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Can You Wash Your Car too Much? What You Need To Know!

cropped man pressure washing a blue car

If the average person asks if they can wash their car too much, the answer is they probably don’t need to worry about it. However, if you’re someone who really loves a shiny vehicle, then you may need to be put extra effort into washing it gently and possibly scaling back your cleaning efforts. At the end of the day, it is possible to clean a car too much.

A new car is considered one of life’s major purchases. Some people buy a new car every few years. But some people have one vehicle for a much longer time, and part of taking care of your vehicle is keeping it clean—inside and out.

But how will you know if you’re cleaning it too much? A good rule of thumb: if it’s dirty, wash it. Road grime, mud, and dust can actually cause significant damage to the finish if left unwashed. Now, if you just cleaned it a few days ago and it isn’t dirty, it may be best to let it be.

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Signs It’s Too Much

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how often you should wash your car, there are certainly signs that you’re washing it too much. Have no fear, though! If your vehicle has suffered too many washes and begins to show any of these signs many times, there are ways to reverse them.

Washing a car
Image credit: Washing a car by VintageBlue, Pixabay

Spider Webbing

One major cause for concern is if you start to notice “spider webbing.” Essentially, these are tiny hairline fractures in the clear coat finish that spread out from a central point. They will look like spider webs in the paint, hence the name. They are often caused by repeatedly washing the same spot or using an inadequate amount of water or improper soap.

Many times, if it’s caught before getting too severe, this spider webbing can be fixed. If you don’t want to take the vehicle to a professional detailer, DIY guides online can walk you through the process step-by-step. Only a few special tools and materials are needed to fix spider webbing on your car’s clear coat.

Faded or Dull Finish

Most car paint and clear coat is high quality, but even the best finish will eventually begin to fade or grow dull. The sun, or more specifically the UV rays from it, is one of the main contributors to fading car paint. However, over-washing the car can result in faster fading.

So, you won’t be able to prevent it entirely, but with proper care, you can slow down how quickly your car’s paint fades. Using proper washing techniques and soap is a good start. Also, waxing or glazing can help prevent premature fading.

The Best Way to Wash Your Car

carwash using pressure washer
Image Credit: TheOtherKev, Pixabay

When it comes time to wash your car, you have multiple options to choose from. Nowadays, there are some pretty incredible touch-free car washes around. These are generally the best for your vehicle as nothing but water and soap ever touch your vehicle. If one of these is not an option, you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way. There are a few general steps you can follow to minimize the chance of wrecking your car’s finish.

  • Before You Start: Remove any rings or watches. This ensures you will not accidentally scratch the paint while scrubbing.
  • Wheels First: The reason for this is that generally, you will use a stronger cleaner on the wheels. You want to wash them and rinse them right away so this cleaner doesn’t dry on the paint, which can ruin the finish.
  • Pre-Wash: One of the easiest ways to scratch your vehicle is by rubbing dirt around without it being wet. For example, drawing dirt pictures on a dirty car is very bad for the finish. Spray the entire vehicle thoroughly with clean water.
  • Wash: Once the car is wet, get a big bucket of sudsy water and go to town. Using either a microfiber cloth or mitt, wash your car—top to bottom. Make sure you are rinsing the cloth often. If your vehicle is really dirty, you may have to get fresh water more than once.
  • Rinse: Make sure you rinse the car well. The soap used on cars can potentially damage the finish if left to dry—especially if it’s a regular occurrence.
  • Dry: This step isn’t critical, but it will make for a nicer finish by helping to prevent water spots. If you have a leaf blower or something like that around, this task is easy.

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It’s understandable to want to wash your car regularly; you didn’t pay that much money because you didn’t like the color and finish! Just keep some of the ideas we had a look at in this article in mind and use your best judgment on how much is too much in your situation. For example, if you live somewhere with a lot of snow and ice where salt is used on the road, you will probably wash your car more often—even in the winter. That road salt is no good for any vehicle’s finish!

You might also be interested in: Why Are There So Many Spiders in My House? 11 Possible Reasons


Featured Image Credit: HutchRock, Pixabay

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