The 5 Don'ts of Washing your Car

Author: Melody Liu

Dec. 06, 2023

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Tags: Textiles & Leather Products

The 5 Don'ts of Washing your Car

#1: Don't use the wrong soap

Dish soap does not belong on your ride! Using the wrong soap can damage your clear coat as well as any glazes, sealants,  ceramics, or other protection your car might have. Instead, use a gentle, high-foaming soap designed specifically for car washing, like our all-new Sudpreme Wash & Wax. It's pH balanced to protect your paint while still removing stuck-on dirt and grime. It also contains carnauba wax to add a rich glow base as you wash.

#2: Don't use household products to scrub your vehicle

Once again: your vehicle is not a dish, so you should not be using an abrasive dish sponge or towel to clean it! Instead of a random t-shirt or rag that can create scratches, we recommend using our Chenille Microfiber Car Wash Mitt. The extra plush microfiber is ultra-absorbent and can hold tons of soapy suds, so you can wash your vehicle with the safest touch.

#3: Don't scrub before a pre-rinse

A dirty ride is going to have a lot of dirt, grime, and debris stuck to it, and if you don't pre-rinse before scrubbing, all those contaminants are just going to swirl around and damage your exterior. To minimize that surface level of grime, use the ProFlow PM2000 Performance Electric Pressure Washer or your hose to rinse the car and remove the initial layer of debris.

#4: Don't scrub the bottom first

We always want to wash efficiently, and that means starting at the top of your car and working down. There are two reasons for this:
First, the bottom of your car is a lot dirtier than the top, as that's where mud and grime is going to splatter. If you clean there first and then move to the top, you risk transferring some of that dirt to the top of the car where it can damage your paint.
Second, as you clean, simple gravity causes abrasive dirt and debris to flow down, so you will end up redirtying areas you just cleaned!
Instead, clean your car from top to bottom, working your wash mitt in straight lines, never circular motions.

#5: Don't use bath towels, rags, t-shirts, etc. to dry your vehicle

Don't risk scratching your vehicle at the very last step! The cheap material and rough seams on rags, t-shirts, or bath towels can damage your paint, and they're not even absorbent enough to dry your ride quickly. Instead, use the Speed Mammoth Drying Towel, which features dense microfiber strands, silk-banded edges, and a large size to dry your vehicle quickly and easily while reducing risk of scratching.

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Cleaning your car is about so much more than just the cleaning products themselves—you’ve got to pay special attention to the tools you use, as well. When it comes to the different types of car cleaning cloths (or towels), the sheer number of options can seem overwhelming. Don’t let it get to you. Here’s a breakdown of the best types of towels to use for different purposes so you can get the ultimate shine.

Microfiber is a must

When it comes to washing your car and keeping it protected, you can’t just opt for any old cotton detailing towels. To give your car the ultimate clean while still protecting it, microfiber is the way to go. Some manufacturers specifically make these towels to be gentle on a car’s surface, while lifting dirt or water. Even under the umbrella of microfiber cloth for cars, there are still many different types of towel to use while detailing, and each boasts its own unique benefits and properties.

Different types of microfiber towels

Detailing Towels

A high-quality detailing towel made for use on properly polished paint will generally have a weight of 350 to 500 grams per square meter and preferably edgeless but NOT laser cut. A laser cut edge can be hard and scratch the paint, as can some types of hemmed edges or borders.

Drying Towels

Drying towels range from a chamois to a waffle weave, twisted loop, and even some extremely thick high pile (1200gsm) towels. Chamois are not recommended… While they absorb liquid quickly, they do not have any room for error with a stray grain of sand. If a grain of sand or even some types of pollen get on the paint between a chamois and the paint, you can easily swirl (cause fine circular scratches) your cars paintwork in minutes. Waffle weave is probably the most well-known of the quality car drying cloths, while the twisted loop or the twisted loop hybrid has become the greatest performer in 2020.

Glass towels are similar to a waffle weave pattern but clean a bit better, are not quite as soft, and are even less likely to leave streaks.

For interior towels you can usually use a less costly towel except for on the instrument panel and soft plastics. For removing polishes, you can sometimes use a detailing towel mentioned above or in some cases you might seek out a tightly knit, lower nap towel made specifically for this task.

Microfiber Towel Characteristics

Some characteristics to note with regards to microfiber towels are the gram per square meter the blend (usually 70/30 or 80/20), and last but CERTAINLY not least the quality. A little-known fact is that the first two variables mentioned do not necessarily guarantee the third (quality).Microfiber is a synthetic blend, or a combination of fibers (usually polyester & polyamide). In general, high quality detailing towels are labeled as 80/20 or 70/30 which represents the ratio of polyester to polyamide. Polyester in towels helps with the overall strength and build of the towel, while the polyamide is what gives the towel absorbency and the ability to pick up debris. Usually 70/30 is experienced as a softer towel.

Microfiber Care:

When caring for car cleaning cloths there are some important rules to live by. Microfiber towels should only be washed with other microfiber towels.If you wash with other types of fabrics like cotton, etc., the microfiber will retain lint from those fabrics. Wash with a specialized detergent OR at the very least a “free & clear” liquid detergent. You should never use fabric softeners or dryer sheets. When drying, dry on a very low heat cycle or to be safe line dry.A dry microfiber that is heated to a certain point melts and becomes a danger to paint. You should never use a wheel towel on your paint and v/v.Mixing wax and sealant towels with glass and drying towels are a good way to cause streaking on your glass. Interior or door jamb towels will collect sand and particles you would never want in your paint buffing towels so keep those separate as well just to be safe.

There are many offerings out there that promise to give you the perfect towel and while some can be deceptive there are some truly high-quality towels on the market. Do your research and use quality products. Find a supplier that you can trust with honest answers and recommendations and you can't go wrong.When it comes to having a standout car, it’s all about protecting it from the inside out. From utilizing a metropolitan vacuum on the inside to detailing it to perfection with microfiber towels on the outside, each little step will make a big difference.

The 5 Don'ts of Washing your Car

Different Types of Cloths to Use on Your Car

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