Jul 162010

"Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera." Photo by Ed Callow. From the Flickr Creative Commons.

One of the great benefits of owing a home with a yard is that you get to wash your car yourself!  Am I weird for thinking this?  For years, we lived in a condo in the heart of Washington where the only way to get the car washed was to take it to an expensive car wash down the street, where it got a very quick trip through a machine and was quickly hand dried.  While this process got the majority of the crud off, the car never truly felt “clean.”

When we found our home in the suburbs, it was thrilling to finally have access to a hose!  I was so thrilled in fact that I decided to treat my car to a full makeover.  I went to the auto supply store and bought nice soap and wax and a protective cleaner for the interior.  Browsing the shelves, I came across two products that I picked up just to try and have never been without them since.

When you give your car a really good clean, it truly shines.  It feels like new and you feel better driving it.  If your car could use a little TLC, today’s post shares three of the “secrets” I have discovered in my new passion for car washing.

1. Pressure Washer. We needed a pressure washer for some work we are doing on our patio and my husband found this one at amazon.com that had the side benefit of having a gentle enough spray to be able to be used to wash cars.  I was a bit skeptical but after seeing how quickly it works and how clean it gets the car, I am sold! Our hose pressure has never been very good and the pressure washer gives us the boost in power to wash more effectively.  A quick spray to rinse, load up the soap dispenser attachment and spray on the soap then spray to rinse.  It goes much more quickly than hand washing and it seems to use far less water too.

2.   Tuff Stuff Interior Cleaner. I have no idea what the “stuff” is in Tuff Stuff but it works really well!  It is especially good at getting black marks out of carpeting and even on most plastic and vinyl surfaces.  Most cars get a good black coating on the driver’s side floor mat near the gas and brake pedals and black scuff marks on and near the door trims.  Tuff Stuff takes all of this out.  It works far better than any carpet cleaner or plastic/vinyl cleaner I have tried.  It is easy to use.  Just vacuum the carpeting, spray on the Tuff Stuff, mildly scrub with a wet towel and allow to dry.  Generally one application is all that is necessary.  Tuff Stuff must be a well-known secret because it was sold out at the first store I visited.  A large can costs about $4 or so.  See below for before and after pictures.

Before: Dirty Interior Carpet.

Interior Carpet After Cleaning with Tuff Stuff.

Before: Scuff Marks on Driver Door

Door After Cleaning with Tuff Stuff.

3. Meguiar’s Wheel Cleaner/Tire Shine Spray. This is the grandaddy of the car cleaning secrets.  You will not believe what this will do for the chrome on the wheels of your car!  After you wash the car, get the rims a little wet, spray on the cleaner and then scrub with a tire brush (or an old toilet brush).  You will be amazed at how much road dust is coating your wheels and this cleaner  brings the chrome back to look shiny and new.  Rinse off the cleaner.  You might need to repeat if your wheels are really dirty.  When your wheels are dry, you can finish off the look with a “Tire Shine” spray that will darken the side walls of your tires to a rich black.  Whenever we do this treatment to our cars we are astounded at the results.  Just as new shoes polish off an outfit, “new” tires polish off your car.  See below for before and after pictures.

Before: Dirty Wheel

Wheel After Cleaning with Meguiar's All Wheel Cleaner and Tire Shine spray.

Do you enjoy washing your car?  What are your car cleaning tips?  Please share in the comments.

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4 Comments to “Car Washing Secrets”

  1. avatar Ruth says:

    We use Splash Car wash here in Rdigecrest–the back of the Stater Bros. receipts has discount coupons. For $15, they thoroughly vacuum, clean all windows inside and out and wash and wax (via machine)–it’s beautiful and not worth my time esp. with a baby! But love the products you mention. For leather seats the Maguire’s leather treatment is to die for as well!! And there’s also at Walmart in the auto section a dry foam for carpet cleaning–it’s essential inside the house as it is in the car!!! But will also try the Tuff Stuff–that’s new to me!!

  2. avatar Lou says:

    I’ll pass these great ideas on the grandkids when they visit and want to earn money!

  3. avatar Brent says:

    I like the before and after pics for each section of the car. Good work. I’ll keep these products in mind for my nephew. He needs a little car washing experience.

  4. avatar Diadia says:

    Is there a pretreated window cloth for the inside windows of the car?
    What is the cloth treated with at the Supersonic Carwash?

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