The windscreen wipers can no longer cope with the build-up of gunge on the windscreen and passing pedestrians have been writing “clean me!” in the dust on the bodywork. It’s time for a visit to the car wash!  It seems that the vision of dad on the drive on a Sunday afternoon bucket in hand is fast disappearing in favour of the car wash.

Some years ago, a piece in the Daily Telegraph predicted that we would soon see the end of home car washing and that comfy weekend ritual we’ve grown up with. Surprisingly, they were right. Only three out of four women and one-third of men have ever taken a sponge to their car. It seems that millions of us are no longer prepared to wash our own cars and don’t even own the sponges, buckets and leathers to do the job. 

Better alternatives to the personal car wash

The car wash and the teams of willing car washers at supermarkets and closed down garages are more likely to get down and dirty with our cars than we are.  With 75% of women and 25% of men admitting that they have never hand washed their car, is this the end of an era? In the survey of 1100 adults, carried out by OSV car leasing in the UK, even when the men admitted to taking up the sponge, only twelve per cent said that it was a regular occurrence. 

There was a time when every house had a mum or dad outside it at the weekend, washing the car.  Nowadays however, the pressures on time for mums and dads and the fact that children seem to have endless parties, sleepovers and clubs means that the car isn’t ever on the drive long enough to be washed!  The fact that everything from car washing services to shops and sports are all now available on a Sunday may also be the reason that the car washing ritual has died, there is simply too much else to do!

Cheap and cheerful and a diet coke break moment? 

Getting the car washed is cheap these days and whether that’s with a car wash machine or professional valet service, it can be a pain-free, inexpensive and edifying experience to watch and wait for your car to emerge resplendent and sparkling.

Kids turn their backs on extra pocket money

Washing the car has traditionally been a way for the kids to get their hands on some extra cash (even if they have scrubbed it down with a brillo pad!). The OSV survey, however, included a question about whether parents had ever asked their young ones to wash the car, and only 5% said they had!  Seems the kids have bigger fish to fry these days or are too busy travelling in the car to be washing it!

If the mood strikes!

So if the mood does strike and a home car wash is attempted, the most likely car owners to wash their own car on a weekly basis are those in Sheffield, Birmingham and Chelmsford.  Those least likely to pick up the bucket and sponge will be car owners in Bath and Edinburgh. 

For BMW and Toyota cars, it’s good news as they are the cars most likely to be washed by their owners while the cars least likely to benefit from TLC from their owners are Peugeots, Range Rovers and Mercedes.  If that mood does strike, here are our top ten car washing tips!

  1.  Use warm water 
  2. Use a PH neutral shampoo in one bucket and plain water in the other 
  3. Rather than a sponge, use a wash mitt made of lamb’s wool 
  4. Wash from the top downwards 
  5. Don’t use the same cloth for the wheels and bodywork 
  6. Don’t use wheel cleaners that are high- alkaline or silicone-based products – they might stain 
  7. Instead of chamois leather, use a towel to dry the car 
  8. Check your cleaning materials regularly for any dirt 
  9. Use small circular movements to dry bodywork to avoid streaks
  10.   Don’t rush it, and enjoy washing your car!

Download our FREE Used Car Checklist.

Join our community to download our Used Car Checklist with everything there is to know about buying a used car.