Cleaning one’s vehicle is crucial for vehicle maintenance. For example, washing a vehicle without wax is taking sandpaper to the clear coat and paint. Every owner should clean their vehicle every four to six months. The condition and size of the vehicle may significantly increase or decrease the amount of time spent cleaning a vehicle.


The reader may damage the vehicle by not carefully following the instructions. If for any reason the reader is uncomfortable proceeding with the instructions rinse the vehicle with water and stop immediately.


Two-Bucket Method - Mix car wash and water in one bucket. Fill the second with water. Dip the sponge in the bucket of soapy water and apply to the vehicle. Next, dip the dirty sponge into the bucket only filled with water and wring out excess water. By dipping the sponge into the bucket full of water the sponge will be clean before the sponge is dipped into the soapy water. Then, once again dip the sponge into the bucket of soapy water and apply to the vehicle. Repeat until entire vehicle is washed.

Top-Down Method - Start on all on the flat surfaces (i.e. hood, roof, top of the trunk). Next, start at top of the windows and go down to the handles on both sides of the vehicle. Then, start at door handles and work down to the base of the vehicle. Lastly, complete front and back of the vehicle.

Note: All pictures used are vehicles detailed by myself over the past year. All pictures shown are originals, however, the pictures are posted to my Facebook page.

Step 1: Materials Required

Note: The materials pictured above are listed from left to right starting at the top.

  • Shop Vacuum

  • Two buckets

  • 6-12 microfiber cloths

  • Detailing Brushes

  • Soft Bristle Brush

  • Sponge

  • Rim Cleaner

  • Tire Cleaner

  • Auto Glass Cleaner

  • Spray Wax

  • Car Wash (6 oz. or more)

I traditionally use the products pictured above to detail vehicles. These products, while not superior to more expensive products, are affordable and effective.

Step 2: Clean Out All Personal Items and Loose Trash

  1. Use a trash bag to pick out the loose trash.
  2. Put all personal items in a box. Then, place the box in the trunk & close the lid.

Step 3: Preparation

  1. Move vehicle into a shaded area.
  2. Prepare the Two-Bucket Method.
  3. Wet the entire vehicle with water.

Step 4: Wash the Vehicle

  1. In straight lines (side-to-side), use the Two-Bucket Method to lather the vehicle with the soapy sponge.
  2. Start on all of the flat surfaces (i.e. hood, roof, top of trunk) and rinse.
  3. Proceed to the top of the windows and go down to the handles on both sides of the vehicle and rinse.
  4. Next, from the door handles work down to the base of the vehicle on both sides of the vehicle and rinse.
  5. Finally, wash front and back of the vehicle and rinse.

Step 5: Dry the Vehicle

  1. Using the Top-Down Method and straight lines (side-to-side), dry the vehicle with microfiber cloths (If spots begin to appear on the any section of the vehicle, rewash the section. Dry the section immediately after)

Step 6: Clean Rims and Tires

  1. Spray Rim Cleaner onto the rims.
  2. Leave Rim Cleaner on the rims for no more than 5 minutes.
  3. Wash the rims using the Two-Bucket Method.
  4. Dry the rims with a microfiber cloth.
  5. Apply Tire Cleaner onto the tires and scrub with a soft-bristle brush in a circular motion.
  6. Dry the rims again to clean off any Tire Cleaner.

Step 7: Apply Wax to the Vehicle

  1. Using the Top-Down Method, spray the wax onto the vehicle in small sections.(i.e. In the picture above, the entire hood is broken into two sections.)
  2. In straight lines (side-to-side), rub in the wax using a microfiber cloth.

Step 8: Interior Cleaning

  1. Remove all the floor mats.
  2. Vacuum the floors, floor mats, underneath the seats, and the seats.
  3. Dust off the doors, dashboard, and any other plastics with a microfiber cloth.

Step 9: Interior Detailing

  1. Empty out the bucket full of water.
  2. Rinse out the bucket with water.
  3. Mix about 1.5 oz. of car wash and fill the bucket half way up.
  4. Lightly dip the detailing brushes into the bucket and begin to clean all the plastics in a circular motion (Apply in small sections).
  5. Use a microfiber cloth, to wipe the soapy water off the plastics.
  6. Using the glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth, clean the glass over the gauges and all the windows.

Step 10: Do Not Forget the Door Jams

  1. Clean the door jams on both the cabin and the door using a microfiber cloth. (See picture above for clarification.)
  2. Repeat the earlier described waxing process for the door jams.

Step 11: Finishing Touches

  1. Replace the floor mats.
  2. Perform a final inspection on the inside and outside of the vehicle.
  3. Correct any missed spots with a microfiber cloth.

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