Washing your own car should be easy enough. Soap. Water. Elbow grease.

But it’s actually not as simple as it seems. Not only does washing your vehicle yourself waste nearly five times the water as a professional car wash, but you can also damage your vehicle.

Take a look at these 5 common do-it-yourself car washing misconceptions that can end up costing you more of your hard-earned cash than if you went to a professional car wash. Plus, there’s a fun bonus fact at the end!

Myth 1: It’s fine to use dishwashing liquid

It seems as though you could use the same soap on your vehicle as you do to clean your dinner dishes – but just don’t do it. The chemicals in dish soap can strip the protective coatings from your vehicle as well as dry out the paint.

Myth 2: Laundry soap is a great cleaner for your car

If this detergent is safe enough for your dapper duds, then it should be okay for your car, right? But, it’s not either. Chemicals in this soap can actually speed up the oxidation process and shorten the life span of your car’s paint.

Myth 3: You can use leather protectants to clean synthetic materials

You may have been impressed with how these products make your dashboard and seats so shiny. However, if you’re using them on synthetic materials – which most dashboards and seats are made from – then you’re actually causing more harm than good by drying out those materials.

Myth 4: It’s ok to use any old cloth or towel

Old towels, worn sheets and torn tee shirts seem like they would be ideal to scrub-a-dub your ride, but they could actually end up damaging the finish. While these fabrics are mostly made of cotton, they’re often mixed with synthetic threads, as are the care labels, which can scuff your car’s paint.

Myth 5: High-pressure sprays are best to clean dirt off your car interior

No matter how dirty the interior, under no circumstances should you use a pressure washer to clean the interior of any vehicle. Besides drenching fabrics and carpets, with no way to properly drain the water, sensitive electrical and mechanical equipment would most definitely be damaged.

Bonus fun fact – Do you also feel like birds love to ‘do their business’ on freshly washed and waxed vehicles? Amazingly, there’s some truth in that, except that it actually has more to do with the color of your vehicle. A study conducted by car accessory chain Halfords in the United Kingdom found that birds are attracted to relieving themselves on red cars more often – 18% of cars attacked, compared to only 1% of green cars bombed. But the researchers aren’t sure why.

No matter how often or why, experts suggest removing the material immediately, as the acidic composition of the material can quickly etch the finish. Keeping your car waxed will make it easier to remove the deposits. Learn more about the best way to remove bird droppings from the professionals.

Visit the Car Care tips section of our blog for more info on how to keep your vehicle in tiptop shape.

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