1. Ditch the household cleaners. They are designed for very different purposes and can smear, strip polish/wax and damage a car's exterior. Only use dedicated automotive products which are designed for the specific task at hand.
2. Cool shade is better. If you wash your vehicle in the open hot sun the cleaning products will dry quickly making them harder to remove and will likely cause streaking.
3. Rinse first and make it warm before you wash. Rinse the entire vehicle to remove grit, mud and dust. This makes cleaning easier and helps to prevent scratching. The water you use with your detergent should be warm to make washing easier.
4. Use a wheel cleaner. Wheel cleaners are designed to strip away brake dust far more efficiently than normal detergents alone. They will save you a lot of time and are not very expensive. Make sure the wheel is cool. Rinse quickly and don't let the product dry.
5. When washing the car, work one panel at a time and wash from bottom to top and then back down again. By working in this manner you will make sure you don't miss sections that you have to go back and re-clean. If you work from top to bottom the soapy water will drain down the panel making it harder for you to see where you have cleaned.
6. Clean your chamois regularly with detergent to remove any dirt and grime. If you are using a dirty chamois you will be left with unsightly streaks because you are essentially putting dirt back on your car. Most people don't think of doing this but it makes an enormous difference. After every third or fourth wash fill your bucket with warm water, add some detergent, give the chamois a good clean, rinse and allow to dry. This exercise should take you about two minutes but will make cleaning quicker and easier.
7. A well-polished and waxed vehicle is significantly easier to clean because the process of polishing and waxing leaves a clean smooth surface with a protective barrier that repels dirt, water and harmful contaminates. It also makes your car look great. A good wax will give you four to six months' protection before needing to reapply.