I have owned my car for almost a year now and I took it to a real car wash for the first time last week. It was one of those places where you can either do automated or go in one of those hand wash bays. I chose to wash it by hand.
The water pressure they have at the car wash far exceeds anything they have at the car wash station in my building. I did an initial blast of water to get as much dirt off as possible, then I applied the soap to my car, followed by a thorough rinse. I had some bad luck in that the bay I drove into had a broken air dryer, so I wasn’t able to dry off my car. It didn’t matter that much though as my car still looked amazingly clean afterwards.
The cost for a wash was about $6, so very reasonable. I definitely won’t go another 11 months before washing it again.