Owning a black car can be a love-hate relationship. The glow of a clean black car is like nothing else, but getting that glow and cleanliness is a particular challenge. So that’s why in this article, we go through all you need to know on how to keep a black car clean. We’ve got you covered on everything from why they’re so hard to keep clean to washing technique and paint protection options.
Why Are Black Cars Hard to Keep Clean?
Black cars look amazing and sleek when clean but require more care and attention
Black cars are notorious for showing every speck of dirt and dust. This is because the dark colour makes all debris and paint defects highly visible, creating an effect that makes the car look dirtier than it is. Another factor that makes black paint difficult to keep clean is how the colour absorbs more heat compared to light colours. The heat absorption leads to more water spotting, and other dirt and debris also become more stuck to the paint.
And not only will the heat absorption create issues with water spotting and dirt drying to the paint more, but it will also accelerate oxidisation. They absorb more UV rays, which damage the paint over long-term exposure. To add insult to injury, the extra heat also accelerates the breakdown of paint protection from wax, coatings or sealants to make car owners have an even tougher time maintaining them.
How to Keep a Black Car Clean
Clean Wheels First and Seperately
Clean your wheels with a wheel brush and keep it separate from your other wash mitts and buckets used for paint
The first rule and step of how to keep a black car clean is to clean your wheels and tyres first and separately from the rest of your car. This is because your wheels and tyres pick up brake dust from your brakes and also small rocks from the road. These become very abrasive and create heavy swirl marks when they stick to wash mitts or sponges used on car paint.
To prevent this, use a separate bucket of detergent with a wheel brush. Spraying your wheels with a quality wheel cleaner will make them much easier to clean as well. Let the wheel clean dwell for as long as the instructions call for on the bottle before agitating with the wheel brush and then hose down the wheel thoroughly afterwards.
Choose the Right Washing Equipment and Technique
A microfibre wash mitts helps trap dirt and prevents it from scratching and swirling your paint
Moving onto the car paint cleaning portion of how to keep a black car clean, you need to understand the right washing technique and have the right equipment to clean the car. The first part of this is using a pH-balanced car wash soap.
This is important because it doesn’t strip any existing wax, sealant or other coating protection from your car. Car wash soaps are also formulated to be easy on your paint, whereas using a detergent such as a laundry detergent or dish soap accelerates the oxidation of your paint.
The next step is to have access to a source of water and use a hose or pressure washer. When using a pressure washer, it’s important not to hold the nozzle too close to the paint and not to keep spraying the same spot for too long. To help you with cleaning the car, try using a pre-wash foam to break down dirt and grime before rinsing it with any water.
Once the car has been rinsed off, use a soft microfibre mitt or microfibre sponge and dip it in your car wash shampoo and water solution before agitating the paint gently and in straight lines. Washing the car by using straight lines helps to prevent swirl marks. Also, remember to work your way down from the roof so that loose dirt doesn’t drip down onto already cleaned areas.
Use the Two-Bucket Method
Use one bucket with a small amount car wash shampoo mixed with water and another with clean water only
To further minimise the risk of swirl marks, use the two-bucket method. Fill one bucket with your soapy water and another with clean water and ideally with a grit guard in both buckets. After each pass with the wash mitt/sponge, dip it into the clean water bucket to rinse off dirt and grime before reloading it with soapy water. This prevents contaminants from being reintroduced to the paint surface.
The Correct Drying Technique
When it comes to drying your car, go with a soft, high-quality microfiber drying towel, along with a drying aid spray. Dry your car by spraying your clean and dry microfibre towel with a drying aid and gently wipe your car from top to bottom.
Quick Detailing for On-the-Go Shine
Keep a quick detailing spray on hand for those moments when your black car needs a quick refresh. Quick detailing sprays help remove fresh bird droppings, light dust and fingerprints while enhancing the glossiness of the paint. Simply spray the product onto the surface and gently wipe it away with a clean microfiber cloth. We also recommend using a rinseless wash when you are experiencing water restrictions or simply don’t have access to a hose.
Guard Against Harmful Elements
Paint protection film is a great way to protect your paint from scratches and swirls
As an extra step in how to keep a black car clean, applying paint protection is also something we highly recommend. This includes applying wax, sealant, ceramic coating or even paint protection film (PPF). Paint protection film in particular is a great choice as it involves using a clear film that acts as a sacrificial barrier against scratches and paint defects. It can also be replaced when it gets damaged and is more affordable compared to a respray of a panel.
Avoiding Automatic Carwashes
Auto carwashes are harsh and create scratches and swirls on your paint
It’s best to avoid an automatic carwash because they will scratch and swirl your paint. They’re designed to wash cars of all shapes and sizes all day long and also need to be profitable for the operator. The care and cleaning ability they offer for your car is only a secondary concern for them.
Most carwashes use spinning wheels with long rubber threads that repeatedly hit your car to clean off dirt. Not only is this ineffective at properly cleaning dirt and grime from your car, but the aggressive agitation on the contact spots also create high amounts of scratches and swirls. The car shampoos that these automatic car washes can also vary wildly, from harsh detergents that strip paint protection to those that aren’t much different from regular water.
Care for Your Black Car Paint the Right Way
Keeping your black car looking it’s best doesn’t have to be hard. Follow these tips on how to keep a black car clean and you too will have your black car gleaming and shining for years to come. The best of of which is to apply paint protection film by a professional to protect the paint underneath from damage. For professional and stress-free PPF installation on your car, contact the team at Seven Smart Auto today!