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How to Actually Clean Stubborn Dirt and Grime Off Your Car

Few things are as frustrating as stubborn dirt and grime on your car. Common contaminants such as road salt, brake dust, tar, bird droppings, and other factors can cause damage to your paint job, so it is best to remove them as soon as possible. But how do you remove this dirt without using harsh methods that can do more harm than good? Read on to find out how to actually clean stubborn dirt and grime off your car.

blue car in car wash


How to Actual Clean Stubborn Dirt and Grime Off Your Car

Get a Quality Shampoo

Find a good car shampoo that works for you and your car.

Wash the exterior of your car according to the instructions on the shampoo.

Make sure you do this in a shaded area, preferably on a day with mild weather. Using a microfibre or cheesecloth, dry off the vehicle.

front of blue car getting cleaned

Get a Quality Clay Bar

Find a good quality Clay Bar. Before you use it, though, you should know where to use it.

A Clay Bar is by far the industry standard for getting a nice, smooth, contaminant free finish ready for waxing.

It’s highly recommended that you use a Clay Bar your car any time before you apply wax.

How to use a Clay Bar

Place a freezer bag over your hand and run your hand over your car so that you can detect any particles that have become embedded in the paint, and you should also be able to detect any areas where the paint feels rough and damaged from dirt.

When you are ready to use the clay bar, cut the clay into manageable pieces that you can easily handle (you want to avoid dropping or ruining the entire bar by accident, right?).

Apply the lubricant on the stubborn dirt.

Ensure that the sections are no larger than 2 feet.

Then, place the clay in the palm of your hand and slide it across the area using a back and forth motion.

Repeat this until you see that the dirt is removed. If you need to, you can repeat this on the rest of the exterior- remember to use the lubrication first before applying the clay.

If you notice that the clay has stopped lifting the dirt, it is time to flip it over and use the other side.

Once both sides have been filled with dirt particles, you can fold the clay and knead it so that you have an uncontaminated surface to work with again.

Once you know there is no fresh surface to work with, use a new piece of clay.

When you have finished and are satisfied that the car is clean, rinse off the lubricant and use the microfiber cloth to dry it off.

Polish Your Car

Many confuse polishing your car with waxing. 

They are not the same.

Polishing your car should be done before waxing.

Apply a dollop of polish to the pad and wipe the pad across a 2 x 2-ft. area.

Run the polisher slowly (on low speed setting) to spread the compound over the entire area.

Then boost the speed and let the polisher do the work for you.

blue car getting cleaned

Synthetic wax for a Mirror Finish

My dad swears by carnauba wax because it produces a nice, warm shine.

But I like the wet-gloss look so we use synthetic polymer wax, like Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax.

It’s pricier than dad’s choice, but doesn’t leave that white film on plastic or trim. Plus, it’s really easy to apply.

Apply the wax to the foam applicator and rub it into the finish with a swirling motion.

Then wipe off the haze with a microfibre towel. Swap in a clean towel as soon as the first one loads up.

In Closing:

Different factors can affect your car’s exterior, which can vary depending on the area you live in. Whether your car is subject to natural factors such as bird droppings and sand or dust (in areas where the Sahara blows in, vehicles can become covered by a thick layer of sand traveling across continents), you must take care of your vehicle. Avoid harsh chemical products that can ruin your car’s paint and invest in automotive detailing clay instead.

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