The Basics

Try washing your car in a cool, shady area to avoid streaking and reduce water spotting. Start at the top of the vehicle and move down. The bottom parts of your car accumulate the most dirt, so starting at the top will help to avoid dragging dirt onto other parts of your car.

To minimize swirls and scratches while washing your car, use two buckets. Fill the first bucket with clean water and the second bucket with water and car wash. First dunk your sponge or mitt into the soapy car wash solution to wash your car with lubricating suds.

Before adding more soapy car wash solution, dunk the mitt or sponge vigorously into the bucket with clear water to avoid transferring dirt back onto your paint.

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The Cleaner

Use an automotive car wash instead of dish soap, as some dish soaps can strip the wax and
damage the car’s finish. Car wash soaps are specifically developed for automotive paint
To remove stubborn stains such as insects, road tar, tree sap, and bird droppings, try using a
non-diluted car wash soap or a bug and tar remover. Using a sponge, apply full strength car
wash directly onto the spots, let it penetrate for 3–5 minutes, then wash it off with a stream of

Not Sure What Cleaner To Use?

The Armor All ®  brand has different car wash formulas to fit your needs.

Ultra Shine Wash & Wax

  • Delivers incredible Armor All ® shine
  • Gently lifts away dirt that can cause scratches and swirls
  • Helps create water beading on your paint
  • Delivers a mirror-like shine as you wash
  • Reveals your paint’s deep, radiant color

Premium Wash & Wax + Protect

  • Protects against unsightly watermarks and spots
  • Contains a pearlescent polymer that minimizes water left on your vehicle when
    rinsing (less water = less drying = fewer spots)
  • Specially formulated to enhance sheeting and beading
  • Safe on all vehicle surfaces
  • Contains Brazilian carnauba wax

Sponges, Mitts & WashCloths

To avoid scratching your car with dirt and grime while washing, repeatedly clean your washcloth and refill the bucket water, especially if it’s very dirty. Use a sponge or mitt designed for automotive use. A lamb’s wool mitt works particularly well. Use different washcloths for your car and tires. Change out frequently to avoid scraping your car’s surface with embedded dirt. To avoid water spotting, dry the car immediately with a chamois or a 100% cotton terry cloth towel. For finishing touches, a microfiber cloth works nicely. Some people even use cloth baby diapers to give a car a buffed look.

Water Usage

Use plenty of water in a large bucket so dirt will settle to the bottom and cleaner water will stay at the top. Use a low-pressure stream of water to avoid splashing water on yourself. The right car wash accessories will help give your car a buffed look.

Clay Bars

Clay bars can help remove stubborn contaminants that stick to or have penetrated the clear coat by pulling them away from the surface. Consider using a clay bar to clean hard-to-remove residues that may not be washed away using a traditional car wash. The key to using a clay bar successfully is the liberal use of a lubricating spray. When used with a lubricant, clay will give you a perfectly smooth, clean finish.

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