The Fine Art of Car Washing

Today, I let my local jr hi dance team wash my car in a fund raiser. I let someone else wash my car may be a dozen times in 3 dozen years. My car is a 99 Civic, salvage so I felt pretty confident in the girls doing minimal damage. Boy was I wrong and I not all that confident that a group of 13-14 yo boys could do better. And this group of kids was watched over by parents. :<(

I learned the fine art of car washing the summer before I started 8th grade. My mother had gone back to work and my parents needed a second car. My dad purchased a faded maroon 1947 Desoto coupe. I made some derogatory comment about the car and my dad came home the next day with car wash detergent, rubbing compound, auto polish and auto wax and told me to get to work. He also said to read the directions first before using each of the products. The car really looked great when I got through and I really liked the old car. I did learn that washing and polishing a car is hard work.

I had the girls wash the car 3x. They also towel dried the car 2x. I asked them to not towel dry the 3rd time. I knew I was in trouble when 5 girls attacked the car with sponges but no pre-rinsing.

My 15 year old BMW still looks like a new car because of a few simple car care tips.

Wash it in the shade, never in direct sun.
Pre-rinse with a hose and gentle nozzle setting.
Wash with a cotton mitt and clean water (NO SOAP).
Wash the wheels and tires with a separate sponge – NOT THE ONE YOU USED TO WASH THE PAINT.
Rinse again.
Dry with “The Absorber” or similar synthetic towel (much better than chamois and cheaper)
Wipe the wheels and tires with old rags.
Twice a year, clay bar it and wax it.

Never use an automatic or manual car wash – they use soap and filter the water. Filtered water has residual dirt and soap. If you use soap, you will be stripping off the wax. Just plain water is all you need for most cars.

Simple steps to easy car care.

I can’t remember if it was on this forum or not as the incident happened a number of years back but a distraught poster was looking for advice about what to do with their car’s finish after mistakenly wiping it down with a Scotch-Brite pad during a car washing procedure… :frowning:

That sounds like a call to the radio show long ago - a man discovered his young kids generously helping their dad by cleaning his fairly expensive newish car using something abrasive. I don’t remember much more about it than that.

After the first wash, the girls threw their sponges/rags to the ground. - Confirmed my suspicions.

When I first talked to a supervising mommy parent, I asked if these girls knew how to wash a car? Mommy Parent said that girls give more attention to detail and are more maticulous. Her words.


I don’t remember if it was the dance team or the girl scouts but I haven’t let anyone touch my cars since about 1986. Scatched my fairly new car up pretty good. You have got to keep the car wet to avoid scratches. I’d rather just pay them to not wash it and I’ll do it myself.

Mine mostly get washed when ever it rains around here.

I pay 3 or 4 neighborhood kids to wash my 4wd Ford truck every once in a while. They seem to enjoy it, have some fun, and make a little spending money. True, I have to buff out some new scratches from the “imprecise” car wash technique these kids serve up sometimes – one time I looked out and saw all three of them standing on the roof – but, hey, you pays your money and takes your chances I say!

@longprime,iIt’s a 99 Civic, not a 2013 911. I think you did the right thing letting the kids wash your car. It helps the kids out on their project, and it keeps the neighbors friendly.

I wash and wax the car myself. It’s a great way to lose weight. I would hire the neighborhood kids to the job, but they don’t need to lose weight like I do.

You should seen the synthetic drying cloth. I was concerned on the first dry. But the second dry, I was I was almost crying for this car. Told them to skip the third dry after the third wash.

@GSJ, I am not sure if I made friends when I had them wash the car 3x.

Assuming that a group of Jr. High students know anything about washing a car is, as you learned, extremely risky.

Usually, if I think it’s a good cause, I’ll just quick park the car nearby, walk up and hand 'em a tenner. I would NEVER allow them to actually wash the car.

Yea, me too. Would pay $5 and tell them not to bother with my car.

Does anybody remember the opening sequence to that old tv show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show? You know, where she worked at a tv station with Lou Grant as her boss? Part of the show’s opening showed her character washing her car. One time an entertainment reporter asked her – the actress – what did she find the most difficult thing to do on that show? She said “Washing the car, I never had washed a car before” … lol …