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The Eternal Car Wash Conundrum: How Often Should I Wash My Car?

Updated: Jul 4, 2023


Man washing the wheel of a black car wearing red shoes and red gloves

Is your car collecting more grime than a teenager's bedroom? Do your neighbours mistake your vehicle for a modern art piece titled 'Nature's Dustpan'? Are birds aiming at your car roof with uncanny accuracy? If you nodded to any or all of these questions, you've probably asked yourself this one:


How often should I wash my car?


It's generally recommended that you wash your car at least every 2 weeks. The frequency of car washing depends on various factors such as weather conditions, driving environment, and personal preference. If you live in an area with heavy pollution, and corrosive substances, or have recently travelled on dusty or muddy roads, more frequent washing may be necessary. However, washing your every 2 weeks is generally considered sufficient for most situations.


But the truth is: it's a bit more complicated than that.


Fear not! Wash Doctors are here to help! So, let us break it down for you.


A Matter of Car-sthetics


Most car owners fall into two categories.


The first - Car-sthetics Fanatics. They could eat off their own car's bonnet because it’s as clean as their kitchen countertop (possibly cleaner).


The second - the "Only Wash When It Rains" club. They believe in the power of Mother Nature.


But let's get serious (and a tad less comical). How often you should wash your car depends on a multitude of factors like location, weather, usage, and whether or not you've angered a flock of birds recently.


The Mighty Forces of Nature Trying To Ruin Your Clean Car


Let's start with the location. Live near the beach? Love the salty air, the sunsets, and the sand?

So does your car, but for different reasons. The salty air can accelerate rusting and corrode your vehicle faster than you can say "Surf's up!". Similarly, if you live in an area with a lot of industrial pollution or bird traffic (yes, that's you city dwellers), washing your car every two weeks would be a good practice.


Then there’s the weather. It plays a key role too.


How often should I wash my car in the summer?

In the summer, or if you are somewhere where it's hotter than a jalapeno, your car may be more susceptible to paint damage from the relentless sun. A fortnightly wash and a regular wax could help protect your car’s sunburnt skin.


How often should I wash my car in the winter?

During the winter months, it is recommended to wash your car at least once every two weeks. While it may be tempting to skip car washes due to cold temperatures, road salt, and other winter grime can cause damage to your vehicle's paint and undercarriage. Washing your car regularly helps to remove these corrosive elements and prevents them from causing long-term harm.


Additionally, frequent car washes in winter can help maintain visibility by keeping headlights and taillights clean. It is also important to remember to dry your car thoroughly after washing to prevent water from freezing and potentially damaging your vehicle.


Your Car’s Social Life


Consider your car’s daily grind. If it spends more time on dusty roads, country lanes and muddy tracks than on a clean tar driveway, or if it's often parked under a dripping, sappy tree, it might need some extra TLC. Washing it weekly can help prevent long-term paint and body damage.


The Exception to the Rules


Now, let's say you’re an owner of a car that doesn’t get much use. It’s tucked away safely in your garage, protected from the wrath of bird droppings, and sun damage. You might think, “Well, this blog post isn’t for me then.” Not so fast. Even in this scenario, we'd recommend a wash at least once a month. This is to prevent dust accumulation which could lead to microscopic abrasions on the surface.


Sounds like a lot of washing then!?


In short, yes. It goes without saying that the better you look after your vehicle, the better your car's exterior and your vehicle will hold its value a LOT better than a neglected car.

Remember that saying, ‘a stitch in time saves nine’? This could not be more true than when it comes to the frequency of car washing. Prolonged exposure to bird droppings, tree sap, dust & tar will 100% damage your car's clear coat, and the paintwork. Now, this is reversible, but you are looking at a three, maybe four-figure sum.


What can you do to protect your exterior, other than regular washes?


Valeting and detailing products are now so technologically advanced, that really anything is possible! Specialist waxes and ceramic coatings will provide a long-lasting hydrophobic protective coating to your vehicle's exterior, meaning all the dirt, sap, bird poo, and even damage from the sun will NEVER come into direct contact with your paintwork. Now, these do need to be maintained and be ‘topped up’ regularly. But, the end result? A glossy protective shield that not only keeps your car looking great, but also protects it, and makes regular washing far more effective and much easier.


How often is too often to get your car washed?


The frequency of getting your car washed depends on factors such as climate, driving conditions, and personal preference. In general, it is recommended to wash your car every two weeks to maintain its appearance and protect the paintwork. However, if you live in an area where there is heavy pollution, road salt, or bird droppings, more frequent washing may be necessary. On the other hand, excessive washing can also be harmful as it can strip away the protective wax and lead to premature paint damage. Ultimately, finding a balance is key to keeping your car clean and protected without overdoing it.


Can you wash your car once a week?


Yes, you can wash your car once a week, but it may not be necessary to do so unless your car is excessively dirty. Washing your car once a week can help remove dirt, dust, and other debris that accumulate on its surface, ensuring it looks clean and well-maintained. However, frequent washing may strip away the natural protective wax and lead to a dull appearance over time. Additionally, washing your car too often can be time-consuming and water-intensive. It is advisable to consider the weather conditions and the level of dirtiness before deciding on a weekly car wash routine.


How often does the average person clean their car?


On average, car owners wash their cars once every 2 weeks. Having a clean car looks and feels fantastic and it helps maintain the value of your car.

Fortnightly car washes can prevent everlasting damage. Bird droppings and dirt can damage your car’s paintwork if left untreated. There is also a large proportion of car enthusiasts who wash their cars weekly to avoid this damage.


Why should I wash my car every 2 weeks?


Washing your car every 2 weeks is important for maintaining its appearance and longevity. Regular washing helps remove dirt, dust, and grime that can accumulate on the exterior surfaces. This not only keeps your car looking clean and shiny but also prevents the buildup of corrosive substances that can damage the paint. Additionally, washing your car regularly allows you to inspect it for any potential issues such as scratches, dents, or chips that may require immediate attention. It is also worth noting that a clean car is more enjoyable to drive, as it creates a pleasant and comfortable environment for both the driver and passengers. Overall, regular car washing is a simple yet effective way to preserve the value and aesthetics of your vehicle.


Find out: Things to do before selling your car for more information on what you can do to preserve the value of your car when coming to sell.


To Conclude


Despite our fun and games, car washing isn't just about maintaining appearances. It's about maintaining the lifespan of your vehicle and its value. So, to finally answer your question, a safe bet would be to wash your car every two weeks, and give it a good wax once every three months. However, adjust according to your circumstances, and if in doubt, it’s better to wash more frequently than not enough.


Wash Doctors provides mobile car valeting and mobile car detailing services to cover everything, from regular washing to specialist detailing services such as machine paint correction, and Ceramic Coatings. Please reach out to us with any questions and we will be happy to help.


Or, search our services in your area here.



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