Dave’s Top 10

Bonehead Ways to Clean a Car

Dave is no different from thousands of guys and gals having their heart in the right place to take care of their car. But, there’s some do’s and don’t’s when it comes to doing it right. Let’s take a look at his list of 10 oh-my-goodness moments:

#1 – Using One Bucket. Using one bucket recirculates contaminants from your car to the bucket and back onto your car. Dirt, road grime, iron deposits, and more are removed from your car with a wash mitt, rinsed into a second bucket with plain water before going back into your soap bucket. At least 2 buckets and preferably 3 (1 for soap and water mix, 1 for water only and 1 for wheels and tires only) with a grit guard to catch dirt, grime in the bucket.

#2 –  Using Dish detergent Soap. Dish soap is made for removing food and waste from dishes and is not pH balanced for your car’s paint. You car’s painted surface isn’t thick at less than 5 mils and mainly protected by the manufacturer’s clear coat (which is thinner than a post-it note). Washing your car with a 3-bucket system, a microfiber or chenille mitt and pH balance car soap will remove contaminants and keep your car investment cleaner, healthier.

#3 – Stretching Hose Over Top of Your Car. Most contact is bad contact with your paint (the #1 law of car care). I often see this at the gas station too – stretching the dirty hose across the back of the car to the fill tank. Chances are your garden hose is a hard vinyl or plastic and as it moves across your driveway it’s picking up sand, pebbles and rock grains that will scratch your car’s finish. Your options are buy a longer hose, move the car to accommodate the hose or use hose guide rollers. Here’s the secret – these rollers prevent your rubber hose from getting stuck under your tires.

#4 – Using a Sponge to Wash Your Car. Keep kitchen items in the kitchen where there most useful. Using a microfiber towel or wash mitts ensure you’re not damaging your car’s paint and finish. A chamois merely pushes water about without removing it from the car’s surface and if any residual grit is on the surface, it drags it across inducing scratches. We use lint-free microfiber chenille wash mitts to apply soap and to wipe away surface dirt.

#5 – Washing Your Car in the Sun. Even when using a spot-free rinse aid, washing your car in the driveway on a sunny day will leave water spots unless you have filtered water and properly rinse the car. Who doesn’t enjoy washing your car on a sunny day or watching the bikini snaps on a July afternoon. It’s not good for your car…or your marriage.

#6 – Using a Terry Towel to Dry. Terry towels absorb water to a point and when they’re no longer ‘thirsty’ and they simply push washer across the paint’s surface inducing dreaded scratches. Microfiber towels are best used because their fibers stand vertically and are made for soaking in water to its core. Once these towels are wrung out they’re thirsty for more as their fibers lift. These towels leave a soft surface behind without scratching. Not all microfibers are the same though. Some are best used for wheels and tires, engine bays and others are for interior cabin cleaning, glass and painted finishes. Here’s a secret – avoid cross contaminating towels from one surface to another. Don’t be cheap, broski!

#7 – Wiping a Dirty Surface. You’d be surprised how many inadvertently wipe their dirty car with a microfiber towel alone or worse yet a chamois. Without any lubricant (water, liquid, detailer, etc), you’re moving contaminants across your surface. You may think you’re helping the car “look clean” but in reality you might as well be dragging 6” stones across your car.

#8 – Windex on Windshields. Windex™ is made for interior glass surfaces of your home. The chemicals making up Windex™ are not manufactured for car glass or windscreens – plain and simple. This one is as bad as #2. Ignorance is bliss…apparently! Here’s one secret – use a Magic Eraser to clean the exterior windscreens and a car glass cleaner. The minor bug splatter, minor scratches and road film will be removed easily.

#9 –Dressing a Dirty Tire. As you wash your tires and wheels, dirt, brake dust and iron deposits dwell into a brown-color residue. Too many people stop there with a rinse and then dress the tires. You must wash and scrub your tires and clean wheels util there is no brown residue left. Always dress a clean tire.

#10 – Automated Car Wash. The worst thing you can do to your automotive investment is taking it to the roadside car wash. When’s the last time you’ve seen the roadside car wash clean their washing equipment? Regardless, the mechanical brush, rubbers and cloths are pushing dirt and grime over your car’s surface and the one behind and in front of you transferring one car’s dirt through the washing system then on to your car.

Just so you don’t feel bad for doing one or several of these in your car care life,  Dave’s done every single one of these in the five decades of car ownership. There’s plenty of time to just turn around bro!

OMG Dave, Don’t Do It!You’ve Been Asking, Who is Dave?