Best Way To Wash A Car Without Scratching It

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What’s the best way to wash a car without scratching it? Washing your car is a maintenance practice that makes your car’s paint last longer. It is something that you must do on a regular basis, and you should do it the right way to avoid scratching your car paint or cause other paint damages.

Apparently, there are different ways to wash a car. But the commonest one practiced by most vehicle owners is the use of buckets and some cleaning agents. Here is a detailed guide on how you can wash a car to remove staunch dirt and spots without scratching the paint.

Best Way To Wash A Car Without Scratching It

We’d not recommend automated car wash; the brushes are not always properly cleaned; hence, there’s the possibility that the brushes would rub more dirt or scratch your car paint while they wash your car.

1. Two-Bucket Wash System

Here, you need two buckets, one will contain clean water for rinsing the car wash mitt, while the other would contain the soapy water you’ll be using to wash the car. This car wash method has proved to be the best; when you use one bucket, there’s a tendency that you’d take back dirt to the car during the wash.

In contrast, in the two-bucket system, after you have washed a part of the car, you dip the cleaning chenille mitt or microfiber rag into the clean water bucket to remove the dirt and debris that may be hiding there, before using the mitt/rag to collect the soapy water and wash another part of the car again.

This system guarantees that you won’t take back dirt to your car’s paint; thus, mitigating the possibility of scratching the paint.

However, you’d need yet another bucket of clean water or pressure washer to use and rinse the car after washing. So, literally, you need three buckets for this method.

2. Use The Right Car Wash Products

Using the right car wash tools simply means to use specific cleaning agents and equipment to wash your car. Some people use dishwashing soaps, laundry detergents, and other cleaning substances to wash their cars when they cannot reach for a standard car wash compound.

Well, while those household cleaning agents may not cause any damage to your paint, using them increases the chances of the possibility of scratching the car’s paint during a wash. Furthermore, some of those cleaning substances are over-reactive and have the capability of stripping off the wax layer of your paint.

In contrast, car wash compounds are specifically made for washing cars and they are formulated to maintain lubricity while you’re washing the car; thus, causing the microfiber towel to move freely on the paint, which minimizes the possibility of scratches.

Another thing to point out here is the need to use only “microfiber” cleaning cloths, rags, or mitt. If you use regular rags or towels to wash your car, it could cause swirl marks to appear on the car’s paint. You should also dry the dry using a microfiber towel.

Keep A Waxing Compound Close

This isn’t something you should do all the time you wash your car. However, once in a while, after several washes, it is advisable to apply wax. Waxing adds a protective layer to your car’s paint and protects it from minor damages such as scratches and chemical paint damages.

There are lots of car waxing compounds available in the market; so, you can easily pick up any one of your choices, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to apply it to your car. It doesn’t take long to wax a car, and it is something you can do on your own.

Steps To Wash A Car To Prevent Scratches

How To Wash A Car Without Scratching It

Step One: pour clean water all over the car to get it wet and ready for scrubbing with your car cleaning mitt or microfiber towel.

Step Two: dip the cleaning mitt and microfiber towel into soapy water (the water that’s mixed with the car washing substance you decide the use) and use it to scrub your car.

Step Three: keep clean water at bay and rinse as you wash. You shouldn’t wait until you cover a large area before rinsing, it’d cause dirty water to dry into your car’s paint, which may cause water spots to appear.

Step Four: wash from top to bottom, and then move on to the tires when you’re done washing the entire body.

Step Five: dry with a microfiber towel or allow the car to air dry.

Remember to use car wash sponges and not regular sponges, or microfiber cloths instead of regular towels/rags.

Bad Car Wash Practices You Should Avoid

There are some common car wash practices that can cause scratches or swirl marks to appear on your vehicle’s paint. Here are some of those bad practices.

  • Avoid taking your car to automated car wash centers; most of the equipment used in those centers are poorly maintained.
  • Do not use just any cleaning agent to wash your car; most of them are over-reactive and can lead to paint damages
  • Don’t wash from bottom to top; instead, wash from top to bottom before washing the tires.
  • Sponges aren’t the best for car wash, microfiber mitts and towels are the best
  • It is better to use distilled water to wash your car.


Hopefully, this article has explained the best way to wash a car without scratching the paint. Scratches make your car paint appear nasty and ugly. However, you can remove them following some simple DIY techniques.

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