Automotive

How to get my vehicle cleaned/washed?

  • Last Updated:
  • May 5th, 2021 9:33 pm
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 3, 2020
182 posts
34 upvotes

How to get my vehicle cleaned/washed?

Hi,

I bought my first vehicle (SUV) recently, so do not know much about the washing and cleaning part. I'm parking my vehicle in the private driveway so exposed to sun/rain/snow all the time Disappointed Face.

1. What cleaning products (not too expensive Grinning Face With Smiling Eyes) should I get to clean the exterior, interior and windows?
2. Is it worth to take the vehicle for a wash to a self-serve place? Or do it at home?
3. If doing at a self-serve place, what would be your advice to go about it?
4. How often should I do exterior washing/ cleaning since it's parked outside?
5. Any other things I should be knowing about?

I'm from the GTA.

Thanks in advance everyone.
19 replies
Deal Addict
Sep 8, 2017
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2. If you have the ability to do it at home, do that. You'll never get as good results at a self-serve place. The difference is using a wash mitt to clean away the dirt vs only spraying with a pressure washer.

4. When it's dirty, and the forecast is looking like nice weather for the next few days. You don't want to make the effort of washing the car and then have it rain the next day.

5. In addition to washing, you're going to want to put some wax. That is what protects the paint from the elements: UV rays, acid rain, bird droppings, etc. Have you ever seen a car with paint like this before? That's damage from the sun, and the car has likely never been waxed in its life.

Image
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 3, 2020
182 posts
34 upvotes
derass wrote: 2. If you have the ability to do it at home, do that. You'll never get as good results at a self-serve place. The difference is using a wash mitt to clean away the dirt vs only spraying with a pressure washer.

4. When it's dirty, and the forecast is looking like nice weather for the next few days. You don't want to make the effort of washing the car and then have it rain the next day.

5. In addition to washing, you're going to want to put some wax. That is what protects the paint from the elements: UV rays, acid rain, bird droppings, etc. Have you ever seen a car with paint like this before? That's damage from the sun, and the car has likely never been waxed in its life.

Image
Thank you friend. I will keep in mind the advice. Last one was scary, will definitely look in to the waxing too.
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 3, 2020
182 posts
34 upvotes
I don't know why someone down voted this. But that's ok. :rolleyes:
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Jul 26, 2007
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APL866 wrote: I don't know why someone down voted this. But that's ok. :rolleyes:
Don't worry, it's "that" guy and he knows who he is.

Watch some how to videos on YouTube, but only way to learn is by actually washing and rinsing follow by waxing. You will improve and get better year by year.

Just stay away from cloth carwash in winter.
Deal Addict
Apr 30, 2009
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derass wrote: 5. In addition to washing, you're going to want to put some wax. That is what protects the paint from the elements: UV rays, acid rain, bird droppings, etc. Have you ever seen a car with paint like this before? That's damage from the sun, and the car has likely never been waxed in its life.

Image
That's peeling clearcoat. Wax won't help bad paint jobs.
Looks like a Honda; known issue with some Honda/Acura models.

That said, waxing is always a good idea.
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Nov 7, 2016
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Ontario
It depends how involved you want to get in keeping your vehicle clean.

You could do the basics once in a while, take it to a self serve and wash it yourself, or a full serve or drive-through wash. Clean the windows yourself with some Windex or window cleaner once in a while. Maybe have it detailed once in awhile by a shop, etc...

Or you could get into doing it yourself and buying stuff to do interior, buy a buffer and do the exterior and maybe a sealant or wax to finish... or have it coated and do the maintenance of that...

All depends on what you want to involve yourself in time and work-wise, and how much you want to spend...
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Oct 13, 2008
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APL866 wrote: Hi,

I bought my first vehicle (SUV) recently, so do not know much about the washing and cleaning part. I'm parking my vehicle in the private driveway so exposed to sun/rain/snow all the time Disappointed Face.

1. What cleaning products (not too expensive Grinning Face With Smiling Eyes) should I get to clean the exterior, interior and windows?
2. Is it worth to take the vehicle for a wash to a self-serve place? Or do it at home?
3. If doing at a self-serve place, what would be your advice to go about it?
4. How often should I do exterior washing/ cleaning since it's parked outside?
5. Any other things I should be knowing about?

I'm from the GTA.

Thanks in advance everyone.
I park my car on the driveway all the time.

