How To Clean Your Car Like A Pro

Has there ever been an instance when your car’s recent wash wasn’t satisfactory enough? We’re sure there have been plenty. 

We too have been in the same boat and hence, this motivated piece would tell you how to clean a car like a pro!

When a car’s exterior isn’t washed properly, dirt, bug juice, bird droppings, and tar particles tend to get stuck to the paint. Over time, they begin to damage the paint.

The same goes on the inside. Dust accumulates in the car interior on floor mats, car seats, and steering wheel. Not only does it spoil the interior but it also affects health in a negative way. The cleaning process to wash your car like a pro requires the correct technique to be followed. In addition, it also involves the use of dedicated products for best results.

How To Clean Your Car Like A Pro

How to Clean Your Car Interior and Exterior

This step-by-step guide will help you clean your car like a pro on the exterior as well as the interior of the car. We’ll also be listing items that would help you wash the car with precision.

Cleaning the Car’s Exterior

The exterior car wash mainly deals with washing and protecting the car’s paint. To preserve the paint for a long time, it needs periodic maintenance. 

Else, the car can have you spending more money on it every few years.

Materials Required

We’re listing a list of items that are highly recommended to be used on your vehicle. These would not only improve your washing experience but, they also perform the job with 100% efficiency.

  1. Microfiber cloth
  2. Microfiber towels
  3. Scrubbing rush
  4. Car wash Foam Shampoo
  5. Car Wax

Once you have the materials in hand, you must prepare your car for the exterior wash. Firstly, you must ensure that your car is not being washed under direct sunlight or heat.

Doing so will cause the water droplets to dry quickly which will eventually leave droplet marks on your car’s paint. The second point is to remove rings and any other jewelry that is worn on the hands.

This is best done to prevent scratches from occurring on the car’s exterior. Now let us move on to the steps to wash your car.

The Steps

1. Rinsing the car: This involves spraying water over the car to take off all the dirt that lay loose on the car’s body. A garden hose or pressure washer in a low-pressure setting would do the trick.

2. Apply car Wash Foam Shampoo: Use two buckets for this stage. Fill one bucket with clear water to wash the microfiber cloth or sponge. In the second bucket, mix the car shampoo and water to make it into a foamy cleaning solution.

Use a microfiber cloth dipped in the foamy solution to apply and wipe the car. To wash off the cloth, use the bucket with clean water. This will ensure you don’t get dirt back into the soapy water and back onto the car.

The car shampoo helps loosen tough dirt that didn’t come off when rinsing the car. It also helps remove oil and other dry dirt like bug splatter or bird poo.

Do remember to apply the solution on door jams- the part of the car’s body that gets exposed when you open the doors. This dirty bit often gets ignored during car washes.

3. Work from the top to the bottom: Start working from the top of the car because all the dirt trickles downwards. As you go downwards, the dirt from the top gets cleaned automatically.

4. Work Quick: As you wipe the car, be quick to cover the entire car so you don’t allow the remaining foam and water to dry.

5. Rinse Again: Wash the car again with a pressure washer again to take off all the soap and other residues. Use a good amount of pressure on the car doors, bonnet, trunk, and windows.

6. Dry the car: Once you’ve rinsed the car, use a microfiber towel to wipe the car gently. Ensure you don’t apply too much pressure when drying the surface as it might scratch the clear coat.

Once you exhaust one towel, switch over to another one to prevent water streak marks from appearing on the paint. 

7. Clay Bar your car: Feel the surface of the car for irregularities. You may notice a few rough patches when you gently swipe your hand over it. 

These rough patches are nothing but tiny dirt particles that are stuck to the paint’s clear coat. To take these off, use a clay bar and rub it over the affected areas. 

You’ll notice the dirt particles sticking onto the clay bar as you go over them. Repeat the step wherever necessary before wiping off with a microfiber towel. 

8. Wax Protect: Apply a coat of wax on your car using a good quality car wax product. 

Wax not only creates a shiny layer over the car but, it also protects the clear coat from the elements for a few days or sometimes even weeks. 

The above steps are one of the best ways to wash your car safely without scratching your car. 

Here’s a video that should help you understand the process in greater depth.

