How to Keep a Black Car Clean – Ideas that work!


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Black paint seems to attract dust so easily.   And a light rain shower will cover your car in water spots.  What techniques and products can you use to safely clean a dust-covered black car?  Doing this the right way will protect your paint finish so you are less likely to need paint correction in the future.  

There is no need to spend hours detailing your car every weekend. 

If your car was recently cleaned and protected you need to maintain that shine with as little effort as possible.  You don’t need to spend hours every weekend detailing your car if it’s not very dirty.  

How to Prevent Dust Sticking to a Black Car

Use an anti-static spray detailer like Chemical Guys Speed Wipe Quick Detailer to greatly reduce the amount of dust that sticks to your car. You can have your car done in minutes with this excellent product.  No black car owner should be without it.

  • Use Speed Wipe after you wash and dry your car to reduce the amount of dust that sticks to it.
  • Use it the morning after you wash your car before you go for a ride.
  • Don’t use this to remove heavy dirt from your car because it doesn’t prevent scratches as well as a waterless wash.  Its only for removing dust.
  • Spray on a panel or on glass and wipe in straight lines.
  • Use with Chemical Guys Professional Grade Premium Microfiber Towels.
  • See Chemical Guys Speed Wipe Quick Detailer on Amazon.

How to Remove Dust from a Black Car

A quick detailer spray can be used to remove light dust from black cars.  But care is needed because scratches show up very easily on black paint

If the dust feels like its stuck to the car you will need to wash it.  But if its light dust you can use a quick detailer spray.

Adams Detail Spray has great cleaning power and comes with excellent microfibre towels.

It must be used with a clean microfibre towel that traps dirt in its fibres.  Pushing dirt along the paint will cause scratches. 

If the towels start to get dirty you may need to wash your car instead as this is a sign that there is too much dirt and you will need to use more lubrication.

Best way to keep a black car clean between washes.

The best way to quickly remove light dirt and dust from a black car is be using Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine.  Other methods can cause scratches or cost a lot of money.  ONR is not too expensive and extremely effective and I would say its a life saver for black car owners and detailers.

Advantages of Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine (ONR)

  1. You don’t need to have access to a water hose.
  2. Its greatly reduces the chance of causing scratches while washing.
  3. It removes bird droppings and bugs too.
  4. Its much quicker than a full wash.
  5. Amazon reviews are off the scale!click here to read.
  6. Its great if you have water restrictions in your area.
  7. You simply add a cap full to a bucket of water.
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Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine - 32 oz. Kit
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  • ☑️Optimum No Rinse Wash and Shine allows car washing virtually anywhere, anytime
  • ☑️Get a brilliant shine using only one or two gallons of water
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Do I need to do a full hand wash to remove dust?

A couple of years ago I would have said you should do a full wash to remove light dust.  But I don’t do that anymore because of the great products on the market and the new techniques I’ve learned.  

I only do a full wash if…

  • The dust is very heavy.
  • The dust is stuck to the paint.
  • There are a number of bird dropping on the car.
  • There is any tree sap on the car.
  • There’s a lot of bug splatter.
  • There is mud on the car.

How to Clean Very Light Dust with a Quick Detailer Spray​

A detailer spray is something a black car owner cannot be without. Its an extremely thin liquid that will protect your paint, glass and plastic while you wipe it down. Most also give some gloss and protection.

  1. Park in the shade and let the paint cool.
  2. Use an anti static detailer spray like Adams Detail Spray (Amazon Link)
  3. Use a good quality microfibre towel like Chemical Guys Professional Grade Premium Microfiber Towels
  4. Mist on the product and gently wipe in straight lines to prevent scratching.
  5. Use a clean side of the towel for each wipe to preserve existing shine.
  6. Use more than one towel if they get too dirty.
  7. The spray can be used on glass and plastic too.

I would only use a detailer spray to remove any dust that has appeared on my car overnight.  And not if I have been driving or it has rained.  

Using a microfiber towel is very important because the fibers keep the dust away from your paint.  Other towels will just push the dirt around your paint causing micro scratches. In no time your cars shine will have faded.

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Adam's Detail Spray
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  • Use on Paint, Glass, Plastic and Wheels

Clean Light Dirt Without Water

A waterless wash is a liquid that is super slick. The products encapsulates the dirt particles and keeps them away from your paint. They can be used to safely remove a lot of dirt but they should not be used on a very dirty car.

