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There MUST Be A Better Way

My usual method of washing a car is to drive it through the cheapest automatic carwash I can find.  In fact, I don’t believe I have ever personally hand-washed a car.

Perhaps if I had a hip late-model car I’d take more pride in its cleanliness, but with my outdated dinged-up minivan, whether or not it is clean is frankly beside the point.  The improvement washing makes is minimal.  And besides all that, car care is simply not high on my list of priorities — much to my father’s
disappointment and disgust.  His car is practically a museum.

Me?  I generally vacuum out my car once every month or four, and if I get a chance to run it through a carwash at the end of the winter to rid it of the season’s accumulation of salt and muck, that’s a bonus.  I consider a heavy rain almost as effective, and fortunately I live in a part of the country where it rains often enough to keep the car looking moderately respectable.  As long as your standards of cleanliness aren’t too high.  Which mine clearly are not.

But since our trip to Maine, our car has looked like we drove it through a wind storm in the Sahara Desert.  And for some unknown reason, it’s driving me CUH-RAZY.  I’ve been meaning to run it through a carwash, but there really isn’t one that’s convenient.  And with three kids in tow, I’m not likely to go out of my way for anything that I can’t wear or drink.

Yesterday an alien seemingly overtook my body, and I decided to hand-wash my car in the driveway.  I’ve seen my dad do it.  How hard can it be?

I located an old washcloth and a bucket in the laundry room and squirted some dishwashing detergent inside.  Then I hauled the hose up from the side of the house to fill it.  But I was disheartened to find out that the hose barely reaches the driveway.  I knew there was no way I was going to be able to rinse my car.  Hopefully the hose on the other side of the house would reach.  But since I already had this one unraveled and turned on, I decided to at least fill the bucket and start the washing process.  I would unroll the other one when it was time to rinse.

For some reason the water pressure coming out of the hose was performing at some warp speed.  When I started to fill the bucket, the force of the water blew over the bucket and sprayed back in my face.  Nice.

I let go of the hose for a moment to retrieve the bucket, and it immediately began writhing on the driveway like a possessed snake.  Have you seen that commercial where the guy is at the car wash and the hose starts flipping and flopping and spraying everyone in vicinity?  That is exactly what happened to me.  Except there was no one but me unfortunate enough to be in vicinity. 

The hilarity of it all got me to giggling as I grappled with the hose until I finally had it under control, but not until I was soaking wet.  Good thing I was still wearing my bathing suit from our afternoon jaunt to the pool.

I managed to fill the bucket and commenced with the washing.  I’m sure there is some sort of method to the madness, but I’m not sure what it is.  I just started washing like I would one of my kids, top to bottom.  Of course I couldn’t reach the tippy-top, but I figured if I can’t really see it, no one else can either so it probably doesn’t matter if it’s clean. 

I moved my way around the side to the back and then around to the other side and back to the front.  Now here’s something you probably didn’t know.  Newsflash!  Minivans are big.  The washing process took much longer than I expected, and by the time I made it around to the front and decided it was time to rinse, I noticed that the side I washed first had already completely dried in the hot sun.  Not only was it dry, but it had dried in an artsy mural of soap and road dirt.

I guess you’re supposed to wash and rinse in smaller increments?

So I started again on the first side with the soapy rag, trying to dislodge the dried-on soap and dirt so that it would rinse off easily.  I made quick work of that, knowing the other side would dry if I didn’t make it snappy.  Then I went to the other side of the house, pulled out the longer hose, and started to stretch it across the yard.  But, you see, that side of the yard is bigger than the other, so the second hose didn’t quite reach the driveway either.

With my car rapidly drying in a soapy-dirty mess, I did the only thing I knew to do, aimed the hose at the side of the car, put a thumb over the opening to create a spray effect, and waved it wildly, hoping to dislodge at least part of the soap and dirt from the car. 

