Every car owner should clean their vehicle at least twice a year to remove mud and road salt tracked in during the winter. Performing regular deep cleanings will also help prevent the formation of scratches.
Cheesecloth can be used to wipe baked bugs off the paint; a cotton cloth soaked in nail polish or thinner will clobber grease stains (test first on a small area). Consider investing in a back-seat pet hammock to reduce messy passenger messes.
1. Wash Your Car in the Shade
Washing your car in the sunlight may make it look shiny and new, but it can actually cause damage to the paint. The sun’s rays heat up the water, which causes the cleaning products to dry too quickly. This leads to water spots and streaks. It is important to find a nice cool shaded area to wash your car, especially during the summer months.
Ideally, you want to wash your car in the shade during the morning or evening when it is cooler. If you do have to wash your car in direct sunlight, then work quickly. This will help prevent the soap from drying too soon and leaving annoying water spots and streaks.
The best way to avoid water spots is to use a good quality drying aid or spray wax after you have washed your car. This will lubricate the surface and make it less likely to spot or leave streaks when you dry the car with a towel.
If you do have to wash your car in the sun, be sure to use a high-quality, filtered water. This will also help to avoid damaging the paintwork of your car.
It is also a good idea to wash your car on the grass instead of concrete or a driveway. This will prevent oils and other chemicals from leaching into the local water supply. Finally, be sure to rinse your engine before washing if you’ve been driving it recently. This will help prevent oil and gasoline from polluting the local water source. It is also a good idea to use a degreaser or a clay bar on the undercarriage of your vehicle before you wash it.
2. Don’t Move the Sponge in Circles
When washing your car, it is important not to move the sponge in circles. Doing so can create light, but noticeable scratches in your paint job. Instead, use the sponge lengthwise across your hood and other body panels. Additionally, make sure to rinse your sponge after each use. Otherwise, you may end up with dirt particles in the nooks and crannies of your car’s exterior.
While most cars need regular cleaning and vacuuming, some parts of your vehicle are harder to reach. For example, a dirty cupholder can be difficult to get to and clean. Try lining the cupholder with a silicone baking liner to reduce the amount of gunk that builds up. Additionally, a simple spray of an alcohol-based glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth can help get to those hard-to-reach spots.
Another good idea is to stash a resealable plastic food storage bag filled with baking soda in your front seat to absorb odor-causing soil. If you have a compressor in your garage, it is also a great way to blow dust out of the dashboard and other tight spaces.
When it comes to removing stubborn stains, you may want to consider using a non-diluted automotive car wash soap or bug and tar remover on the problem areas. This method is best for larger areas and is safer than trying to scrub off these stains with a sponge or mitt that could damage your car’s finish. When applying the product, let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing off with a stream of water. In addition, you should always wipe the panels dry with a clean microfiber towel. This will lock in your shiny showroom shine and keep it protected for up to an entire year.
3. Rinse the Sponge After Each Use
When you are done using your sponge, rinse it thoroughly under running water. This will help to ensure that any soap residue is fully removed and will also keep the sponge from breaking down too quickly. It is a good idea to do this after each use, but it is especially important if you are working with a dirty sponge.
In addition, rinsing your sponge will help to prevent water spots. When rinsing your sponge, make sure that you rinse off all of the corners and crevices of the sponge. This will ensure that the sponge is completely dry and ready to be used again.
Another way to help avoid water spots is to rinse your sponge frequently, particularly if you are washing in hot weather. You should also rinse your sponge after each panel that you work on. This will help to ensure that the wash mitt is free of water spots and dirt before it is put on the next surface of your car.
It is a good idea to have two buckets, one for soapy water and one for clean rinsing water. This will help you to avoid mixing soap and grit from one section of the car to another, which can cause scratching on the paint. It is also a good idea to dunk your wash mitt in the rinse water bucket after each wipe, and then dunk it back into the soapy water before you move on to the next area of the car. This will also keep the soapy water from getting too dirty.
4. Don’t Leave Water Spots
Water spots are more than just an eyesore, they can cause permanent damage to your paint job. Over time, they can etch into the surface of your car’s paint, leaving permanent crater-like marks that are nearly impossible to remove. This is why it is so important to catch water spots early on. If you can, wipe them down with a mild acidic cleaner like vinegar or isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) before they have a chance to stain or etch your finish.
Water spot formation is caused by water containing minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, drying on the surface of your car. Hard water is a common culprit, but even soft tap water can leave mineral deposits behind when it dries. These minerals are more difficult to remove than dirt and can become visible as a water spot.
The best way to prevent water spots is to wash your car regularly. Using a quality soap will help you achieve a showroom clean while protecting your car’s paint from contaminants and acidic rain. It is also important to dry your vehicle properly. Be sure to use a high-quality microfiber towel and rinse your wash mitt with cold water after each use.
Another simple way to reduce water spots is to keep an electrostatic duster and a lint roller in your glove box for quick clean-ups after driving your car. Also, consider keeping a few dryer sheets in your trunk to remove bug splatters as soon as you see them.
Finally, be sure to blot–not rub or wipe–the areas of your car that don’t seem to be drying as quickly as the rest. This will help speed up the drying process and eliminate water spots.
5. Wash Your Car Regularly
If your car has been covered in dirt and grime for too long, it might be time to spruce it up. It may be tempting to take it to a professional cleaner, but there are some easy hacks you can use to give your vehicle a better look for less money.
Before you begin cleaning your car, remove all trash from the interior. Make sure you get the hard-to-reach areas like under the seats, in the cup holders, and behind the steering wheel. A cotton swab dipped in alcohol or cleaning wipes can help eliminate grease stains from the dashboard and steering wheel. You should also disinfect these high-touch areas, especially if you have children or pets.
When washing your car, start at the top and work your way down, rinsing frequently with a hose to avoid water spots. Always wash in small sections to prevent soap scum build-up. Use a soft sponge or mitt and be gentle, since rough scrubbing can damage the paint job.
Lastly, dry your vehicle with microfiber towels as you go. Then, put on a coat of wax to preserve the paint job.
Washing your car regularly prevents the build-up of minerals that can eat away at the paint and undercarriage. This can cause rust and other costly repairs. It is especially important to wash your car after a winter storm, when road salt and chemicals are used on the roads.
Owning a car is an expensive investment, so you want to take good care of it. By following these tips, you can keep your vehicle looking its best for as long as you own it. So, don’t forget to wash your car at least once a month.