5 Do’s and Don’ts of Car Washing
Maintaining the cleanliness of your vehicle exterior does more than the obvious sense of satisfaction it brings - it also preserves your car’s pristine finish, which would translate into a higher resale value when you decide to upgrade. Like all things worthwhile, it takes a certain degree of diligence to clean your car regularly, instead of doing it only when your friends have left handwritten dust-trail messages on your door.
5 Do’s and Don’ts of Car Washing
Knowing how to wash a car isn’t rocket science, and while there aren’t rules to follow per se, there are definitely a few best practices to take into consideration.
1. Do follow a 2-week rule of thumb
The extra resale value you’re gunning for will not be realised if the cleaning tools only come out when your car is embarrassingly dirty. How often you should wash your car depends on the weather and elements it is exposed to, frequency of use, and how your car is stored.
A general 2-week gap between washes should suffice for most. If you’ve parked under what you thought was a great shady tree only to come back to a splattered offering of bird droppings, don’t wait til your next scheduled car wash to deal with it as bird poop can ruin the paint surface of your car. If your car has been exposed to excessive heat, rain, and air pollution, or subjected to unusually long drives, washing it once a week would help maintain the look of your car.
2. Don’t wash a hot car
Washing your car in high temperatures or direct sunlight can cause the shampoo residue and rinse water to dry onto the surface of your paintwork, leaving water spots and mineral deposits which are difficult to remove and can eventually damage the paintwork.
Park your car in the shade or wait for the coolest part of the day to give your car the cleaning it deserves.
3. Do use the right supplies
Investing in cleaning products and equipment created specifically for car washing is key. Along with your large sponge or wash mitt, choose a car wash product that has a mild, gentle pH neutral and wax-friendly formula that contains high quality ingredients, as the use of inferior or harsh cleaning products can strip away the protective wax coating on your car’s paint job. Never use dish soap!
3. Do use a pressure washer
Using the force of water pressure to remove dirt, grime and other foreign particles is the most effective way to clean your car without the risk of scratching the surface of your vehicle. It also quickly removes stuck-on mud or grime from your tyres. A pressure washer is highly efficient and speeds up the whole process of car-cleaning.
The second-best option is to use a hose with running water. Relying on a bucket of water and sponge for rinsing is extremely ineffective and may work grit into the surface of the car and scratch the paint.
If you absolutely must use a sponge, move the sponge lengthwise across the car and avoid circular motions, which cause tiny scratches.
4. Don’t use a squeegee
It is tempting to use a squeegee to effectively wick away the water after a wash, making the drying process a lot quicker. However, all it takes is a small piece of debris to get caught in it to cause a massive scratch on your car. Squeegees are safe for car windows, but avoid using it on other surfaces.
A safer drying alternative would be to use a high quality microfibre towel, and use light dabs to gently absorb water from the surface with minimal friction.
5. Do wax your car twice a year
Car wax is a product that leaves a layer of protective material, and a form of paint sealant. It enhances your paint coating by smoothing out any swirls and scratches with a shiny layer. Wax protects your car from UV rays, prevents pollution from damaging your car, and minimises moisture contact which prevents water corrosion.
By being proactive and diligent in maintaining your car’s appearances, you’ll have a vehicle you can be proud to drive around for years to come.