How to Carry Out the Best Method of Cleaning, Polishing and Protecting You Car’s Exterior

In the car wash business, you are only as good as your last clean. When a vehicle owner brings their car in for a clean, they are going to judge the results each time. If the latest clean is not as good as the last clean, chances are they will be dissatisfied and decide to take their business elsewhere.

That’s the last thing that you want. So we suggest you dive into our step-by-step process below, highlighting professional methodologies around cleaning, polishing, and protecting the exterior bodywork of a vehicle.

Step 1 ─ Pre-Wash Inspection

It doesn’t take long for the weather, local wildlife, and life in general to make its mark on a car’s paintwork. So before you start cleaning, give the car a good once over to check it for any visible contaminants.

These could include general grime and oil from the roads, bird droppings, sticky fingers, and environmental dust. Identifying these contaminants allows for targeted treatment during the cleaning process, preventing potential damage to the paintwork.

Step 2 ─ Washing

We suggest that you only use a high-quality car shampoo and a microfiber wash mitt. After covering the car with warm, soapy water, take your mitt and gently wash the exterior of the vehicle, starting from the top and working your way down to prevent dirt and debris from being dragged across the paint.

In turn, this minimizes the risk of scratches and swirl marks. Rinse thoroughly with clean water to ensure all soap residue is removed.

Step 3 ─ Decontamination


Decontamination is a process that can reach those parts that normal washing and cleaning will never reach – resulting in a pristine result. Seek out a quality clay bar, or clay mitts. This step prepares the surface for polishing and ensures a smooth, glass-like finish.

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Step 4 ─ Polishing

Polishing is where the magic happens. Quality polishing compounds and pads are used to work towards the restoration of clarity and depth to the paintwork. At this stage, it is important to be selective about the quality of the product you choose, as cheaper, unsuitable products could damage the paintwork.

Once you are confident with the quality of the polish, you can start the extremely satisfying process of bringing the paintwork back to its former glory.  Work in small sections, applying moderate pressure and overlapping passes to achieve uniform results.

Step 5 ─ Protection

The next stage of the process is to add a layer of protection, as this is achieved with a good quality car wax which will help to rejuvenate the paintwork. This layer of protection fights against external elements that can damage the paintwork, such as UV rays from the sun, road contaminants, and bird dropping.

Step 6 ─ Final Touches

The final touches are what will set your car cleaning service apart from your competitors, so use this step to truly elevate the exterior appearance of your client’s car. Use a high-quality detailing spray to remove any remaining residue and add an extra layer of gloss. Don’t forget to pay special attention to trim, wheels, and glass surfaces.

When it comes to car exterior cleaning, using premium products and executing each step with precision is not just about achieving a flawless result, but establishing you and your team’s levels of care, expertise and professionalism over and above your competitors.

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Car Cleaning – A Methodical Career Perfect for Rehabilitation


Now that we have established a defined methodology for car cleaning, this is the perfect opportunity to highlight how the car wash industry can be instrumental in helping veterans re-establish themselves back into civilian life after many years in the military.

Certain elements of the car wash industry suit the veteran mindset; a sense of perfectionism that is a kickback from the discipline and structure that is inherent in military life; a sense of working together and camaraderie, working as a team towards a common goal; a sense of purpose, having a reason to get up every day and achieve something satisfying and worthwhile.

If you have spent the last few years living a life of structure and discipline, the freedom of life outside can be discombobulating and overwhelming. The process of cleaning, polishing, and protecting a car’s exterior mirrors the discipline and precision instilled in military training. Veterans excel in this environment, thriving on the structured routine and tangible results of their efforts.

Moreover, the car wash industry provides a supportive community where veterans can connect with like-minded individuals who understand their experiences. The bonds formed on the job extend beyond the workplace, creating a network of support and camaraderie that eases the transition to civilian life.

Beyond the practical skills gained, car exterior polishing empowers veterans to reclaim their sense of purpose and identity. It offers them a chance to contribute to society in a meaningful way, restoring a sense of pride and self-worth that may have been lost during their time in the military.

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So please do not look at car washing as simply a job to keep veterans occupied – for too many it is a lifeline, a way back into society by carrying out a function that feeds back into an overall sense of purpose, in an environment that offers socializing and camaraderie.

That supportive community, where veterans can connect with like-minded individuals who understand their experiences while re-establishing their purpose and value can often be life-saving. Do not underestimate it.

Is Car Washing an Ideal Business for the Entrepreneurial Veteran

In time, the more entrepreneurial veteran may want to look at setting up their own car wash business, often to be used as a transitional place of employment opportunities for other veterans. There are many reasons why car washing is a great business for a veteran:

  1. Low start-up costs ─ Starting a car wash business typically requires minimal initial investment compared to other ventures. For veterans who may be transitioning with limited financial resources, this presents an attractive opportunity to become entrepreneurs without shouldering significant debt. Whether it’s a mobile detailing service or a small-scale car wash facility, the relatively low start-up costs make it accessible to veterans from diverse backgrounds.
  2. Stress-free operation ─ Unlike high-pressure corporate environments, the operation of a car wash business tends to be relatively stress-free. While attention to detail and customer satisfaction are paramount, the day-to-day operations rarely involve the intense pressures and demands often associated with other industries. This allows veterans to focus on their craft, enjoy a healthy work-life balance, and gradually acclimate to civilian life without the added stress of a high-pressure work environment.