How to Wash a Car

Person Washing Car

Regular car washing is a good way to keep your used vehicle looking its best, but that’s not all it does. When you wash a car correctly, you’re helping to protect the exterior paint by removing dust and debris you can’t see. This helps prevent tiny scratches and damage. To make car washing even simpler, the team at Rocky's Auto Credit in Mesa has put together the following guide to elaborate on each step! 

Plan Your Next Steps

Planning to give your car a quick wash, or does it need washing, polishing, and waxing? Plan out your next steps. Typically, a new car or a car that has been waxed recently will just need a quick wash. If your vehicle has been exposed to rain and wind or has finicky substances like sticker residue stuck on it, it’ll likely need more extensive attention. 

Rinsing & Washing 

First, start by rinsing your car to remove any loose dirt and debris. Then, use a car-washing mitt and microfiber cloths to thoroughly wash and dry your car’s body. After you’re finished, use an ammonia-free solution to clean the car windows; dry with a microfiber towel to avoid streaks. Finally, switch to an acid-free pH balanced aluminum wheel cleaner to gently but effectively clean the tires and wheels. 

Buffing Away Bumps 

Does your car have stubborn bumps, such as tree sap, that won’t seem to come off with washing? You can use a clay bar to gently buff them away. If you notice any tiny scratches on your car’s paint, you can apply a compound with a dual-action polisher to fill them in. Usually, it takes about 2-4 coats. 


You’ll get the best results from dual-action polishers. Polishes contain oils that give your vehicle a shiny and sleek look on Phoenix roads. A polish can be applied using an orbital buffer or a soft towel. In comparison to towels, orbital buffers are faster, but you’ll have less control and may need a towel to get into the nooks and crannies. You’ll also want to take extra care because if a small pebble, for example, comes between the orbital buffer and your car, it’ll likely cause scratching. 


Car wax gives your car a glossy look, but it also helps protect the paint from UV rays and prevents fading. The two most common types of car wax are carnauba and polymer. While polymer costs more than carnauba, it sets more quickly and leaves your car with a sleek, gleaming finish. 

How Often to Wash a Car

All of the information above begs the question, “How often should you wash your car?” It depends on how often you drive. If you only use your car for everyday commuting around Glendale, as opposed to off-roading or something strenuous, you can likely get away with washing your car every two weeks and waxing it every six months. If you’re heading off the beaten path for an off-roading adventure, be sure to clean your vehicle as soon as you return to keep it looking its best. 

More Car Washing Tips 

Here are a few more car washing tips to keep in mind: 

  • Car Washing Materials: Use a solution that’s specifically designed to protect your car’s exterior paint, instead of hand soap or dish soap. Check your owner’s manual for suggestions. 
  • Washing Process: Work up a good lather and get into the cracks and crevices. Clean the sponge, microfiber cloth, or washing mitt with fresh water as you move from the car body to the windows to the wheels/tires. 
  • Drying Process: Use a dry microfiber towel to dry off your car. Don’t let it air dry, as this can result in streaks. 

Learn More from the Team at Rocky's Auto Credit! 

If you have any questions about car washing or the difference between hand wash vs. touchless car wash, contact us online or give us a call at 480-964-3000. Our team is standing by to assist you. For more information on general car care tips, check out our maintenance tips and tricks hub

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