There are times when you may need to wash your car, but don’t have a car wash handy. Here are some tips on the type of soaps that are best for hand washing your vehicle.
Just Say “No” to Dish Soap
Refrain from using dish soap for washing your car. It’s designed to tackle tough grease, not delicate vehicle surfaces. Even mild dish soaps can damage your car’s clear coat and protective wax. Stick to using dish soap for its intended purpose – cleaning dishes, and opt for a safer alternative for washing your car.
Here are two superior options:
Hand Soap to Wash Your Car
We are going to bust a myth here: hand soap indeed serves as a decent substitute for car washing soap. If you find yourself in a tight spot, don’t hesitate to use hand soap on your car. However, make sure to opt for a mild formula, rather than a potent anti-bacterial one. You will also want to avoid moisturizing formulas that can leave a film or residue on your vehicle.
Shampoo to Wash Your Car
There might be situations on a road trip where your car requires a quick refresh with no car wash nearby. In such cases, a bottle of hair shampoo from your travel bag can come to the rescue. Though not ideal for removing stubborn, sticky residues, shampoo can still provide a decent car wash. Baby shampoo is particularly mild and is the best option if you have any handy.
Other In-a-Pinch Car Washing Tips
- When you hand wash your car, it is a good idea to use the two bucket method, if you have the option. Put warm, soapy water in one bucket and cooler clear water in the other. Dunk your sponge or rag in the cool water and wring it out before putting it in the warm soapy water each time. This will remove any debris from your sponge that might scratch your car’s paint.
- For stubborn build-up on your bumpers, lights, or license plates, add some baking soda into the soapy water. You can use up to a cup in a gallon of water. Important Note: this is only for bumpers, chrome, or metal. Do not use baking soda on the paint! It can scratch your clear coat or dull the shine.
- If you are trying to get a bit of tar or tree sap off of your car, try creamy peanut butter. Dab peanut butter on the stain and let it sit for 10 minutes. Gently rub it off with a microfiber or soft cloth. It won’t work as well as commercial cleaners, but it is a safe alternative in a pinch.
It is best to maintain your car’s gleaming look by using car washing soap, purposefully formulated to protect your car’s paint. Only resort to hand soap or shampoo if you’re in a pinch and need a quick car cleaning solution.