Black Car Detailing Tips

38 Black Car Detailing Tips You Need to Know.

  1. Use an anti-static spray detailer after each wash.  Dust sticks easily to a black car and static electricity is partially to blame.  Check that the products you buy have anti-static properties. Some waxes such as carnauba wax seem to attract dust.  Try Chemical Guys Speed Wipe Quick Detailer.
  2. Never dry your car with a bathroom towel.  Bathroom towels are not soft enough to use on car paint.  The fibers are actually quite sharp and will cause your car’s clear coat to fade and some of your shine will be lost each time.  Bathroom towels will push the dirt around the car which will scratch it. Microfibre towels will trap dirt in their fibers.
  3. Always use a good quality car wash shampoo.  I’ll admit it, I used dish soap when I washed my dads’ car as a teenager.  But the problem with dish soap is that it strips away wax and sealant. This might be fine if you want to apply a full fresh coat of wax or sealant.  But in most cases, it’s better to keep topping up your protection so use a dedicated car soap that protects existing products but still lifts off the dirt.
  4. Use the multi-mitt method to wash your car and preserve that shine.  Microfibre mitts will help to lift dirt from your paint.  But the mitt should be clean. Rather than rinsing the mitt in a clean bucket of water (the two-bucket method), you could use 5 or 6 clean mitts and do each section.  It will save time and water. First, blast away the heavy dirt.  Second, use a foam cannon to cover the car in suds. Third, use multiple mitts to gently loosen the dirt. Fourth, power wash again.  Five, dry with a blower or microfibre towels. Six, apply a quick detailer spray or wax.  Read more of my washing tips here…
  5. Use a clay bar to remove contaminants.  A clay bar can remove dirt that was not removed by washing.  If your paint feels rough to the touch then a good quality clay bar with some clay bar lubricant is a very easy way to remove that contamination.  After claying any wax or sealant you apply will bond much better. Read my clay bar tips here.
  6. Use a special set of brushes to clean your wheels.  A nice set of wheel brushes or wheel woolies will help you get those wheels done fast.  They will also help you get into the hard-to-reach areas at the back and between the spokes.
  7. Use a leaf blower to dry your car.  A very effective way to prevent water spots after a full wash is to dry with a leaf blower.  Some people claim that there is a risk of stones or grit being shot at your car but I don’t think this has ever happened.  A car dryer is another useful tool if you don’t want to use a leaf blower.
  8. Apply polish or compound by hand to improve shine.  A car that is a few years old might have lost some of its shine.  This is because of fine scratches in the clear coat. Polish and compound can easily smoothen down the clear coat surface and restore the original shine.  This is better than wax because the wax will only temporarily cover the micro scratches.
  9. Apply a dressing to your tires to make them look awesome.  Tire dressing adds that finishing touch that all cars need after a wash.  Don’t apply too much as it will sling onto your paint. Wait for it to dry in.  Try TriNova Tire Shine Spray No Wipe.
  10. Use a special glass cleaner that doesn’t cause tinting to fade.  Normal household glass cleaner is too strong to use on a car because the chemicals can allegedly cause tinting to be removed.  Try Invisible Glass Premium Glass Cleaner instead.   And make sure you use a good towel too.
  11. Use a spray detailer to remove bird poop as soon as it happens.  Bird bombs can drive you nuts.  I have been known to scream out loud at the sight of a giant bird poop on the roof of my otherwise gleaming black car.  The quick way to remove poop without scratching is to spray on some quick detailer directly to soften it.  Also, spray some quick detailer onto a microfibre towel or use a damp towel.  Place the towel over the poop for a few minutes to soften it. Then gently wipe away.  Adam’s Detail Spray for a deep shine.
  12. Apply ceramic coating to protect your paint from swirls and scratches.  A ceramic coating is a man-made synthetic chemical that bonds with your car and forms a hard coating that can last years.  Some products even claim to be permanent. These are not easy to apply but they are getting easier.  Carpro Cquartz is one of the best I have used on black paint.
  13. Don’t let your car dry naturally.  Drying your car is important because water spots are especially annoying on black paint.  Also, water spots can eat into your paint and cause damage to the clear coat.
  14. Use a good quality sealant or wax from time to time.  Sealant is a synthetic chemical whereas wax is usually a natural product such as carnauba.  Some products are hybrids and offer the best of both worlds. Sealants generally last a lot longer than wax.  Read my review of various wax products here.   Liquid wax will last longer than spray wax and can give a deeper shine.  But spray waxes are a little quicker and easier to apply after a wash. Paste wax will last the longest.
  15. Clean the inside of your glass too.  It’s unbelievable how much grime forms on the inside of your windscreen.  Use a good car glass cleaner especially made for use on cars.
  16. Apply glass sealant.  Rain-x is a very popular sealant for glass.  It causes water to bead on contact and keeps your windows clean looking with also improves safety.
  17. Never dry wipe your car.  Don’t try to clean your car without some kind of lubrication.  You WILL scratch it. Use a leaf blower at least. A waterless wash if used properly is also better than just using a duster or towel on dry paint.  If dust is a problem try using an anti-static detail after each wash.
