combined with the heat coming from the car itself cause the water and soap to dry much faster, resulting in water spots and swirl marks in your car’s paint. We recommend washing your car early in the morning or later in the afternoon when the sun isn’t as hot, on overcast days, or under the shade of a tree or tent. If you absolutely must wash your car in the heat of the day, work in sections and keep the car cool with regular sprays of cool water from the hose. Another good habit to get into is blasting your car with cool water before you start the washing process – this cools the car down while blasting away heavy dirt.

2. Using the wrong tools is another super common mistake that can lead to a whole array of issues during and after a car wash. One of the biggest issues we see in our detailing center is scratches in people’s paint that they’ve unknowingly created themselves. By using dirty towels, squeegees, wash mitts or chamois to remove excess dirt that was missed during the wash or from drying when the wash has been completed, you can do significant damage to the finish of your vehicle. Today it’s all about the microfiber people! Microfiber towels should be your go to for removing road grime from the places you missed during your wash AND for drying the car when you’re through. Unlike those other fabrics that grind and drag dirt across your paint, Microfiber will clean and dry the surface while being gentle on the finish. And while we’re on the subject – those microfiber towels are great for applying waxes and protectants inside and outside your vehicle, so make sure to have plenty on hand.

3. Another common mistake we see is improper application of product to cars interiors and exteriors. Pouring waxes, polishes, protectants – or just about anything, directly onto a vehicle’s surface is never a good idea. Here’s where those microfiber towels and wax applicators come in handy – you should always apply the product directly to a towel or applicator and then work it into the surface of your vehicle. This technique prevents dark, uneven strokes in your finish and prevents excess product from dripping onto electric mechanisms or glass windows in the interior of your car.

4. It seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised what people actually use to clean their cars. Dish soaps and detergents, although somewhat effective for removing dirt and road grime, can have a damaging effect on your paint. These types of soaps can strip away waxes and sealers that are there to protect your cars finish, so always use a wash made for automotive applications. Ammonia-based glass cleaners are another thing you’ll want to stay away from when it comes to your vehicle. These types of products can easily damage the upholstery and dashboard surfaces throughout your vehicle – not to mention they cannot be used at all on tinted windows, so it’s best just to stay away all together.

Washing and detailing your own car can be a fun and rewarding experience – there’s just something about doing it yourself that makes the end result that much sweeter – but it’s important to make sure you’re using the right products and tools to protect the integrity of your precious vehicle. Head to to check out our full line of products to help you get that Simoniz Shine every time. You can also follow us on Facebook for more tips and to have all of your questions answered, and as always – send us pictures of your ride using #SimonizShine. Shop & Save - use promo code- holiday (expires 1/1/2019)