By Jeanelle D. Horcasitas

April 3, 2015 5 min read

Growing up, my dad owned a lot of cars -- far too many for me to count. Whether they were brand new or fixer-uppers, my dad always emphasized the importance of keeping your car nice and clean. So almost every other weekend was spent doing just that, making the cars sparkle and shine from a good hand-washed cleaning.

As long as we had a hose, a bucket, soap and sponges, there was never the need to go somewhere else to get a carwash. In fact, dunking my sponge into the bucket and slathering the vehicle with soapy bubbles was actually a lot of fun for my brother and me. At a young age, I learned about the advantages of hand-washing your car.

The best thing about hand-washing your car is how intricate you can be with any aspect of the car. Whether you just want to do a quick soak, rinse, dry or get a little more advanced by vacuuming the carpets, wiping down the interior with Armor All cleaning wipes, or spritzing Armor All extreme tire shine spray onto your tires, there are no limitations! Most Armor All products can be bought in a bundle, such as the Armor All complete car care kit. They can also be purchased at your local Target or Home Depot. These are a few of my go-to products, especially Armor All's ultra shine wash and wax, which really goes the extra mile to beautify your automobile. Now, there are plenty of products out there that may work just as effectively or better, but these have always served my car's needs perfectly. Overall, hand-washing your car yourself ensures that your car looks exactly how YOU want it to look.

Another advantage to hand-washing your own car is the money you save! Taking your car to the car wash can definitely add up. Instead, buying even a few of the Armor All products mentioned above will save you more money in the long run because they will last through several washes. In my experience, taking your vehicle to get hand-washed professionally can cost you $15 and up, plus a tip. And you usually have to pay a higher price for any extra detailing. Although the price can be an issue for some, this is a timesaving and convenient option when you're just too busy (or lazy) to do it yourself. Also, if you do not have access to a hose, getting your car hand-washed professionally is the perfect solution. There are even do-it-yourself car wash locations where you can pay a couple of bucks to use the hose.

However, I've learned that sometimes when you get your car professionally hand-washed, the employees can be a bit hasty, especially on a busy day. Although there are usually a few people cleaning your car during the entire process, there is actually more room for error. There have been a few occasions when something did not get completely cleaned or I drove away feeling as though I could have done a better job. This could be the risk you have to take to discover whether or not you would prefer to do it yourself or trust a professional to do it.

While you may be tempted to "rinse and repeat" to get an immaculately clean car, keep in mind that washing your car in any way wastes gallons of water. Especially if you live in drought-stricken area, it is crucial to be cognizant of water preservation methods. For example, the Going Green Today blog suggests a "waterless" wash for your car: "Instead of using water, use a waterless car wash product directly on the car and avoid using water altogether. The only water inside is the water in the formula, so you're saving on hose time." Or simply limit your car washes to a minimum (maybe once a month) and do your part for the environment!

I have to admit that hand-washing my car is always the most gratifying. I find the process to be fun and even meditative because during that time I am shifting my focus entirely to one task. It saves me money; it puts me in control of the way I want my car to be cleaned (without racking up a higher bill); and, more notably, hand-washing gives me a sense of pride knowing that I am taking care of one of my most prized possessions: my car.

Your car is your best friend -- it gets you where you need to go -- and for that reason, it deserves a little TLC. But it's up to you to decide whether you or a professional is better suited to provide your car the care it needs.

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