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9 Mistakes to Avoid When You Clean Your Car

Cleaning, wiping, and puffing around with your favorite cleaning products—isn’t that fun? In this episode, Wipe and Organize will teach you how to properly clean your car.

Truth be told, we are OBSESSED with efficient tips on how to clean everything, from kitchen stoves to walls to bed sheets and, of course, cars! So if you thought we were going to let that one slide, no.

There are many ways in which you can efficiently clean your car by yourself at home without needing to spend money on a car wash. You can use that money to buy your favorite Parmigiano.

You wouldn’t want your car to end up caked in dirt and dust, right? The debris can slowly contribute to the rust on top of it, so cleaning your car is mandatory, at least every couple of weeks. Let’s see what you need to avoid if you want to properly wash your car:

clean the car
Photo by SpeedKingz from Shutterstock

Cleaning in the wrong order

As with everything else that needs to be cleaned, there’s, in fact, the right order to start the cleaning process, which also applies to cleaning your car.

If you clean it every now and then, you might end up replacing the dirt in areas that are already clean, which makes the task completely counterproductive.

For example, if you leave the roof of the car on the last spot, the dirt will drip down over freshly cleaned sections, which will ruin your effort. After pre-rinsing your car with a pressure washer or even a hose, you might want to apply a certain car shampoo from top to bottom and finish with the wheels.

You want to be as efficient as possible, and make sure you reach into crevices and areas that show a high level of dirt. Then, you rinse the shampoo away in the same order.

Using old rags

All the detergents and car cleaning products you pick have to be used with the right materials. For instance, old rags and towels could actually scratch the surface and leave residue behind, so you might want to keep them away from the car.

You could be either washing, drying, or even waxing your car, so we highly recommend sticking only to microfiber products. Microfiber is soft enough to use for your car, especially since it won’t scratch its surface, but it’s also thorough in collecting dirt.

You will have to routinely rinse it as you use it; otherwise, it might collect grit and scratch the surface.

Using a glass cleaner on the windows

Glass cleaners are specifically made to be used, well, on glass, so it’s only natural to assume that the best thing you can use them for is your car windows, right? Well, no. I know it’s extremely confusing, but let me elaborate on that.

Glass cleaners are rich in ammonia, and that’s how they leave a streak-free finish behind. But ammonia is bad for tinted windows. Glass cleaners could also cause car windows to streak and fog, which isn’t advised, especially when driving. That’s why we’d recommend you use a dedicated car window cleaner.

clean the car
Photo by Bhakpong from Shutterstock

Using dish soap on the body

We can use dish soap to clean various types of things around the house, but it should never be used to clean the car. Dish soap has degreasing properties, and that’s exactly why it is so good for washing dishes.

But when it comes to cars, this might actually remove the protective layer of wax and oils from the body. Without that much-needed layer, the color might seem faded and less glossy.

Moreover, the car will be more susceptible to scratches, and the water won’t bead. We’d advise you to use a dedicated car shampoo at all times, like the Chemical Guys Extreme Bodywash & Wax Foaming Car Wash Soap. This will be your best friend in terms of car washing, and it will also leave the protective layer intact.

Only having one bucket to hand

If you only use one bucket while washing your car, I’ve got to say you’re making a big mistake. If you rinse your cleaning materials in the same dirty water, you will most likely reapply the dirt to the car.

Besides, your cloth should collect residual grit from the bucket, so you might scratch the car as you clean it. You always have to prepare two buckets, one filled with hot, soapy water and the other with fresh, hot water for rinsing.

This might keep your soapy water clean and squicky. Besides, if you’re washing a particularly dirty car, you have to make sure you replace the water if it grows too much.

Not drying your car right away

As soon as your car is washed and cleaned, you might still have to dry it. If not, watermarks could ultimately ruin the finish. You might also have to be quick about it before the water starts evaporating, too.

An air blower could help you with that, but a much cheaper way would be to use dry microfiber cloths and buff the water away. Also, remember to bring more than just one microfiber cloth, so you can swap to a fresher one when needed.

It’s also recommended to use chamois leather when you dry a car, but these can rot if you don’t take care of them. In the last couple of years, dry microfiber cloths have made car drying easier, mostly because they’re robust, last longer, and are way more effective at absorbing water.

Using a high-powered pressure washer

Pressure washers could easily provide a rapid and convenient way of washing your car. With this kind of power, it will help dislodge dirt at the same time.

However, the problem is that the pressure washers contain such power that they end up damaging the wax coating and the paintwork of your car if you don’t know how to use them.

For instance, if you stand too close, it might strip away the protective coating and erase the paint. To avoid that, you can use a better attachment and set it to the lowest pressure. Also, stand at least three feet away and spray the car at an angle.

Forgetting the interior

Sometimes, we get so carried away with cleaning the exterior of the car that we completely forget about the interior. But truth be told, it’s not completely wrong because the dirt, dust, and crumbs are building up in there.

First, you might want to clear out all the obvious debris from the glove compartment, but also the pockets of the door. Once you completely get rid of the clutter, use a vacuum cleaner to give the car’s interior a nice once-over.

Also, you might want to use a dedicated upholstery cleaner for the seats. But whatever you do, don’t use shaving foam or disinfectants, as they can stain and damage the surfaces. If, by accident, you spill anything in your car, just pick up the excess before using the cleaner.

Applying too much wax

The final touches are also the most satisfying, especially when you see how that baby shines. But you might overdo it. Truth be told, there’s no harm or benefit in doing so, but you don’t want to waste that expensive wax, do you?

If you found this article useful, we also recommend reading: 6 Things Guests Always Notice About Your Home

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