Time is something no one seems to have enough of, which can make your weekly car wash more of a chore than it needs to be. When you do a full, deep wash on your car, it’s easy to spend up to an hour working on the project…from scrubbing out the tire wells with a toothbrush to applying that last coat of wax, no detail is too small for your attention.
While beneficial, this kind of clean isn’t always necessary. Every once in a while, you may want to pop in, spend five minutes washing your car, and pop out—a task which can be accomplished more easily than you might think. If you only have a few minutes to spare, here’s how you can still achieve a beneficial car wash that will hold you until the next time you visit.
- Perform a Walk-Around: Before you get started, walk around your car and make note of all the areas that need attention. You might need an all-over clean thanks to a recent rain, or you may need to focus on the lower half thanks to your recent trip over a muddy road. Decide what your objectives are in advance so you can concentrate there. That way, you can make a plan of action and stick to it.
- Don’t Bother Soaking: Soaking is a great way to loosen up dirt and grime that’s caked on your car’s exterior, but it takes time to work effectively. Instead of pre-soaking your car and tires, go straight for the pre-rinse instead. You’ll have to do more scrubbing by hand to get rid of those difficult spots, but elbow grease can work much faster than traditional soaking.
- Work from Top to Bottom: One of the biggest time sucks in the car wash is washing over the areas you’ve already scrubbed. This usually happens when you work on the dirtiest parts of the car first and then perform an all-over wash. Instead, work directly from top to bottom. Gravity will pull the dirt downward as you work, providing a much-needed extra hand.
- Use a Smaller Brush: The long-handled brush inside the car wash is great for those hard-to-reach places and for avoiding the manual labor of bending and stretching, but it can be unwieldy if you’re not used to it. Consider using your own smaller brush that allows you to focus on specific areas and get a closer clean. You’ll have to work harder to get results, but many people find this approach to be faster.
- Skip the Wax: The wax cycle in a car wash is great if you have time for it, but don’t stress out if you need to get on the road sooner rather than later. A pre-rinse, soapy scrub, and final rinse are enough to take care of the worst of your problems.
- Don’t Skip the Wax: However, don’t skip the wax every time if you’re going to make a habit of these five-minute washes. A good wax finish on your car will keep much of the dirt away and also make it easier to wash the next time. At least once a month, consider having a wax finish professionally applied or hand-apply one yourself, and you’ll save considerable time on the next car wash you need.
You might also want to consider bringing a friend the next time you need a car wash performed. One way it’s always easier to cut corners on time is by sharing the workload so you can get back on the road that much faster.