How To Pressure Wash A Car

When you want your car cleaned faster and easier, investing in a car pressure washer is the way to go. Pressure washers not only save you time, money and water, but it also reduces the chance of paint damage and swirl marks. High pressure pre-rinse washing attacks dirt and mud, making it less likely to scratch the finish, leaving you with a clean and shiny vehicle in no time at all.

What Products Are Needed?

To effectively pressure wash a car, it's important to have all of the required products. Here are some of our recommended products for car pressure washing:

  1. Pressure washer: We recommend pressure washers with 1200-1850PSI and a water flow of 8-10 liters per minute which is ideal for car cleaning jobs.
  2. Foam Cannon: To provide layer of foam to your car's surface, which helps to loosen and lift dirt and grime from the surface.
  3. Shampoo: Required for both foam cannon and wash bucket.
  4. Garden Hose: Connected to a tap to provide water to the pressure washer
  5. Two buckets: A Wash Bucket used with shampoo and a Rinse Bucket with water.
  6. Grit guard: A plastic insert placed at the bottom of a wash bucket to trap dirt and debris can be used in the Rinse bucket also
  7. Two wash mitts: we recommend one for the top half of your car and one for the bottom half. This is just another preventive step.
  8. Drying towel or blower: We recommend two medium size microfiber drying towels for the Car and a small Drying Towel for the Rims. Car Blowers are also great tools they works even better on vehicles that have a coating a wax or a sealant.  
  9. Drying aid: The primary function is to lubricate the surface of the car during drying. Making it easier to remove any remaining water droplets without causing scratches or swirl marks.
  10. Wheel bucket: The wheel bucket should contain a separate wash mitt, and rim brush. By using a separate wheel bucket you will not compromise the cleanliness of the rest of your car. Products you need: Bucket, Wheel Mitt, Tyre Brush, Small Brush, Wheel Brush, wheel Cleaner and Tyre dressing.

Tip For Using A Car Pressure Washer

Before you use a car pressure washer, there’s some things to remember to ensure the quality of the job is high. Not only do the right products matter, washing technique is also critical. Our recommendations for using a car pressure washer:

  1. Ensure car windows are up
  2. Connect pressure washer including gun/nozzlesto garden hose, turn on garden hose. Connect power cord to pressure washer.  
  3. Set the pressure washer between 1200-1850PSI, if you don’t have an adjustment don’t worry, use a 40degee nozzle or adjust your wand for car washing
  4. Make sure you keep nozzle 40-50cm away from the vehicle at all times.

Step 1 – Wheels and Tyres

Always clean your wheels and tyres first when washing your vehicle. This helps to prevent overspray or dirt from splashing onto clean panels, which can make your job more difficult and less effective. Read our tips for washing your wheels and tyres.

  1. Wheel bucket : Add your favorite shampoo.
  2. Tyre/wheel cleaner: Spray the wheel cleaner to wheel and tyres. Allow 2-5 minutes to dwell
  3. Dip the Wheel Woolies, Brush and wash mitt into the wheel bucket making sure they are fully saturated. Now clean your rims.
  4. Thoroughly rinse your wheels with a pressure washer to ensure that all soap and dirt are removed.
  5. Using a Wheel mitt, and wheel brush clean the wheel face. For tyres use a dedicated tyre brush.
  6. Pressure wash off all the shampoo with water
  7. By using Tyre Brush, Wheel Woolies wheel brush and a wash mitt, you can effectively clean your rims and tyres without risking damage to the surface of your Rims

Step 2 – Car Foam Bath

Use the foam cannon to spray foam to the body of the car, starting from the top and work your way to the lower part of the car, applying soap over the whole vehicle. Apply with sweeping horizontal motions to the car’s paintwork.

  1. Spray foam onto the car: Starting from the top of the car, spray a layer of foam onto the body of the car, working your way down to the lower part of the car. Be sure to cover all areas of the car with foam.
  2. Let the foam sit for a few minutes: Allow the foam to sit on the car for 2-5 minutes, allowing it to loosen and dissolve any dirt and grime on the surface of the car.
  3. Rinse the foam off with a pressure washer: Once the foam has had time to sit, use a pressure washer to rinse it off, starting from the top of the car and working your way down. Be sure to rinse off all the foam and any dirt and grime that it had loosened up.

Step 3 – Two Bucket wash

The two-bucket wash method involves using two separate buckets of water, washing and rinsing. This helps to prevent dirt and debris from being rubbed onto the surface of the car during the washing process. Here's how to do it:

  1. Fill two buckets with water: Fill one bucket Wash with soapy water and the Rinse with clean water for rinsing.
  2. No need to Rinse the car with water as we have already pressure washed the car and have remove majority of loose dirt and debris.
  3. Start to wash a section of the car with the soapy water: Dip a wash mitt into a bucket of soapy water, and use it to wash a section of the car. Be sure to rinse the wash mitt after each panel in the bucket of clean water to remove any dirt or debris that has accumulated.
  4. Rinse the section with clean water: Once you've finished washing a section of the car, rinse it thoroughly with clean water to remove all of the soap and dirt.
  5. Repeat the process for the rest of the car: Repeat the process of washing a section of the car with soapy water
  6. Rinsing Process: Pressure wash soapy water off the car

Step 4 - Drying

For a spot-free finish, dry your car as soon as you’ve finished with the pressure washer. Use a microfiber towel or air blower to dry everything properly, working your way from top to bottom.

Remember to give your tools, buckets and pressure washer a good rinse and wipe down at the end. Dirty towels and rags can be cleaned in a washing machine ready for their next use.

Good luck and Happy Detailing!


Discover Detailing Shed’s range of car pressure washers. Contact us today for more information.

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