Top 10 Car Wash Mistakes – Don’t Do This!

Top 10 Car Wash Mistakes – Don’t Do This!

With winter leaving us and spring coming around, it’s car washing season! From paint marring and wax stripping to hard water spots, we’ve all made plenty of mistakes and a lot of times we learn the hard way. Today we are sharing the 10 biggest and surprisingly common, car washing mistakes. Don’t worry, we’ll also include some tips on what to do instead.

Top 10 Car Wash Mistakes

  1. An abrasive cloth. Don’t be the guy that uses any household rag on your precious car paint. Anything but high-quality microfiber towels and mitts will leave little micro scratches that over time give you awful swirl marks.
    Solution: Instead, use an ultrasoft wash mitt or pad, we like this one (The Best Car Wash Mitt and Pad).
  2. Using dish soap! Unless you intentionally want to strip all the wax from your car, which we will cover in a separate article, dish soap will strip the waxes that are protecting your paint from UV damage and contaminants.
    Solution: Use a high-quality car wash shampoo, such as Adam’s Shampoo.
  3. Washing your car in direct sunlight leaving you with hard water spots. Ok, hold on… We know what you’re thinking “I can’t wash my car in the sun?”, while it is best to wash in the shade, this isn’t always practical.Solution: Wash in the shade if possible. If you can’t wash in the shade, make sure to use a quality waffle weave towel and a drying aid with a microfiber cloth.
  4. Washing your wheels last. The wheels are often the dirtiest part of the car and need the most attention. Brake dust is the enemy of many car detailers, luckily this is a pretty easy fix.
    Solution: Clean your wheels first, and a good wheel cleaner and EZ Detail Brush sure do go a long way.
  5. Using too much pressure! Washing a car is not like scrubbing the dishes – too much pressure and you’ll be back to those same swirls and scratches from our first mistake.
    Solution: Let the cleaning solution do the work a nice light pressure with a great wash mitt is all you need. For any bugs that are stuck and hard to remove, leave them and address at the end of your car wash.
  6. Using one bucket. If you’re not using separate wash and rinse buckets AKA “the two bucket method”, yes that’s a real thing, then you’re smearing your grit across your paint bringing you right back to swirl marks and marring.
    Solution: Use a separate wash (soap) and rinse bucket. Each time after you do a section of your car, clean the wash mitt out in your rinse bucket before getting more soapy suds. This will keep all your grit off your paint!
  7. Leaving water in the cracks and crevices. This one is pretty simple but it is so often missed, we had to include it. After putting in all the hard work to wash your car, you go for a drive and all a sudden you have water streaks all over!
    Solution: Make sure to dry all the little cracks and crevices. Common culprits: mirrors, trunk, and door jambs!
  8. Mitt/rag sharing. When it comes to the really dirty areas of your car you’ll want to use dedicate different wash mitts or rags for them. For example, after cleaning your wheels, you don’t want to use that rag on your paint (even the two bucket method will struggle to keep that clean).
    Solution: Dedicate separate towels, mitts, and rags to different jobs. We like to keep our brand new clothes for the paint and over time turn them into wheel/grease rags.
  9. Taking too much time. This is especially important on a hot or sunny day. You want to avoid having any product of water dry on the car before you are finished, this can leave you with damaging hard water spots.
    Solution: Try to avoid the hottest parts of the day and keep your process quick! If you do notice anything drying, just give it a quick rinse.
  10. Not washing your car yourself and using the terrible tunnel! If you made it this far, you probably already wash your own car and avoid the terrible tunnel. If not, you’ve been warned the tunnel, over time, will create fine scratches on your cars’ paint.
    Solution: Avoid the other 9 mistakes and enjoy a weekend wash.

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