Top 10 Car Cleaning Mistakes

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1. Using an Automatic Car Wash

This method guarantees to put a scratch on your paint. Even if the Car Wash says that they use soft bristles, or soft cloth, dirt gets trapped in the cloth and ends up getting scratched across your paint. Automatic car washes are aggressive, even the touch-less type where powerful water jet slams your paint surface to remove the dirt. The water pressure can sometimes be too high and even if the water pressure isn’t too high, the water will push dirt against the paint, thereby scratching it.

2. Cleaning your car in direct sunlight and when it’s really hot

  • When you clean your car under the sun the car’s surface will get really hot and the water you’re cleaning with will evaporate and leave water marks on your paint. Another problem is that the chemicals and cleaners that you’re using aren’t made to be put on hot surfaces, which is why it says in the direction to park the car under a shade.
  • Instead, wait until when the sun is just about setting down. You’ll get a really good shine on the car, and you can see where all the dirt is. During this time it’s cooler and the sun isn’t as strong. It allows your car to stay cool and water won’t evaporate very quickly. 2.1



3. Using Kitchen soap or some kind of degreaser to clean your car.

  • These kinds of products are bad for your paint, and will strip your protective wax coating. So all that hard work waxing goes to waste. Also these products are not always PH balanced so they could be damaging your clear coat.
  • What you want to use instead is an automotive soap. These stuff is specifically formulated to clean your car’s paint so it won’t strip the wax, it is PH balanced, and it also foams up really well, therefore providing good lubrication when you use your towel against your paint.  3.1



4. Not using lubrication when cleaning your car.

Always apply lubrication when wiping your car. You need to have some kind of lubricant, and you shouldn’t be using paper towels when it comes to your paint, what you should be using instead is a micro-fiber cloth. Always have some type of lubricant. Or just make sure that your car is soaking wet and have a towel that is completely covered in soap and water so you won’t scratch your car. 4



5. Do not ever use a paper towel, and old t-shirt, a sponge, or a bathing towel on your paint.

Using these materials will definitely result in scratches in your paint. The only thing that should touch your paint is a nice and soft micro-fiber towel or something with a similar softness. 5.1



6. Always wash from the top of your car to the bottom of your car.

You always want to start cleaning from the top of your car and finish on the bottom of your car. One exception is that you can start with cleaning your rims. When cleaning your rims the same rule for cleaning your paint applies. Use a micro-fiber towel and some type of lubricant. Make sure you don’t use the same towel for the rim as well as the paint. You should have two different towels because rim dust is acidic and gritty. Do not use paper towels on the rim because they too are clear coated to protect the aluminum finish, and paper towels will just scratch the clear coat out of your rim. 6



7. Cleaning in a swirling motion

Pick a direction (whether front to back, or back to front) and clean in that direction. If you do it in a swirling motion, you’re more likely to see scratches at different angles. 7



8. Using only one bucket

Have two buckets ready. One for the soapy water and the other just for rinsing out your towel. The rinsing bucket will allow any dust or particles to fall to the bottom of the rinse bucket and it won’t get contaminated in the nice clean soapy bucket. 8



9. Dropping your towel on the ground, picking it back up and right away using it on your car.

When you drop your towel on the ground, it picks up all type of debris and dirt including little rocks, leaves, pebbles and other stuff that will definitely cause a scratch on your paint. So once your towel drops on the ground, it is done, do not use it again. 9



10. Using Vinyl cleaner on the steering wheel, fuel or brake pedal, and the gear knob.

You never want to put any chemicals on your steering wheel, fuel or brake pedal, or your gear knob as it will just make it slippery. This just makes driving dangerous and you could potentially cause an accident hurting yourself or someone else. 10





  • Get all the dirt in the bucket out so when you put your towel in there, you won’t pick up the dirt and rub it right into your paint and scratch your paint.

3. IF YOU ARE EVER USING A VINYL CLEANER, make sure you spray it on your towel first and not on the panel or instrument. This will prevent it from getting on the windows and things you don’t want it on.