Car Washing Tips: 3 Ways to Avoid Harming Your Paint

Posted Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

  Spring is just around the corner and before long, you'll be itching to get outside and wash your car. Before you get your bucket and soap, please read ahead to save your vehicle from some common mistakes. This article will go slightly more in-depth than the video we created. No worries though, this isn't an overwhelming professional detailing guide by any means - just 3 car washing tips that are simple and easy to follow.

Tip # 1: Use 3 Buckets

The first of the 3 car washing tips is to use 3 buckets. If you're only using 2 buckets (or even worse, 1 bucket) to wash your car, it's time to up your car washing game. The biggest reason to have 3 buckets is to prevent cross contamination. To put it simply, you want your clean water to stay clean so that you don't scratch your paint. When getting the buckets together, remember this key information:
  • One of the buckets will be soapy water for your paint.
  • Another of the buckets will be just clean water for rinsing the wash mitt.
  • The third bucket is exclusively for your wheels and tires.
Bucket #3 has a few guidelines of it's own because it will be used for the wheels. As you're washing your wheels, rims, and wheel wells, you'll be removing large pieces of dirt, debris, and bits of brake dust. The brake dust should never, ever, touch your paint. Brake dust is essentially a bunch of very sharp iron particles so make sure to use separate wash mitts, brushes, etc. for your wheels and tires.

Tip #2: Use Car Soap

3 car washing tips Soap is soap, right? Wrong. Take the extra few minutes to swing by your local auto parts store and get an auto soap. Any brand will do, and don't overthink it.   Household chemicals and cleaners are just too aggressive to be used on your delicate paint. If your car has ever been waxed, sealed, etc., washing the paint with dish soap will strip all protection from the surface. As I'm sure you can tell by now, that's not good. An automotive soap will remove surface contaminants AND keep the protection on your paint! It's amazing what Chemistry can do for us.    

Tip #3: Dry With a Microfiber Towel

  In the not so distant past, it was customary to dry your paint with a chamois towel. Nowadays, we have microfiber towels. Microfibers are a new type of towel that have quickly become the industry standard. Not to mention, they are available at almost any store. Microfibers are so effective because thousands of tiny fibers (hence the name) wick liquid from the surface they come in contact with. A chamois can't compare to this. Although it absorbs water well, it will drag all dust, dirt, and debris across the surface of your paint. However if you were to use the standard microfiber towel as shown in the photo above (light blue), you'd have to wring it out every few seconds. To combat this, the waffle-weave drying towel was created. It's a very large towel that uses the best properties of both towels previously discussed. Using the waffle-weave towel will give you the safety and results you need next time you wash your vehicle. As with other microfiber towels, they should be available at your local auto parts store.

The Bottom Line

Washing your car is essential to it's appearance and long term value but it doesn't have to be difficult. Even though this is far from a comprehensive guide, hopefully it has helped. Make sure to Like 1st Choice Auto LLC on Facebook to get more quick tips like this one.  
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