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man washing car in garage

Washing a Car in the Garage

The cold winter months can assault the paint and undercarriage of your car with snow, dirt, dust, and rust. It’s especially hard to combat the negative effects of winter on your car when it’s too cold, rainy, or snowy outside to give your car a proper wash. You’ll need to wash your car from the safety of your garage to achieve the same clean you can get on a sunny summer day.

Washing Your Car Inside

For garages with drains:

You can wash your car inside your garage safely if you avoid using high-pressure water tools such as hose attachments. The most effective car wash is the two-bucket car wash. You’ll need:

  • A bucket for soapy water
  • A bucket for rinsing
  • A sponge or washing mitt
  • Microfiber towels
  • Terry cloth drying towels

Your soapy water bucket should contain a soap solution made up of the following:

  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • ¼ cup dishwashing liquid
  • Enough water to fill a gallon bucket

Add your baking soda to a 1-gallon bucket first, then dishwashing liquid, then fill to the top with warm water. Mix until the solution feels slick on the pads of your fingers.

It’s handy to also have a water source in your garage. If you don’t have a hose hookup inside, bring your house from outside to the garage. You’ll need to refill both buckets as they get low. The hose is also useful for a preemptive and final rinse.

Keep a safe source of heat with you in the garage. The water from your car wash may freeze on the body of the car if temperatures dip too low. The heat will also encourage evaporation as you dry your vehicle.

Your garage should also have a heat source so that the water that you use to wash your vehicle doesn’t freeze. Finally, your garage should be fairly large. If it is too small, you’ll end up getting your possessions wet due to the spraying and splashing that occurs with a car wash.

For garages without drains

Most of the water from your car wash will be contained by your garage door weather seals, especially if you’ve managed to prepare your garage door for winter. Seal areas that lead into your house just in case the water in your garage becomes too high during your car wash.

Use a floor squeegee once you’ve finished washing to remove excess standing water from your garage. Leave your heater on away from the water to allow evaporation to remove the remaining water before it freezes.

Wash your car according to these steps:

  1. Pre-rinse your car using the hose
  2. Wipe down your car with the sponge or mitt and soapy water
  3. Wring out your sponge or mitt and dip in the rinsing bucket
  4. Wipe down your car with the sponge or mitt and water
  5. Repeat as necessary
  6. Rinse a final time with the hose
  7. Dry with the terry cloth towel followed by microfiber towel

Go Rinse-Free

Rinse-free car wash products are also available to those looking to keep things indoors. If winter weather or other elements beyond your control prevent you from washing your car outside, several auto care retailers sell rinse-free solutions, ensuring you’ll only need water, buckets, a washing mitt, and towels for drying. However, keep in mind that most manufacturers agree that this washing method is best reserved for light coatings of surface dirt. Heavy, caked-on dirt and mud will need to be tackled with a traditional wash.

How does winter weather affect your car?

Apart from making it next to impossible to wash your car outside, winter can be a real pain for car owners. Snow can carry dust and dirt that it picks up from the road, as well as the air. Dirty snow that makes contact with your car will melt, leaving the contaminants it contains on your car. As the dirt dries onto your paint, it creates a kind of adhesive that makes cleaning tough and damages your paint.

Salt, applied to roads in order to help melt ice, also wreaks havoc on your undercarriage and paint. It is highly abrasive and helps accelerate oxidation. But if you live in an area where temperatures stay above freezing in the winter, the extra humidity can also encourage rust. Once this rust begins to form, it’s hard to stop.

Extra moisture due to rain or snow helps sludge accumulate on the road. As you drive, that sludge collects toward the bottom of your vehicle. Your bumpers and undercarriage can become caked with road sludge before you even notice.

These problems can be prevented by washing your car inside the shelter of your garage. If you suspect that your garage door might not be up to the task, contact Hill Country Overhead Door today. Regardless of season, we can help you increase your curb appeal and security by repairing broken garage doors or even installing a new one.

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