Washing Your Car 101


Nothing beats the feeling of a clean vehicle. Washing your car can be one of life’s great pleasures, provided you take the time to do it properly. Unfortunately, many of us have learned some bad habits that could be doing more harm than good to our cars’ exteriors.

Knowing what not to do can be just as important for improving the look of your machine as knowing what to do. Although many enthusiasts take their hose and bucket outside every weekend, they may be making some mistakes that hurt their finishes. To help you get the most out of your weekly wash-up, here are some basic do’s and don’ts.

Mistake No. 1: Using the same mitt for the wheels and body.

Your wheels typically pick up a lot of grit and brake dust. When you use the same washcloth or mitt to clean them and then the body, there could be particles trapped in the fibers. You might be unknowingly scratching your paint as a result.

Solution: Choosing the right tools for the job.

Having a high-quality mitt such as CleanTools’ premium Wash Mitt designated for the wheels and another specifically for the rest of the vehicle will prevent scratching. It’s also a good idea to use a separate bucket for each, to keep abrasive materials from getting stuck when you rinse them.

Mistake No. 2: Washing in direct sunlight.

A sunny day might seem like the perfect time for a good washing. However, the sunlight can cause water to evaporate quickly and leave deposits on the surface.

Solution: Wash during the morning or evening.

When you work while the sun is not at full power, there isn’t as much risk of evaporation as at midday. This gives you more time to rinse and dry properly.

Mistake No. 3: Using dishwashing soap.

The detergents you use to clean your dishes weren’t made for cars. In fact, many of them can damage finishes because of their alkaline content.

Solution: Choose the right soap.

Specially formulated soaps will help keep your vehicle clean and protect its paint job. You can find these soaps at an auto parts store or in many department stores.

Mistake No. 4: Using a bath towel to dry.

A terrycloth towel might feel soft enough on your skin, but it’s most likely too rough for your vehicle. It’s also going to become waterlogged fairly quickly, meaning it won’t effectively dry your vehicle.

Solution: Use a microfiber cloth.

There’s a reason why professionals use a high-quality microfiber cloth for drying instead of whatever they have lying around. The absorbency these provide mean they work quickly and don’t give water a chance to leave spots on your paint. The Absorber from CleanTools utilizes a unique poly vinyl alcohol construction for superior drying capabilities. To save another step, you could use The Glosser, which provides a coat of wax as it cleans in one swipe.

A good cleaning can ensure your ride looks and feels its best. Follow these guidelines to make the most of your weekly driveway ritual.

« Back to Blog