In Arizona, we love to keep our cars just as clean as vehicle owners in other parts of the county. Still, cleaning a car in Arizona requires an entirely different strategy. Even with talcum-powder-fine dust threatening to choke the shine out of our vehicles, the triple-digit temperatures don’t really allow us to suds and rinse on a sunny afternoon. (Plus, water is such a valuable commodity, conservation is a must.)
But the show must go on, as they say. So, as you get set to spring clean your vehicle, follow our tips and tricks to keep it looking its best.
Professional Car Washes
The Arizona Department of Water Resources offers great statistics regarding water consumption at professional car washes. Per vehicle, self-service car washes use 12 gallons; in-bay automatic car washes use 72.5 gallons; and conveyer automatic car washes use 44 gallons. Most of these facilities recycle their water, so you get to use dirty water and, unavoidably, a very large volume goes down the drain.
It takes more time and effort on your part, but if you prefer to use less water, your best option is to wash your car at home. You can accomplish this with or without water.
Hand Washing Your Car At Home
This has to be done during the coolest part of the day, while there is enough natural light. The goal of hand-washing your car is to remove the soapy lather while it is still wet. If not, you risk streaky residue on your finish. (Remember that the hotter the temperature, the faster the water and soap will dry.)
First and foremost, wash your car in the shade! This is key. Washing your car in the Arizona sun will only make the task more difficult.
Begin cleaning with a car duster designed with very soft material that picks up the dirt. This is preferred as it won’t scrub your paint or push abrasive particles across the surface.
Start at the top of the car and rinse with a hose. Be sure to have a nozzle on your hose with a shutoff valve.
To wash, use a bucket and a very soft sponge or cloth. Only use a soap product specifically for cars that is mild enough to leave the protective wax on the paint. Use lots of lather to help lubricate the surface. Wash a small area at a time, with even, lengthwise strokes. (Circular strokes can leave circular scratches.)
Before the soap has a chance to dry, rinse it off using the hose, from the top down, to create a sheeting effect.
Once the area is rinsed, dry it thoroughly with soft terry towels or chamois cloths.
Be sure to change your water if it begins to look murky, wash extra-dirty areas (tires and around the wheel wells) with a separate sponge, and repeat until the entire car is clean.
Waterless Car Wash
Between washes, you can use a waterless car wash product to keep your car sparkling. These are high-lubricity, pre-mixed spray detailers that are not meant to remove heavy grime.
Bonus Tips for Spring Car Cleaning
If you have lived in Arizona for a while, you will be familiar with the natural hazards that ruin a freshly washed car.
- Don’t park under trees that drop leaves and blossoms.
- Avoid parking anywhere that gives birds the opportunity to poop on your car.
- After washing, use an anti-static wax to help reduce dust (which has a magnetic-like quality only found in Arizona).
- Use an anti-static cleaner on your car’s interior.
- Keep your windows closed as often as possible.
- Use a vacuum regularly on the interior to get into the small grooves and spaces where dust accumulates.
Celebrate National Car Care Month in Arizona
Keeping your car sparkling clean is a great way to celebrate National Car Care Month this April. But we’re here to remind you to also perform your routine Honda maintenance, regular auto service, and frequent oil changes, too! Doing so ensures your vehicle won’t get dragged down by the desert conditions, so you can love it long into the future.