Cleaning the Car’s Interior

If the exterior wash is an important activity to indulge in to protect your car’s paint, we’d say that interior cleaning is more important to protect the car’s interior and your health.

We say health because the cleaner your car is from the inside, the lesser the particles you will inhale inside the cabin. 

Read on and you’ll know how to clean your car like a pro! 

Materials Required

We’re listing items that are interior upholstery-friendly and do a great job of cleaning different areas of the car’s interior. The items are purpose-built so they would save a lot of your time as well.

  1. Carpet Cleaner
  2. Leather Cleaner
  3. Glass Cleaner
  4. Disinfecting Wipes
  5. Leather Cleaning Brush
  6. Microfiber cloth

Apart from the above products that you might have to buy, you’ll need a spray bottle, a vacuum cleaner with several attachments, and a scrub brush.

Once you have the items in hand, you may follow the steps given below to clean your car’s interior.

The Steps

1. Clear Your Car: Remove all the trash and unwanted items from the car that have a high chance of being sucked into the vacuum cleaner. 

Remove items like tissue paper, food wrappers, plastic cups, etc that need to go into the bin. 

2. Wash the Floor Mats: The next step is to extract the floor mats from the car and dust them first. You may wash them using soap and a scrub brush under flowing water either from the tap or a hose.

Another advantage of dealing with mats in the first place is that they get enough time to dry by the time you finish detailing the interior.

If the mats are carpeted, use the carpet cleaner to spray the solution over stains and wipe the area with a microfiber cloth.

You may even choose to apply soap and scrub the carpets under a flow of running water if they’re generally dirty all over.

Read more about how to clean car carpet

3. Vacuum Clean: After the mats have been dealt with, it is time to extract the tiny dust particles from the car’s interior.

You may make use of the different attachments that come with a vacuum cleaner to reach tight gaps like the area between the front seats and center console, the door pockets, etc.

Vacuum the seats thoroughly to get rid of all the dust that gets collected in the gaps.

4. Dust further: Use a duster or a microfiber cloth to clean the dashboard and AC vents. A vacuum cleaner may not fit into the vents, hence the use of a microfiber cloth to dust.

Dashboard and the center console in any car are often hotspots for bacteria since they come in close contact with humans and pets. 

Use disinfecting wipes over areas that come in regular contact with the car’s occupants. This can range from the dashboard, steering wheels, and infotainment system to even the door handles.

5. Centre Console Deep Clean: Once you’ve wiped the dashboard with a disinfectant wipe, a lot of the dust would’ve naturally shifted to the center console.

The center console constitutes the gear shift lever, parking brake, music infotainment system, and cup holders. 

Be gentle when dusting the buttons and the touch screen since it is sensitive and easily prone to scratches. Then use a disinfectant wipe to clean the entire console.

Avoid using Ammonia- based products to clean the infotainment system since ammonia can damage plastic surfaces. Things can get worse if the screen has an anti-glare or screen protector coating. 

If you have removable cupholders, extract them and wash them with dish soap and warm water. If they are fixed, wipe them with a wet microfiber cloth before wiping them again with a disinfectant wipe.

6. Clean The Windows: Though windows may not be as dirty from the inside, as they are from the outside, they still need a good wipe.

For this, you’re going to need two microfiber cloths and a glass cleaner. Spray the glass cleaner onto one microfiber cloth and wipe the window in a repetitive motion.

Use the dry microfiber cloth to wipe away the remaining glass cleaner. The use of this second cloth also prevents streaking.

7. Seat Care: If your car has fabric seats, then ensure that there is no dust on the seats. Vacuum clean again if required. 

Use a wet microfiber cloth and wipe over the seats if they aren’t stained. This will eradicate any loose dirt that is still stuck on the fabric.

If you spot stains that are hard to remove using this method, then make use of a car interior upholstery cleaner. Spray a little over the stain and then rub gently with a microfiber cloth.

You could even use a soft-bristled brush to scrub gently. Spray the cleaner if the stain is tough but avoid scrubbing aggressively. Dry the spot after cleaning with a dry microfiber towel and leave it to air dry.

If your car has leather seats, then again, ensure you make it dust-free first. Then use a leather cleaner and follow the instructions mentioned on the cleaner. 

