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As the weather starts to warm up, it’s time to get out those buckets and give your car a bath. After a winter of salt and misery, it can be both rewarding and beneficial. But when doing so, it’s important to know the dos and don’ts of washing your car. To keep that finish picture perfect, here are three things you should never do when washing your car.

Never use a Magic Eraser to wash your car

Try to wash your car indoors and never let it air dry
A Porsche in for a car wash | Getty Images

A Magic Eraser is great for getting crayon stains off of a door frame or grease spots off the stove. It’s not great for your car’s paint. The issue is that Magic Erasers aren’t actually magic. They’re abrasive.

There is no secret sauce of chemicals in a Magic Eraser that allow it to work. Rather, a Magic Eraser is a very fine abrasive akin to 5,000-grit sandpaper. Fine for your stainless steel pans – not so good for your car’s clear coat.

When using a Magic Eraser to clean your car, you’re scuffing the paintwork and dulling the shine. Inside, it can even peel the finish from leather seats and leave indelible marks on your plastics.

Instead of using a Magic Eraser to remove hard-stuck contaminants use an iron and bug remover. They can help do the job more safely while removing most surface-level stains and marks. Just be sure to follow the package directions and use a clean, damp microfiber towel. Your car’s finish will thank you.

Never let your car air dry

Car wash soap
A car covered in soap | Getty Images

For most of us, the water coming from the outdoor hose has minerals and other deposits dissolved within it. That isn’t always noticeable when washing the car at first. However, they will show up if the car is allowed to air dry after a wash.

Those dreaded water spots aren’t just unsightly – those minerals can actually bond with the clear coat and cause long-lasting damage. Just ask the detailing pro, Larry from AMMO NYC.

Instead, pick up an automotive drying towel and dry the car by hand. This will it prevent water spots from building up. Even better, it’ll give you a chance to feel the texture of your paint. That hands on feel can help determine if there are more embedded contaminants that require professional removal.

Never use a dirty cloth when washing your car

A pressure washer
Washing your car can be easy and fun | Getty Images

Even the most high-end vehicles are susceptible to damage from poor car washing techniques. And while perfection isn’t always achievable, you can give yourself the best chance of success by using clean towels with each car wash.

If a wash towel has seen the ground, your wheels, or even been washed with regular laundry, those towels should no longer touch your car’s paint.

Microfiber towels are great at picking up dust and debris on your paint. Unfortunately, that also means they’ll pick up dirt from any surface they touch. So if your towel has been contaminated, use it on wheels or underbody cleaning, but be sure it never touches your paint.

Follow these tips to safely wash your car this spring

These three tips are just the beginning, and we’ve covered other ways to ensure you’re washing your car safely in the past. There is nothing more satisfying than cleaning your car by hand and witnessing the transformation, but doing it the right way will mean your car will look its best for longer.

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