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Washing Your Car in the Garage? 8 Helpful Products to Have

For times when it’s simply too cold (or hot) outside to wash your car, it helps to have a clean and organized garage for detailing. With the right garage setup, you can detail, protect, and even wash your vehicle much more comfortably.

In this blog post, I’ll lay out 8 tips for washing your vehicle in a garage, including a few products to help you get started.

1. Waterless wash products

chemical guys swift wipe waterless car wash review

Let’s start with a few products ideal for garage washing. For times when your vehicle may have a slight dusting of dirt on the hood, a spray-on waterless wash product is a great product to use for this application. I personally like the Chemical Guys Waterless Wash spray to remove bug splatter in-between washes, but not for heavy mud or dirt.

Chemical Guys Waterless Wash Spray

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Chemical Guys Swift Wipe Waterless Car Wash

This product I apply with a damp microfiber towel; it has good lubrication to prevent marring or scratching. Everybody misses a spot when washing…so a good waterless wash spray comes in handy.

Quick Tip

Products designed for light dirt removal typically are sold as rinsesless or waterless car wash sprays. Other, cheaper detailing sprays are designed for dust and fingerprints, and don’t have lubricants needed to remove dirt safely.

2. Rinseless wash products

optimum no rinse

If you don’t have a garage drain, you can still wash your car in the garage using a rinseless car wash product. One of the best and most popular is called Optimum No Rinse.

Optimum No Rinse Wash and Shine

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Rinseless wash products like ONR are chemically similar to dedicated waterless sprays, the only different being you must dilute them with water.

You can either apply the product with a pump sprayer or use what’s called the two-bucket method. One bucket contains the diluted product, the other clean water to clean the mitt between passes.

With a rinseless concentrate, have a little more freedom to apply more water to your vehicle’s panels than a traditional spray-on product, so generally this method is safer due to the natural lubrication properties of water.

3. Epoxy flooring

epoxy garage coating for detailing2

If you plan to work on your car or detail it in a garage, here are a few benefits of adding an epoxy:

Protects bare concrete from oil stains and water

More aesthetically pleasing

Eliminates concrete dust

Adds visual appeal

Bare concrete is more prone to cracking over time since it absorbs water like a sponge. For around $100, the protective properties of epoxy make it a no-brainer if you’re getting into detailing or garage projects.

Rust-Oleum makes a good DIY kit for 2-car garages in a couple of different colors I really like.

Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield Garage Floor Coating

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Most of these epoxy kits don’t require a professional to apply, although professional help is not a bad idea if you simply don’t feel comfortable.

Quick Tip: Purchase the anti-skid additive before applying epoxy, since some of these coatings can be slippery when wet.

4. Proper ventilation and a drain

Whenever working in a garage with a wet car, always have adequate ventilation. Whether you use a shop fan with the door open (or a vent fan), have a plan to avoid mildew and mold.

Using a dehumidifier

A small single-room dehumidifier is an easy way to prevent mold in your garage, even if you have a drain. A dehumidifier will help remove excess water in the air, even if you only plan to dry your vehicle in the garage. For super hot (or cold) days, working indoors can be much more comfortable.

Consider a garage drain

garage drain for detailing

If you do use a hose in your garage, have a plan for drainage and ventilation. You can install several drains or trench drains at the entrance.

You can retrofit your current garage for this type of system but it will be expensive; however, if you are building or moving, drains are a feature worth prioritizing.

5. Garage wall protectors

sheetrock in garage

To help protect your walls from splashing water, a couple of water-repelling panels are another great idea if you ever wash your car in the garage.

Waterproof Garage Wall Protector

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These panels can be installed on sheetrock easily in an hour or two.

While you’re waterproofing, consider a water-repellant paint like Drylok as another line of defense for sheetrock.

6. Water containment mat

I love the idea of a water containment mat for garage detailing in winter months or wet conditions, because it makes clean-up easier. Simply dry your vehicle once you pull it on the mat, and suction the water up. 

Water Containment Mat for Garage

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Some water containment mats can hold quite a bit of water, so you could probably wash and rinse your car if you have the right setup. Just rinse one section at a time and use a wet vac as you go.

7. Floor squeegee

If you have a drain in your garage (or even if you don’t) a floor squeegee is a must-have whenever you’re dealing with a wet car.

Garage Floor Squeegee

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These are great because they can easily push excess water out of the garage after detailing or when it rains or snows.

8. Overhead lighting and detailing lights

garage entertainment center

A good set of shop lights or auto detailing lights is a must for detailing indoors. Shadows can make it awfully tough sometimes!

For paint correction, ScanGrip makes an excellent line of detailing and paint correction lights many pros recommend. Overhead garage lights are a good place to start if you’re a beginner; I recommend lights rated at ~5000k to mimic daylight. 

LED 6500K Linkable Shop Lights

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Check out a few of my favorite garage lighting setups for detailing for more inspiration. Some solutions don’t even require an electrician!

Ready to revamp your garage setup for detailing?

Outside of just washing your car in a garage, check out our list of 10 detailing garage setup ideas. You really need to be organized to have fun washing and detailing your car, and the garage is a great place to start.

Need help with your car wash and detailing technique? Check out our video course Washing and Detailing for Beginners to learn how to see better results from home.

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!

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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