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10 Clever Hacks to Wash Your Car Faster

Have you ever washed your car for what seemed like all day? I’ve spent far too much time on a 90-something-degree day duplicating effort, going back to grab a bucket, forgetting where I put my good towels..the list goes on and on.

After years of researching how to make the car wash process faster (and easier), today I want to share 10 of my favorite car wash tips to wash faster—without sacrificing qualities.

1. Use a detailing cart

For me personally, I waste a ton of time finding the right bucket, grabbing the brushes I need, trying to find the right microfiber towel—this list goes on and on. For this reason, I recommend picking up a detailing cart.

My favorite is this unit by Adams, but if you don’t have one already, check out this post where I compare 7 of my favorite detailing carts I’ve seen.

Adam’s Detailing Cart

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adams detailing cart

If you have the space, simply wheel your cart out to begin washing, and roll it around your vehicle as you go. I personally hate lugging a bucket around, and this is one of the best hacks I use often.

2. Use a retractable hose reel

If you don’t like to unwind and wind up your hose reel, I recommend picking up a retractable hose reel like this one made by Coxreels. Simply choose the hose size and length you need, and never reel in a hose again.

Coxreels Retractable Water Hose

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Coxreels P-LP-350 Retractable Hose Reel

Coxreels and Reelcraft have a few lower-end options that still retract. Quality retractable hose reels are not cheap but well worth it in my opinion, especially if you wash your vehicle or boat a lot.

Check out my post on the best hose reels for detailing if you’re looking for a new one.

3. Organize your supplies

I’m guilty of throwing everything in the same bucket after washing my car, so don’t make the same mistake if you want to wash fast. To wash fast, organize all your microfiber towels (for glass and paint), your shampoos, your tire supplies, your waxes, and everything else you use.

A detailing cart as I mentioned can work great, but if you don’t have a ton of room, you can use a simple shelving system or a cabinet with shelves.

Metal Garage Storage Cabinet

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It depends on personal preference, but if you keep all your supplies labeled and organized, you won’t waste time hunting for a bug and tar remover that’s nowhere to be found.

4. Use a rolling car wash stool

Tired of bending over to wash wheels, standing up, bending over again? You have options. A rolling car wash stool makes washing tires and wheels a lot faster.

Chemical Guys Ultimate Rolling Detailing Stool

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chemical guys rolling car wash cart

Many of these stools include a spot for your bucket plus spray bottle holders.

Not only can a rolling caddy speed up your wash process for paint, but it also makes it easier to clean your wheels without sacrificing comfort.

5. Batch tasks together

wheel well brush

Research published by the American Psychological Association revealed people are 20 to 40 percent less efficient if they switch between tasks instead of batching similar tasks together.

For example, I used to wash my car’s wheels (not all together)—but one by one, as I made my way around the vehicle. This takes longer based on my experience because you have to switch gears and buckets too much.

You also risk contaminating a clean panel on your car with dirty tire water if you wash panels, switch to tires, and then switch to removing bugs.

Check out our post covering what order to wash your car to learn more.

6. Use quick connects

Quick connects (sometimes called quick disconnects) are a must for detailing fast, especially if you like to use attachments like wands. I sometimes like to use a foam gun, switch back to the sprayer, or hook up the power washer from time to time and can tell you it is a huge PAIN to thread hoses to spigots and attachments.

Solid Brass Quick Connect Garden Hose Kit

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If you use one primary hose for more than washing your car, save yourself the hassle and purchase multiple quick disconnects for every outdoor spigot you use.

Check out our tutorial on installing quick connects to your hose for a step-by-step and illustrated guide.

7. Use a foam gun

foam gun

I can wash a large vehicle much faster if I use a foam gun vs. a bucket. A foam gun is a device that you can use to spray soap directly on your vehicle; simply fill the foam gun’s reservoir with soap and attach it to your hose. 

You can read about the differences between foam guns and foam cannons in this post; in essence, foam guns don’t require a power washer as do foam cannons.

Adams Premium Foam Gun

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adams foam gun

Pressure is sometimes ideal for cleaning fender wells generating thick foam you need to clean very dirty vehicles, but for routine washing, a foam gun works great.

If you have a small vehicle, a bucket can be just as fast, but I’ve found it’s often quicker to spray foam on large vehicles than refill my bucket several times.

8. Use a self-service car wash in certain situations

self service car wash

I am not generally a fan of self-service washes, but they do have their place if you don’t have any other options or don’t have time—especially time to wash sand or salt from your vehicle.

Most self-service car washes still accept quarters and make it pretty easy to wash a vehicle in 5 minutes or less. Simply spraying foam on your car won’t clean your car like using a wash mitt will, but it’s a quick and easy way to remove mud, salt, or anything you really need to get off your vehicle in a hurry.

I typically only use self-service washes if I am out of town and can’t hand wash my vehicle using products I prefer.

9. Use a cordless wet/dry vac

If you keep your interior relatively clean, you don’t need a ton of suction to clean up. A cordless vacuum can shave seconds off your interior detailing process because you don’t have to worry about an extension cord or outlet.

Milwaukee Portable Wet/Dry Vacuum

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milwaukee car wash vac

I recommend this unit by Milwaukee (one of my favorites) because it has a 2-gallon capacity and is also compatible with other 18V Milwaukee tools you may already have (or want to pick up).

This unit comes with all the crevice tools you need to vacuum between seats or cupholders, a big upgrade over handheld vacs.

A small portable vac isn’t ideal for large vehicles that are filthy (and require a ton of vacuum time), but perfect for quick 5 to 10-minute jobs.

10. Use a blower to dry your vehicle

Some areas of your vehicle are just hard to dry completely, like areas around trim or your windshield. It’s handy to use a handheld blower you to eliminate water beads quickly from these areas prior to applying wax.

Adam’s Handheld Car Dryer

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While you can use a leaf blower, it’s safer to use a handheld dryer or a device like the Master Blaster that’s the gold standard drying device in auto detailing.

Save time and wash like a pro

To wash your car faster, you have to be organized—even down to the small things. But beyond products, you need to know some basic car wash fundamentals to get beautiful results..every time you wash.

Ready to improve your washing and detailing skills?

This video course unpacks the fundamentals of washing and detailing. From exterior cleaning and blemish removal…you’ll learn the secrets that will give you spotless pro-level results!

Check out our video course, Washing and Detailing for Beginners for a crash course on all the secrets, and use code BLOG at checkout for 15% off. Happy detailing!

Baxter Overman is the founder of Carwash Country and has been been cleaning up dirty vehicles for nearly 20 years. Since 2017, he's helped thousands of beginners see better results by learning the fundamentals of washing and detailing. He's on a mission to make the car wash process more fun...and way easier.

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