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How to Clean Your Car Like a Boss

Vishal Bhaskaran

Vishal Bhaskaran

2019-11-19

Cleanliness is next to Godliness, they say.

And so, we believe you should religiously clean your cars — thereby absolving the sins of the week along with unsightly dirt and grime. Doing it right, however, is easier said than done.

To help you achieve automotive Nirvana, here are Flux’s top tips to ensure the mirror finish on your car, and soul, last a lifetime.

1. Not All Cloths are Created Equal

There is only one type of cloth you should be using on the delicate paintwork of your car, and that’s microfiber. Anything rougher creates tiny scratches on the top layer of the clear coat, which over time become progressively visible even under the dimmest light.

What on earth are you even doing?

Sustained abuse from subpar cloths are what cause the need for polishing, which cuts a layer of clear coat to “remove” these tiny scratches. The prevalent misconception is that polishing is a regular need for cars to continue shining — this is like saying antibiotics are needed to stay healthy. If this is the metaphor, try to avoid falling sick in the first place.

2. Drop the Soap

Car shampoo formulations are very specific for the cleaning, protection and long term lustre of your paintwork. The good ones, however, tend to be on the slightly pricey side and are not available at just any supermarket.

This is Margaret. Margaret only uses her dish soap for dishes. Be like Margaret.

For these reasons, a common substitute is dish soap, which creates a deceptive post-wash shine (just like it does with your crockery) but creates dullness in the long run. Avoid the expensive repainting job and get a good, pH-balanced and highly-lubricated car shampoo. Trust us, it’s worth it.

3. Water Bout It?

Don’t worry, we’re not about to tell you to use only fresh spring water to wash your car. That would be ridiculous. Or would it? Depending on where you are, mineral content in water can leave deposits on the bodywork but there is not much you can do about this.

With whatever water you use, however, what you can do is modify the pressure. Water doesn’t just serve as a lathering medium for car shampoo, but helps to blast off the initial layer of dirt from your car. If there’s too much of it still on when you start cleaning, there is a higher risk of creating those demonic minor scratches.

Work it, girl.

4. Wax On, Wax Off

This is all about what you do with your hands, but no circular motions here. The most effective method of spreading car shampoo and picking up dirt from the surface of a car are short, horizontal movements. Start from the roof of the car and work your way down, stopping only to squeeze out dirt.

Just use sandpaper, it’s easier.

The only place where this soft swipe of sorts doesn’t work is the wheels, where you should switch to a different cloth to preserve the ‘body’ cloth for as long as possible. Make your movements gentle, or instead of picking up contaminants you will simply be scraping them along the body. Think a little less karate and a little more Tai Chi. Sorry, Mr Miyagi.

5. God’s Work, Our Hands.

Finally, for the love of Thor, please never enter an automated drive-through car wash ever again. These are the worst offenders, not only the wrong material but employing a painfully rough approach while slathering your car with all the dirt of cars which have come before. Never, not once.

Splendid. Why don’t you just send your car to the crusher while you’re at it?

Done right, washing a car by hand can be strangely therapeutic, for us at least, and nothing beats the satisfaction of standing back and admiring the beautiful result. Oh my God indeed.

If you know any cleaning hacks that have served you and your ride well, let us know in the comments.

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