How to Wash and Wax a Car for the Best Shine

February 16, 2012

Save the money you'd spend to have a professional wash and wax a car for a nice dinner. Use this step-by-step guide for washing and waxing a car.

Car After Wash and Wax

If you want to wash and wax a car like a pro, you'll find it is easy to do as long as you can follow a few simple steps and take your time. A few car polishing tips will make creating a lasting shine for your car much easier than you might have imagined. You'll need the following:

  • Quality car wax
  • A buffing sponge
  • A soft cloth
  • Buffing machine (optional)
  • Mild detergent soap
  • A bucket
  • Old towels or sponges
  • A water hose

Pre-Soak the Vehicle
Before you really get started with scrubbing, thoroughly soak the vehicle with your water hose. Then, spray or sponge on some mild detergent soap and allow it to soak into the dirt and grime for about five minutes or so. This will help to break up the dirt so you can easily wash it off.

Scrub and Wash
Fill your bucket with soap and water, and use your old towels or sponges to scrub the vehicle. Use enough soap to actually clean the vehicle and don't simply move dirt and grime around on the surface. It may appear clean, but when the vehicle dries it may still have a lot of dirt or greasy residue. Depending on how dirty the car is, wash and rinse the vehicle two or three times.

Rinse and Dry
After you have thoroughly scrubbed the car, rinse all of the soap away. Ensure no soapy film remains. Soap residue will make waxing your vehicle much more difficult. After rinsing, dry the vehicle with a clean soft towel. allow the vehicle to air dry for about thirty minutes to make sure no more moisture remains on the car.

Apply Wax in Sections
Use a buffing sponge to apply the car wax to the vehicle. When applying the wax, use a small circular motion. Always maintain the same direction and pattern when putting the wax on the car. For example, if you use a clockwise motion for applying the wax, continue putting the wax on in that manner. Do not change between clockwise and counter clockwise application methods, as it will make removing the wax more difficult.

Apply wax in sections. Car wax dries and hardens rather quickly. So, apply wax to the hood or a quarter panel, and don't try to wax the entire vehicle before removing the wax. The wax should turn white. When it does, it can be removed.

Wipe off Wax
Use more clean, dry towels to begin removing the wax. Use the same motion to remove the wax you used when applying it. You will need use several towels in the process. The first towels remove the majority of the wax, and then a couple more to buff the vehicle and make it shine. An electric buffer or buffing machine can make the job a lot easier, but a dry towel will achieve an excellent result with some elbow grease.

Continue Waxing Other Areas of the Car
Continue to wax and wipe until the entire vehicle has been completed. If you see dull spots or hints of the wax itself, use another dry towel and buff them out.