5 Places to Hand Wash When Detailing Your Car


In this article you will learn:

  • Why you should handwash certain areas of your car

  • 5 surfaces to handwash during your car cleaning routine

  • Which car cleaning products to use when handwashing your vehicle

Some of the best auto detailing techniques are old-fashioned. Handwashing is one of them.

While many of today’s car owners find it convenient to pressure wash their vehicles or take them through the car wash, these cleaning methods often aren’t enough to remove all the dirt and stains from every surface of their cars. Handwashing allows you to scrub heavily soiled areas and access hard-to-reach spots to get a sparkling clean finish.

So, which areas of your car need some extra care? Here are 5 surfaces to handwash during your next detail!

Door jambs

Although we tend to keep our car doors shut, both when driving and parking our vehicles, dirt and debris can still slip through the cracks and become trapped in your rubber seals and door jambs. These surfaces are inaccessible when washing your car with a car wash brush or an electric pressure washer.

You’ll need a microfiber car wash mitt to remove dirt and stains from these areas. Wash mitts allow you to reach into tight spaces to remove more soils and grime for a deeper clean. They’re by far one of the best tools for handwashing, so we recommend having at least one in your car care kit.

To clean your door jambs, open the car door, then dip your wash mitt into a bucket of cleaning solution like M.A.X. Power Wash and water. Gently scrub the dirt from your door jambs. Use your fingers to reach deep into the edges of each rubber seal to remove more deeply embedded soils. Rinse your door jams thoroughly with a hose, being careful to keep water out of your car interior, and hand dry with a fresh, microfiber towel.

m.a.x. power wash

Fuel compartment

You interact with your fuel compartment regularly to fill up on gas, but how often do you think about cleaning it? Just like with your car doors, there are tiny gaps around the fuel door where dirt and debris can get in. You can only reach this area by popping open your fuel door, so a typical car wash won’t remove the dust buildup from your fuel compartment.

Once you’ve opened your fuel compartment, make sure the gas cap is sealed tightly before cleaning the area to prevent water or cleaning products from getting into your gas tank. Use your wash mitt to wipe the dust and debris from every surface of your gas compartment, including the inside of your fuel door and the area around the cap. Rinse thoroughly and towel dry.

Pro tip: Apply 1-2 mists of spray wax to your fuel compartment after handwashing to give the area some extra protection and chemical resistance. This will also make it easier to keep these surfaces clean in the future!

Under the hood

Many car owners neglect the area under the hood during the detail process, but handwashing this area regularly makes it much easier to maintain and even has performance benefits! Keeping your engine compartment clean prevents corrosion from building up on and around your battery terminals, which can make it more difficult, or, in some cases, impossible, to start your car.

Start by clearing any leaves or foreign debris from under the hood. We recommend using a separate, microfiber detailing cloth to handwash the engine compartment to prevent contaminating—and potentially, damaging—your exterior car surfaces with acidic soils and engine grime. Instead of using soap and water to clean this area, spray an exterior detailer like Turtle Wax Clean & Shine generously all over your engine compartment to avoid damaging your vehicle’s electronics. Wipe gently with your microfiber cloth, spraying more detailer as needed until you’ve removed all the grime from these surfaces.

If you have any chalky white soils that won’t come clean on and around your battery terminals, you may have corrosion already built up around this area. Check out this guide to learn how to remove this corrosion and keep your car battery running smoothly!

Windshield wipers

Your windshield wipers are another place where dirt and soils collect. This isn’t a big surprise, since your windshield wipers are responsible for wiping rain, dust and pollen out of your line of sight.

You can remove any mineral deposits and embedded soils from your wiper blades using the same wash mitt and car wash soap you use to wash the rest of your car. Gently scrub one blade at a time from tip to base with your wash mitt, then switch to the second blade. We also recommend a soft bristle detailing brush to loosen tough, embedded soils from the indented surfaces of your wiper blades. Rinse along with the rest of your car and hand dry with a fresh, microfiber towel.


Wheel woolies are great for lifting and removing brake dust from deep between your spokes and underneath your brake components, but one of the best ways to get your wheels and tires sparkling clean is to scrub every intricate surface by hand. The road grime and brake dust that coat your wheels and tires are much more abrasive than the soils that stick to your clear coat, so we recommend investing in a separate cleaning tool for deep cleaning your wheels to avoid scratching your paintwork.

Use a soft, heavy-duty scrubber like our  Wheel Woolie Brush to massage our All Wheel & Tire Cleaner into your wheels and tires, one wheel at a time. Gently scrub the wheel facings, spokes, rims, wheel barrels and sidewalls until you remove all brake dust and soils. Towel dry and follow up with our Wet N’ Black Ultra Wet Tire Shine to restore the sleek, jet-black look of your tires.

all wheel & tire cleaner


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