As the summer season gets underway in the northen hemisphere, millions of us will be heading out to wash the car when the weather is good.

US car giant Ford has offered some tips for consumers looking to get the most out of water consumption, although it warns that actually, the most environmentally friendly way to wash a car is to take it to the car wash.

The US International Carwash Association reports that automatic car washes use less than half the water of even the most careful home car washer - 45 gallons (170 liters) per car compared to between 80 and 140 gallons (303-530 liters) for home washing.

Other top tips from the car giant include

- Move the car onto the lawn to maximize your water usage by cleaning and watering at the same time
- Buy a water saving hose nozzle that cuts the water supply when it's not needed
- Only use the hose for rinsing, not washing - fill a bucket with soapy water for the washing phase
- Use a rag or microfiber cloth to dry the car instead of paper towels

As the weather heats up, motorists should be even more aware of how they are cleaning their cars.

Car care company AutoGlym suggests moving the car into a shady spot to avoid cleaning products drying onto the vehicle into the sun, which can heat up body panel temperatures to in excess of 50 degrees Celsius.

Basic carwash tips from suggest using a dedicated car-wash product rather than ordinary soap and washing as regularly as possible to avoid buildup.

Car cleaning resources:

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