How Often Should You Wash Your Car?

Can you risk damaging your car if you wash it too often? How often should you wash your car to achieve the best results? Here's the ultimate guide.

While your car won’t necessarily smell when it isn’t clean, a dirty car needs addressing before the problem becomes worse.

Dirt, dust, and bird poop will not only make your car look bad, but they can also damage its paint job.

This begs the following question: “How often should you wash your car?”.

A good rule of thumb is to wash your car every two weeks, but sometimes you should clean your car more often than that.

It is important not only to know how often you should wash your car but also how to wash it.

Keep on reading to learn everything you need to know about how to keep your car in pristine condition with little effort!

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When Should You Wash Your Car?

spraying or washing car undercarriage

Washing your car every two weeks will be sufficient in most cases. However, there are also situations where you might need to clean it sooner.

Both the weather and the local terrain play major roles when it comes to washing your car.

A car wash will be needed more often in regions with cold temperatures and snow and less frequently in a warm and dry climate.

The main reasons that you should clean your car more frequently during winter are road salt and snow slush.

Road salt will cause corrosion and rust, but this can be prevented by rinsing your car at least once every week.

If possible, you should also wash the undercarriage of the car, as much of the salt will stick in unseen places.

Snow and cold weather are not the only reasons to shorten your washing interval. If you take your car for a long drive on the highway, many insects and dirt can become attached to the paintwork.

We recommend washing off the bugs and dirt to protect the paint when this happens.

If the car is really dirty, even a few days after a thorough car wash, it is advisable to rinse the dirt again.

How Should You Wash The Car?

hand holding soapy sponge washing car

Should you polish and wax your car every time you wash it?

Is handwashing the way to go, or is an automatic car wash better?

Can you use dish soap to wash your car?

These are all important questions, and we have the answers.

When washing your car, handwashing is always the best option. An automatic car wash will often scratch your car.

It can be difficult to follow all the new detailing and maintenance advancements that are taking place.

At Auto Chimps, we are dedicated to keeping you updated with everything you need to know when it comes to maintenance.

Polish and wax should not be applied every time you wash your car. In fact, you should not polish your car more than once per year, while wax can be applied every few weeks.

In most cases, a simple water rinse and a hand wash with car shampoo will be sufficient.

Make sure to use a good car shampoo (not dish soap) with a balanced pH value from a trusted brand.

Many shampoos contain ingredients that the manufacturers claim will lead to improved results. This includes 2-in-1 wax shampoo.

One of these shampoos and a microfiber mitt will be enough to maintain your car and keep your paintwork in pristine condition.

Washing Your Car Too Often

Summer Car Washing

We have established that it is important to wash your car, but you might be wondering if you can wash it too often.

Every time you wash your car, you risk scratching its paint. Avoiding scratches at some point is almost impossible.

This is why waxing is important. When you wax your car, you add an extra layer of protection to your paintwork.

This layer will become thinner and thinner with each car wash, meaning the wax will need to be reapplied.

If you wash your car more frequently, you must also wax it more often. If you don’t, you will expose the clear coat of the paint and, eventually, the basecoat and primer.

Any scratches under the clearcoat will require extensive car scratch repair, which will lead to an expensive bill.


car wash

Washing your car is important and should be done regularly.

For most people, washing the car every two weeks will be sufficient.

If your car is dirtier than usual after a long drive, it is recommended to at least rinse off the dirt.

If it is snowing, you should wash your car more frequently to deal with the road salt and snow slush.

When washing your car, be sure to use appropriate soap, and don’t forget to rinse the undercarriage, especially if it has been exposed to road salt.

You cannot wash your car too much. However, you need to ensure that the car always has a layer of wax. Washing more frequently will lead to a faster decline of the wax layer.

This means it is important to wax the car in shorter intervals if the car is washed more frequently.

If you fail to do this, you risk damaging the lower layers of the paintwork.

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Bajro Muric

Bajro is an ASE-certified master technician and car enthusiast with a love for writing and teaching. He writes about anything regarding cars, from common problems and fixes to racing.