Common Car Cleaning Myths That May Surprise You

Written by Adrian Wilson

There’s nothing like having a shiny, clean-smelling car, that showroom shine that owners try to reinvent time and time again. However, as with most topics, a number of myths rise to the surface, causing novices and experts alike to take chances and guess as to what is best for cleaning their beloved vehicles. Below, you’ll find a number of common car-cleaning myths that may shock you and change your habits.

Dishwasher Safe

Dishwashing soap is tough on grease and does well to clean a sink load of dishes, so it must be great to use on the outside of your car, right? Wrong- dishwasher detergent removes all things from surfaces, which includes paint polymer. If you want your car to look brand new, putting dish detergent to its surface is not wise. Find soap that is manufactured for vehicle use. Otherwise, you’ll accelerate the oxidation process and make your car look worse than before.

Different Words

Polishing and waxing is the same thing, right? There’s no need to distinguish between the two? Wrong- while both serve the purpose of making the exterior look great, they are different. Polishing helps achieve that glossy finish, and waxing helps protect the vehicle’s overall finish. So wax helps protect the polish finish, but the former won’t make your car look shiny on its own.

Baby Soft

A diaper is good enough for a baby’s behind so it must be gentle on your car, right. Actually, diapers and soft shirts can swirl dirt and debris onto your car as well as create micro scratches. Use a microfiber towel that collects dirt and grime. Car experts suggest using nothing but microfiber cloth to buff your car.

Too Late

The ability to write “clean me” is a sure sign that your car is ready for a cleaning, but there’s no need to wait that long. Carwashes are somewhere between $10 and $20, and considering that the price of a Starbucks coffee is steadily reaching close to $5, there’s no reason not to make a carwash a regular occurrence. Most businesses reward your patronage, and you can probably find an establishment that provides discounts to regular customers. Consider investing the added funds toward getting the interior cleaned as well. If you want to keep the insides tidy between washes, get Shear Comfort seat covers that easily come off, so you can shake away dirt, crumbs, etc.

Air Dry

Would you go jogging right after you took a shower? Of course not, that would seem ridiculous, yet a number of people think letting the car air dry is the appropriate way to culminate the hard work put forth in cleaning. This is not the case. The best thing to do when the car is wet is to blot the moisture away with a microfiber cloth.

It’s likely the information found above raised a few brows and inspired a few head scratches. Now you know better than using dish detergent on your car and interchanging the words “polish” and “wax.” You’re welcome!

About the Blogger

Adrian Wilson helps to maintain a fleet of vehicles for a kids charity and enjoys being able to share his tips online. His thoughts can be found on a number of different websites.

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Auto Upkeep 4th Edition

Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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