Tips on Washing Vehicles in the Winter

Tips on Washing Vehicles in the Winter

| February 08, 2021

In the summertime it is easier to be inspired to go outside and give your car or truck a good rinsing or scrubbing to wash away all the dirt and grime from the roads we travel.  But it is just as important to wash your car or truck in the wintertime too!

Protect Your Vehicle 

Here are some tips on the best practices for keeping your ride sparkling all year round.

When it is super cold outside, this is not the time to bring out the water hose, soft brush/towel/sponge, and your soapy bucket!  During those times, you should take your vehicle to a professional shop with either washing bays or full detail shops.  Sure, it costs a little more than if you took care of it at your home, but it's worth it to allow someone else to give some love and attention to your ride! 

Tools Needed

If you are planning on washing your vehicle at home on a milder (above freezing temperatures), gather all your needed tools for the job:  

  • A bucket,
  • microfiber clothes,
  • soap (I prefer using Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds biodegradable cleaner or Murphy's Oil Soap),
  • glass cleaner,
  • wax (spray or paste),
  • a couple of sponges,
  • Rain-x
  • Water hose (2 buckets of warm water only in the winter) 


Once gathered, now it's time to take a water hose and if you have a jet nozzel or an option for jet, to give your vehicle a once over to loosen up the grit, salt and grime. Once your vehicle is completely rinsed, it's time to use one of the buckets of warm water and add your soap.  Use a microfiber or sponge, and wipe in circular motions to remove dirt and grime.  Rinse and repeat only if necessary.  

There are two options to dry your vehicle - 1) allow it to dry on its own in the garage or driving down the road or 2) use a microfiber cloth and hand dry it.  We recommend the latter during the winter months particularly!  Also take an additional step and apply a wax.  This can be either a spray or a paste, depending on your personal preference.  While a paste may provide a thicker barrier and last a little longer, a spray wax can be effective as well.  

How often? 

This is a good question -- how often should one wash their vehicle? This could be a personal choice depending on where you live or if you use your vehicle for business.  If you live off a dirt or gravel road, you may want to wash it weekly, but if you don't drive very often, monthly.  In the winter months, particularly when there is snow and ice, washing your vehicle could be as frequently as every couple of weeks, depending on your budget (for car washes) or the weather.  

Just think, after winter/spring ice, snow, and salt grime and grit, comes everyone's "favorite season" - pollen! Another excellent time to remember to wash your vehicle, unless you prefer baby chick yellow.  

Happy washing!