Washing your car by hand can be a relaxing way to spend a summer afternoon, but make sure you’re doing it the right way to prevent damaging your car’s paint job. Follow these tips to get your car squeaky clean and protected from sunlight, dirt, and debris!
- Use hand soap, dish soap, or other cleaners not designated for your car. These detergents can strip the protective layers on your car and cause your paint to fade or peel.
- Wash your car when it’s hot, such as right after you’ve been driving or when it’s sitting in the hot sun. The heat will speed up the drying process and dry up the soap before it can be rinsed away. This will lead to soap deposits and streaks that can make your car look even dirtier than before you started. If you can, wash your car in the shade instead.
- Move the sponge in circles. This can cause small swirl-mark scratches across the body of your car caused by dirt and other particles picked up by the sponge.
- Rinse your car first to remove any loose sand, dirt, or debris.
- Use products specifically for washing your car. These products contain milder soaps that won’t strip the outer coatings of your paint.
- Wash your car using a clean, soft sponge or a cloth. Don’t use anything abrasive that might scratch your paint job, which can lead to rust and other issues. For tougher spots that have rubber and road-tar buildup, look for a bug-and-tar remover and clean the area with a cloth or disposable rag.
- Rinse your sponge thoroughly before moving between areas, especially when cleaning the tires and other areas that may have more dirt, sand, and debris. Your sponge can pick up particles that will cause micro-scratches on your car’s paint.
- Follow up with a coating of wax to preserve your paint job and provide a protective layer that will block against fading, scratches, and more.