It is a lot more complicated than putting some soap in a bucket and starting to scrub. Washing you car takes time, energy, and patience. Read through some of these car washing tips that way you get the best for your car.
We who love our cars like to keep ‘em clean, but you wouldn’t wash your dishes with Murphy’s Oil soap or do your laundry with dishwashing liquid, would you? Neither would I. Washing your car yourself carries its own set of unique instructions. Here are a few tips to keep your ride clean and its coat shiny.
Use a proper car cleaner to wash your car
Dishwashing liquids and detergents will indeed clean dirt off your car, but they also take wax, silicone and polymers off the finish, leaving your paint job vulnerable. If you’re loathe to purchase available commercial soap products just for your car – and if you’re ecology-minded, this makes even more sense – use castile soap, which works just as well and carries no ground-poisoning agents.
Just because your car looks shiny doesn’t mean it isn’t dirty.
Some people like to do a quickie job on their car’s finish, spraying with a bottle of water and wiping with a rag or paper towel as they walk around it. But at the very least, your car should be rinsed first as fine particles invisible to the naked eye will cling to your car after even a short ride, and scratch your finish if you merely spray and wipe. (See below for products meant specifically for spraying and wiping post-wax.)
Don’t use t-shirts, diapers or flannel to clean or dry with
100% cotton towels are your best bet to keep from accidentally scratching your paint. For drying, I’ve used the same Vroom absorbent drying towel for nine years. Don’t use paper towels, either – not only are they harsh on a car’s finish, but by the time you get through three rolls, you could buy the abovementioned Vroom towels and never touch your car’s exterior with a paper towel again.
Don’t relax post-wax
It’s a common myth that waxing your car eliminates the necessity of washing it, but contaminants and road debris still need to be removed. Rinse the car and use a “mist and wipe” product like Ultimate Quik Detailer to keep on top of dust, dirt, bird droppings, sap and other unwanted and unwelcome clingers-on. Also, be skeptical of waxes claiming any specified length of time the product will last. How often you drive your car, where it’s parked during days and nights and what the weather and road conditions in your area are all affect how long a wax will stay fresh.
Wash your car in the early morning or late afternoon
Heat makes removing soap or wax a long and difficult job – it bakes right on. Wash your ride when it’s the coolest time of day, and preferably in shade.