These are the top 10 mistakes people usually make while cleaning their car.
Taking your car to a car wash
These car washes are guaranteed to scratch your car. Even if the car wash says it has soft bristles or soft cloth, dirt gets trapped in the cloth and ends up getting scratched against your paint.
Car washes are aggressive even the touch-less type. Their powerful jets of water will slam your paint’s surface to remove the dirt. The water pressure can be too high, and even if the water pressure isn’t too high, the water will push dirt against the paint.
Now don’t get me wrong!
Car washes are good for cars where you don’t really care about the little scratches in the paint. For example, I bring my van or my truck to a car wash because the paint is already beat up a little bit. But I would never take my new car to a car wash.
People clean their car in direct sunlight and when it’s really hot
I try to wait until the sun is just about setting and then you get this really good shine on the car so you can see where all the dirt is. The reason why you don’t clean your car in the sun is because the car’s surface will be so hot. The water you’re cleaning with will evaporate and leave water marks on your paint.
Another problem is that these chemicals and cleaners that you’re using aren’t made to be put on hot surfaces which is why it says in the directions to park the car in the shade. In time of the day where it’s cooler, and the sun isn’t as strong. It’ll allow your car to stay cool and this water won’t evaporate very quickly.
Using kitchen soap or degreaser to clean your car
Using some type of kitchen soap or degreaser will strip your protective wax coating, very bad for car paint. So all that hard work waxing goes to waste. Also, these products are not always pH-balanced so you can be damaging your clearcoat.
You do not want to use a degreaser. Automotive soap is the one that you should use. This stuff is specifically formulated to clean your car’s paint so it won’t strip the wax and it’s pH-balanced. It also foams up really well. Even you use towel against the paint will still good because it provides good lubrication.
Here’s a quick car washing top tip:
make sure you always clean out your bucket. So that you get all the dirt in your bucket out so when you put your towel in here you don’t pick up the dirt and rub it right into your paint and scratch your paint.
People don’t use lubrication when they’re cleaning their car
If you have some bird poop on your car never wipe this off with just a towel. This will easy to come right off if you spray some lubricant first. After you wipe one way fold your towel over and wipe it the other way to clean it off.
Do get that bird poop off that car right away because bird poop has acid in it. The acid will break down your paint and your clear-coat and leave a nasty mark there. But make sure when you take it off use some type of lubricant or just make sure your car is soaking wet.
Use towel that is completely covered in soap and water to wipe out, so you won’t scratch your car. Black is one of the most difficult colors to clean. And the reason why black is so difficult to clean is because you have to be extra careful. Black shows scratches really easily.
Make sure you get the car soaking wet. And when you’re getting the car wet make sure you’re not using a power washer and if you are, make sure you can put your hand in front of it and it doesn’t hurt your hand. If it hurts your hand, that’s too much pressure for your car.
Not using soft microfiber towel
You do not ever want to use a paper towel on your paint. You don’t ever want to use an old T-shirt on your paint, you never want to use a sponge, or the rough end of a sponge on your paint, and you never want to use one of these bathing towels or whatever kind of towel you want to call this on your paint.
The only thing that should touch your paint is a nice and soft microfiber towel or something with a similar softness.
Not cleaning from the top of the car to the bottom of the car
You always want to start cleaning your car at the top, and then finish cleaning at the bottom. The one exception is that you can start with cleaning your rims. When cleaning your rims… the same rules for cleaning your car’s paint apply: use a microfiber towel and some type of lubricant. In this case, water and a wheel cleaner. And make sure you don’t use the same towel for the rims as for the paint. Rim dust is acidic and gritty, so you should have two different towels.
I’m not using a paper towel on the rims because the rims are actually clear-coated, to protect the aluminum finish, and paper towels are just going to scratch your clear-coat just like it’s going to scratch the clear-coat of your paint so that’s why you don’t want to use it on your paint. And you never want to keep this stuff on your rims, so make sure you clean it off.
So now that we did all four tires, now’s a good time to start cleaning from the top to the bottom. We start at the top because you can see the bottom is way dirtier than the top, primarily because the bottom of the car is close to the dirty road. All the road grime and dust and mud kick up on the bottom of the car but rarely make it to the top of the car.
To prevent all this dirt from getting on our towel, and scratching the whole car, we start at the top of the car and leave the bottom until the end. I like to split the car in half so right at that yellow turn light here all the way across. That’s what I consider the top half and then down below that is the bottom half so we’ll start cleaning the top half first.
Here’s a top tip for you:
When you just start using a towel, always snap it out to get any loose rocks or dust or whatever that could scratch the car try to get it off. Every little bit helps. One thing that you should notice while I’m cleaning: I’m moving the towel in one direction from the front of the car to the rear of the car.
Cleaning in a swirling motion
Pick a direction and clean in that direction. If you do it in a swirling motion, you’re more likely to see scratches at different angles. When you’re cleaning your car, go in one direction. Pick a direction. I like going from front to back. From the front of the car to the rear of the car. And that’s the direction I stick to.
Using only one bucket
Please use two buckets: One is just for the soapy water. The other bucket is your rinse bucket. Fill your rinse bucket all the the top with water to remove all that are in your dirty towel to the bottom.
Rinse your dirty towel, wring it out and this will get most of the big particles off. After it clean, use the soap and go back clean the car. Rinse off all the soap but do not use a sponge, bath towel, T-shirt and you do not use a paper towel when you dry off your car.
To absorbs water really well, you can use a good microfiber cloth. Just like cleaning your car, we’re gonna dry it in one direction. You don’t want to add a lot of pressure this’ll prevent scratches. And then after a few dries, use a new part of the towel. And you also dry the car from top to bottom.
Good… Now look at your shinning car. Nice, clean and dry.
People drop their towel on the ground and use it on car
When you drop your towel on the ground, it picks up all types of debris including little rocks, which’ll put a nice scratch in your car’s paint. Little leaves and stuff will stick. So once you drop the towel on the ground… keep it there.
Not cleaning leather or vinyl protection
I always see people put Armor-All or some type of leather and vinyl cleaner on their steering wheel and on the brake and the gas pedals. I always see people put it on the shifter, which is never good. All these things you need to grip onto. Whether it’s with your hands or with your feet.
You never want to put any chemicals on your steering wheel brake pedal, or gear knob that are gonna make it slippery. This just makes driving dangerous. And you could potentially cause an accident and hurt yourself or hurt somebody else.
Final top tip:
If you use some type of leather or vinyl protection, make sure that you spray it on a paper towel and not directly on the leather or vinyl. This’ll prevent it from getting all over your windows and things you don’t want it on.
Hopefully this gave you new insight for when you’re cleaning your car.