When I had done all I could do with that hose, I went back to the possessed hose, turned it on, drug it back up to the driveway, and sprayed it at the other side of the car.

I think I managed to rinse all but the very back of the minivan.  And even the carwash places never really get the back clean.  I figured I’d done at least as good a job as they do, and it didn’t cost me anything.  Except my dignity.

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33 thoughts on “There MUST Be A Better Way

  1. ROFL…. i used to never wash my car and pray for a good rain storm because i was afraid if i took it through the car wash, it would fall apart. Now I have my new car and i had plans of washing it every week (in a car wash of course) and keeping it clean.

    uh, yeah. The kids were grounded yesterday so I made them clean it out. It looked like we were living out of the car. I don’t think we’d cleaned it since we came back from Mississippi.

    But just look at it this way, it’s clean. And you did it.

    And when the kids get older? Send them out to do it. My kids volunteer to wash my car at least once a week during the summer. Surprisingly, they don’t do that bad of a job.

  2. Too funny! Let the kids help – they can get wet with the hose and wash the bottom of the car while you do the top (I only do from the top of the windows down, no one can see the tip top). Kids love to do that, bubbles and water – two of their favorite things!

  3. LOL I am cracking up over here!! So next time you need to wash your car are you going to do it yourself 😉

  4. Oh no! I hate washing cars. My hubby does, too; he usually just squirts it with the hose until some of the dirt is dislodged and then the car at least just looks like it drove through Montana, instead of the Sahara.
    I hope you get a longer hose if you ever need to do this again! Nothing worse than a too-short, possessed hose.

  5. Just popping in to say hi–we just got back from a trip–and found this to be such a funny post! Thanks for sharing the hilarity. Personally, as someone with a dinged up minivan, too, I find it worth the $12 to have someone else wash and vacuum it out. But that’s just me . . . you can keep hand-washing if you want to. 🙂

  6. I agree with you. Washing my car is low on my list. However, I am not lucky enough to have a rain storm clean my car. Remember, it never rains in the desert!! So with that said, I have to tell you, I still have bird poop right on my handle of the door. The door I put my 3 year old in. Which by the way, he asks me everyday, when am I going to clean up that bird poop. It’s been over 2 weeks at least. Maybe I’ll tell him I am waiting for a rain storm! LOL.

  7. I drive a minivan and I use a sponge mop to wash it. It works really well and I’m able to reach the top easily. Mop and rinse! It’s also a fantastic way to keep you windows clean! I hate driving with dirt windows.

  8. Oh my gosh, I know how to wash a car so I knew exactly where this was going and you gave me a great laugh! 🙂 I can just see you out there.

    I’m not much of a car washer either. My friend said to me yesterday “Oh, gosh, I need to wash my car, yours looks so clean” and I had to step back and see if she was actually looking at *my* car. I guess one window was pretty clean, but that was an accident, really.

  9. I don’t wash my car often enough either, but I love doing it. I’m sick I know. My dad sounds a lot like your dad, and he taught me well when it comes to washing a car. You have to start with the wheels first of all, because dirty wheels make a dirty car. And you definitely wash in smaller increments, constantly rinsing and keeping it wet so you don’t get water spots. And you really need a good quality cloth for drying, something that won’t leave fuzz or streaks. It is a science, you see.

    Funnily enough, my dad, who is the king of thrift, now indulges in the unlimited washes plan at a car wash place and gets both of the cars washed at least once a week at the place. I guess now that he’s 60 he figures he can indulge in it.

  10. Washing a car at the house just… seems like more work. And it totally is. I like those pressure washers, you know, like $1.50 and you spray the car yourself?

    I remember last year I wanted to wax my car. Well, Hubs and I put on the wax… and then we just stared at the car knowing we just didn’t have the energy to now rub all that wax off. Which requires even more energy than to rub it on in the first place!

    To this day I still see the swipes we missed and I just cannot get them to come off. Grrr.

