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Car Cleaning Tips

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Auto and Trucks

Many people prefer to wash their own cars rather than take them to the local car wash. Although a car wash will do a good job, and is inexpensive, many people enjoy the time outside on a summer day, washing their car and enjoying the outdoor activity. Its far more common to go to the car wash when the weather is not as conducive to washing to it yourself.

There are many recommendations on the best way to do this. To begin with, what should you use to wash the car? Lots of people use dish detergent. Its inexpensive, washes well and you always have it on hand. It isnt a bad thing to use, but it has some drawbacks. Based on what dish detergent is designed to remove from dishes, it can do some damage to the wax on your car. If you like to wash and wax weekly, this is not an issue. But, if your preference is to do it less often, it may be worth looking at other alternatives to wash with. There are actual washes, also called car shampoos, made to serve this purpose. They will frequently have a gloss enhancer to make your car shine when youre done. Dont use a powder cleaner; these may scratch your paint.

Mix the washes in a bucket of cool water. Hot water can affect the wax on your car, softening it and destroying its usefulness. Once your bucket is ready, gently spray the car all over. Then respray each area as you wash, so the car is not dry when youre working on it. Use a sponge, cloth, or mitt to apply the wash. Some people are very picky on what the best thing to use is. Many feel that a sponge is a bad choice and that it will scratch the paint because it tends to hold the dirt in more. Once the car is clean, rinse it off and get ready to dry it. There are some who think the best way to dry the car is a quick ride around the block on a hot day and so air-drying the car. This is usually a bad idea, as the dampness will only pick up passing dirt, making the car dirty all over again. Use good soft towels to do your drying with. This avoids scraping the paint or wax. Dry the same way you washed--one section at a time.

One tip on car cleaning that may be appreciated by all is what to do when birds leave their mark on your car. Bird poop is very acidic so can eat through the paint. That means you should get it off as soon as possible. Some people carry a bottle of soda water with them in their car to use for just this problem. Shake it up and spray it off until you can get to a gas station or home to properly clean it. Keeping your car clean adds to its appearance as well as maintains a covering that will prevent rust.