Summer is pretty much In full swing at this point, the sun is out and the air is warm outside and everyone is happy! Summer is probably my favourite time of year overall.
I know in my case when I see the sun shining, it goes hand in hand with me wanting to clean my car. Although I am a bit of a freak comes to cleaning my car throughout the year, I turn into a bit of a super freak during the summer months, as I Can’t Help But want my car to look it’s best on these hot summer days. ( Especially in Ireland where I live, we don’t often get sunshine! )
One thing that really annoys me Is when I have recently cleaned my car and I come back a day later and there’s a layer of dust all over it. This pisses me off as it can really take away from the shine of the car’s paintwork especially when you have put so much effort into washing and cleaning it in the first place only for it to be so dusty in such a short period. – This Can REALLY be a problem for people with Black paint on their car, and I have seen the heartache it has caused some of my friends
It’s not feasible or practical to wash your car every single day, at least not for normal people who lead busy lives. This is what got me thinking about the topic for today’s post, which is how to keep your car clean between washes – So let’s take a look below at your options and let’s talk about some tips for preventing the build-up of dirt in the first place.
Note: If your car is legitimately very dirty, I don’t recommend any of the below methods, and you should carry out a full safe wash on the car to avoid causing any paint damage.
How to Keep Your Car Clean Between Washes
There are several ways to keep your car clean between washes and this includes some preventative measures you can take which we will discuss later, but for now, it is looking at the options you have to remove light dust and dirt from your car’s paint before you wash it again.
Use Quick Detailer On Your Cars Exterior
Quick detailers, which are often called a “mist and wipe,” or QD for short, are commonly used by detailers and car enthusiasts alike. Quick Detailer products quickly and easily remove water spots, dust and other light contamination from the surface of your car. Every major detailing brand has Quick Detailer product in their line-up. For most car detailers, mist and wipe products are more than just a convenience, they are a necessity.
If you have read any of my other blog posts you know that I am very reluctant to come in direct contact with the car’s paint without proper lubricant as this can cause swirl marks or scratches in your paint. The Beauty of Quick Detailers is that they provide the lubrication necessary to remove dirt and dust safely. ( I do not recommend using quick detailer on anything but the very lightest of dust or light contamination from the paintwork )
How to Use Quick Detailer
To get started with Quick Detailing you will need two things
- A Quality Microfiber Towel
- A Good Quick Detailing Spray ( I like Meguiar’s G14422 Ultimate Quik Detailer)
- Always use a high-quality microfiber buffing towel and fold your towel into quarters.
- Start at the top and work your way down to the lower surfaces of your car. Holding the Quick Detail Spray 12″ to 15″ away, lightly mist about a 2′ by 2′ area on the surface of your car with the Quick Detail Spray
- Gently wipe in a straight line back and forth ( not in circles ), then flip the microfiber buffing towel and buff dry.
- As the surface of the microfiber buffing towel gets dirty, flip it to a clean side.
- If needed, when all sides of the towel start to look a little dirty, switch to a fresh microfiber buffing towel
Pros and Con’s Of Quick Detailer
+Lots of Quick Detailer Products to Choose from
+Can also be used to top up any current layer of protection you have on the car
+Relatively Quick and Painless solution for Keeping Your Car Clean between washes
Con’s Of Quick Detailer
-Can only be used on light dust/contamination
-Can leave streaks on your paint if not applied/removed correctly
A quick detailer is a great tool and one I always have in my detailing bag, but as I have mentioned above it only works and the lightest of contamination. If your car is slightly more soiled I would suggest using something like a waterless wash.
Use A “Waterless Wash” On Your Cars Exterior
A waterless car wash is a high lubricity pre-mixed spray that is used to heavily saturate a panel and then you carefully wipes any dirt or road grime off to a dry shine. What is the difference between a Quick Detailer and a Waterless wash you may ask? Both products clean through a spray-on, wipe off a system so what makes them different?