    Wonder if anyone was watching you from their house, laughing? 😉

    PS, dish washing soap is really the last thing you want to use. It strips the paint. But yeah, it’s not like most of us have the correct car soap laying around!

  11. I can send your Dad up to visit and he can teach you how to do this RIGHT! I am laughing so hard. What a show that must have been for the neighbors. I’ll give you credit for trying though. What a hoot!

    PS I think the last time I washed a car Nixon was president!

  12. Hi there! I’ve been subscribed to your blog for a few months now. I was laughing out loud at this post tonight, so hubby came over to see what was so funny. I too believe in rain and automatic car washes. My engineer hubby thought you might be interested to know that garden hoses will attach to one another to make a longer hose. I can’t imagine that you will try this again, but just in case the kids are looking for a mother’s day present or something. (Pat likes to be helpful :)) I’ve been enjoying your blog. Thanks for the laughs!

  13. When we lived in our old apartment, there was a car wash station in the basement. Best invention ever. Wash your car at night, let it sit and dry out and then it was ready in the morning.

    Since we moved…I have washed my car maybe three times…in three years. I just dont’ see the high level of urgency. But, I too have a mini van that doesn’t really feel the need to be clean. I am getting a new car, and that one will stay clean. It is to pretty not too. lol

  14. HHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! LOL That’s HILARIOUS!!! I got the greatest visual … I’m still laughing! lol HAHAHAHAHAAH……

    I might have dreams about the hilariousness of it all. lol Or.. maybe not.. Wow, I should go to bed. lol

  15. I’m with you on the standards on car cleanliness thing! Drive through car wash is as good as it gets, and not often at that! We’ve got all the tools at home to do the job, but it is just too complicated to get it all set up!

    Though I was moderately successful for a while when I implemented the 15-minute rule – I grabbed a bucket of warm soapy water and only washed as much as I could for 15 minutes. Every week. Scrap the detail job! It actually looked somewhat reasonable then.

  16. I’m with you on the standards on car cleanliness thing! Drive through car wash is as good as it gets, and not often at that! We’ve got all the tools at home to do the job, but it is just too complicated to get it all set up!

    Though I was moderately successful for a while when I implemented the 15-minute rule – I grabbed a bucket of warm soapy water and only washed as much as I could for 15 minutes. Every week. Scrap the detail job! It actually looked somewhat reasonable then.

  17. I’m with you on the standards on car cleanliness thing! Drive through car wash is as good as it gets, and not often at that! We’ve got all the tools at home to do the job, but it is just too complicated to get it all set up!

    Though I was moderately successful for a while when I implemented the 15-minute rule – I grabbed a bucket of warm soapy water and only washed as much as I could for 15 minutes. Every week. Scrap the detail job! It actually looked somewhat reasonable then.

  18. I’m with you on the standards on car cleanliness thing! Drive through car wash is as good as it gets, and not often at that! We’ve got all the tools at home to do the job, but it is just too complicated to get it all set up!

    Though I was moderately successful for a while when I implemented the 15-minute rule – I grabbed a bucket of warm soapy water and only washed as much as I could for 15 minutes. Every week. Scrap the detail job! It actually looked somewhat reasonable then.

  19. I’m with you on the standards on car cleanliness thing! Drive through car wash is as good as it gets, and not often at that! We’ve got all the tools at home to do the job, but it is just too complicated to get it all set up!

    Though I was moderately successful for a while when I implemented the 15-minute rule – I grabbed a bucket of warm soapy water and only washed as much as I could for 15 minutes. Every week. Scrap the detail job! It actually looked somewhat reasonable then.

  20. You are TOO funny! I can just see all this in my head!

    I used to wash my car by hand (especially when I had my beloved pickup), but these days I send up a prayer of thanks when God chooses to wash my car for me!

  21. Oh my word, this was hysterical! Are you sure candid camera wasn’t around or America’s Home Video? Oh where are they when you need ’em? Heard from any of the neighbors who watched you do this yet? LOL

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