Washing Your Car in the Rain – Madness or Genius?

Washing Your Car in the Rain – Madness or Genius?

Regular readers of this blog know that I am currently living in Ireland. One thing we are not short of here in this country is rain.

I am not even exaggerating when I say that it could rain for most of the year here, even during the summer months. Ireland is a beautiful country and I love living here, but I must admit it is not the ideal place to live if you love keeping your car as clean as possible all year round.

I could spend hours cleaning my car during the week or at the weekend, only to have it rain every day for the following week, resulting in all my hard work being undone very quickly. I know I am fighting a losing battle most of the time, but it doesn’t stop me from putting in the effort.

Wash car in rain

I am a bit of a car cleaning freak, and I love being able to regularly wash and detail my pride and joy. It is not uncommon that it would rain for an entire weekend in Ireland with no let-up.

Do you think that this stops me from giving my car a maintenance wash if it needed it – absolutely not 😊

As crazy as my family and neighbours think I am when they look out their window and see me washing my car in the rain ( they may be right ), it is actually one of my favourite times to give the car a clean – let me explain why.

Washing Your Car in the Rain – Madness or Genius?

We all know ( or at least we should know ) that you should not wash your car in extreme heat or direct sunlight ( Not that I have to worry about that too much where I live!).

These have many negatives when it comes to washing your car. In an ideal situation, you would never usually attempt to wash your car in hot weather or direct sunlight for various reasons, the main one being that the shampoo residue and rinse water can quickly dry onto the surface of the paint resulting in unsightly water spotting, streaking and drip marks which can often be hard to remove and which can actually damage the paintwork.

So how about the other extreme to washing your car in the heat of the sun, Can you wash your car in the rain and if so, does it have any benefits?

wash car in rain

Benefits of Washing Your Car While It’s Raining

In my own personal (and a bit crazy ) opinion is that one of the best times to wash your car is actually WHEN it is raining. Here are some of the benefits I find of washing a car in light rain.

1)It Saves You From Having to Pre Rinse Your Car Before Moving to the Shampoo Stage

One of the first steps in a proper car wash routine is to wet your cars paintwork and make sure the surface is slick before your wash mitt comes into contact with the paint. ( This will help reduce swirl marks in the long run ).

The first few minutes of a rain shower wash the dust out of the air.

After that, the rain is naturally “soft” and free of minerals. Having this soft water covering your whole car is a great benefit as it will ensure a nice slick surface for you to begin washing, and will make the whole process a little easier and safer.

2)It Will Greatly Reduce the Chances of Water Spotting

As I mentioned previously, washing your car in direct sunlight or heat can result in water spotting or traces of hard water. Washing during a light rain shower ensures that the soap and water won’t dry on the vehicle, this will greatly reduce and could even eliminate the chances of your car ending up with water spots.

It puts me at ease as I know I can work my way around the car at my own pace without worrying about the car self-drying. Another option is to use a shampoo that will minimize the impact of this, such as Angel Wax Self Drying Shampoo.

wash car in rain

3)It Helps To Rinse Off Shampoo

Who would say no to a bit of a helping hand when it comes to cleaning your car? As you work your way around the car with your wash mitt and shampoo, the light rain will help to rinse this off as you go.

This minimizes the amount of manual rinsing you will have to do when you are finished with the shampoo stage.

As I mentioned previously this rainwater is naturally soft and free of minerals, so this is another bonus.

Negatives of Washing Your Car While It’s Raining

As far as I’m concerned there are no REAL negatives of washing your car in the rain. The only two I have come across are.

1)You Cant Towel Dry the Car After

Obviously, you won’t be able to dry your car with a microfiber towel while it is still raining outside, so you will need to wait until the rain stops. I wouldn’t worry too much about this, as the rainwater will reduce the risk of water spotting and streaking anyway.

I just like the appearance of the car when it is freshly dried, so I just have to wait until the rain stops.

2)You Look a Bit Mental to Other People

As I said earlier in this post, people can think you are a bit crazy when they see you outside washing the car in the rain. I have had many comments from neighbours and family, but it doesn’t really bother me.  Also dont forget to close your sunroof (this has happened to me before!)


wash car in rain

In Summary

In my opinion, there are many benefits to washing your car while it is raining. If you live in a rainy climate as I do, you shouldn’t feel like some light rain will prevent you from giving your pride and joy a clean at the weekend.

I would like to hear some other peoples opinions on this, so if you have washed your car in the rain before – please let me know in the comment section below I would love to hear about it.

PS. While washing your car in the rain may be a risk worth taking, you can protect yourself from unexpected damage by ensuring your car is covered by your insurance.

Until Next time,

Happy Detailing

Go Home

About the Author – Darren O Hara

Darren is the founder of the DriveDetailed blog and is a keen detailing enthusiast living in the rainy south of Ireland. When he is not cleaning his car he is always researching ways he can improve his techniques and enjoys testing out out new products.

Darren currently drives an Audi TTRS and is a big fan of performance cars.

You can follow Darren on Instagram @darrenoharacork

15 thoughts on “Washing Your Car in the Rain – Madness or Genius?

  1. I have been washing in the rain for years. It’s the best. The car is already wet, dirt is loose and the rinse cycle is faster. I have a dehumidified garage to back into when i am finished and have a hose in the garage that is always connected. I use that to hit the car in the rain to blast off loose dirt and to aid in soap removal. Then dry inside. I don’t know why, but when I am finished with this style of wash, verses washing when the car is dirty and dry, the finish is really, really better.. Don’t know why. I have a 56 volt electric blower that I start the dry process with and finish with microfiber and spray detailer. And I am glad I am not the only one doing this!! Also, my wife and neighbors think I am crazy

    1. Thanks for the input , i’m also glad to hear i’m not the only one!! Guess we are all a little crazy in our own way. You are lucky you have a garage to dry the car in , that must be nice.

  2. Yeah I have been there. It does not seem to be seen as mentally stable by most of my neighbors, but eh, I get to the wash the car, and in Florida we get plenty of rain.

  3. I’ve always loved to wash my car on a rainy day! Now I know I’m not the only crazy one! Lol It’s summer time here in Brazil so it’s hard to wash the car on hot temperatures. Washing the car in the rain it’s a refreshing activity, saves water and it is faster! I just have to be careful with thunder storms and hail. Lol

  4. nearly always wash my car in the rain, it’s the best way and probably the best way to do it.
    Plus it’s generally cooler so you aren’t building up a sweat and dodging wasps.
    Neighbours do thiers in the direct sunlight and spend hours on it.
    Only takes me 20 minutes if it’s raining

  5. I see the sense of washing in the rain but how does one wax or finish the surfaces?
    Genuinely interested if there is a solution.
    Thanks, Darren

    1. Hey Darren – you could use a spray on, rinse off product such as Gyeon Wet Coat or Meguiars Hybrid Ceramic wax. are designed to be applied to a wet car and im sure they are possible to use in the rain!

  6. always wash car rain;already know have good sealant and wax… black mercedes,wolfgang deep gloss and fuzion wax go to products,,,,,meguiers wash and wax after rain 5minutes look new

  7. Looking this up because my car is still covered in dust from the wildfires here in LA, and it’s meant to rain tomorrow! I should have washed it a couple of weeks ago. Now I wonder if it’s a good idea to take the car for a spin and let it get washed, or if this will destroy the paint! What do you advise?

    1. Hi Lisa

      It definitely wont destroy the paint but im not sure it will do a good job of cleaning it either! If you dont have access to a hose i would recommend taking it somewhere that has a self service jet wash and just use that to clean a lot of the dust off!

Leave a Reply