A good waterless car wash will have higher lubricity, more emulsifiers (cleaning agents) and often synthetic wax protection. These characteristics mean waterless wash products can deal with much dirtier cars than quick detailers (Although if your car is dirty enough, it deserves a proper wash! )
A waterless car wash can also be considered more eco-friendly because no suds are going down the drain and into the sewer. Some countries have a limit on the water that allowed to be used by a household/business, meaning you might not have enough water to wash the car – this is where waterless car washing makes sense.
How to Use a Waterless Car Wash
To get started with Waterless car washing you will need two things, Similar to Using Quick Detailer
- A Quality Microfiber Towel
- A waterless Car wash ( I like Chemical Guys EcoSmart Waterless Car Wash and Wax)
- Fold your microfiber towel or cloth so there are 8 usable sides.
- Starting at the top of the vehicle, spray a panel generously with your waterless wash. The size of the panel depends on how large an area you can spray and wipe dry before it dries on its own. Generally speaking, half the roof or half the hood is a good size section.
- Wipe lightly in one direction. There’s no need to apply significant pressure and doing so can result in micro scratches. Note: If you wipe in a circular motion, you’re wiping the dirt you’ve just removed back over the section you’ve just cleaned. ( Don’t do that! )
- As you’re wiping, pay attention to the cleanliness of the towel. When one side becomes soiled, switch to a new side of the towel.
- Wipe the section completely dry and move on to the next section.
If you have done the above steps correctly you should end up with a car that is looking pretty clean considering you have not done a complete wash with water! This should tide you over until your next full car wash and keep you satisfied in the meantime.
I have only use the waterless car wash a couple of times, as I am always wary of harming the paint but if you are stuck then I would recommend it.
Use A “Car Duster” On Your Cars Exterior
Another option would be to use a car duster. ( Yes you read that correctly ) I have only heard about these inventions myself this past year and I almost couldn’t believe it when someone told me about them, but yes they are a thing! But that the hell is it?
A car duster is a tool that allows you to clean light dust from the exterior of your car without using water and soap. It looks like a mix between the brush from a brush and dustpan and a mop, with thick fibres hanging where the bristles would be on the brush. – pretty crazy eh? I have never used a car duster, so I cannot comment on their effectiveness. I think I will buy one soon to test it out and I will be sure to leave a review on the site for you to check out. I know of a product called the California Car Duster. I think this is the one I will go for
Hopefully, the tips I have given you above will help you remove dust and keep your car clean between washes. Now let’s have a look below at the methods you can use to prevent dust from building up on your car in the first place so that you have to do less maintenance in between your regular washers. Let’s take a look.
Keep Your Cars Paintwork Protected
The most effective way to keep your car clean between your maintenance washes is to have a good layer of protection on the paintwork in the first place. By protection, I mean the use of a good wax or sealant. Not only does a good wax or sealant help repel the dirt away from sticking onto your cars paintwork, but It will also make the dust a lot easier to remove when it does build-up. I find that I can just give the car a quick hose down with some water and a dry off with a microfiber towel and it’s looking good as new again without the need for any quick detailer or waterless wash methods that I have outlined above.
If you want to go all out with the paint protection you can look at the option of having a ceramic coating applied to your car’s paint. If you don’t already know the benefits of ceramic coating, you can check out my blog post on the topic here.
Park Your Car Under Cover
Hopefully, the methods that I have outlined above will help keep your car clean, shiny and dust-free in between washes. At the end of the day, we are all fighting a losing battle while trying to keep our car clean all the time, but the best we can do is try. I’m lucky that I enjoy cleaning my car often, so it doesn’t bother me too much.
I would love to hear if you have your methods for keeping your car clean between washes so please leave a comment in the comment section below, or feel free to share any tips you might have, I would like to try them out.
About the Author – Darren O Hara
Darren is the founder of the DriveDetailed blog and is a keen detailing enthusiast living in the rainy south of Ireland. When he is not cleaning his car he is always researching ways he can improve his techniques and enjoys testing out out new products.
Darren currently drives an Audi TTRS and is a big fan of performance cars.
You can follow Darren on Instagram @darrenoharacork