Washing your car? There is a method to it

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So, you’ve just got yourself a shiny new set of wheels. Unfortunately, pollution and dust is very likely to wreak havoc with the car’s paint.

Today’s automotive painting technology is pretty advanced and will not get damaged easily. Also, the body has some sort of paint protection. Despite this, taking good care of the exterior is a very important part of owning a car. Doing it the right way is more important.

Maintenance of the exterior includes dusting, washing and the regular wax treatment. Dust and dirt are bad for the exterior but equally bad is the way the car is washed. A car’s body can get scratched or get swirl marks if care is not taken while washing. When an ordinary piece of cloth and single bucket is used for washing, the dust tends to scratch the paint and produce swirl marks too.

Ideally, two buckets of water should be used for washing. The car needs to be dusted thoroughly before water is poured on it. This way, a lot of damage is prevented to begin with. A microfibre duster can be used to remove the loose dust. If there is an electric blower at hand, it is even better. A domestic vacuum cleaner will generally have a blower function and this can also be used.

In the two-bucket method, one will have a water-car shampoo mix and the other will have clean water. Using two buckets will prevent the dirt that is removed from getting back on the car. The correct method is to dip the cloth in the shampoo solution and clean the car. The dirty cloth is then rinsed with plain water. If the dirty cloth is rinsed in the bucket that has the solution, all the removed dirt will get back on the car and scratch it. Even is soaping the car is not done, this method should be used to minimise damage to the paintwork.

Using a microfibre cloth is more effective than a cotton one because the former has the ability to lift dust more effectively. The cost of microfibre towels is varied. From a hundred to several hundreds of Rupees, we are spoilt for choice. Microfiber or artificial lamb wool washing mitts are also widely available and are effective. They are priced Rs 350 and above. 

Using a pressure washer is more effective in removing dirt than just a cloth and water/ soap solution. The water jet blasts away dirt and grime and the car is ready for soaping. In fact, cleaning a car with a pressure washer has the additional advantage of conserving water. The amount of water used depends on the model and a small one for domestic use will not really waste too much water. A pressure washer from a reputed brand can be bought for about Rs 6000 and can be used for cleaning cemented and tiled surfaces and exteriors of the house as well.

Some pressure washers have a ‘foam canon’. Car shampoo is put into a small reservoir and attached to the spray gun of the machine. Foam canon shampoos that produce thick, dense foam can be bought. This foam is to be sprayed on the dirty car. Letting it sit for some time and flow off the car dissolves and takes off the dirt. The car can then be washed by the two-bucket method.

Using a pressure washer might be a tad cumbersome. However, the cleaning process is more effective and also reduces chances of scratches or swirl marks.

A microfibre cloth can be used to dry the car as well because it can retain water several times its own weight. Drying the car with a cotton cloth tends to leave lint on the car and also create static that will attract more dust. The tried and tested method of using newspaper to dry the glass will also leave it streak-free. 

Another effective solution is to use synthetic chamois leather for drying. This can also absorb water several times its own weight and the car can be dried in no time.

It should also be noted that the cloth used for drying the body should never be used on the glass. Also, the cloth used to wipe the tyres or rims should not be used on the body or glass.

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Washing your car? There is a method to it

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