You’ve just purchased a new car. Congratulations! Even if you bought used (which is more environmentally sound), the car is still new to you.
Hopefully, you like the car. Maybe you even love it. This car will take you all over, hopefully for many years to come.
This could even be the car that you pass down to your first-born when they come of age.
But for now, it’s your baby, and for at least several months, it’ll feel just like a shiny new toy.
If you’re already a car enthusiast or long-time tuner, then you probably already have a pretty good idea of how to take care of your car, both inside and out.
But for the rest of us, it’s usually a good idea to do some research before launching into car care.
And when it comes to washing a new car for the first time, there are several different factors to keep in mind.
The tips we’ve listed below will help you keep your new car looking great while also establishing effective car washing techniques that you can use for years to come.
Don’t Go to an Automated Car Wash
Automated car washes can be a great way to get a quick wash without even getting out of your car.
But when it comes to washing a new car for the first time, just skip the automated car wash places altogether.
You need to wash the car by hand. And the only way to make 100% sure that the job gets done right is to do it yourself.
And before you can get started, you’ll need to find a spot where you’ll have plenty of time to wash the car with care.
Wash in the Shade
When choosing where to wash your car, there are a few things to consider.
If you own a house and have a garage and a driveway, then this part of the process should be pretty easy.
If you only have access to street parking, ask a friend to use their driveway or find a street that doesn’t usually have much traffic.
Most importantly, try to wash your car in the shade. Washing a car in the sun can cause your cleaning fluid of choice to dry on the car before you’ve had the chance to rinse it off.
Grab the Right Supplies
Sure, you probably already have a bucket and a few dirty rags that you COULD use to wash your new car.
But we strongly recommend that you make a trip to a nearby auto shop or hardware store and grab some premium car wash supplies.
Car shampoo is just better than typical car wash solution. That’s the long and short of it.
Car wash shampoo is much less likely to leave streaks on your car’s finish and does an excellent job of pulling dirt and grime from the paint and clear coat.
When it comes to the actual car washing, a clean sponge is fine, but a wash mitt is better.
You can wear a wash mitt like a mitten (hence the name) and scrub in parallel lines. DON’T wash in circles. This is a common mistake, and it can lead to visible smudges on your car’s finish.
Waffle Microfiber Towels
Since this is the very first time washing your new car, try to use brand new microfiber towels.
Try to find some waffle pattern microfiber towels that are super absorbent. They’ll make drying the car much easier and will be less likely to leave marks.
Try not to use these towels for washing, just rinsing and/or drying.
Use Two Different Buckets
When washing your new car, have two buckets ready at all times. One bucket holds your sudsy water, and the other can be filled with just water, which you can use to rinse off your wash mitt and towels.
Many auto shops also sell plastic grates that you can place in the bottom of each bucket. These grates allow dirt and particulates to drop to the bottom of the bucket and prevent you from getting that dirt on your mitt or towels.
Wash Top to Bottom
Always wash your car from top to bottom, whether it’s new or not.
It’s a very simple premise. Cars tend to attract the most dirt along the bottom edge. After all, that’s where the road is, along with its many sources of dirt and trash.
Washing a car from top to bottom never gives that dirt a chance to be spread across other parts of the car.
Also, your wash mitt will stay clean for longer. Washing the bottom of the car first will only cause those same areas to be dripped on after you’ve cleaned the top portion of each side of the car.
Wax it Up
Once your car is completely washed and dried, then you can go ahead and wax the vehicle.
A popular brand with car enthusiasts is Turtle Wax, which is both affordable and effective.
Waxing the car will help add another small protective layer on the car’s finish that can help prevent future damage to the vehicle’s paint job, helping it look brand new for longer.
Keep it Covered
The final step in the car wash process is to protect your work by keeping the car protected and covered.
Depending on your living situation, there are several different ways to do this.
If you already have access to a one-car garage or rent a space in a larger parking garage, then you’re all set. Just make sure to always park in the garage at the end of each day.
If you live in an apartment building and don’t have access to a designated parking space in a lot specific to your building, then keeping the car covered can be a bit more difficult.
We recommend purchasing a high-quality, waterproof car cover that will hold up for as long as you have the car itself.
Just make sure that the cover is the appropriate size for the length of your specific make and model.
Get in the habit of placing the cover over the car as soon as you get out.