Tips for Cleaning Your Car


In the Washington, D.C. area, it can sometimes be very difficult to wash your own car, truck, van or SUV. Many of us live in apartment complexes without access to a water hose, while others live in homes with street parking or narrow driveways. Bottom line, most of the time the answer to a clean car comes in the form of an auto detailing shop like Capitol Shine, which is why we have locations in Arlington, VA. and Bethesda, MD.

Many times, however, you just want to clean a single spot or two. Maybe a bird left something behind, or a smudge from leaning up against the hood. For small areas like that, it’s possible to clean them quickly without much effort, but what do you use?

Household cleaners should, for the most part, be avoided when cleaning your car. Dishwashing detergent, hand soap and other cleaning agents contain chemicals meant to break down grease and grime from cookware. As a result, they can break down the finish on your vehicle like wax or even the clear coat. Instead, purchase a small bottle of soap specifically designed for washing cars.

Also, it’s better to wash a car in cooler weather or at least when the sun is not at its highest. Heat will speed up the drying process and may create water spots if not properly dried.

It may go without saying, but glass cleaner is safe to use on glass only – do not use it to clean spots on the paint as it can wear down wax or the top layer.

Regardless of whether you clean your car yourself or take it somewhere, hand washing is always the best method to use. Avoid automatic car washes as they can scrape your car’s paint (read our blog on this here).

Other things you can do to take care of your car, truck, van or SUV:

  • Park in the shade when you can to reduce paint and interior damage.
  • Check your tires! Extreme heat can mix with under inflated tires and cause a blowout.
  • Use a sunshade for the windshield. This can help protect your dashboard from cracking as well as reduce the overall temperature of your vehicle’s interior.
  • Consider installing window tint, which can help block UV rays – ask our friends at Skyline Tint in Springfield.
  • A protective coating, like Ceramic ProOpti-Coat Pro or Paint Protection Film can also help block UV rays from doing damage to your vehicle’s paint.
  • Use a car cover when your vehicle is parked for longer periods of time.

To schedule your wash, wax, interior shampoo, headlight restoration or a protective coating like Ceramic ProOpti-Coat Pro or Paint Protection Film, head on over to our scheduling page to make an appointment! Please schedule at least 24 hours in advance to ensure time and date.