Although many cities and towns offer hand-held or drive-through car washes, a more thorough and less expensive job can be done at home, or any place one has access to a water hose.
The best way to wash a car is to follow a few simple steps. First, gather all the necessary tools and supplies, including a bucket, two or three sponges, liquid soap (specific soap for car washing is best), several dry towels, and a hose attachment that provides a strong, heavy spray.
If possible, park your car in a shady location so the sun won't dry it before you do. Before you start washing, you'll want to rinse the car from top to bottom. Use the strong spray of water from the hose to loosen any excess dirt or debris, and don't forget the tires, wheels, and undercarriage.
Next, fill your bucket with soapy water. Using a clean sponge, you should wash a car from the top down. Start at the top, and scrub gently with the sponge--enough to loosen dirt, but not so much so as to scratch the paint. Always start from the top and work your way down, and only do a little at a time so the soap won't dry on the car. Wash the top with the sponge, rinse the sponge, and then rinse the top of the car with the hose. Next, start on the windows. Work your way around the car, scrubbing the windows until they are sparkling clean. Again, rinse the part you just washed. Work your way down the car, washing the doors and sides, then rinsing, doing the hood, lights, bumper and grill, and then rinsing. A clean sponge is always best to wash a car with, so if your sponge gets grimy, switch to a fresh one.
Lastly, when you wash a car, don't forget to wash the wheels and undercarriage. If your car is high off the ground, you may be able to slide under and scrub some of the dirt loose. If not, simply spray the undercarriage thoroughly with a strong spray from the hose. Scrub the wheels, hubcaps and sides of the tires and then rinse thoroughly.
After you wash a car from top to bottom, give it one more good rinsing with the hose, beginning again at the top. Pay attention to all the contours, making sure there are no traces of dirt or soap left on the car. Once it is rinsed, turn off the hose and use your dry, clean towels to dry the car--again, from top to bottom. Use several towels so you can switch to a new one when the towel you are using becomes too wet. Dispose of the soapy water properly and enjoy your sparkling clean car!