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The Dos and Don’ts of Washing Your Car

Cleaning your car may seem like a fairly straightforward task. However, if you don’t do it properly you can actually damage your car.

If you want to protect your paintwork then there are some things you should avoid doing.

By cleaning your car yourself you know that it will be treated with care as long as you do it properly.

When washing your car there are some things you should be doing and other things you should definitely avoid.

Here are a list of Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to washing your car.

Do…

  • Do prepare with care. Use good quality proprietary cleaning products that are specially made for cleaning cars. Some household cleaning products and chemicals can cause more damage than good.
  • Do ensure you have the right tools, including buckets, leathers, sponges, brushes and mitts that are used solely for cleaning the car. Using them for other jobs can pick up dust, dirt and grit which can scratch your paintwork.

Washing You Car

  • Do a bit at a time. Wash the outside first, dry and polish, and then deal with the interior. It’s best to focus on a specific area at a time so that you know exactly what products you need.
  • Do take your time when washing your car. If you rush you can easily make mistakes and miss bits which will spoil the overall finish. Choose a time to wash your cash when you won’t be in a rush so that you do it properly.
  • Do follow the instructions on the product you are using. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines so that you know you are using each product correctly. It’s especially important when you are using products on your car as incorrect usage can potentially damage paintwork and upholstery.
  • Do check the bodywork and tyres for damage, including light lenses, and rectify any problems. Washing your car is great for highlighting any issues that you might not otherwise spot.

Washing You Car

  • Do clean under the wheel arch and any other returns. Do not use a wire brush to remove built up dirt as this may well crack any underseal or protection.
  • If using a hose, do have one that you can turn off at the outlet. That way you don’t have to keep walking back to the tap and wasting water. Or simply make sure you wash your car right next to a tap.
  • Do wax your car after washing it. ‘You should regularly apply car wax to your bodywork after cleaning. This will form a layer of protection that will help to maintain the condition of the paint.

Don’t…

  • Don’t wash a car in bright sunlight or when the car is hot. You may have done this before and noticed the water dries with streaks which defeats the point of washing the car in the first place. Moreover, don’t use polish or wax when the car is warm or you have just been on a long drive because the wax runs and you have to work harder to polish it.
  • Don’t put the dirty cloth or sponge back into the soapy water. Why clean your car with dirty water? Also, small specks of dirt will scratch the surface of the paintwork. Have a spare bucket for washing your cloth or wash under a tap or hose.
  • Don’t use washing up liquid or any other detergent. It will strip any wax from the paintwork. It is not meant for washing cars, don’t try and take the easy way out by using washing up liquid because it’s cheaper than specialised car washing products.

Washing You Car

  • Don’t use an abrasive ‘paint restorer’ when washing unless you specifically want to repair paintwork. Focus on your main task which is washing your car. You can highlight any issues with the paintwork and deal with them later.
  • Don’t wash your car without test all your cleaning products first. Some products can react with paintwork or upholstery so it is important to try them on a small area first before using them all over your car. ‘Check for discolouration, damage, texture, and any other changes.’

Washing You Car
Don’t leave your car unattended while you are washing it. ‘Many people leave their car unlocked while washing it, this can make your car a target for thieves.’ Don’t take a long break from cleaning and leave your car unlocked with the windows and doors open, especially if you have valuables inside. Most importantly, don’t leave the keys in the ignition or around the car while you are busy washing it.

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