Summer wash biweekly. Wax monthly.

Winter rinse only.

In terms of products, tons. Google and YouTube them.
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Deal Fanatic
Sep 1, 2004
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APL866 wrote: 4. How often should I do exterior washing/ cleaning since it's parked outside?
Depends on the products, but min will be waxing before going into winter and once winter is over.

Washing depends on how often you drive in snow and salt. Since you don't park it indoors it may not be as bad but you still want to hose everything down as soon as winter is over.

Sun = wax and plastic treatment on trims to keep them as new as possible longer.

Read your city by-law about using products beyond just water to wash your car. Most don't allow it. The whole detailing thing could be a deep rabbit hole to go down if you are serious about it. Youtube is your friend.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 21, 2010
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Toronto
Determine what your goal is, first.
  • Do you just want to keep it in 'good condition', i.e., prevent rust from developing and things like that?
  • Do you want it to look like not a dirty car?
  • Or, do you really want it to have a showroom shine and be perfectly protected and you're willing to spend the time and money to do that?

As much as we all scream about microscratches and swirls, most people just take their car through a soft-cloth car wash and "it's fine, and it probably has paint chips anyway that I'm never going to fix so who cares, and unless you really look closely it looks like a clean normal car, and who really cares if it's perfect because it's just a box that came off an assembly line like a million other boxes like it and it gets me where I need to go". Most people have pop bottles rolling under the seat and McDonalds wrappers stuffed in the side pockets and used sanitizing wipes littered on the floor mats. It depends what your objective is.
Penalty Box
Nov 15, 2020
1246 posts
2413 upvotes
Here's an upvote OP, many people on RFD like to press the downvote reason for the smallest or even no reason at all.

Also OP using a touchless carwash is pretty convenient if you don't have the time for your own wash. Touchless also won't scratch your car like a soft cloth car wash would.
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Nov 10, 2018
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jdmfishingonly wrote:
Winter rinse only.
Be a little careful with this approach, though. Salt on metal is bad, but adding water to said salt on metal is worse if you can't get the salt off. Don't get me wrong. I wash my car(s) every single time after I drive them in the winter, even if the roads are dry (salt is kicked up from the tires and sticks to paint anyway). But the difference is that I do a full underbody and body wash/rinse/dry on the entire vehicle. I don't just 'rinse' the car in the winter.

I hate washing the car(s) in the winter as it takes a solid 2+ hours to do manually and right.

Keep in mind, folks. Touchless or touch automatic car washers in the winter may remove *some* salt but a lot of it is left on. They don't use fresh water. If you feel bold, 'taste' some of the 'water' when it's in that cycle where they do a rinse. You'll find it's quite salty. Don't ask me how I know.
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Member
Oct 25, 2020
292 posts
212 upvotes
APL866 wrote: Hi,

I bought my first vehicle (SUV) recently, so do not know much about the washing and cleaning part. I'm parking my vehicle in the private driveway so exposed to sun/rain/snow all the time Disappointed Face.

1. What cleaning products (not too expensive Grinning Face With Smiling Eyes) should I get to clean the exterior, interior and windows?
2. Is it worth to take the vehicle for a wash to a self-serve place? Or do it at home?
3. If doing at a self-serve place, what would be your advice to go about it?
4. How often should I do exterior washing/ cleaning since it's parked outside?
5. Any other things I should be knowing about?

I'm from the GTA.

Thanks in advance everyone.
1) what is your budget? Products I mentioned below all together are around $100-$130. Sealant is most expensive, but also lasts 40-60 uses. You can buy a less concentrated sealant like meguiars ceramic wax then use a seperate detail spray as a dry aid.
I use dilluted ONR at 16:1 or 32:1 for interior cleaning in a spray bottle. Also good for touchups if you get bird poop on the car between washes.

Everyone has their preferences. A good base would be
• Stoner invisible glass
• Optimum car wash
• A sealant you can also use as a dry-aid(I use opti-coat hyper-seal)
• 1-2 five gallon buckets
• 1-2 wash mits

2) A home hand wash can be more thorough and net better results as you can control products you are using.

3) You only need 4-6 minutes on a coin wash and don't use the supplied brush. In fact don't physically touch the paint at all.
High pressure soap, rinse, (optional)use their dilluted "wax" mixture, then rinse again.