  1. Park in the shade and let the paint cool.
  2. Use a waterless wash like Meguiars Ultimate Waterless Wash and Wax.
  3. Use a good quality microfibre towel like Chemical Guys Professional Grade Premium Microfiber Towels
  4. Remember not to scrub your car to prevent your shine from fading.
  5. Buff off any residue with another clean microfibre towel.
Meguiar's Ultimate Waterless Wash & Wax
  • ONE EASY STEP: Premium formula conveniently and gently washes and adds wax protection in one easy step. Can be used anywhere with no hose, bucket, or rinsing
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  • NO EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Ideal for those who do not have access to a hose, live in a city, or apartment, or are under water restrictions

Clean Light Dirt With a Single Bucket of Water.

If you haven’t tried ONR, Optimum No Rinse, its time you joined the revolution. You simply put a cap full in half a bucket of clean water and wipe down you car.

Use a separate microfiber towel to buff off.  No rinsing needed (hence the name). It protects your paint from scratching and is trusted by many black car lovers all over the world.

The next time you wash your car you will find it way easier because the dirt wont stick so much. Now if you hose down your car you will find that the water forms beads. This makes it a lot easier to pat dry using a microfibre or waffle weave drying towel.

How to Stop Dirt Sticking to a Black Car

I apply a spray wax after every wash because wax and sealant will make washing easier.  Here’s how…

Most of the dirt on your car comes from road traffic spray.  Wax and sealant are hydrophobic and make your car act like a non stick frying pan.  They repel water and cause it to bead on contact. 

Much of the dirt on a waxed car hasn’t bonded to the paint as it would on an unwaxed car.

That means less elbow grease is needed when its wash time.  And that means fewer scratches.

The easiest wax to apply is a spray and rinse wax like Meguars Hybrid Ceramic Wax.  You just spray it on your washed car and rinse off before drying.

Read all about my favorite waxes here.

How to Fully Wash a Dirty Black Car

For heavy dirt, there are no shortcuts and a full wash will be needed.  Microfibre wash mitts and grit guards are a must. Read my blog post on washing your car with the two bucket method. 

Will Wiping Dust off a Black Car Scratch it?

Using a dry rag to remove dust from your car will scratch it.  The work you put in to detailing your car will be a complete wast of time and money.  Swirls and scratches will begin to appear and your paint will look dull and lose its shine.  Use a quick detailer or a waterless wash to remove light dust.  A full wash is needed for heavy dust and dirt.

Washing Mud from a Dirty Black Car

A love a good reason to use my foam cannon and pressure washer.  I can get most of the dirt off with the pressure washer before I lay a finder on my paint.  This greatly reduces scratches.

A think layer of snow foam will soften dirt and dissolve road grease.  Blast it away with the pressure washer after a few minutes and your car can look beautiful again.

I usually find I still need to use a wash mitt and buckets to finish it off.  But now that most of the dirt is gone this is much quicker and will result in fewer scratches.  

Why you should never dry wipe your car.

The bad habit that causes a lot of swirl marks on your paint is trying to dry wipe the dust away.  You simply must use some kind of liquid lubrication to protect the paint when cleaning.  Wiping dust from your car with a dry rag is like cleaning your car with sandpaper.  The shine will simply disappear  and the only way to get it back is with compounding and polishing which is time consuming and costly.

Never dry wipe.  This is the golden rule for all black car owners.

You probably know that washing and drying your car the wrong way can cause your cars shine to fade fast.  There are other surprising ways you could be damaging your paint.

I review some of my favorite car wash shampoos here.

Maintaining black car paint - that has been cleaned and protected.

A car with some protection on it is both easier and less likely to get scratched. Megs Ultimate Quik Wax applied after every full wash is a fantastic way but another great way to protect your car is with a ceramic coating.

Ceramic Coating are more difficult to apply than spray waxes. You will need to fully clean and decontaminate your paint first and use a clay bar to remove bonded particles. Also, ceramic coatings can take time to bond. So you might be better off searching for a local prefesional car detailer to apply the ceramic coating.

But it is possible to apply a consumer ceramic coating your self. Click here to read my review of one such protect.

