Car Wash Basics: How Often Does a Car Need Cleaning?

Updated: Dec 20, 2018

Car Wash Boca

Doesn’t your car just seem to drive better when it’s clean? It’s like slipping-into freshly-washed sheets. But aside from that, a regular car wash schedule is important to maintaining the interior and exterior of your car.

Dirt, pollen, and acid rain all eat away at your car’s exterior. If you are located in South Florida, like we are, the sun and saltwater add to the speed of corrosion on a vehicle. Drivers in colder climates deal with slush and salt during the winter months.

Cleaning contaminants from the car’s exterior with a car wash, and then protecting the surface with a hand car wax, is an easy way to protect your investment. Plus, who likes pulling-up in a dirty car? Perception is reality, as they say.

How often does the outside of your car need a bath?

In a perfect world, your car would be parked in an enclosed garage, away from the elements. The reality is, many of us park in the driveway, a parking garage, or another exposed spot. Particles in the air and rain adhere to the car’s exterior. Don’t forget the bird poop, bugs, and tree sap that stick to the car. Have you ever seen that caked-on spray that emanated from your tires? That is the “sling” that comes as road water splashes off your tires and onto the paint. HowStuffWorks recommends a simple car wash every two weeks.

What’s the deal with waxing? Doesn’t it just make the car look pretty?

A proper hand wax does more than just make your car look shiny and new--it’s your car’s first line of defense against damage. A spray wax, which will bring a temporary shine at the end of a basic car detail, does not provide a protective barrier.

Applying carnauba wax, which is applied by hand in small, circular motions, hardens and then is buffed-off with a clean, soft cloth to leave behind a deep shine. It is labor-intensive and time-consuming, as opposed to a spray wax, but it will extend the life of your car’s paint.

A hand car wax should be scheduled every three to six months, depending on your car’s exposure to the elements. We recommend our clients, who live in Boca Raton and the surrounding area, schedule full-service details every three months due to the South Florida exposure and because many of our clients do not park in an enclosed garage.

You will begin to notice that your car needs waxing when the rain no longer beads on the paint. Wax can fill-in and disguise light scratches. Many scratches are simply only as shallow as the paint’s clear coating and do not reach the paint itself. The hand wax protects the clear coat. Owners of black cars should consider a wax made for black vehicles, which will help with disguising the light scratches.

How do I prevent my car’s interior from cracking and peeling?

Just like your skin needs to be moisturized to keep it supple and keep it from cracking, so does your car’s interior. How much time you spend inside has a great deal to do with if kids or pets are often passengers in your car. Excessive or long-standing dirt embed and break-down the fibers of your carpeting.

After a good wipe-down of all the surfaces, and giving the seats and floors a good vacuuming, break-out your protectant supplies. Coat the hard plastic surfaces with a UV protectant. This will help prevent drying and cracking of the dashboard and other surfaces in your car. Plus, it will leave it with a nice shine.

Leather seats and details need a good conditioner to prevent cracks and rips that will occur over time. Keeping the car leather soft and pliable is important, especially in the hot months. If you have cloth seats, consider a regular shampoo--to remove any spills or just the daily body contact--when you have your car waxed.

What do I do with my child’s car seat?

Your little monster loves to consume his cheerios and sippy cups in the car. Goldfish and juice drizzles cover every inch of his car seat--and that’s all you see with the naked eye. Regularly shampooing that car seat, every three months or so, will help relieve your skeevies. Blow-outs (yes, you know what I’m talking about) require an immediate car seat shampoo.

We also recommend a car seat cover under the seat to protect the car’s interior. Make sure to remove the seat and clean around and under it as long as it’s out.

Speaking of kids, they create messes in the middle of messes. That said, try to keep a small bag in your car to collect any trash. Then when you fill-up your car with gas, search around for any straggling wrappers and dump the bag. Dirty cars with kids are a fact of life! That’s why it’s important to have your car wash on a regular schedule.

Can I do it myself?

Sure, but why would you want to spend half a day cleaning your car? Sure you could go to an automatic car wash and hang around and watch your car drive through the dirty brush-filled tunnel with all the road grime of the like-minded drivers around you. The problem is, those “cleaning” brushes, will scratch your car onto its way to clean.

Plus, the world is becoming more convenience-based. Grocery stores are delivering to your doorstep, restaurant delivery companies are growing by leaps and bounds, and you can order practically any product on Amazon with two-day shipping.

What is more convenient than a mobile car wash and detail? Have your car washed and waxed while you are at work or while at home enjoying some much-deserved downtime. You can even see pricing and book online whenever it is convenient.

If you are in Broward or Palm Beach counties, you can book an appointment and have your car cleaned right at your home or office with In the Details LLC! Easily book your appointment online and we will arrive at your door on time and prepared to make your car clean and shiny. Our family-owned-and-operated mobile car wash and detailing company is based out of Boca Raton, FL. Click here to book your appointment today.