Washing a New Car for the First Time in 10 Effective Steps

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

washing a new car for the first time

A newly-purchased car is attention-grabbing because it has that aesthetic you can never see in road-worn vehicles.

However, it’s challenging to keep your car in its “car show” pristine state after two weeks unless you fully understand the right way in washing a new car for the first time. The process involves washing your car at the correct period, splitting your cleaning between two car sections, and more.

Read on to learn more about how to wash a new car without scratches and other hitches.

What to Know Before Washing Your Car


1. Only Wash Your Car Two Weeks After You Bought It


Newer vehicles have a clear coat designed to keep the car’s color looking its best for as long as possible. This coat protects the car from UV rays which can cause fading colors.

Additionally, washing a car after it has been waxed and polished reduces the clear coat’s lifespan.

However, the clear coat will have disappeared by two weeks after you drove the vehicle from the dealership. This period is the perfect time to clean a new car.

2. Have The Right Cleaning Products


Some new vehicles require stronger or gentler cleaning products depending on their new and scratch-free coat.

Your car dealership or brand’s accredited maintenance and cleaning center can give you an idea about which cleaning products work well in maintaining new car detail and aesthetics after washing.

You can always consult car forums and ask drivers with the same vehicle as you about car cleaning products they use. Or, google your car model and include the search phrase with “cleaning products” to find valuable articles or content that help you choose.

3. Use New Cleaning Towels

New microfiber cleaning towels are the best to use on new vehicles. They’re made from specially-designed synthetic fibers that have a woven texture. They can absorb as much as seven times their weight in liquid at the fastest rate possible, too.

There are lesser scratch and coat damage risks involved if your cleaning equipment interacts with your car’s coat as little as possible. This is especially important when washing a new car.

4. Prepare the following items: two buckets, water hose, soft-bristle brushes, sponges, and rags.

How to Hand Wash Your New Car


Pressure washing is a tried-and-proven way to clean cars. However, it isn’t the best way to wash new car. They can cause scratches by spraying too hard or letting the spray hit the vehicle for extended periods.

Thus, hand washing a vehicle is undeniably the best way to wash a brand new car.

Step 1: Wash The Wheels


A car’s wheels endure the most dirt, grime, and soil because it interacts directly with the road. If you leave them unwashed, the wheels can send the caked grime up to your vehicle’s body. Thus, it requires an exclusive set of cleaning buckets, washcloths, and brushes only to prevent cross-contamination during cleaning.

When cleaning your vehicle, gently clean the rims, wheel face, brake rotors, calipers, and spokes using your foam cannon, washcloths and brushes.

Protip: Spend extra time cleaning each of your wheels. It’s tempting just to remove all the dirt and grime you see upfront without inspecting the wheel’s inner side.

Make the extra effort and reap the rewards of a better-maneuvering and clean wheelset.

Step 2: Use The ‘Two Bucket’ Cleaning Method

The two bucket cleaning method for new car care involves two buckets of water, sponges, and rags. The core idea is this: you will use the first bucket to remove any suds left, along with the dirt, grime, and other crusted debris you have removed. Then, you’ll dip your towel and mitts in the second bucket full of soap.

This method eliminates any possible debris cross-contamination of your “clean” bucket of soap, allowing you to wash a new car without scratching it.

  • First, use a bucket of soapy water and rinse the car with it to remove any loose dirt. Then rinse the soap off the car with a hose.
  • Next, fill a bucket of clean water and use a sponge to wash the car.
  • Then, remove any soap residue with clean water before drying the car and finishing up.

Step 3: Make an Extra Waxing Effort


Car wax and waxing methods are the core of maintaining your vehicle’s brand-new aesthetic. Investing in high-quality wax might take your budget slightly off-course, but we recommend doing this because waxes extend your car’s coating lifespan.

The all-natural Carnauba wax is a popular choice among new car owners because of its high-quality shine and low risk of adverse effects. It is naturally-occurring wax from a Brazilian palm tree leaf.

Alternatively, paint sealant is an excellent synthetic polymer wax that extends your brand-new vehicle’s shine and provides extra protection.

Tips for Washing Your Cars


1. Frequently Rinse Your Washing Mitts

Rinsing your washing mitts every two minutes removes all abrasive soil, dirt, and grime from scratching and sticking on new car detailing and coating.

Sure enough, it’s tiring to keep soaking and wringing your washing mitts, but keep in mind that taking the extra effort maintains your car’s new freshly-bought aesthetic.

2. Always Wash Outside The Sun

All car wash professionals will usually tell you to avoid washing vehicles under the sun, especially new cars. This is because the heat can dry out the car’s clear coat, leaving it vulnerable to scratches and fade.

Plus, applying car wax and tire cleaner under the sun causes both chemicals to dry out quickly and cause damage to your new car’s paint.

Car wax and tire cleaners that dry out under the sun can cause coating damages because they contain hydroxy ethylene, hydrofluoric acid, and phosphoric acid. These chemicals can cause severe car coating and paint burns when exposed to sunlight.

3. Time Your Washes Against The Weather

If you wait until the weather is hot and humid, then your car will be covered in water spots, which are expensive to remove.

On the other hand, having a specialized type of car wash for new car during the rainy season can go to waste — it can get quickly drenched and messy again due to the frequent rains!

Going to the car wash more than twice a month when you have the time is an excellent schedule for any season. You can still stretch it out by doing spot-cleaning and using tire shine products by yourself.

You save money by going DIY, and you can safely preserve your new car’s coat.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Spend Extra

Cash is tight for everyone nowadays, and, understandably, your new car installment payments will cause huge dents in your budget.

However, we highly recommend going for a premium, new car-specialized cleaning service because spending extra on these will preserve your vehicle’s new car aesthetic and existing protective coating.

If you intend to wash your new car by yourself, investing in top-of-the-line equipment, cleaning products, and new car wash training are also helpful.


We hope you enjoyed and found insight from this list of steps in washing a new car for the first time. Following these steps and tips should help you preserve your new car’s aesthetic and achieve your desired results.

If you found some useful steps here, share them with a friend who owns a new vehicle. We’re sure they’ll love to hear from you!

Do you have any suggestions about cleaning and washing new cars? Share your thoughts or comments about this article below.

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