Keeping your car clean is important if you drive on a regular basis and you take pride in your vehicle. However, knowing how to give your car a wash so that it’s sparkling clean isn’t always immediately obvious. Unfortunately spraying it down with a hose and using a bit of soap and sponge just isn’t good enough.

Use these 8 tips to help you make sure your car looks new after a wash:

  1. Avoid washing your car in the sun. The sun causes soap and water to dry faster, which is going to make it harder to keep your car streak free. In fact, if you’re working alone, it’s likely nearly impossible.

  2. Invest in quality auto soap and car wash mitts. Sponges made of fabric will leave little lint pieces on your car that can be difficult to get off. They don’t really work as well, either.

  3. Wash from top to bottom. If you don’t, you’ll just be wiping dirt up onto your vehicle instead of toward the ground.

  4. Use a different sponge or mitt for really dirty parts of your car. Otherwise you could be pushing dirt all over your vehicle instead of wiping it off.

  5. Purchase high quality shammy clothes instead of using old towels. They’ll leave your car with an extra shine and no lint.

  6. Wax your car at least once per year. If you don’t want to do this yourself, take your vehicle to a professional right after a wash.

  7. Get a steam cleaner for the inside of your car. You can remove coffee stains and all sorts of little marks. They’re easy to rent at your local hardware or grocery store.

  8. Finish by vacuuming the inside of your car with a small vacuum with car attachments.