Tips&TricksDitch the dish soap: The unseen danger to your car's paintwork and how to save it

Ditch the dish soap: The unseen danger to your car's paintwork and how to save it

What to wash the car with?
What to wash the car with?
Images source: © Getty Images | mbtphotos

11:02 AM EST, January 25, 2024

Those with their yard often resort to personally washing their car at home whenever weather conditions permit. Although this is a quick solution, it's not considerate of the environment nor safe for the vehicle if inappropriate detergents are used. A classic example is traditional dishwashing soap, which, despite its cleaning efficacy, is inadequate for car washing. Why, you may ask?

What makes dish soap unsuitable for washing cars?

Let's explore the properties of this ordinary household detergent. Most manufacturers market heavily on their product’s degreasing solid compounds, ability to dissolve dried food, and the capacity to clean persistent dirt like burnt-on stains. While these features ensure crystal-clean and shiny dishes, they are harmful to a car's bodywork.

A car's finish coated with paint or wax has a non-visible protective layer, essential for preserving the paint's integrity and filtering harmful UV rays. The chemical composition of this protective coating often includes oils and resins. Washing a car with dish soap could damage this protective barrier and leave the vehicle vulnerable. Consequently, water or sunrays would directly affect the car, causing gradual wear and tear of the material.

How can you protect your car's paintwork?

If you’ve been using dish soap and are now concerned about your car's paintwork, you should apply wax to your vehicle to restore the protective layer. The wax will shield the body from UV rays and allow water to run off the car's body smoothly. However, remember that this coating will naturally degrade over time and needs regular renewal.

Wondering the best way to wash your car safely? The simplest and most environmentally friendly way is to head to the local car wash and utilize the detergents offered there. Such washings cost less than $3, although the price varies based on the selected products and the duration. If you're not keen about visiting the car wash, consider investing in suitable auto wash products and paintwork care supplies. These can be purchased at automotive store outlets or via online deals. Even though these detergents may be pricier than regular dish soap, they’re designed to be gentler and safer for your vehicle.

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