Follow Our ‘How To’ Guide For Cleaning Your Car!

When you bought your car, you’ve invested a lot of money and you know that in order to retain its value you need to take great care of it. The question arises, ‘How do I properly take care of my car?’

Incorrect washing techniques can cause damage to your car that dulls the paints finish. Over time making it look faded and losing its shine. This guide will run you through how to clean your car to a professional standard.

In Vietnam, when it is sunny and you look at a cars paintwork, you will see many small scratches and ‘cobweb’ marks on the paint. The reason for reasons for these imperfections is due to improper washing and drying.

how to clean - red car sun spots

how to clean - car sun spots

In this article, we are going to explain the correct steps to wash a car properly in order to keep the car looking newer for longer

1. Choose the right weather

In Vietnam, it is usually very sunny and hot from 10am – 3pm. You should avoid cleaning your car in the sun. If you wash your car in the sun, the heat will dry the shampoo and water between washing and drying, which will leave marks on your cars paintwork. The heat from the sun also will affect the products effectiveness.

2. Cleaning

The first thing you need to do is to wash off the dirt and grime before you start to use a shampoo or wash mitt.
Using a hose or jet washer is best. If your car has a ceramic coating, you will find you can remove 95% of dirt with just a jet washer.

A snow foam attachment will allow you to cover your car with a thick blanket of cleaning foam that will loosen the dirt and grime. Let it work for a few minutes and then use a pressure washer to remove it. You should always work from the roof downwards.

how to clean - car wash foam and soap

Before cleaning the paintwork, you should focus on the wheels – because if you do this afterwards, chances are you will cause brake dust and dirt from the wheels to spray onto the paintwork. Then wheel cleaner or iron remover to remove buildup on the wheels. After a few minutes use the hose to remove the product.

how to clean - wheel clean sponge

Some hard to remove stains such as bugs or tar spots will need a tougher cleaner. Purpose made products are available and are designed to easily remove these contaminants. Some products we sell for this purpose include IGL TAR and IGL IRON

3. Shampoo and Mitt

Prepare your two buckets, one with soapy water and the other with clean water. Choose a safe dedicated car shampoo such as IGL Wash or CCC Lava if you want a shampoo with high foam.

We suggest you invest in a grit guard ensuring your trap the dirt particles at the bottom of the bucket, away from your cleaning mitt. You should start cleaning one panel at a time, working from the top to the bottom and only going in one direction, left to right or up and down – never in a circular motion.

how to clean - car wash with hand cloth

how to clean - car wash with cloth

4. Drying your car safely

You should choose a dedicated microfiber drying towel, to limit the risk of scratches occurring. You should never skip drying your car, because if you allow water to dry on the car, water spots will occur.

These happen because mineral deposits in the water remain on the surface of the paintwork. You can use a product like IGL Delete to remove any before they are permanently etched into the paint.

We recommend you use a large lint free drying towel that absorbs the water easily and does not cause streaks. Additionally if you have access to an air compressor, you should use this to blow away water from crevices.

5. Cleaning the windows

Once you have cleaned the paintwork and wheels, you should ensure that you clean both the glass and mirrors.

You should choose a suitable glass cleaning product to ensure a streak- free finish. Again, we recommend using a dedicated glass cleaner should be used, such as IGL Glass.

Apply the product to the lint free cloth, not directly to the window. Then use a separate cloth to wipe away the product.

You should also lower the window slightly, to ensure you clean the area of window which is covered by the seal.

how to clean - car wash with hose

how to clean - car wash spray

how to clean - car wash with hose

6. Dressing the exterior plastics

Many cars have bumpers or plastic trim on the exterior of the car. In Vietnam, these often fade quickly due to the damage caused by UV rays from the sun.

You should apply a dedicated trim solution to keep the trim looking black and protected from turning grey and fading. We recommend you do this once a month, you do not need to apply a trim protection every time you wash your car.

how to clean - plastic trim fade

7. Interior

Many people overlook the interior, but simple can keep it clean and free of germs and bacteria.

Firstly, you should use a vacuum cleaner to pick up as much loose dirt and grime from the seats, floor and back of the car.

It is important to slide the seats forwards and backwards to get all the dirt trapped in the rails.

Use a safe and effective interior cleaner such as IGL Interior or CCC Interior and spray directly onto the seats and using a microfiber towels to wipe it clean.

Make sure you use the right products, there are specialist cleaning products for leather and fabric, each designed to safely and effectively clean and remove dirt.

If you want to ensure you remove bacteria, we recommend you take a service such as C.AIR Fog

how to clean - ecoshine enhancer

Ask a Pro: Ed Bews, Vietnam Car Care.
Ed Bews has had a passion for car care since he was 17, for over 18 years he has detailed and loved his cars! He is a member of the International Detailing Association (IDA) and a founding member of Vietnam Detailing Association. Ed opened Vietnam Car Care in 2015 to bring the same passion and international detailing techniques and services he found in the UK to Vietnam!