Car Washing Do’s & Dont’s

Most times people will take their automobiles through drive through car washes or even to a professional detailer.  While both save you time they don’t necessarily save you money, especially the professional detailer.  Not only that but it has been found that washing our own cars/trucks by hand in our own driveways is therapeutic and benefits the person’s state of mind.  You are doing something productive out doors and will have a clean automobile when done!  However, there are Do’s and Dont’s that come with washing our own cars.

First thing’s first most people reach for dish soap or laundry detergent to wash their automobiles.  They figure it’s soap it cleans my dishes or clothes so it has to work for my car too right?  Wrong household soaps and cleaners are incredibly harsh on your car’s finish and paint.  When used it can strip your car of it’s protective wax .  It is best to use a soap dedicated to cleaning your car’s exterior.  These are made with milder chemicals as to not strip your car’s finish or harm it’s paint.

Next we have sponges.  The best sponge to use on your car is either a soft natural sponge or a lamb’s wool mitt.  These help to reduce small hairline scratches that can be created from too harsh of sponges. Often sand dirt, and brake dust can be spread around as well creating more visible scratches.  That is why for cleaning wheels, and the lower portion of our cars where grease, tar, rubber and bugs seem to accumulate it is suggested to use a different sponge than the one you use on the body of your car.  Using a different sponge will help you from spreading this gunk onto your car and creating scratches.

In that light it is also suggested to use a bug and tar removal cleaning product made for cars or a wheel cleaner.  It is important still yet to make sure that the wheel cleaner is compatible with the finish on your wheels, paint, chrome etc.  To reduce the risk of ruining these finishes or creating any other scratches it is suggested to use a wheel cleaner that is marked as ok for ALL wheels!

Another important factor when it comes to washing your car is to never wash it when the body is hot.  This means right after driving it or when it has been sitting in the sun for a period of time. Why is this a don’t when it comes to car washing?  Heat speeds up the drying process which means soap and water can dry leaving spots and allowing deposits to form.

When scrubbing your car it is also suggested to not use a circular motion.  Circular motion scrubbing can cause small noticeable scratches and swirl marks.  Nobody wants patches or  circular scratches on their car’s finish!!! Instead move sponge lengthwise across the body of your vehicle.

Make sure to also rinse car thoroughly with water before starting the washing process.  This allows for excess dirt and debris to be removed from your car prior to scrubbing it which again reduces the risk of scratching your car’s paint.

As with drying your car it is suggested to stay away from coarse towels.  It is best to use a chamois and blot the car dry rather than trying to scrub off excess water!