How Often Should You Wash Your Car?

When it comes to car washing, people tend to fall into one of two camps:

They either love it, and wash their car frequently, or they hate it and don’t mind having a car that looks like the inside of a rubbish skip.

At Garage Dreams, we think that taking good care of your car is one of the best ways to preserve the value of your purchase and keep it looking in the best possible condition for years to come. Correct cleaning can really add years to the life of your car, at least from an aesthetic standpoint!

But how often should you wash your car for optimal duration of your car’s paint finish and exterior trim?

Washing your car has a number of benefits when it comes to extending the longevity of your vehicle, especially if you live in a part of the world where cars are prone to rusting due to things like salting roads in the winter.

If you want to keep your investment in the best possible condition, then you need to clean your car – it really is that simple.

In this edition of Car Facts, we take a look at the recommended frequency for washing your car.

Whether you are a car washing enthusiast, or you absolutely hate it, it’s important to know how frequently you should be showing your car some much-needed TLC!

Cleaning your car – love it or hate it – is something that is important for increasing the lifespan of your vehicle. But how often should you do it?

How Frequently Should You Wash Your Car?

Unsurprisingly, there is no “hard and fast” scientific rule around the optimal frequency with which you should clean your car.

However, most automotive experts agree that washing your car once every two weeks is an ideal frequency.

This is often enough that you will be taking good care of your paint and bodywork, but not so frequent that it becomes unmanageable and excessively time consuming.

An advantage of cleaning your car fortnightly (and doing this consistently) is that you will ensure that you are regularly removing more damaging dirt and contaminants, such as bird droppings or road salt.

Provided you have the right tools/equipment, as well as a good “process” down for washing your car, doing a fortnightly cleaning should be more than manageable.  One of the easiest ways to ensure that you get around to cleaning your car more frequently and regularly is to invest in good equipment; we are working on a series of buyer’s guides at the moment for this.

The truth is that if you miss a week or so here and there, it won’t destroy your car either. However, the more consistently that you can stick to fortnightly washing, the better.

Can You Wash More Or Less Frequently?

We’ve established that fortnightly is an optimal frequency with which to wash you car.

But can you wash more or less frequently?

Cleaning your car more frequently is definitely fine. While there are true obsessives out there who spend perhaps too much time on detailing their cars (this legendary message board thread springs to mind) as long as you are happy to invest the time, effort, and money required for tools and supplies, then who are we to judge?

If you live somewhere with salted roads in winter, or have to otherwise drive in conditions that result in a lot of dirt and grime getting on your pride and joy, then once again you might want to consider washing your car weekly.

As far as cleaning your car less frequently than once per fortnight?

Ultimately, that is your decision. Life gets busy, cleaning your car yourself takes time, and it quickly becomes expensive to pay a professional to do it (not to mention many cheap machine washes or even budget hand washes are of poor quality and could even damage your paint). For example, if you had to pick between spending more on cleaning or more on mechanical maintenance due to budget, we would pick mechanical maintenance every time.

If you can’t commit to fortnightly washing, that won’t be the end of your car. After all, how many cars do you see on the road that probably only get to enjoy a ‘rain wash’ and nothing more?

We do believe that regular washing and cleaning is a cornerstone to keeping your car in good condition for years to come. Even if you can only do monthly, or even bi-monthly, that is still better than nothing.

Conclusion – How Often Should You Wash Your Car?

Experts recommend that you should ideally wash your car every two weeks.

We agree, and think that for most car owners this is an optimal washing frequency.

If you don’t drive much, or you live in a part of the world without particularly harsh weather, then once a month is probably fine.

Conversely, if you are a stickler for keeping your car nice and clean, then washing weekly is not a bad idea either.

One thing to bear in mind is that there is more to washing your car than just applying a quick bit of car shampoo and hosing it off. It’s important to consider the technique you use (in order to minimise the risk of dirt and contaminants damaging your paintwork) as well as “add ons” like waxing/sealing the paint. While you don’t need to do this every time you wash, it is well worth doing a deeper, more thorough clean at once or twice a year in order to keep your car in the best possible condition.

We are currently working on a “FAQ” guide for frequently asked car washing questions, so stay tuned for that. This will cover everything from the benefits of washing your car, through to what happens if you choose not to.

We would also love to hear from you! How often are YOU cleaning your car? What do you use to wash/clean? Leave a comment below – we always appreciate when our readers take the time to comment.


  • Sam

    Sam focuses mainly on researching and writing the growing database of Car Facts articles on Garage Dreams, as well as creating interesting list content. He is particularly enthusiastic about JDM cars, although has also owned numerous European vehicles in the past. Currently drives a 3rd generation Suzuki Swift Sport, and a Volkswagen Touareg (mainly kept for taking his border collie out to the hills to go walking)

1 thought on “How Often Should You Wash Your Car?”

  1. It’s good to know that washing your car every 2 weeks is ideal. My brother wants to get a new car soon. I’ll encourage him to find a local auto wash he can use to care for it.


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