Washing your car without a pressure washer

A list of car cleaning products without the pressure.

car being cleaned

by Myles Warwood |

Sometimes we feel too much pressure to get it right. We see snow foam this and pressure washer that - we feel like we need to have these items to get a clean car. Whatever happened to just having a bucket of warm soapy water, a sponge, and chamois leather?

Having a pressure washer doesn’t ‘improve’ the quality of your car clean, but without one, you might need to improve the amount of elbow grease or increase your product range to get the results you might want. Sure, pressure washers make it easier, but where is the fun in easier?

How do you wash a car?

We get that for many readers this may be asking you to suck eggs - however, this is a question which many people ask. There are many things to consider to prolong your car's paint life and to help bring that super-glossy look back to your motor.

The process is generally very simple.

Make sure your car's bodywork is not hot to the touch before you start and also try not to wash your car in direct sunlight.

Why? Well, if the body panels of your car are too warm or the sun is beaming directly onto it, this will cause water to evaporate off your car too quickly, meaning all those little bits of dirt you're trying to clean off will get left behind in the evaporation process. When it comes to drying the car, these bits of dirt can easily cause micro-scratches to your paintwork, taking away that shine and meaning you'll need to do more, in the long run, to get that shine back.

We like to follow the tried-and-tested wet, wash, rinse, and dry methods.

If a car is filthy, you might want to wash the vehicle in segments, ensuring the area you're washing is always wet. This will add a tiny layer of lubrication and help lift any larger bits of dirt. Again, all this is trying to do is reduce the micro-scratches on your paint. These are inevitable; they will happen - CAR's very own car detailer (someone who loves to get cars really clean), Ryan Gilmore, has many products that will help you along your car cleaning journey.

Remember, get the car wet, wash it with a sponge and shampoo, rinse all the soapy suds away and then dry using a drying cloth - gone are the days of chamois leather.

Cleaning what you're using to clean

As with the dirt, you rinse off the car, if you don't have a specific car cleaning bucket with a grit guard, you're at risk of putting all of that back on again. Guess what this might make? Yup... micro-scratches. We explained what that means before, so to avoid these; it's best to constantly have a bucket with lovely clean water. You may want to have two buckets, one for your shampoo and one to clean the sponge.

Whatever you choose to clean your car, it's important to make sure it's clean - that means clean sponges, brushes and cloths with clean water.

The best car cleaning products that don't need a pressure washer

Here’s what you’ll need to wash your car without a pressure washer.

The Demon Gift Pack contains all you need for that perfect showroom finish, inside and out. Your car will look and smell great with five one-litre cleaning products, a sponge, and a Demon air freshener. It contains everything you need to clean your car without the need for a pressure washer. The shampoo is super bubbly and adds excellent lubrication and cleaning to your car.

Everything you need for under £30 with a bucket thrown in. A highly concentrated shampoo that cuts through dirt with ease and won’t strip your layers of wax, giving your car a glossy radiant protective shine.

You will get a 15-litre wash bucket, shampoo, polish, interior dressing, wheel cleaner, tyre dressing, and detailers glass cleaner in the kit.

This is a collection of five of the best car cleaning products Autoglym offers; these will quickly clean and wax your car, giving it a lasting shine.

Pure Shampoo removes everyday contaminants from your vehicle. Follow with Rapid Aqua Wax - which Autoglym claims is the "best-kept secret in car care" - to protect that fresh shine. This carnauba based wax can be applied directly to a wet vehicle after washing to speed the process up a little bit. Find out more about carnauba waxes in this CAR guide.

The Halfords Car Cleaning Award Winners Kit is designed to deliver a winning shine to your car. Containing award-winning formulations, this kit will make a car shine inside and out, leaving it with that spotless showroom look again.

This bundle from the ever-present Turtle Wax (a name which has been associated with car cleaning since inception, it seems) contains Turtle Wax Bug & Tar Remover 500ML, Turtle Wax Zip Wax Car Wash & Wax 5L, Turtle Wax Redline Wheel Cleaner 750ML, Turtle Wax Wet n Black Tyre Dressing 500ML, Turtle Wax Black In a Flash Trim & Tyre Wax 500ML and Turtle Wax - Wax it Wet Spray Wax 500ML. Not bad at all for under £50.

A whole car valeting bundle worth will last you a summer of washes and help keep your car pristine and looking great.

Since 1965, Autoglym has been leading the way in the research and development of premium car products.

The Autoglym Perfect Bodywork, Wheels and Interior Gift Collection is a comprehensive set with carefully chosen products designed to give you the ultimate finish. Your car has been passionately crafted and it deserves to be lovingly cared for by hand. Autoglym has a proven track record of revealing the natural beauty of car bodywork, wheels and interior - just as the designers intended.

The natty bag makes it a great gift for a car enthusiast, too.

Is this not a bit of shampoo but a bit of equipment which requires pressure? Why, yes, it is! The electric-free sprayer brings an advantage with it, using this you can spray a pre-wash on your car’s extra dirty areas which will help lift dirt and grime off the paint and out of its tiny little pores. This leaves a glossier and better finish on your car and helps to preserve the paintwork.

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