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Can I Use Laundry Detergent to Wash My Car?

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Contrary to what many car owners think, cleaning and washing cars is not just a vanity or cosmetic exercise. If you are a cautious and careful car owner, you will always take this aspect seriously. You may ask this question: can I use laundry detergent to wash my car? 

The short answer to this question is:  no, you cannot. Laundry detergent is not safe for washing cars. In this post, we will dive deep into this question and try to explain why you should not use detergent to wash your car. 

Things needed to wash your car

Now you are going to provide a list of items that you will need to wash your car. Please note that this list is not comprehensive at all. Depending on your particular situation you will need more or fewer of these items.

  •         The first thing you need is a wash mitt or sponge made of microfiber or sheepskin. However, to clean dirt, you can also use a towel or old rag. 
  •         Once you have finished cleaning your vehicle, use a dry towel to dry off the vehicle. A microfiber towel is preferable.
  •         To clean the tires of your vehicle, use a piece of sponge or a strong brush. When it comes to washing a car, this is one of the essential items. 
  •         Have a bucket for carrying water. It is even better if you have two buckets. One is for soapy water, and the other is for normal water.
  •         To Wash your wheels and tires, you have to use a cleaner and finish. 
  •         If your vehicle has bad stains, you may need a tar and bug remover.
  •         For a protective shine, you can use a Polish or finishing wax. But this is optional. 

Proper way to wash a car

To wash a car, you need at least the basic items such as water, a drying towel, proper soap, a bucket, and a rag. After washing your car, you have to air dry it properly. Laundry detergent and hand soaps are bad for your car’s paint coating. To wipe away dirt and grease, you have to use a rag. 

Water will be needed not only before but also after washing your car. To wash your car, you must use clean water. Car owners often ask the question: can I use laundry detergent to wash my car? The answer is: no. You should not use laundry detergent for this purpose. Later in this article, we will explain why.

The first thing you need to do is to take some clean water in a bucket and use the water to rinse off the entire car. Make sure there is no dirt left on wiper blades and other areas. 

It is a good idea to start with the wheels. The tires and wheels easily get dirty and they require a lot of scrubbing. Throughout the process, you will have to refill your bucket with fresh water and soap.

Stains such as Bird droppings, bugs and oil should be pretreated before you apply any cleaning agent to the area. 

To rinse the car and remove the dirt, you can periodically use a rag. If you do not have a rag, you can get the job done with an old towel. Scrub in straight, even lines and do not press to hard. Do not scrub in a circular motion because that may make swirl marks. 

Once all sides have been washed and rinsed, you have to air dry the car with a towel. In this way, you can prevent sun spots and water spots from forming. 

Why you should avoid laundry detergent to wash your car

Probably you still have this question in your mind: Can I use laundry detergent to wash my car? Laundry detergent can erode and damage your car’s paint coating, and that is why you should avoid using it. This is the main reason why you should not use laundry detergent, but there are some other reasons. 

Then what should you use to wash your car? Well, in the market you will find soap specially manufactured for washing cars. Go to any car parts store and we will find this soap. An ideal car washing soap washes your car without causing any damage to the paint. Instead of damaging the paint, it will make it look shiny and sleek. 

Is it okay to air dry a car? 

It is OK to drive a car, but there are some things to consider. If sun and water spots are left on the car, they can erode the paint. So, you can use a towel to dry your car. There specialized car towels in the market and you can buy one to get the job done. 

But using a car travel is not enough. You will have to use a microfiber towel to remove the sun spots. Do not move the towel in circular emotions. Move it in straight lines to remove the sunspots. 

Using polish or wax

Once you have washed your car and dried it completely, you have to use wax or polish. But before you use wax or polish, you have to make sure that there is no dirt or debris on your car. Car wax is used to protect your car’s paint, and car polish is used to add shine to the paint. 

Car polish will keep your car shiny even if you do not use the car for a long time. How do you know whether your car needs more wax? Just pour a little bit of water and see if it turns into beads. If it does, your car has enough wax. 

It is good to know that car wax is not very effective if you do not use proper car soap. You can apply polish after any wash, but you have to use car wax only seasonally. Go to any local Car Care store and you will find car cleaning products. 

Additional tips for washing your car

If you are a little bit strategic, you can clean your car without any hassle or heartache. Now we are going to provide some tips that will help you get the job done smoothly.

First of all, you have to choose the right soap. If you have bought a car recently, you may ask the classic question: Can I use laundry detergent to wash my car. We have already clarified that laundry detergent is not good for your car.

Dish soap can cut through grease and clean your dishes instantly. But if you use dish soap for cleaning your car, you will have to face issues because the chemicals of dish soap and laundry detergent are too strong for your car’s wax.

If you have dropped your detailing rag, drying cloth or wash mitt, frankly you can not do anything about it. So try to forget it. When washing your car, do not use something that has touched the ground.

It will contain some dirt particles and they will definitely scratch your car’s paint. Make sure nothing touches the ground. But it is not always possible. It is good to have an extra mitt or some extra towels.

In between every dip, you must rinse your mitt carefully. To do so, you must have enough supply of clean water. Use two buckets so that you do not run out of water too often. You will not accidentally scratch the paint if you have enough supply of water.

Can I use laundry detergent to wash my car if I do not have other options? Car owners often ask the question. You do not need to use laundry detergent because there are better alternatives.

But choosing the right cleaner is not enough. You must know how to use the product. Just dive into action and follow the directions carefully. Chances are that you will be able to wash your car without hassles.

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