Mastering the Art of Detailing Your Car's Exterior with a Steam Cleaner | Step-by-Step Guide

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Updated on:

September 6, 2023

Step-by-Step Guide: Using a Steam Cleaner to Detail Your Car's Exterior

If you decided to find the best steam cleaner for car washing, or find they way to right use of your any steamer for exterior car wash, check our other blogs regarding steam cleaning of interior

For cleaning car exterior with steam you need to understand simple things:

Steam is not damaging car paint, but dirty microfiber does, so to avoid any damage we decide to describe all steps in one place.

This small article will give you brief description of three technics: waterless wash, two bucket method of pro detailers and steam exterior wash.

Key Takeaways:

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10 things you need to know steam washing car exterior

detailing spray bttle
Heavy Duty Bottle with Sprayer for detergents

Step-by-Step Guide: Using a Steam Cleaner to Detail Your Car's Exterior

1. Pre-Soaping Car Paint to Encapsulate the Dirt

If car extremely dirty, we recommend spray Fortador Blue Magic using spray bottle to let dirt start capsulating, recommended dilution ratio is 1 oz for 2 gallons of water, during your prepping time it will start to attack the dirt. So steaming will be much easier and takes less time, also prevent getting water spots if you wash under the sun.

two bucket car wash
Washing and Rinsing Buckets with Guards

2. Prepping Your Washing Solutions

a) Fortador Blue Magic Car Wash Soap, dilution ratio is standard - 1 oz for 2 gallons of water


b) Fortador Green Magic Car Wash&Wax Soap, use standard dilution ration 1 oz for 2 gal of water

 both our waterless solutions are working as water softeners, so you can use normal tap water.

Learn more about washing microfiber towel for reuse.

3. Filling Your Rinsing Bucket with Tap Water

car steamer
Start you Fortador Steamer

4. Starting Your Fortador Steamer

wait till it reach 16 bar (235 PSI) - Fortador PRO steamer or 20 bar (295 PSI) Fortador PRO Max Vacuum Steam cleaner of steam pressure 

5. Rinsing with Wet Steam

If car is extremely dirty, you can blow it using Fortador Steamer in WET mode first, if car is in "OK" conditions you can start washing process

The technic is very easy and we hope you will loved it.

6. Starting the Washing Process

Put your Sponge or Mitt in Washing bucket and let it completely dwell 

7. Steam Washing Using Two Hands

Take Steam hose in Right hand and Sponge/Mitt in Left hand (Sponge must be not super wet), after first pass

keep distance between hands 8-10 inches, and steaming the panel from side to side from top to bottom. Use Sponge or Washing MIttas a heat protector from Steam. After first pass, flip sponge and perform the wash one more time. You will have panel wet and clean, if you do just wash wipe panel with clean microfiber, if you want to do waxing spray once Fortador White Wax on the panel and use it as a drying agent, so Wash, Wax on one move without any waste of time.

 Learn more about best drying towels for cars

8. Cleaning Your Washing Sponge/Mitt after Every Panel

After panel is done clean Washing MItt or Sponge in Water bucket first, squeeze it and put it in the bucket with Fortador Blue Magic or Fortador Green Magic Wash&Wax afterwards.

Learn more about best washing mitts for car wash.
Check this guide for car clay treatment

9. Determining Where to Start and Finish

Start washing from Hood and go around the car washing each panel one by one overlapping the edges.

10. Steam Washing the Wheels

You can use heavy degreaser to prep your wheel for cleaning

If you have any questions about using steam in any application contact us through the form

soft detailing brushes

Pro Tip

Use a soft detailing brushes for hard-to-reach areas and stubborn dirt. It helps agitate and remove dirt from crevices, door handles, and emblems. Choose a brush with soft bristles to avoid scratching the paint. Achieve a thorough and impeccable result in your car detailing with a steam cleaner.

Bonus video

About the Authors

Ugur Sezmis
Renowned in the world of Professional Detailing, Fahrzeugaufbereitung is not only a master in restoring automotive brilliance but also a distinguished Rupes Trainer based in Germany. With a commitment to perfection, he enhances car aesthetics while sharing his expertise through top-notch training.
Sergey "Serg" Paskevich
Panama-based detailing pro, proud owner of Car Care Performance Detailing studio in Panama-City. Specializing in Paint Correction, Ceramic Coating, and comprehensive Car Detailing services

Learn More

Why Steam Cleaner is the Best Tool for Car Wash and Auto Detailing


Steam Mobile Detailing: Interior cleaning and extrerior wash, waxing


Hand Wash Car 101: Essential Products and Tools for a Home Car Wash Experience | Hand car wash tips


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