Do you know how to wash your car properly? Splash some water on and maybe scrub a big with a rag, right? Not quite. Here are some of the most important things you should and shouldn’t do when washing a car.

A Car Wash is Not a One Time Task

The Rinse Job

Image via Flickr by Instant Vantage

If you wait until your car is covered in dirt and other unwanted substances (bird dropping, bugs, etc.) you may be too late to prevent damage. Many contaminants are acidic and can eat away at the coating on your car. If you see any obvious dead bugs or bird droppings on a daily basis, try to wash them off immediately. There are even instant-detailer products to make it easier.

Know When to Wash

You shouldn’t go out in the middle of a summer day and wash your car. While it might be enjoyable for you, the sheet metal will be hot and will cause the soap and water to dry too fast, which has the potential to dull the finish. If you need to wash your car during the summer, find a nice shady spot or park it in the garage and wait until the metal cools down.

Don’t Use Household Cleaning Products

While your car is designed to be tough against the elements, it’s not designed to withstand things like glass cleaner or dish soap. These cleaners have the potential to not only strip off any wax you have previously applied, but they can also damage your paint.

The Best Car Washing Products

Just as there are some products you shouldn’t use, there are others that are specifically designed for effective car washing. If there are any tough substances stuck to your paint, don’t try to chip them off. Instead, use a special bug-and-tar formula that is designed for this type of job.

When you’re spreading a cleaner and water onto your car, use a large, soft sponge or a lambswool mitt. These are the perfect alternatives to abrasive cleaning products. If the sponge happens to fall on the ground, do not use it again. It can pick up stones or dirt that could scratch your car. Either get a new one or clean it thoroughly before continuing.

How to Keep Your Paint Fresh

After you apply an appropriate soapy mixture to your car and have cleaned off any major blemishes, you should proceed to rinse the car. While the soap is designed to be non-abrasive, it’s not something you want sitting on your car for an extended period of time. Use a new bucket of water or a hose to wash it off.

Hand drying your car is an excellent idea because the water from your hose may leave damaging mineral deposits on your paint. Using a terry chamois towel is ideal to soak up all the water.

If you follow all the steps above, you will be a car wash expert. Having a sparkling clean car is not only nice to look at, but it’s good for the longevity of your vehicle as well.