How long does it take you to hand-wash a pickup truck?

Joined
Aug 30, 2004
Messages
32,271
Location
CA
It currently takes me 1.5 hours to hand-wash the exterior of my pickup truck.

My process involves:

- Conventional wash, using a microfiber chenille wash mitt
- Clean tires and wheels using leftover soap from the wash, use wheel cleaner if-needed.
- Dry vehicle using a drying towel.
- Wipe door jambs with a dedicated towel
- Clean exterior glass with glass cleaner
- Wipe down paint and wheels with a spray sealant
- Scrub floor mats using the leftover car wash soap.
- Dress tires every other wash.

I would like to cut down the time to one hour or less, so I am interested in hearing your process or any tips for making the process more efficient.

0wX9Aib.jpg
 
Last edited:
It currently takes me 1.5 hours to hand-wash the exterior of my pickup truck.

My process involves:

- Conventional wash, using a microfiber chenille wash mitt
- Clean tires and wheels using leftover soap from the wash, use wheel cleaner if-needed.
- Dry vehicle using a drying towel.
- Wipe door jambs with a dedicated towel
- Clean exterior glass with glass cleaner
- Wipe down paint and wheels with a spray sealant
- Scrub floor mats using the leftover car wash soap.
- Dress tires every other wash.

I would like to cut down the time to one hour or less, so I am interested in hearing your process or any tips for making the process more efficient.

View attachment 96825
Have someone else do it?
 
For all that you're doing, that sounds about right. I wash the tires first , Then the wheels followed by washing the car. Sometimes I use microfiber towels and other times I use a soft extension brush. I don't get the door jams every time and usually don't apply spray wax and I take a little over an hour.
 
About an hour?

Two bucket (Garry Dean) method with rinseless car wash and about 20 cheap microfiber towels from Walmart. Not particularly fast except that it gives a surface suitable for waxing as soon as you are done.

I use one of the new durable spray waxes every 2-3 months. Optimum spray wax. There must be at least a half dozen good products in that field.

If the car is dirty with more than the filmy road grime you get in a dry climate, I’ll take it to the coin-op car wash and blast it with plain water taking special care to get the undercarriage. But that’s because of water restrictions against using a nozzle in my driveway.

The interior is more time.

The bang for the buck (time spent) is very favorable. My ten year-old car doesn’t look like a showpiece as if I endlessly polished it with paste wax, exactly. More like an anachronism.

It looks like a better than average car coming off a three year lease, except the body style is ten years old.
 
I'm seeing a lot more RAM (Dodge) trucks on the road lately. Did they FINALLY fix the transmission problems from the past?
BTW, very nice looking truck.
Yes, they now use the amazing ZF 8 speed. Started in 2013 as an option depending on trim level, eventually became standard.

I’d say 1.5 hours for a thorough wash like that is about the best you’ll get… there’s a lot to clean! You might be able to cut some time in the drying area by using a leaf blower.
 
It takes me about 45 mins to an hour to hand wash my truck which also has a cap. I only dry the hood.
 
Nice job! (y)
I'm thinking that 1.5 hrs is about right(actually quick) considering the nice work you've performed and how good the truck looks. I mean, you've basically detailed the whole truck in an hour & a half and it looks(from the pic's) as though it could be put out on the showroom floor ready for sale.

*In order to cut 1/2 hr from your scrutiny, maybe you can use:

*Long handle(soft brush) to get the hard to reach areas.

*California Water Blade to ZIP the water off of the vehicle before towel drying. This way, you'll have less(time consuming) wringing out of the towel.

*Then, using the remaining water that is still on the paint, then spray detail(spray sealant) the paint while simultaneously finishing the drying process.

This all depends on how GREAT do you want the truck to look and how much self satisfaction you enjoy. IMO, what you are doing is perfect and it would take me even longer. That's a beautiful truck! :cool:
 
Last edited:
My F-150 takes about an hour with my wife helping me dry it. It has a camper shell, (Leer), so it takes a bit longer. I do the wheels and tires first, then rinse as much dust off before I start. The wheels and tires take almost as long as the rest of the truck.

The next day we'll spray and wipe a coat of Ceramic on it. (Mothers CMX). My wife does the interior and windows while I do that. (I suck royally at doing windows). My trade name is, "Mr. Streak".
 
A smaller truck would be less surface area, no?

Could you get out some buckets and a long planks, so as to make staging to stand on? When I had my truck I had to use a stepladder to windows and up. Which requires moving several times. Maybe staging on both sides, once set, would help? (then again, maybe you’re taller than me and not the issue I had :) ).
 
I usually break it up and do the interior separate. Took me about an hour to 1.0-1.5 hours for the Colorado.

Products used:
Reset
Gyeon Wash Mitt
TRC Drying Towel
Blaster Sidekick/E-leaf blower
(Wet Coat/Ceramic Detailer/Tech582 etc.)

Process:
Pre-rinse
One or two buckets
Wash exterior
Door jams
Rinse
Dry
Wheels using left over water

I find the glass is perfect after washing with Reset. If the beading is strong air drying the car reduces time quite a bit. I prefer to air dry although lately I've been using my drying towel.
 
About an hour. Crew GMC. Start with tires, wheels, running boards, then from top down. Dry with a blade then finish with a towel catching the jambs to complete. The large flat front of a pickup catches all the bugs so I soak it first and then multiple times before getting there to soften the bugs. Otherwise it takes more wash chemicals/products that I really don’t want on my truck. Running between tobacco, soybean, and corn fields at 70 mph tends to catch a lot of big bugs…
 
Super crew F150 takes me around 2 hours so your 1.5 tells me you are younger and move faster. I like the look of chrome on my truck (not too much) but it is a pain to shine up and keep water spots from forming. Next time I get wheels I will get something closer to black. And a white truck, I love the bluejeans color on the Ford but it's as hard to keep clean as black.
 
Back
Top