This article is from the Toyota RAV4 FAQ, by Ralph Becker with numerous contributions by others.
Wash your RAV4 regularly with a mild detergent designed for cars.
Dishwashing soap, like Ivory or Dawn, is fairly mild and works pretty
well, although some people do not recommend using a dish soap. Any
harsh soap or ammonia based cleaner will remove the wax from your
finish and leave it looking dull.
To keep your car's finish looking nice, avoid automatic car washes;
the soap tends to be harsh, the brushes and strands may not have
been thoroughly cleaned after the previous car went through, and
even touchless car washes hit your car with a lot of (water) pressure.
They don't clean well underneath or in the crevices of the car.
Unfortunately there may be no alternative in the winter.
There are any number of high quality polishes and waxes available for
automotive finishes. Some that are mentioned/recommended frequently
include Zymol <http://www.zymol.com/>, Autofom
<http://www.bluecoral.com/>, and Meguiars <http://www.meguiars.com/>.
Most folks suggest waxing at least 3-4 times per year to protect the
According to some people, you shouldn't wax your car until at least
two months after manufacture, because waxing too early doesn't allow
the paint enough time to cure. This should not be an issue with
cars that have a clear coat finish.