Washing A Coated Car | How To Maintain The Effect And NG Actions

180 Automotive is reader-supported. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

If the car is coated, won’t it get dirty?” “Do I need to wash my car after coating?” Many people may be wondering, “If the car is coated, won’t it get dirty?

Although coatings are attractive because they reduce maintenance time, not washing the car is not an option. Regular car washing by hand is essential to maintain the effectiveness of the coating.

In this issue, we will introduce the reasons why coated vehicles need to be washed, as well as the proper way to wash them. We will also explain solutions for those who do not have enough time to wash their cars.

Even Coated Cars Need Washing!

Coatings not only keep the car looking beautiful, but also prevent dirt from adhering directly to the car by creating a film, but this does not guarantee that dirt will not adhere 100% of the time.

Even with expensive coatings, dust, mud, bird droppings, and other contaminants can adhere.

Bird droppings, in particular, are dangerous to leave on the coating as they can oxidize the film and cause it to gradually deteriorate.

In order to keep the original effect for a long time, do not wash the car less frequently, but remove the dirt as soon as you notice it.

What Is The Best Way To Wash A Coated Car?

There are three main methods of car washing: “with detergent and hand wash,” “without detergent and hand wash,” and “automatic car wash.

Since dirt is easily removed from coated cars, washing with water is sufficient for simple dirt. However, it cannot be said that “washing with water is OK” for everything, so use different car wash methods depending on the situation.

1. Washing With Detergent Or By Hand

Considering the removal of dirt and the risk of scratches, hand washing with detergent is recommended for coated cars. Detergent is indispensable, especially when mud, bird droppings, or insect carcasses are on the car.

The use of detergent also has the advantage of reducing friction between the body and the sponge because it makes the car more slippery.

However, please note that if the detergent is not rinsed out, stains will remain as the water evaporates.

2. No Detergent, Hand Wash

If you wash your car frequently and there are no noticeable stains, we recommend washing with water without detergent.

Although the amount of dirt removal varies depending on the coating agent, using a microfiber towel will help prevent scratches. Since there is no risk of leaving detergent rinsed out, maintenance will be much easier compared to “with detergent”.

3. Automatic Car Wash

The use of an automatic car wash is basically not recommended. This is because there is a risk that the brushes of the automatic car wash machine will catch pebbles and dirt from the previous car, which will damage the coating film.

If the film is damaged, the gloss brought out by the coating, as well as the water repellency and the effect of preventing deterioration will be reduced.

The exception to this rule is when regular car washing is difficult. Since the coating agent is damaged even if dirt is left for a long period of time, it is better to use an automatic car wash than not wash the car.

Nevertheless, coatings are not inexpensive, so we recommend prioritizing hand washing as much as possible.

Correct Frequency And Timing Of Car Wash For Coated Vehicles

Coated vehicles need to be washed regularly, but the appropriate timing depends on the time that has passed since the coating was applied, the color of the vehicle, the parking environment, and the weather.

If you are wondering when you should wash your car, please refer to the following guidelines.

1. At Least “Washing With Water” For At Least One Month After The Coating Is Applied

Avoid washing your car for about one month after coating. In the unlikely event that rainwater or dirt adheres to the car, wash the car with water without using detergent.

This is because it takes about one month for the coating to fully cure. If the car is washed before the coating has fully cured, its performance will be degraded.

To avoid accidental removal of the coating, wash the car after allowing time for the coating to cure.

However, if the coating is heat-dried, the curing time can be accelerated, so it is possible to wash the car without allowing time for the coating to cure.

In this case, we recommend that you wash your car according to the instructions of the installer.

2. Wash The Car Once A Week To Once A Month Depending On The Color And Parking Location Of The Car

The number of times to wash the car depends on the parking environment and the color of the car, as the amount of dirt adhering to the car will vary.

Below is a summary of the approximate number of car washes for different parking environments and car colors.

Parking environment and car color Approximate frequency of car wash
Outdoor parking, dark color Once a week
Parking outdoors, light color Twice a month
Indoor parking, dark color Twice a month
Indoor parking, light color Once a month

Since outdoor parking causes dirt to adhere more frequently than indoor parking, and dark-colored vehicles such as black, blue, red, and navy blue are more likely to show dirt, be sure to wash your car frequently.

Ideally, the car should be washed before dirt baking or staining occurs in order to avoid damaging the performance of the coating.

Cool mornings and evenings are recommended over sunny days.

It is recommended to wash the car in the morning, evening, or on a cloudy day when the sunlight is weaker. If the sunlight is too strong, water droplets will dry before wiping off and may remain as white water stains often seen in kitchens and bathrooms.

It is best to avoid washing the car in strong sunlight in order to wipe the car thoroughly before it dries.

How To Choose The Right Tools For Washing A Coated Car

There are three main tools necessary for washing coated cars: car shampoo, car wash sponges, and cloths.

Each of these tools comes in a variety of shapes and materials, so let’s take a look at what kind of tools are best suited for coated cars.

1: Car Shampoo (Detergent)

Neutral detergent Suitable for coated cars (recommended)
Weak alkaline detergent Suitable for oil stains
Weakly acidic detergent Best for stains caused by acid rain

Neutral detergent is recommended for removing dust and simple dirt. You may be concerned about the effect on the coating, but for special stains such as oil stains or stains caused by acid rain, weak alkaline or weak acid detergents are suitable.

