Hand-washing your car is the best way to keep it looking like new — if, that is, you do it correctly. To keep your dream car looking like a dream, here’s what you should and shouldn’t do when you’re hand-washing your car.
- Don’t wait too long between cleanings. Debris such as bird droppings, bug juice and tree sap contain acids that can eat into your car’s finish.
- Do wash off these substances as soon as possible, even if you don’t have time to wash the rest of the car.
- Don’t try hand-washing your car when the metal is hot, such as after a long drive. The water will evaporate more quickly, making it difficult to properly clean the car without leaving spots.
- Do rinse the car off before cleaning. This will help to cool the metal and get rid of loose debris that might scratch the paint.
- Don’t use dishwashing soap, ammonia-based cleaners or other household detergents on any painted surfaces.
- Do use a cleaning agent that is designed specifically for use on cars and therefore will not damage the paint.
- Don’t try to soap up the entire car at once. Clean one section at a time, and rinse the soap off that section before it dries.
- Do use a lamb’s-wool mitt or a natural sponge, which will be softer and less abrasive than other household cleaning materials.
- Don’t continue to use a mitt or sponge that has become overly dirty while you’ve been cleaning your car. Dirt particles on the mitt or sponge can scratch your car.
- Do use a stronger wheel cleaning solution to get rid of brake dust or road grime.
- Don’t scrub in a circular pattern. Doing so can create swirl marks.
- Do use a chamois cloth or soft terry towels to dry the car and prevent the spots left by water residue.
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