  18. Use a waterless wash if you have no other choice.  A waterless wash is an easy way to keep your car clean without using a hose or buckets of water.  You just spray it on and wipe it off, usually with a microfibre towel. You then buff with another microfibre towel.  Most pro detailers and even enthusiasts will say no way to use a waterless wash because they believe that you need to use lots of water to lubricate your paint when washing it.  But these waterless washes provide a huge amount of lubrication that helps to make it safe. 
  19. Buy a good-quality pressure washer.  An electric pressure washer is a great tool in your arsenal of cleaning products.  You can take a lot of dirt off without touching the paint which can only be a good thing. They are great at cleaning wheels too.
  20. Buy a foam cannon to go with your pressure washer.  A foam cannon is a fantastic tool for covering your car in thick white suds.  These suds soak into the dirt and loosen it so that you can blast it off with a pressure washer without touching the paint.  Less touching = fewer scratches.
  21. Never wash your car with a sponge.  A sponge will push the dirt along your paint and scratch it.  Use a wash mitt and the correct technique instead.
  22. Only use a clay bar when you need to.  I’ve heard of people using a clay bar every weekend.  A clay bar is abrasive so you should only use one when you need to.  Remember that clay bars don’t remove scratches. They are used to remove contamination that doesn’t come off while washing.  Read my post on using a clay bar on a black car.
  23. Never dry your car with a water blade or squeegee.  These things will ruin your paint.  They drag particles across the surface and that can only mean one thing.  Scratches. Use a large waffle weave microfiber drying towel instead and pat dry your paint.  Or use a car dryer or leaf blower.
  24. Never take a black car to a car wash.  Someday they will invent a car wash or a type of paint that can’t be scratched.  But for now, these things don’t exist. An automatic car wash will cause your paint to fade and it will introduce scratches.  These things also use hard detergent to get the dirt off that will remove any existing you have on your car.
  25. Wear gloves to protect your skin.  Some chemicals are really harsh and can damage your skin.  Black waxes sometimes have dye in them that gets in under your nails.  Buy multi-packs for better value.
  26. Use the two-bucket method to wash your car.  The two-bucket method is another very popular way to wash your car without scratching it.  Grit guards are used in both buckets. One bucket is filled with shampoo solution and one is filled with clean water for rinsing the mitt.
  27. Buy a comfortable set of knee pads.  All the pros use them and so should you.  They take away some unnecessary pain.
  28. Buy a good Dual-Action Polisher.  DA polishers are not just for professional detailers.  They can be used by anybody who wants to polish or wax their car and achieve the maximum level of gloss possible.  They are called dual action because they don’t just spin, they also orbit the center so you are much less likely to damage your car paint.
  29. Strip old wax before applying sealant or new wax.  Your new wax or sealant or coating will bond much better to a totally clean car.  Use a car shampoo designed to remove old wax whenever you are planning to apply a full new coat of any product. Chemical Guys Clean Slate is a good example.   If you are just doing a quick wash then you should use a normal shampoo or a shampoo that contains some wax of its own.  Read more here.
  30. Designate your towels and mitts.  Try to use towels or mitts in the same part of your car each time.  For example, use a special mitt for your wheels and don’t use them on the paint.  That prevents dirt from spreading across the car.
  31. Use grit guards in your wash and rinse buckets.  A grit guard goes on the bottom of your buckets.  Grit and dirt will sink to the bottom so the next time you dunk the mitt you won’t pick up any grit.  You can also scrub the mitt against the grit guard to clean it.
  32. Wash microfiber towels separately from regular washing.  Microfibre towels are super soft and don’t damage your paint.  They also trap dirt in their fibers which will help to prevent scratches.  When washing them it’s best to do a separate wash because lint and fibers from other fabrics can get stuck on them.  Also, it’s best to use a liquid wash detergent because the powder soaps may not fully dissolve and will stick to your microfibres.
  33. Dry microfiber towels at low heat.  Don’t dry your towels on high heat because it will damage the microfibres.
  34. Protect plastic trim from sun damage.  The sun can cause your plastic trim and bumpers to fade over time.  It is possible to restore faded trim with special products but prevention is always better than cure.  Many coatings and sealants contain some form of UV protection. Read my post about sealants here.
  35. Always use lubrication with a clay bar.  Clay bars are an important tool when preparing your car for sealing or waxing.  But if you use them the wrong way, you can scuff or scratch your paint. Use a clay lubrication product to make it safe.
  36. Wash your car without touching it to prevent scratches.  Using a power washer and a foam cannon you can get dust and a lot of dirt off.  Especially if the car has a good coat of sealant and wax.  You can also dry your car without touching it using a car dryer.  Or even use a leaf blower.
  37. Keep wax and sealant away from black plastic trim.  Many of these products will stain plastics so keep them away.  Cover rubber and plastic trim with tape if you need to. Research each product before you buy to see if it’s safe to use on plastic, but most are not.  Some spray sealants or quick detailers are fine to use on plastics.
  38. Wash your wheels first.  There is an awful lot of dirt on your wheels usually.  Brake dust can damage your paint. If you wash your wheels last you will get some of the brake dust onto your paint so it’s always a good idea to wash your wheels first.

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