There's nothing quite like seeing your reflection in the high shine of a perfect finish on a new car, so it's no wonder owners want to preserve it as long as possible. You might think the best way to do this is with frequent washing, but the truth is, you could end up doing more harm than good. Which method of car washing is the least harmful? How often should you wash your car. How much washing is simply too much?
How to Wash Your Car
Let's start by examining the different methods of washing your car. Many DIYers like to go old-school with at-home hand washing; however, there are a couple of caveats. If you want the best chance for a gentle wash that won't damage the finish, skip the dish soap and shop rags.
Opt instead for soft sponges and shammies, as well as gentle cleansers designed for use on your automobile. Use different sponges for different car parts (windows, body, wheels, etc.) and wash all sponges and shammies thoroughly after each use.
As for car washes, there's some debate between rotating bristle brushes and newer, soft cloth (raggy) options. On one hand, bristles are perhaps tougher on the paint job, but cloth strips may hang onto more grit (dirt, abrasive cleansers, etc.), potentially harming your finish. When in doubt, go the traditional route with bristle brushes.
Touch-free washes are also an option. While it's generally agreed that they do far less harm than other automatic car wash options, you may find that they simply can't get your car as clean.
How Often to Wash Your Car
There is some debate as to how often you should wash your car. It's a reality that a buildup of dirt, dust, and grime from the road and the environment can damage your finish over time. Still, the more you attack with chemical cleansers, the more you could start to see scratches and whorls that are highly visible in the sun.
Let's just start by saying you probably don't want to wash every day, or even weekly, for the simple reason that the more you wash, the more you have to wax to protect the finish. Experts tend to recommend washing no more than once every two weeks.
The best approach, really, is to wash your car when it's dirty, whether that happens from week to week or it takes a month for dirt and grime to become noticeable. If you have the time, hand wash for best results, but make sure you're doing it right, so as to preserve your pristine finish as long as possible.