Following on from my last post which discussed what can go wrong when applying a ceramic coating to your car, I thought it would be a good idea to follow up with a post on a topic which also relates to the subject but gets equally as much attention, and for good reason.
This question is “How Do I Wash My Car After Ceramic Coating?”
Although it may seem like a simple question, the answer is not so simple, and there are some nuances you should know when it comes to cleaning a ceramic coated car both in the short and long term.
The methods you use to wash your car after it has been treated with a coating can have a direct effect on how to coating will perform and how long it will maintain its looks and protective properties.
There is a massive misconception in the general population when it comes to ceramic coatings whereby they think once they coat their car it will be maintenance-free. While Coatings do make a car easier to clean, it certainly does not mean you can now just neglect it.
Let’s take a look at what you need to know about washing a ceramic coated car!
The First Wash After Ceramic Coating
One thing a lot of people do not realise is that the first wash is the most important to get right. The golden rule you should always stick to after a ceramic coating is Do not wash your car within 7 days of application!
If you know the basic properties of these types of products, you will know that once they are applied they will begin to cure and harden. In some instances, it can take several days for this chemical reaction to happen.
You need to give the Coating time to fully cure on your vehicle. If you wash or otherwise agitate the surface of the paintwork, it can drastically inhibit the curing process of the product.
If you are like me and enjoy washing your car more regularly than the average joe, it can be hard to resist the urge to clean your car for a whole seven days, but rest assured the effort will pay off.
By washing and cleaning prematurely, you can significantly shorten the life and effectiveness of a ceramic coating.
Be patient and the final result will be worth it!
How to Do a Maintainance Wash on a Ceramic Coated Vehicle
Now that you have waited at least a week, you can now resume contact washing. There are some different tips and tricks you can use when cleaning your car to make the most of the coating.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I frequently hear people giving out claiming their coating isn’t performing the way they expected it to, and more often than not it comes down to how they are maintaining it!
Let’s take a look at some simple washing tips that can turbocharge your ceramic protection.
1)Keep on Top Of Dirt and Clean Frequently
Just because you have a ceramic coating on a car doesn’t mean you should clean it any less. To keep a coating performing at its optimal level, you should be washing it regularly.
I may be in the minority, but I wash my car at least once a week. This is my typical recommendation to others when they ask me how often they should wash their car.
Understandably not everyone has the spare time to do this, so I think at least one wash every 2 weeks is what you should be aiming for at a minimum.
2)Implement Safe Wash Methods
If you have installed a ceramic coating on your car, chances are you have also completed some sort of paint correction on the vehicle. As many of my readers already know, when you wash or dry your vehicle you run the risk of inflicting swirls and scratches on your paint.
It is always important to avoid this, but even more so if you have already gone to the effort and cost of paint correction and coating.
There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of damaging your paint when cleaning your car.
- Use some sort of Pre-Wash Or Snow Foam before coming in contact with the paint.
- Use a Two Bucket Wash Method at the very least.
- Use a good quality Microfiber Wash Mitt.
- Use Grit Guards Where Possible
- When drying your car use a dedicated detailing towel or a blower.
- Avoid automated car washes
3)Use Shampoo Designed For Coatings
At the absolute bare minimum, you should be using a PH Neutral shampoo and always avoid any harsh cleaning products ( these will shorten the life of your coating drastically). Products such as CarPro Reset are specifically designed to be used with coatings and provide gentle cleaning action which is safe for your protection.
I always recommend some type Si02 infused shampoo for ceramic coated vehicles as these can prolong the life and performance of coatings.
Not only are they pH neutral, but since they contain Si02, they will also act as a “Top Up” protective later for your ceramic coating. I have used many of these in the past and I can confirm that they make a big difference to the hydrophobic of the paintwork.
If you have noticed that your coating is not beading or sheeting like it was when you first had your ceramic coating installed on your car, you should try one of these shampoos and see what happens.
4)Use Si02 infused Sprays as a Drying Aid or Coating Top-up Regularly
There are many different “Ceramic Sprays” or Si02 infused quick detailer products available on the market which will help to prolong and enhance the performance of your ceramic coating. These will act as a top-up to the existing protection and bring back the amazing water-repelling behaviour of the coating.
Personally I opted CarPro Reload on my car, as I have a CarPro Ceramic Coating, but you will find that most brands will have similar products which were specifically developed to work best with their Ceramics.
There you have it, some of my personal tips for washing and maintaining a Ceramic Coated Vehicle. If you have any of your own tips or feel that I have missed anything please feel free to reach out to me in the comments below or over on the DriveDetailed Forum.
Until Next Time,