A trip through the car wash usually has your vehicle sparkling clean, but not everyone has the time and money for that sort of thing.
Cleaning your car yourself can be a good alternative, but just be careful that you don’t use Dawn dish soap. According to Carwash Country, these types of soaps can do some damage over time.
Carwash Country said that the dish soaps like Dawn are degreasers capable of removing stuck-on substances, which is great for cleaning dirty dishes — but not for cleaning your car.
“Regular old Dawn liquid dish soap won’t damage a vehicle’s clear coat but is not ideal for general maintenance washing, since it will remove wax, leaving your vehicle unprotected,” the website reports.
According to Consumer Reports, using a dedicated car wash product is preferred for use on vehicles, though soap and water can be used on wheels and tires to clean off sand and other debris.
In addition to avoiding Dawn dish soap, Consumer Reports suggests keeping the following tips in mind when washing your car:
- Don’t wash your car when the body is hot: Heat can speed up how quickly soap and water dries, which could result in spots or deposits.
- Don’t move your sponge in circles when washing: These motions can create scratches, so instead move the sponge lengthwise across the hood and other parts of the car body
- Don’t wash with a sponge that’s been on the ground: If it’s collected any debris from being dropped on the ground, your sponge could scratch up your vehicle
- Don’t let the car air dry: This could end with watermarks caused by minerals in hard water, so you should instead dry it with a chamois or soft terry towel
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