Wipe the seats with a microfiber cloth after which, you may use a leather conditioner to make the seat shine more. Tidy and shiny leather seats always give that ‘new car feeling.

8. Freshen up the Cabin: After the entire interior has been cleaned up, your role is to ensure that the car’s cabin smells good. A good-smelling car always makes the drive more enjoyable.

But before that, you’ll have to eliminate any existing odor from the vehicle that may have lingered for a while. 

To make a freshener yourself, you’re going to need activated charcoal, a small plastic container, fragrance-bearing oil of your choice, and some baking soda. 

Then you’re going to have to make tiny holes in the plastic container before filling all of the above contents in it. Seal the box with the ingredients and tuck it under any of the seats.

This process should not only eliminate bad odor but, it would fill the car with the aroma you’ve chosen to add. 

We’re aware of plenty of other fresheners and ‘interior perfumes’ available in the market for your car. But we wouldn’t recommend any of them unless you’ve researched their ingredients to ensure they are devoid of allergens or irritants.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Your Car

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Your Car

We might have listed a few ‘don’ts’ earlier when washing your vehicle. But we’re listing them in detail again so you know their importance.

No Place for Jewellery

You can clean your car like a pro only when you’ve taken off all the jewelry from your fingers and arms before you begin cleaning your car.

The list includes rings, bracelets or wristbands, wristwatches, and even smartwatches. Such wearables usually create scratches on the surface of the car without your notice.

Work from Top to Bottom

The thing about gravity is that it attracts everything toward the earth’s surface. This also applies to the dirt on your car. Hence it is advisable to start washing the car from the top first and then progress downwards. 

If you go the opposite way and reach the top layer, the dirt on top will splatter over the car, thereby making the whole exercise futile. 

Shampoo is Necessary

Many are of the opinion that a water wash and a simple wipe are enough to clean a car like a pro. But that isn’t the case. 

After you’ve rinsed the car, applying car shampoo is essential because it loosens up the dirt and oil from the car’s surface. Also, the chances of you scratching the car’s clear coat reduce since car shampoo makes the surface a lot smoother.

Don’t Forget the Underbody

Most car washing guides and experts we’ve come across miss out on this most important point- washing your car from underneath!

Take your garden hose or your pressure washer, bend down, and wash your car’s underbody which is one of the dirtiest areas on your car.

The underbody, if not washed, gathers slush, mud, and other contaminants. If they’re left uncleaned, they tend to stick to the underbody coating underneath.  The exhaust pipes, suspension, and bumpers from underneath often attract a ton of dirt and slush.

These need periodic washing else you could face rust issues sooner than expected.

Which Is Better, Washing Your Car With A Pressure Washer or by Hand?

Are you pro enough to replace a pressure washer when washing your car? If yes, then you can definitely skip pressure washing. What we’re trying to tell you is that it all depends on how good you’re at washing your car by hand. 

If hand washing is something that you do so well, that it completely disregards the use of a pressure washer, then we’d bet that it is better to wash your car by hand. 

The above suggestion is made assuming that you don’t have a pressure washer. 

But if you do have one, we’d suggest you use it since it makes the process a whole lot easier and faster. 

Washing the car by hand takes a lot more physical energy and demands more time. So it all boils down to how good your hands are for the job and if you are willing to spend the time and energy to wash the car by hand.


Can I clean my car myself?

Absolutely! This guide is for all those who want to clean their cars like a pro, all by themselves! 

What soap should I use when cleaning my car?

You should specifically use car wash shampoo that is car-paint friendly.

Which products should I avoid using on my vehicle?

Avoid using products that are heavy on detergents. Also avoid rough clothes, brushes, and pretty much anything that could scratch the surface of the vehicle or damage the clear coat.


All that we discussed until now- from the steps of how to clean your car’s exterior and interior to the products that you should use during the process- will help you clean your car like a pro.

We also highlighted the common mistakes you must avoid when washing your car and suggested if it is easier to wash your car by hand or by using a pressure washer.

At the end of it, it all boils down to your understanding of the process and the extra length you’re willing to go to clean your car like a pro. 

The options are endless, the products are in plenty. But all that matters is your car’s cleanliness.

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