Pressure Wash Vs Hand Wash: Which is Better For Your car?

Team AckodriveJan 3, 2023

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A car is more than just a set of four wheels. Generally, there’s a lot of pride attached to it, and it also reflects the owner’s personality. Hence, keeping the vehicle squeaky clean is of utmost importance. Keeping the car clean also increases the lifespan of the paint. But how should you wash the vehicle, pressure wash or hand wash? Read on as we highlight the differences between both methods to help you decide which is better for your car.

Pressure Wash Vs Hand Wash

Types of car washes in India

There are mainly two types of car washing methods in India: pressure washing and hand washing. As the name suggests, a pressure wash is done with the help of a machine and a hand wash is done manually. In the following sections, we will elaborate on the same and explain their advantages and disadvantages.

1. Pressure car wash

A pressure car wash is a washing technique wherein the water is sprayed at a very high pressure to get rid of the dirt. It is a popular method of car washing as it is quick and efficient. Apart from high-pressure water, a spray of soap foam is also used in this type of car wash. Depending on the car's condition, this washing method can be contactless or a combination of high-pressure water and hand washing.

The pressure car wash involves the following process.

  • The car is sprayed with high-pressure water to remove all the dirt from the surface.

  • A canister with soap and water is attached to the pressure washer jet and sprayed on the vehicle.

  • The foam helps remove dirt and other contaminants like grease, fuel residues, etc.

  • Finally, high-pressure water is sprayed again to rinse the car.

  • The drying process involves hand drying with a microfibre cloth or contactless drying using an air blower.

Pros and cons of pressure car wash

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of washing your car using the pressure wash method.

Pros of pressure car washing

  • It efficiently removes dirt, oil residues, grease and other contaminants from the car’s surface.

  • The washing process is quick due to the use of high-pressure water.

  • The high-pressure water can reach the nook and corner of the vehicle, resulting in deep cleaning.

  • Contactless pressure washing prevents damage to the paint.

  • The pressure wash method uses less water compared to hand washing.

Cons of pressure car washing

  • The high-pressure water spray can cause damage to the paint and can also cause dents in the car’s body if the water pressure is set incorrectly.

  • If the pressure water jet is not handled correctly, it can cause serious injuries to the person cleaning the car, as the water pressure will be too high.

  • High-pressure washers are expensive. Hence, the cost of pressure washing is on the higher side.

2. Hand wash

Hand washing is an easy and affordable type of car wash. The tools required for this type of car washing are a couple of buckets of water, a garden hose (or any water hose available), a sponge and microfibre towels. This type of method requires more time compared to pressure wash. However, due to the attention to detail involved in the process, hand washing can remove dirt that pressure washing cannot remove.

The following points explain the process of hand car washing.

  • The correct method to hand wash your car is to follow the two-bucket washing technique. 

  • It involves having two buckets of water, one filled with clean water and soap and the other with water to rinse the sponge/towel.

  • Before you begin the washing process, spray the car with water using the water hose to remove dirt. It also helps to avoid scratches during washing.

  • Next, dip the sponge/cloth in soap water and clean the surface. Once a section/panel is done, rinse the towel in the rinse bucket.

  • Repeat the same procedure till you cover the entire vehicle.

  • Once done, you can spray water to rinse and dry the car using a dry microfiber cloth.

Pros and cons of hand car wash

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of washing your car by hand.

Pros of hand car washing

  • Hand washing ensures the removal of dirt from every corner of the car, as the attention to detail is high in this method.

  • Hand washing does not cause any damage to the paint or dents in the vehicle’s body.

  • Hand drying is more efficient compared to air blowers. It does not leave any water spots.

  • Hand washing is affordable compared to pressure wash.

Cons of hand car washing

  • The hand wash method may leave scratches on the paint surface if not done correctly.

  • Hand washing consumes a lot of time.

  • Hand car washing requires more water compared to pressure wash.

  • Hand washing may not remove tough stains caused by grease and oil as there is no use of high-pressure water.

Pressure car wash vs hand wash

Here’s a table with a detailed comparison between pressure wash and hand washing.

Parameter Pressure wash Hand wash
Process Spraying high-pressure water and soap foam to clean the car. Washing with a sponge/cloth dipped in soap water.
Time required Lesser than hand wash. More than pressure wash.
Cost Higher than hand wash. Lesser than pressure wash.
Cleaning efficiency Easily removes oil and grease stains. Can clean every corner of the vehicle efficiently.
Water consumption Less More
Tools required High-pressure car washer and microfiber towels Buckets, water hose and sponge/cloth
Possible damages It can cause damage to the paint or dents in the body. It can leave scratches on the car's paint surface.

Which car wash option is best?

The best car wash option depends on how dirty the vehicle is and what type of care it requires. A pressure wash will be the best option if the car has too much dirt with grease and oil stains. On the other hand, if the vehicle is dusty or barely dirty, a hand wash will do the job. In some cases, you can make use of a combination of both washes. Hence, the best car wash type depends on what the situation demands.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the most common questions and their answers related to the car wash process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much pressure should I set to wash my car with a pressure washer?

The optimum pressure to wash your car with a pressure washer is between 1,200 PSI to 1,900 PSI. Setting the pressure above 2,000 PSI may damage the vehicle's paint or cause dents in the body.

Can I wash a brand-new car?

You can wash a brand-new car, but only if it's essential. A new car may come with polish and wax treatment. If you pressure wash the vehicle, the lifespan of that treatment may reduce.

Can high-pressure water wash scratch my car's paint?

Generally, a contactless pressure wash will not cause scratches to the car's paint.

Is it safe to pressure wash under the car?

You can pressure wash the undercarriage of your car, especially if you drive through unpaved roads.

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Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only. It is recommended to take the help of an expert before making any related decision.

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