Read my review of my favorite large drying towel.

Make sure you dry your car properly and safely as mentioned above.

Is it OK to use waterless car wash or detailer spray on a black car?

Waterless car washes and detailer sprays have really taken off in the last few years.  They make some bold claims.  No need to wash your vehicle with water, it cleans shines and protects in one.  

These products are made from an extremely slick slippery substance like that found in hair conditioner. The dust and dirt gets wrapped in this liquid and minimizes scratching of your paint when you wipe it away.

A waterless wash is designed to be used on dirty cars where as a detailer spray is designed to be used on light dust.

Read 3 amazing quick detailer sprays for black cars.

A waterless wash will contain some detergent to help remove dirt but detailer sprays usually do not.  Both products will contain some wax or sealant or both.

Unfortunately these products are not ideal for very dirty black cars.  Because black paint shows swirl marks so easily you are always better off washing your car first with a pressure washer and a foam cannon and using the two bucket method.  

Having said that, they do have a use for black car owners.  For example, its much safer to use a waterless wash then dry wiping your car.  If your car has light dust it will be safe to use provided you use some good quality microfibre towels.

People who don’t have access to a water hose to wash their car will find these products very useful.  For those people the two bucket method is not an option.  For you I would say its OK to use these products but you could end up with faded paint in the long run.  For that reason I recommend you get your car professionally cleaned and sealed once or twice a year.  You can then use the waterless car washes on the weekends provided your car is not too dirty.  Use plenty of the liquid and use plenty of clean microfiber towels.

If your car gets really dirty you should try to get it power washed before you apply the waterless car wash.

You will find your car looks really shiny after you use a waterless car wash.  But the shine won’t last.  After less than a week the wax will have faded.  The wax in the products that I have tried just don’t seem to last very long.

So if you want a longer lasting deep shine consider one of these recommended waxes.

For lost more tips read 38 Tips for Black Car Owners.

Using a waterless car wash or detailer spray on a black car paint.

The important thing to remember is that rubbing that dust in to your black paint can cause a lot of scratches.  Spray the product on to the paint and also on to your towel.  Put almost no pressure on your paint.  Move the towel in straight lines and not in circles.

Don’t scrub the surface and use a clean side of the towel each time.  Don’t reuse a side of the towel that becomes dirty.  

How to clean bird poop off a black car

Don’t be tempted to wipe off bird poop with a cloth.  Wiping a black car should be totally avoided.  You must use something like a detailer spray.  Spray directly on to the poo and on to a damp microfiber towel.  Let the towel sit on the bird poo for a few minutes to soften it.  This should lift the poop right off.  

Of course, this will work best if your paint is properly sealed and protected.  When done you can also apply sealant to the area to protect from the next attack.

How to clean bugs off a black car.

After washing and drying your can you might find some bugs still stuck to the paint.  Use a microfiber towel and some sealant or detailer spray and just rub your finger gently against the bug stains.  A special bug sponge can also be used but it might leave scratches if you rub too hard.  

Black car maintenance finishing touches.

Add some tire dressing as a great finishing touch.  If you decided to fully wash your car then you will need to reapply some protection such as a good sealant or wax.  

Autoglym wheel cleaning and dressing products have always proven excellent in my experience.  But there are plenty of products on the market for you to try.

Read more here about protecting the shine in a new black car.

Best way to wash a dirty black car without scratching it.

  1. This is easier on a car with polished & protected paint.
  2. Park in a shady spot and let the paint cool.
  3. Prepare a bucket of water with soap for wheels.
  4. Spray wheels with wheel cleaner spray.
  5. Wash wheels using wheel brushes and wheel mitt.
  6. Power wash wheels clean.
  7. Power wash whole car, especially muddy parts near bottom.
  8. Foam cannon the whole car and leave to soak.
  9. Power wash off soap.
  10. Foam and power wash again if needed.
  11. Prepare two buckets of water, one with car soap, the other clean water
  12. Use grit guards in all buckets.
  13. Using microfiber mitt soaked in suds to lightly wash the car in straight lines. Don’t scrub.
  14. Rinse mitt regularly in clean water bucket
  15. Power wash car clean
  16. Dry with car blower or pat dry with microfiber towels
  17. Apply sealant or wax (read instructions).
  18. Apply tire dressing.

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