Washing your car with dishwashing liquid or hand soap can remove the protective wax from your car’s paint.
This is according to the South African Motor Body Repairers Association (SAMBRA), which made the statement as part of a release on how one should wash their car.
“Frequent washing is the best way to maintain a new-car finish, but there are some definite do’s and don’ts to watch out for if you don’t want to accidentally scratch or damage your paint finish,” said SAMBRA.
What to avoid
SAMBRA provided the following list of “things to avoid” when washing your car.
- Don’t use household cleaning agents like hand soap, dishwashing detergent, or glass cleaner on the paint.
“These aren’t formulated for use on a car’s paint and may strip off the protective wax. Avoid any gimmicky products that claim to remove marks. They more often than not will also strip the protective wax layer.”
- Don’t use any wax or shine products on your tyres.
“Many products advertise they add shine to tyres, remove sidewall dirt and oils that may erode the rubber over time, or protect tyres to prevent cracking.”
“The truth, however, is that modern tyres have antioxidants and waxes in the tyre to protect them from the environment. Fortunately, simple soap and water is really all you need for tyres.”
- Don’t wash your car when the body is hot.
“Heat speeds up the drying of soap and water, making washing more difficult and increasing the chances that spots or deposits will form.”
- Be careful how you rotate your sponge.
“Moving your sponge in circles when you clean your car can create light, but noticeable scratches called swirl marks. Instead, move the sponge lengthwise across the bonnet of the car and other body panels. Also use a different sponge to clean your wheels.”
- Don’t let the car air dry.
“[This] will leave watermarks caused by minerals in hard water. In addition, don’t use an abrasive towel or other material that can leave hairline scratches in the paint.”
What you should do
SAMBRA went on to provide advice on what you should do when washing your car.
- Use a dedicated car wash product which is milder and specifically designed for use on automotive paint.
Before applying the soap, rinse all surfaces thoroughly with water to remove loose dirt and debris that could cause scratching.
- Do treat your car to a seasonal waxing.
“Treat your car to a seasonal waxing to help protect it from the elements and give it a like-new shine. Worth noting is that premium-priced car wax brands don’t necessarily hold up any better than lower-priced alternatives.”
- Use a chamois to dry your car.
“Always ensure it is perfectly clean and rinsed regularly to avoid scratching.”