Can I Save Money by Cleaning My Own Car?

With fuel prices at record highs and day-to-day maintenance costs rising, taking your car to a professional car wash is becoming something of a luxury. But it’s important to remember that cleaning your car isn’t just about how it looks; if you stop having it washed regularly to save money, corrosion, rust, and damage could quickly follow.

man washing his car

The good news is there’s a simple solution to all this – and that’s cleaning your car yourself. Rather than spending £5 to £10 a week on professional car washes, you can make significant long-term savings by investing in a set of car wash tools and taking the DIY route.

Sure, there’ll be an initial outlay as you build up your car wash kit and finding the time to wash your car might sometimes be tricky. But with the right tools, products and knowhow, you can save big on the cost of regular car washes and take satisfaction in achieving shiny, showroom results yourself.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at just how much you could save by cleaning your own car and provide some useful tips and advice on achieving professional results.

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Professional Car Wash vs DIY Car Wash: How Much Could You Save?

There’s no question that professional car washes offer a quick and convenient way to keep your car shiny and clean. But whether you use a hand car wash or a machine, relying on these services is the most expensive way to maintain your car’s paintwork.

So, just how much could you save by switching to home car cleaning? With some rough estimation and a few calculations, you can do the maths.

couple washing their carLet’s say you spend £7.50 a fortnight on a professional hand car wash. That’s £195 a year or £16.25 a month – a sizeable chunk for those watching the pennies.

Now let’s say you made the switch to home car washing. Assuming you’re starting with zero tools and products, you will need:

  • Pressure washer – £50-£100
  • Two buckets – £2-£5
  • Two sponges – £2-£5
  • Two microfibre towels – £2-£5
  • Car shampoo – £5-£10

So, even if you chose a top-of-the-range pressure washer, premium tools and a high-quality car shampoo, the cost to get a car wash kit together would be cheaper or comparable (depending on the products you choose) to the annual cost of using professional car washes.

Remember, too, that you’ll be able to use these products again and again; car shampoo is the only thing you’ll need to replace if you keep your tools in good condition. So even if the initial outlay is off-putting, the long-term savings you stand to make warrant the expense.

What’s more, you don’t need a pressure washer to clean your car, so if that’s the one big expense that’s putting you off, don’t be deterred. A hose can do a good job of rinsing your car, or you can just swill everything with a bucket of water.

Note: The prices listed above are for illustrative purposes only.

The Benefits of Washing Your Own Car

Here at Simoniz, we’re firm believers in DIY car washing, and think there are lots of benefits to doing it yourself, aside from saving money. Sceptical? Read why we think it’s the best option below.

1.     You Get Better Results

We’re not saying professional car washes do a bad job, but when it comes to cleaning your own car, you choose the standards you want to set. Doing it yourself means you can spend time doing a customised job, focusing on the areas you want to focus on. Plus, it also gives you the opportunity to detail your car inside and out, allowing you to spot those areas you didn’t know needed attention.

2.     It’s Satisfying and Enjoyable

OK, we understand that this is a subjective point, but we think cleaning your own car can be satisfying, rewarding and, ultimately, enjoyable. Spending an hour or so showing your car some love can remind you why you bought it in the first place, and there’s no greater feeling than getting done and standing back to admire your handiwork.

woman washing her car 3.     You’ll Learn New Skills

From using a pressure washer to waxing the paintwork, there are plenty of skills you’ll need to master to guarantee great results when cleaning and maintaining your car. This can be an enjoyable process and may give you the confidence to tackle other maintenance tasks around the home and garden (like jet washing your patio, for example).

4.     You Can Spot Issues that Need Addressing

Cleaning your car is a good opportunity to give it a once-over and check for problems that could become bigger issues. For example, loose or damaged components on the undercarriage or spots of rust on the alloy wheels can be a sign that remedial action is needed. And when you’ve finished washing your car (which you should be doing every fortnight) now’s the perfect time to carry out those regular maintenance checks, like the oil, tyre pressures, coolant, and screen wash.

Expert Advice for Cleaning Your Car at Home

Whatever your age, wherever you live, and no matter your skill level, we believe every motorist can clean their car themselves. And to help make sure you get the results you want, we have a huge range of car care guides that can take the stress and guesswork out of at-home cleaning and maintenance.

Below, we’ve put together a selection of tips and advice from Simoniz experts, perfect for those making the switch to DIY car washing for the first time…

  • Always use the two-bucket wash method – one bucket for clean water and shampoo and the other for cleaning your dirty sponge. This stops you transferring dirt back onto your car, which can lead to swirl marks and light scratches.
  • Apply wax at least twice a year – ideally at the start of spring and again in the autumn, as this guarantees year-round protection. Read our beginner’s guide to wax for more useful tips on protecting your car’s paintwork.

man cleaning car interior

  • Always use dedicated car cleaners – using products like washing up liquid can harm your car’s protective finish, increasing the risk of corrosion and scratches. Don’t cut corners; buy high-quality car care products that offer the best results.
  • Don’t neglect the interior – if you want your car to feel as good as it looks, cleaning the interior is as important as the exterior. Visit our interior cleaning hub for must-know advice and essential products for keeping the inside of your car clean.
  • Use the right products for the right material – whether you’re cleaning plastic bumpers, alloy wheels or leather car seats, there are products you can buy to care for individual areas around your car. Going this extra step may cost more, but you’ll be thrilled with the results.

We hope this guide has inspired you to give DIY car cleaning a go – and save money in the process. For more motoring and car care advice, head to the Simoniz blog or check out our complete product range.

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