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10 Blunders To Avoid When Cleaning Your Car

Are you making these mistakes while cleaning your car? Below are some of the most common blunders that car owners make and what you should be doing instead.

Using washing up liquid

Washing up liquid may be good for getting dirt off your dishes, but it shouldn’t be used on a car. As some unfortunate car owners have found, dish soap is so good at removing things that it can strip away wax and even paint from a car. Car soap is specifically designed for car bodywork and is a much better option.

Using the wrong cloth/sponge

On top of using the wrong soap, many people use the wrong cloth or sponge. A cloth or sponge that is too abrasive could scratch up your car’s bodywork. A microfibre cloth is what is recommended by experts – you can find clothes designed specifically for washing a car.

Using the wrong products on your interior

When it comes to cleaning your interior, you also need to be careful about what products you use. Using the wrong products could cause damage. For example, only ever use a leather cleaner on leather car seats, and use a microfiber cloth when cleaning infotainment screens. 

Getting the water temperature wrong

Cracked windscreens can have many causes. One lesser known but common cause of windscreen cracks is pouring cold water onto a hot car windscreen (or pouring cold water onto a hot car windscreen). Make sure to get the temperature right to avoid this – stick to cooler water when washing your car on a cold day, and stick to warmer water on a hot day.

Using too high a pressure when using a pressure washer

You can use a pressure washer to clean your car, but you need to make sure that the pressure isn’t too high – otherwise you could damage the bodywork. Make sure that you’re using an adjustable pressure washer and that pressure is no more than 1.500 psi. 

Leaving wax on too long

Waxing your car? Aim to leave the wax on your car no more than 30 minutes. Leaving car wax on for too long can make it much harder to remove. If you find waxing your car to be a difficult chore, it’s probably because you’re leaving it on too long. 

Leaving wax on for not long enough

It’s worth noting that you can also fail to leave car wax on long enough. This results in it not having the intended effect of protecting your paintwork – making it all for nothing. Try to keep it on for at least 10 minutes (20 minutes if it’s a cooler day).

Cleaning the wheels last

You might think it makes sense to clean from the top of your car down to the bottom because of water running off, but actually it’s better to start with the wheels. Why is this? Because the wheels are often the dirtiest part. You can easily end up flicking dirt onto the rest of the bodywork – especially when pressure washing. By starting with the wheels, you can avoid having to clean the rest of the bodywork all over again. 

Relying too much on automated car washes

Automated car washes are convenient and can prevent you from having to worry about most of the steps above, however they aren’t a recommended regular cleaning method. This is because the brushes in automated car washes aren’t actually good for your bodywork and can cause scratches. The more you use them, the more likely you are to scratch up your car. 

Washing your car too often

This only applies to those who are really obsessed with keeping their car in pristine condition, but is still worth noting. Washing your car too much can actually damage your bodywork, causing ‘spider-webbing’. Avoid washing your car everyday to prevent damage. There’s really no reason to wash your car more than once per week unless you’re regularly getting it very dirty.

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