4) In the summer I hand wash weekly/biweekly depending on weather. During the winter the car either gets near daily touchless auto car wash or coin washes.
Every now and then I will do a ONR rinseless wash.
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 3, 2020
182 posts
34 upvotes
Thanks everyone for your inputs and advice. I looked in to some products and came up with the following. Let me know if these are fine.

1. Car wash liquid - Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo & Conditioner - https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/megu ... 4513p.html
2. Wash mitts to apply the liquid - 2 x SIMONIZ Chenille Wash Mitts (one for the top and one for the bottom) - https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/simo ... 7024p.html
3. Wash and brush the wheels - Simoniz Platinum Contour Tire Brush - https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/simo ... 6171p.html
4. Waxing - Autoglym Aqua Wax Kit - https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/auto ... 2706p.html
5. Drying towels - Simoniz Platinum 2-in-1 Drying Towel, 4.5-sq ft - https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/simo ... ying+towel
6. Leather seat cleaner - Meguiar’s Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner & Conditioner - https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/megu ... 0444p.html
7. For cleaning windows - https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/invi ... p.html#srp
8. For window cleaning - https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/simo ... p.html#srp

Anything else?

I already bought these Microfiber clothes, can I use these to wash the car as well - https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/simo ... 6620p.html

I thought of going to a self-serve place for the pressure washer and use my products instead of the stuff they give. Is that possible?
Last edited by APL866 on May 5th, 2021 1:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Nov 4, 2008
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APL866 wrote: Thanks everyone for your inputs and advice. I looked in to some products and came up with the following. Let me know if these are fine.

1. Car wash liquid - Turtle Wax Max Power Car Wash - https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/turt ... 4599p.html
2. Wash mitts to apply the liquid - 2 x SIMONIZ Chenille Wash Mitts (one for the top and one for the bottom) - https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/simo ... 7024p.html
3. Wash and brush the wheels - Simoniz Platinum Contour Tire Brush - https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/simo ... 6171p.html
4. Waxing - Autoglym Aqua Wax Kit - https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/auto ... 2706p.html
5. Drying towels - Simoniz Platinum 2-in-1 Drying Towel, 4.5-sq ft - https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/simo ... ying+towel
6. Leather seat cleaner - Meguiar’s Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner & Conditioner - https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/megu ... 0444p.html

Anything else?
I'd say that's enough to get you started. You might want to grab something to clean salt from the carpet - but we're half a year away from winter, so no rush :D
When given enough time, all threads on RFD can and will go off on a tangent.
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Sep 7, 2004
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APL866 wrote: Hi,

I bought my first vehicle (SUV) recently, so do not know much about the washing and cleaning part. I'm parking my vehicle in the private driveway so exposed to sun/rain/snow all the time Disappointed Face.

1. What cleaning products (not too expensive Grinning Face With Smiling Eyes) should I get to clean the exterior, interior and windows?
2. Is it worth to take the vehicle for a wash to a self-serve place? Or do it at home?
3. If doing at a self-serve place, what would be your advice to go about it?
4. How often should I do exterior washing/ cleaning since it's parked outside?
5. Any other things I should be knowing about?

I'm from the GTA.

Thanks in advance everyone.
Try not to wash your car in the Sun. Try washing in the Shade. This might not be possible.
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Sep 8, 2017
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That's a very good list to get you started.

My only advice is not to use that tire brush on your wheels. The bristles are too stiff and will scratch the wheels.

I suggest you buy a pack of general purpose microfiber towels. They are invaluable for doing all kinds of random car cleaning. Use one of those to clean your wheels, do not use the wash mitt that you will be using on the car paint. The wheels are very dirty, and doing so can transfer the dirt from the wheels to the paint and scratch it.

Like these:
https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/simo ... p.html#srp
I've had the same set for like 5 years. I just keep washing them as needed.

And don't forget buckets. CT has 5-gal buckets, or a hardware store for like $3/ea. I got mine from Lowe's.
https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/cana ... p.html#srp

edit: there's also this Simoniz bucket with a grit guard. If you can find one on clearance for $12, then that's a really good buy. But if not, don't worry a regular bucket without one is fine.
https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/simo ... p.html#srp
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 3, 2020
182 posts
34 upvotes
aeba7 wrote: I'd say that's enough to get you started. You might want to grab something to clean salt from the carpet - but we're half a year away from winter, so no rush :D
Ok. Thanks. Will keep that in mind.

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