How to wash Sahara dust off your car

Cleaning carpandara / Shutterstock

Getting rid of the Saharan dust that has been coating Britain this week is vital to the future value of your car.

Dust is bad news for a car’s paintwork. Not only does it dull the finish of your once immaculate motor, it can also be very abrasive, causing millions of minute scratches to the surface it’s sitting on. And the duller and less appealing a car’s bodywork is, the less it will be worth when it’s time to sell it.

Cleaning a car involves slightly more than giving it a wipe over with a wet rag. We’ve taken advice from car care experts Autoglym to give you four simple steps that will enable you to return your dust-covered paintwork to its former glory… 

Step 1: the first rinse

Car washing is best done by hand. Automated car washes or jet wash brushes can leave fine abrasions on the paintwork. Autoglym advises doing the first rinse with a hosepipe on its most powerful setting. Start at sill level and work up to get rid of as much dust, grit and mud as you can before washing. Finally, thoroughly soak the car by ‘raining’ water all over it on the sprinkler setting.

Step 2: the wash

Use good quality car shampoo (not washing up liquid which is full of salt), two buckets and a sponge. Fill one bucket with tepid soapy water, the other with clean water and get stuck in. Start at the top and work your way down. Charge your sponge frequently with soapy water and use long sweeping strokes that overlap to avoid missing any areas. Rinse the sponge in the bucket of fresh water.

Step 3: the rinse

Don’t let the bodywork dry out or it will cause streaking. When you’ve sponged half the car, rinse with the hose pipe. Again, start at the bottom and move up before rinsing from the top down on the way back. Repeat steps two and three on the second half of the car.

Step 4: drying

A good quality leather chamois or synthetic towel should make light work of this. Let the paintwork dry naturally and marks will form from the chemical impurities in the water spoiling all your hard work.

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