5 Everyday Things That You Shouldn’t Let Touch Your Car

Out of all of the things that you use in your daily life, your car is probably the most important. It takes you everywhere you need to go, including work, and it allows the rest of your family to live their lives as well. So it’s a good idea to take care of your car as best you can, which includes not letting these five everyday things anywhere near it, if possible.

Road Salt

We know what you’re thinking: It’s nearly impossible to keep road salt from touching your car. Especially if you live in one of the snow belt states. However, if you constantly drive on salted roads, then that salt can stick to the undercarriage of your car, as well as other body panels, and eventually cause it to rust. While you can’t completely avoid having the salt stick to your car, the least you can do is wash the car off every week to get the salt and other dirt off your car. That will in turn keep it from rusting in the future.

 tractor clears snow and spreads salt on a snowy road
A tractor clears snow and spreads salt on a snowy road near the French border with Luxembourg. | (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP)

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Dish soap

When it comes to cleaning, household products are meant for the home while automotive products are meant for cars. Case in point: Don’t use dish soap to clean your car. According to Reader’s Digest, dish soap strip off the wax and other protectants on your car’s paint and leave the finish very dull. Instead, buy a dedicated car wash soap from the auto parts store and use that on your car.

Workers detail a car
Workers at Divisadero Touchless Car Wash apply soap to a Cadillac on March 20, 2015 in San Francisco, California | Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Paper towels

Is there a wet spot on your car that you need to wipe off really quickly? Remember to use a microfiber towel as that is easy on your car’s paint and won’t scratch it. If anything, never use a paper towel because the fibers in it are made of wood and can easily scratch the paint.

Paper towel
Paper towel | GAIAMOMENTS/GETTY IMAGES

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Express car washes

This one might sound weird, but avoid washing your car at an express car wash, like the one you would find at a gas station. Those big rollers that sweep the dirt off your car can actually damage the paint and are very rough on the car in general. Instead, stick a touch-less car wash that doesn’t use rollers or hand wash the car yourself at home. While it might not seem like much, it will do wonders for your car’s paint later on.

Car wash extras
Car in carwash | jarino47/Getty Images

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Tree sap

Lastly, never park under a tree, which can lead to tree sap getting on your car’s paint. While it might not have an immediate effect on your car, tree sap can etch into your car’s paint over time and lead to discoloration. If anything, make sure to clean up the sap right away with bug tar remover. And if you need to park under a tree for an extended amount of time (like if you don’t have a garage), then use a car cover.