Living in a condo or an apartment is a nightmare for every car detailer or car enthusiast. Unfortunately, I moved to a condo 2 years ago, and ever since, washing my car has become tougher. But as always, there are some alternative methods you can use to wash your car if you live in a condo or an apartment, and today, I’m sharing my 3 favorite ways.
3 ways to wash your car if you live in an apartment:
- Wash your car at a self-service car wash.
- Wash the car by using a cordless pressure washer in the parking spot.
- Wash the car without water in the parking spot.
How To Wash Car at Condo or Apartment: 3 Ways
Here are my favorite ways in which you can wash your car or bike while living in an apartment, combo, or flat.
1. Wash Your Car at a Self-Service Car Wash
This is my favorite, as this method allows me to do an extremely detailed car wash. Generally, washing your car at a self-service car wash won’t yield fantastic results because they only offer pressure-washing your vehicle, which can’t remove 100% of dirt and debris from your car.
But there’s a way around it. I already wrote the article on how to wash your car at a self-service car wash, so make sure to check that out. Now I’ll just write you a brief overview of how I do it.
Here are a few tips on how to wash your car at a self-service wash station:
- Bring your own equipment. Okay, this is a must if you want your car to look spotless. You will have to bring your own buckets, wash mitt, wheel brushes, wheel cleaner, and car wash soap. Without those, you won’t be able to wash the car thoroughly.
- Fill in the buckets with soapy water and clear water for rinsing. Some car wash stations have a garden pipe where you can fill in buckets. If not, use their pressure washer. Just make sure to keep the wand as close to the bucket’s bottom as possible. Otherwise, the water will splash everywhere.
- Wash the wheels first.
- Wash the car with a pressure washer and soap. Put some coins inside the machine and start pressure washing your car. You can use that water to rinse the wheels as well, and it will also clean them a bit more thoroughly.
- After washing the car with a pressure washer, do a hand wash with a wash mitt and car wash soap solution from the bucket.
- Again, use a pressure washing machine to rinse the car, and then dry it with a microfiber towel.
And that’s it. it’s not much more complicated than washing your car at home. However, it will cost you a few bucks more, which is understandable.
If you choose to wash your car by using this method, make sure to go either earlier in the morning or later in the evening – whenever it’s not busy at a self-service car wash. Why? Well, some car washes won’t allow you to spend 30-45 minutes washing your car while other people wait for you. I usually go early in the morning since most people work and then it’s not very busy.
2. Washing Your Car With a Cordless Pressure Washer
Here’s another way that I love, and it’s by using a cordless pressure washer. It’s a fantastic way to wash your car without spending too much money every single time (like with a self-service car wash), and if you have enough space in your parking place, it’s probably the best method.
I recently wrote an article on my recommended cordless pressure washers, so make sure to check that out if you don’t already have one.
When buying a cordless pressure washer, make sure to check the details and find out if it can suck up water from the bucket. If you have access to the garden hose at your building – fantastic, but most of us don’t. So, get yourself a pressure washer that will be able to grab water from some bucket or container.
By using the water from the bucket, you won’t spend too much water, but you will have to re-fill the bucket multiple times. A little bit of cardio will be needed, hehe.
Here’s how I like to do it:
- Fill the bucket with water and connect one side of the pressure washer hose to it.
- Try if it works. If not, raising the bucket and fixing the hose might help.
- Spray the car with some kind of pre-wash solution.
- Rinse the car.
- Do a contact wash.
- Rinse and dry the car again.
And then, when you have all the equipment for washing your car ready, just wash your car as if you were in your own yard. I have an extremely detailed guide on washing a car at home, where I share all the little tips and tricks, so reading it might be valuable for you if you’re a beginner.
3. Washing a Car Without Water
The last but not the least way to keep your car shiny while living in a condo is by using the waterless car wash method. The waterless car wash method is great for everyone with very little free space in their apartment since all you’ll need is a waterless car wash shampoo and a few microfiber towels.
Even though I’m not a big fan of this method because you can only utilize it if your car isn’t extremely dirty, I understand that it’s still a fantastic way to maintain the cleanliness and shine of your car without scratching the paint.
Another great benefit of waterless car washes is when the government proclaims water restrictions. So, if you live in a place where water restrictions happen regularly, this is a great method to utilize.
Here is a quick guide on washing a car with waterless shampoos:
- Always work at one panel at a time.
- Spray the solution on one panel.
- Let it sit for 15-20 seconds.
- Gently wipe off with a clean microfiber towel.
Also, make sure to fold the microfiber cloth after each panel so you always work with a clean side.
You can also combine this method with the 1st method on this list (washing the car at a self-service car wash). A pressure washer will remove most of the dirt so you don’t scratch the paint, and waterless car wash shampoo will clean all the rest, making your car shiny again.
A Few More Tips To Consider
I wanted to share a few more tips that you might find useful when it comes to washing your car at a flat, apartment, or condo. I’ll try to be as short as possible 🙂
- Check for water sources around your building. Some compounds have a water source that the residents are free to use. If you can use that water to wash your car – fantastic! Just make sure to check with the building principal if you’re allowed to use it.
- Pump sprayers can help you a lot. When you don’t have a specific place to wash a car, buying a pump sprayer is a fantastic, cheap, and easy way to apply pre-wash products to your car. Those products can help you a lot if you want to get a spotless result, so think about them. The only thing you need to look for is the chemical resistance – don’t buy extremely cheap pump sprayers with little to zero chemical resistance because they’ll break in no time.
- Think about car wash subscriptions. Some companies, such as Everwash, offer you plans to wash your car whenever you want, with a monthly payment. That way, you can save a lot of money in the long term. The best thing is that they have more than 700 locations available (partners) across the United States.
If you ask me, the best way to wash your car if you live in a condo or an apartment is by washing your car at a self-service car wash station, but with the method that I have shown you above. Otherwise, you won’t get good results.
But that’s just my opinion, and it’s subjective. We all have different expectations and wishes, so make sure to pick any method that you think is the best, or try all of them and then decide which one brings the quickest and cheapest results while still keeping your car safe from scratches.
If you use some other method for washing your car in an apartment or condo, feel free to reach out to me through the contact page. I’m always happy to hear new tips and tricks about auto detailing.