Nothing looks as classy as a jet-black car with the light dancing off its showroom finish as it slinks down road. Black cars are a top seller on the car lot, purchased by individuals who appreciate their sleek elegance. Unfortunately, black cars show every fingerprint and speck of road grime. Keeping a black car clean and looking new is possible but you will need the correct products and a gentle touch.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Power washer (optional)
- Large bucket with grit protector top
- Wash mitt
- Automobile wash
- Nylon tire brush
- Black car polish
- Microfiber towels
Remove the dust and dirt before washing the surface. Even fine scratches on the surface of a black car will dull its shine and small particles of dust will scratch the clear coat finish on your car if not removed correctly.
Use a water hose or a pressure washer, set to a fine spray, just enough moisten the dirt and dust, allowing it to absorb water and soften. This is an important step and it takes a little time, so plan accordingly. If your car has a build-up of mud, repeat this process until the mud softens and falls off.
Increase the water pressure a little bit and spray off the loosened dirt and grime. Aim the spray at approximately a 15-degree angle from the car’s surface to encourage dirt to pull off and away instead of moving along the surface and scratching.
Fill a large 5-gallon bucket with warm water and add automobile wash as directed on the product’s label. Fit the top of the bucket with a grit guard to reduce bits of sand and dust from remaining on your mitt (see Resources).
Saturate a quality wash mitt and begin washing your car, starting with the top and working your way downwards. Use very light pressure and move the mitt in a circular motion, allowing the natural drainage of the water to carry away any residual dust particles.
Use the hose as you wash to spray off soapy water that runs down the sides of the car. Continue the washing process, dipping the mitt frequently to rinse away accumulated dust that could scratch the surface.
Clean the tires, the interior portion of the fender wells and the undercarriage of the car last, taking care not to spray debris back onto the car’s surface.
Rinse the car thoroughly and dry it with a chamois to prevent water spots. A black car that air-dries will show water spots.
Apply black car polish when needed to heighten the shine factor. This is optional but recommended to keep your car’s finish looking new. Choose a polish made for black cars and use microfiber towels to buff the surface to a high shine (see Resources).
Tips and warnings
- The two major elements that mar a black car’s finish are scratches and water spots. Take care when removing dust and grime to prevent hairline scratches. Over time, these tiny scratches will turn the glossy finish dull.
- Polish adds an additional layer of protection against dirt and dust surface scratches.
- Avoid high-pressure automated car washes when your car has mud build-up. If the mud does not come off in the initial wetting action, it may scratch the surface during the washing stage.
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