Washing Your Car in Winter

When it is cold and snowy outside, washing your car is the last thing you want to do, however, keeping your car clean in winter is extremely important.

Salts and chemicals used on roads to keep them moving cling to your car’s finish and are transferred to its interior on boots and shoes. When the snow clears and the sun shines, you can actually see the residue of salt represented in a white, powdery layer clinging to your car’s finish. That layer of grime is slowly eroding the polish or wax, and, if left to linger, can penetrate to the paint. That white residue can also be seen on the chrome, mats and carpets inside your car.

Washing your car in winter might seem foolish since it is only going to get dirty again, so most people skip it all together. However, if you don’t wash your car in between winter storms, you can be risking real damage that will cost you more in the long run.

Road salt, sand and chemicals can cause pitting in the finish and chrome. Left unattended that pitting turns to rust and rust can spread like a bad skin rash.

The best way to avoid damage is to wash your car after every winter storm.

But how do you wash your car if the weather is cold and your hoses are frozen?

First – don’t try to wash your car when the weather is below freezing because chances are you won’t get very far. Wait for a sunny day when the temperature is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit the follow this

Supplies needed:

2 large buckets with lids that fit tight – you can pick these up at any home center

2 pair of rubber gloves

1 sheep skin or microfiber wash mitt

Car shampoo

2 microfiber drying towels

High quality car polish



1. Fill both buckets with the warmest water you can get from your bath tub or laundry sink then fit the lids tightly on the buckets.

2. Pack your supplies into your car (remember to keep your microfiber towels clean and dry during transport) then drive to your nearest Do It Yourself car wash bay.

3. Use the pressure wash on rinse cycle to clean as much grime from your car as possible. Pays close attention to the undercarriage of the vehicle to get rid of excess salt and chemicals that can cause rust.

4. Add car shampoo into one bucket following the instructions for dilution. Then slip on rubber gloves and begin performing a two bucket wash on your car – soaping one section of the car then rinsing half way through to avoid significant ice build-up.

5. Rinse the vehicle thoroughly using the pressure wash hose to remove all residue off the finish.

6. Quickly dry the vehicle with your microfiber towels. Don’t forget windows, head lights and tail lights.

7. If your car is cold – start it and let it run until it warms up again then quickly apply a light coat of polish.

8. Wipe down the interior chrome along car doors and thoroughly clean rubber mats. If you don’t have rubber mats, you may want to invest in them to protect your carpeting from salt and chemicals.

Investing time into washing your car in winter can save you time and money in the long run.

If the weather is too cold or if you rather not wash your car in winter yourself, bring it in to Barry’s Auto Body and we will do it for you. 718 948-8585