Avoid washing with rollers
Step 1: Choose your wash location
Step 2: Wash your body
Step 3: Rinse your car
Cleaning your car’s bodywork is a must before an occasion like a wedding, after a weekend on muddy roads, or when selling your car. But it’s also a good habit to get into if you want to maintain your vehicle well: as with all surfaces, old stains are harder to remove, and layers of mud can attack the coating and eventually break through the paintwork, opening the way for rust, the number one enemy of car bodywork.
There are several techniques for washing your car, each with advantages and disadvantages. The main thing to remember is not to scratch the paintwork.
Avoid washing with rollers
Car paintwork is shiny and very fragile. The paint will scratch or fade with the slightest abrasion, rubbing, or pebble. This is the main concern when cleaning your car.
Washing in stations with rollers is not recommended because dust or gravel left in the rollers can make micro-scratches on the bodywork. Antennas and mirrors can also be damaged if they are not folded.
1. Choose your wash location
You have two options: washing at a high-pressure station or cleaning at home.
In any case, don’t wash your car after an extended stay in the hot sun: if the bodywork is too hot, the detergent will dry too quickly and leave marks.
At home, move to the shade again to avoid drying too quickly. And if possible, stand near a water source (hose or tap) for practical reasons.
2. Wash your bodywork
Whatever technique you choose, always proceed from top to bottom. And pay particular attention to the wheel arches and rocker panels: these are generally the dirtiest areas where the road spray comes in. And this is where rust can set in if the layer of dirt is too thick and ends up piercing the paint.
At the high-pressure station
Beware of the recoil of the spray the first time, and don’t hold the nozzle too close to the fragile parts of your car. Depending on the stage, it is recommended to be between 5 and 20 cm away from the bodywork.
High-pressure washing does not always remove all residues. Sometimes it is necessary to scrub with a sponge in addition. Some recommend a power wash as a pre-wash step before a more thorough cleaning at home.
Use a bucket with water and car shampoo. If you have a particular concern, other specific products exist for each part of the car.
Use a new or very clean sponge to ensure it is not full of dust that will turn into abrasives when scrubbing your bodywork.
You can also use two buckets: one containing car shampoo and the other with clear water. Rinse the sponge regularly. This way, the dust will settle in the second bucket, and you can resume your wash by soaking your sponge in the bucket with the shampoo, free of abrasives.
3. Rinse your car
At the pressure wash station, you will have several rinsing stages: water and a polishing product. The last step is to use demineralised water, which prevents streaks when drying. Please do not skip it.
Rinse your bodywork with clear water, with a jet or, failing that, with a bucket.
You can then dry it with a chamois or a microfiber cloth to avoid unsightly marks when drying.
Finally, for more shine, you can use a polishing product.
Equipment for washing your car
Sponge + Cloth