Car wash with LIQUI MOLY – What makes the difference?

Like to spend time washing your car over the weekend? We believe that the best car wash you can have is the one you've done by DIY - Do It Yourself. We couldn't agree more that it feels much more satisfied by making your car a good shine with your own effort! Furthermore, you can save a lot of money in long-run.

Car wash seems to be a very simple task and pretty straightforward, but in fact there are more in-depth knowledges which worth your time to learn it. Just like our body skin, your car's body paint need proper ways to be maintained in good condition too.

Cheap or expensive way

It’s no surprise, we have seen or heard people use dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, or some household cleaners bought from a supermarket to wash their car. Wait, what? Does dishwashing liquid works too? Yes, it does cleaning job too and appears to produce the same result, but that's not really true, and it is not a good idea as a long-term solution. That said, if you’re one of them, we gotta advice you to avoid such practice.

Never use dish soap to wash your car. According to Consumer Reports, dish soap isn't formulated for use on a car's paint. Even a detergent like Dawn is an abrasive cleaner and can strip away a vehicle's protective top coat.

This can be explained by one simple fact - These cleaning agents are not formulated for use on car's body paint. Some cleaning agents have abrasive properties which can strip away a vehicle's wax, sealants, and even the protective top coat (aka clearcoat). As you can guess, over the time it will weaken the quality and integrity of the paint, though it looks clean. For sure you will not see adverse effect immediately, but it's just the matter of time until you see the body paint is not glossy as before and gradually becomes dull.

As a result, the topmost protection layer is getting thinner and the car is losing its glossy finish. What's next? As the damage breaches the basecoat layer which gives the color (red as above), the car paint color begins to be slowly fade off as well. At its worst, the car body eventually get rusty easily.

Car paint layers and different types of damages at microscopic scale

Figure: Schematic of the coating layers in a typical automobile composite body. Mar and scratch damages from a variety of object impacts are shown. Credit: Eastman Chemical Co./ K. Irvine, NIST [2]

Clearcoat is the topmost layer which protects the color coat (basecoat) from UV and minor scratches. It is transparent and environmental damage resistant, and it has a thickness of 30-50µm.[3] We are going to share the correct ways to protect it during car wash.

The correct methods

Avoid cleaning under direct sunlight. This is quite important, not only because you will get sunburned. Intense sunray and high temperature can quickly dry the car shampoo amid your progress before you rinse them off. As a result, there will be water spots and you might need to repeat the step again. Well, that's waste of time and the cleaning liquid.

Use sponge to facilitate lathering and spreading shampoo. Avoid applying too much pressure when doing this because the sponge is porous and it can trap dirts, sand, or debris easily. This will potentially turn it into a fine sandpaper if you press too hard when washing. It will cause micro-scratches which cannot be seen by naked eye. The quality of car shampoo also plays an important role throughout this process. Some car shampoo brands offer both car wash and wax to clean and protect in one go. For example, the Liqui Moly Car Wash & Wax.

Wipe off excess water with a dry microfiber towel. It has better (7 times) water absorption compared to traditional cleaning cloths. Effectiveness at its best! Finally, protect the paint surface with either a Carnauba or synthetic wax, spray wax, or quick detailer.

Bonus round

We thought you might also like to know this Special Rim Cleaner. It will take your car wash up one level. This cleaner is able to clean all aluminium and steel rims effortlessly, literally. Just spray it evenly onto the rim and wait for 5 to 7 minutes, then rinse off. It also cleans brake dust and other dirts. Watch the video below to see how clean it is after use!

Car detailing is a vast topic and car wash is just a part of it. Things can get more complicated and specialised. For example, there are steps like compound step, polish step, and finally wax or coating step. But they are not our scopes in this article, we will leave them for you to discover.

Now you must already knew the right car wash technique to keep factory car paint lasting for decades. We will continue on car polishing and windshield glass topics on our next blog. Stay tuned!


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