How to Wash a Car?
You have to be kidding me, is this really an entire article on washing a car? Yes, and believe it or not, very few people know how to do it right. Basically half the battle is just being aware of the potential problems that can happen when one washes their car “improperly”. Here are a few things to know:
- Don’t use a household detergent to wash your car – This is one of the most common mistakes. Dish soap, laundry soap, and household cleaners are usually too harsh to use on a car’s paint. They can hurt the clear coat on many of today’s cars. A dedicated carwash formula, on the other hand, is formulated with a milder soap that doesn’t affect the protective coating. Take it from us, it’s worth the extra $5 or so.
- Don’t wash your car when it’s baking hot – The heat will cause the soap and water to dry quickly which will leave streaks on the paint that are hard to remove. If the weather is going to be a scorcher, first thing in the morning is a good time to do it, or park your car in the shade.
- Do wash your car soon after stuff has landing on the paint – Wash your car as soon as you see nasty things like bird droppings, squashed bugs, etc. on the paint. Bird droppings, in particular, have a high acidity that if left on the paint for any length of time can eat into the clear coat.
- Don’t use abrasive cloths or sponges when washing – Whether washing or drying, never use a rough cloth or other material with a surface that can leave scratches. A large soft sponge works well, or many professional detailers prefer to use a lamb’s-wool mitt. The reason for this: The thick nap of the lamb’s wool allows loose particles to be worked up into the wool rather than remaining on the surface.
- Do rinse out the sponge or cloth often – In fact it’s preferable to use separate buckets for suds and rinse water, which keeps abrasive dirt from getting mixed into the sudsy wash water. The technique is to squeeze the sponge out in the rinse water and then dip it into the soap bucket for a fresh batch of suds.
- Do use a bug-and-tar remover when needed. Mild car wash formulas often aren’t strong enough to remove road tar, grease, or similar residues. For this, a strong bug-and-tar remover is a good idea. It is specifically formulated to be kind to your paint finish.
- Do use a chamois, terry towel, or synthetic chamois to dry the vehicle – Many professional detailing shops use terry towels. A natural chamois works well too but requires more maintenance. It can’t be stored wet and becomes stiff when dry, needing to be remoistened before use.
Information Source: Len Stoler Dodge Chrysler