Tips for Washing a Car in Your Garage in Winter

In the dead of summer, washing your car in the driveway is a welcome way to clean up your ride and cool down in the blistering heat. Washing by hand is gentler and more thorough than most automatic car washes, and it can be fun, too.

But what about when it’s freezing outside? You probably don’t want to be washing your car in the driveway—but is washing your car inside the garage a good idea?

Is it Bad to Wash Your Car in the Winter?

No—it’s not bad to wash your car in the winter. In fact, quite the opposite. Washing your car in the winter is good for your vehicle!

If you live in a cold climate, you know how easily your car gets dirty in the winter months. Snowy, salted roads can leave your car with a crusty, white layer that’s unsightly and does harm to your paint job. And while washing your car in the winter may seem counterintuitive (it’s just going to get dirty again, right?), it’s actually an important way to protect your car from rust and other corrosion.

Why Should You Wash Your Car in the Winter?

Washing your car in the winter will get rid of the damaging build-up that easily layers onto the car in the cold season. Dirt, salt, and grime can eat away at the paint job or metal parts of your car and will compromise its integrity over time. If the rust gets bad enough, eventually pieces of the car could literally start falling off while you’re on the road. Yikes!

Luckily, washing your car regularly will keep it in good shape for years to come. Aim to wash your car once every other week in the winter, and even more if you have an older car.

How Do You Keep Your Car Clean in the Winter?

You’re certainly not going to be putting on a bathing suit and washing your car in the driveway when the temperatures are frigid—well, most of you won’t. So how can you go about washing your car at home in the winter? Washing your car in the garage is the perfect solution. You’ll stay warm and still have a chance to thoroughly clean your vehicle.

Man washing his car

How to Wash Your Car in the Garage During the Winter

You might be wondering how you’ll wash your car in the garage without flooding the place. Clearly, a high-pressure hose won’t suit this setting. Instead, you’ll rely on a simple bucket and rag to get the job done. Here’s how to wash your car in the garage during the winter:


  • Two empty buckets
  • Two large, soft sponges
  • Microfiber towels for washing
  • Absorbent towels for drying
  • Space heater for the garage
  • Floor mop or squeegee
  • Car washing soap
    • ¼ cup dish soap
    • ¼ cup baking soda
    • Water to fill one bucket


  1. Mix your soap solution. Add baking soda and dish soap to the bucket, then use a hose to fill the bucket with warm water.
  2. Set up your space heater. Your garage will certainly be warmer than the driveway, but it still might be cold enough that water will freeze on the car, making it much harder to clean. Prevent this from happening by setting up one or two space heaters near the car in the garage.
  3. Wash your car. Using the sponge, microfiber towels, and bucket of soap, gently wash the entire surface of your car.
  4. Clean soap off of the car. Once the car is completely cleaned, fill another bucket with water and use a clean sponge to get all of the soap off of the car.
  5. Dry the car. With all the soap off the car, it’s time to dry it. Wipe the car with the absorbent towels, moving in a circular motion all around the car.
  6. Mop up the water. If you don’t have a good drain system in your garage, be sure to mop up the water using a mop or squeegee.

Learn More

Following these steps will give your car a thorough cleaning, even in the depths of winter. If you’re looking for more ways to make it easy to wash your car in the garage, check out Garage Smart. Our garage overhead products are the best storage solution for your garage, allowing you to maximize the use of the space all year long.