I used to keep my car clean by quickly swiping it with the California Car Duster or one of its numerous knockoffs in between car washings on my driveway. Nowadays, I rarely wield a shaggy duster or a hose and bucket anymore. But it’s not because I became lazier than Garfield or don’t appreciate having a sparkling clean, shiny car that you could “almost eat off of” anymore.
Well, actually the former might have a sliver of truth to it, but I also like to think I got smart! Here’s how I wash my car in one minute for $1 (or less) per month.
- When running errands, on the way home I stop by a do-it-yourself car wash and park my car into one of the service bays.
- I turn the dial on the car wash operator machine to “rinse” and then grab the spray nozzle.
- I chuck 2-4 quarters in to the operator machine (depending on how dirty the car is or how much change I have), which then feeds water to the spray nozzle for about 40-80 seconds. I hose down the entire car with clean, high-pressure water.
- I don’t bother to dry the car. Driving home at speeds above 50 mph blows off just about all the water.
Note that I do not use soap. I do the above about once a month, although sometimes 2X/month in winter. At $0.50-$1.00 per shot, I can afford it.
By washing my vehicle at the self-service car wash instead of my driveway, I save reservoirs of time by not having to uncoil and connect a hose and bust out a bucket. Plus the water at a car wash typically is clean, recycled, high pressure and does not leave hard water spots. While this quick-wash method is admittedly not as thorough, it is “good enough” 95% of the time.
Every six months, I do thoroughly wash the car in the driveway and then wax it. I use Perma-Seal Hand Glaze whose makers dub “The Lazy Man’s Wax,” a product I picked up at the Denver Auto Show a couple years ago. It doesn’t quite produce the shine of, say, Blitz Carnauba Wax, but application and wipe-off is easier and it is supposed to last six months before needing reapplication.
Waxing is particularly important for the 1-minute car wash method so that dirt, oil, tar and bugs don’t stick so well to the paint and can be easily sprayed off.
If you follow the above method, be sure to keep your grip on the nozzle at all times. You certainly don’t want what occurred in the video below to happen to you!
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