What you probably didn’t know is: A lot of common cleaning techniques actually damage your car. In this article we cover the top 10 mistakes people make when cleaning and maintaining their vehicle.
Follow closely and your car will thank you for it. You will also learn how to have your car looking cleaner for longer and throughout you will save money on cleaning and maintenance.
1. Taking your car to a car wash
This may be the lest obvious one but it could be the one causing the most damage out there. The rotating brushes in car washes are full of dirt and that dirt will scratch your car. Not only that but the high pressure washes often cause scratches, as well as the pressure, can be too high and a lot of them contain abrasive particles in the water that do help clean your car easier but inevitably leave more and more scratches on your vehicle.
2. Cleaning your car in direct sunlight
Not only is it harder to spot dirty streaks in direct sunlight but the immense heat will cause the water you are using to clean your car to evaporate before you clean it off and therefore leaving nasty dirt spots.
We recommend to always wait for the sun to start going down or washing your car in the shade when it’s not too hot outside.
3. Using dish detergent on your car
All these products severely damage your wax coating and do more harm than good. Also, a lot of kitchen cleaning products and de-greasers are not pH balanced and not only would they remove your wax coating but would also damage your clear coat leaving your paint fully exposed to the weather and outside particles during driving.
After using dish soap a few times your car pain will start deteriorating fast and unless protected soon it would expose your car body to rusting and corrosion.
4. Not using lubrication when cleaning
Removing any dirt from your car with just a dry towel, no matter what type of dirt, is a big mistake. In the process of removing the dirt, the hardened dirt particles will scratch not only the dirty part but the whole stroke path as you clean it.
Be sure to use at least water but spray wax or any other specialized lubricant for car cleaning is best.
5. Using paper towels
Paper towels, old t-shirts, dish sponges (especially the rough side) or any ol’ bathroom towels. The only cloth you should ever use is a nice and soft microfiber towel.
Microfiber traps dirt deeper as you clean and won’t allow it to scratch your car as you wipe it.
6. Not cleaning from Top to Bottom
People often start cleaning the car by first doing what the most convenient for them… that would be the doors, sides and the hood. The hardest part to wash as its hard to reach by hand completely is, of course, the roof. If you leave the roof for the end, no matter how good you clean the rest of your car, all that dirt from the roof is gonna trickle down and ruin your hard work.
Most of the dirt would also transfer through your cleaning towel and as the roof is the cleanest it makes sense to start at the top. Even if you rinse off the dirt that falls down from the roof to your previously cleaned parts of the car, dirt particles are still going to stay and they will make it easier for more dirt to build up faster.
7. Cleaning in a swirling motion
It’s common understanding to clean your car in a swirling/round motion, but it’s actually not correct. When doing so, you’re more likely to see scratches at different angles. So instead, pick a direction and stick to it. We recommend going from front to back. Front of the car, to the rear of the car.
8. Using only one bucket
This is a basic that 90% of people get wrong… If you are soaping and rinsing in the same bucket you are starting to do harm after the first rinse. The dirt will just circulate and will embed itself in your wash cloth.
Not only do you risk damaging your paint you are also wasting your time as just rinsing in the same bucket takes more time and makes you slap the dirt back on your car so you have to rinse it after again.
9. If your towel drops to the ground, do not pick it up and use again
We had to be clear in the title on this one as so many people do it not realizing how bad it really is. There is no 5 second rule when it comes to sharp dirt particles, they will embed themselves in your cleaning towel in an instant and if you pick it up you may as well wash your car with razor blades (note: do not wash your car with razor blades).
If you don’t have more cleaning microfiber cloths on hand its always best to go to the kitchen, wash it completely and only then use it on your car again.
10. Conditioning your steering wheel, gearshift or pedals
Anything that makes your car controlling parts slippery is just a plain bad idea. It won’t help as much as it can hurt and that is our guarantee so just plain don’t do it.