It is best to use different types depending on the degree of soiling.

However, avoid using car shampoo containing water repellent agents. Instead, it may adversely affect the coating.

2: Car Wash Sponges

A large, soft, urethane sponge is recommended. You may think that “any soft sponge will do,” but you can reduce scratches by simply being aware of how to choose a sponge.

For example, even with the same urethane sponge, if the sponge is uneven, fine gravel adhering to the body will lose its escape route and become easily scratched.

It also affects the quality of foam that reduces friction, so please choose a urethane sponge with bumps and dents.

And try to separate sponges for the undercarriage, such as tires, and the body. If they are shared, stubborn grease and pebbles from the undercarriage will adhere to the body.

3:Cloth For Wiping Up

We recommend using a soft, absorbent microfiber cloth for wiping up. It may be tempting to use old cloths or towels, but the hard fibers may damage the body.

Artificial chamois leather is also popular as an absorbent cloth, but it is not recommended because it is difficult to slide on and handle.

The proper way to self-wash a coated car

The following is the method of washing a coated car without damaging the body of the coated car and keeping the effectiveness of the coating.

step1: Wash Tires And Wheels

Basically, wash the car starting from the undercarriage, where dirt adheres most. At this time, be careful not to spray water over the entire car.

Water droplets on the body may dry while the tires and wheels are being washed, leaving behind stubborn stains.

Also, tires and wheels are hot immediately after driving. To prevent water stains, it is recommended to cool them down with water before starting.

STEP2: Rinse Off The Dirt On The Body With Water

Depending on the coating agent used, dirt is removed more easily from coated cars than from uncoated cars. When washing the body, remove simple dirt such as sand and dust with water.

Be careful not to scrub with a sponge with fine dirt adhering to it, as it will scratch it during the washing process.

STEP3: Remove Stains With A Sponge Containing Water

If there are no persistent stains on the surface, lightly scrub the surface with a sponge that has been moistened with plenty of water.

Scrubbing too hard may cause scratches, so do not force stains that cannot be removed with water alone, but use a detergent.

step4: Wash With Plenty Of Foam

When using detergent to remove stains, do not apply the detergent directly to the surface, but rather lather it up before use.

Instead of lathering with a sponge, we recommend lathering with water and detergent in a bucket.

After scooping the foam with a sponge, wash gently and quickly, using the foam as a cushion. At this point, it is important to keep in mind that you are washing from the top-down, not from the bottom up.

step5: Quickly wipe up water inside and outside the car
Rinse off the foam with sufficient water to ensure that there is no residue.

After rinsing with water, quickly wipe up water droplets with a cloth. It is important to finish carefully and quickly because taking time will cause water stains and spots.

Also, it is easy to overlook water droplets that have penetrated the inside of the door, so be sure to thoroughly check the interior, including the trunk.

Is Waxing After Washing A Coated Car A No-No?

While it may be tempting to wax the car while it is being washed and cleaned, it is basically not necessary for a coated car.

Solid wax makes the car more susceptible to ultraviolet rays and heat damage. In addition, it will easily absorb exhaust gas, pollen, dust, and other contaminants, and the coating agent will not be as effective as it should be.

However, there are pros and cons to liquid wax. Some say it is not as good as solid wax, while others say it fills in scratches and protects the coating film.

Since it is also compatible with the coating agent used, those who are concerned should not use them together easily and consult a professional contractor.

3 Points To Keep In Mind When Washing A Coated Car

There are three precautions to take when washing a coated car, which you should review before washing.

Wipe Up Tap Water Before It Dries

Tap water contains ingredients (chalky, chlorine, calcium, etc.) that contribute to water stains. If they dry before wiping up, they will adhere and cannot be easily removed.

There are car shampoos specifically designed for water stains, so consider using them if they are already impossible to remove.

Do Not Use Well Water To Wash Your Car

Avoid using well water to wash your car. Well, water contains more calcium than tap water, which causes water stains. This is dangerous because as the well water dries on the body, it turns into stubborn stains that cannot be removed with ordinary car shampoo.

Some coin-operated car washes use well water, so be very careful when using them.

If Dirt Adheres To The Car, Wash The Car Without Leaving It Unattended

Even if a coating agent is used, be sure to wash off dirt without leaving it on the car. If the dirt oxidizes, it will penetrate the painted surface and cause the coating to deteriorate. Remove it as soon as possible when you notice it.

If You Don’t Have Time To Wash Your Car, Hire A Pro

Cars with coatings require less time to wash and are relatively easy to maintain.

However, there may be cases where the frequency of car washing is reduced for various reasons, such as “it is difficult to secure a space for car washing” or “it is difficult to find time to wash the car.

If it is difficult for you to wash your car by yourself, we recommend that you ask a specialized company to do it for you. You can easily request a car wash at a gas station or car accessory store.


Even if you use a coating agent that can prevent stains and scratches, you still need to wash your car for basic maintenance. Even if the car wash time is reduced, wash the car at the same frequency as before using the coating agent.

In self-washing, the important points are to be “gentle, careful, and speedy. Since simple dirt can be removed by rinsing with water, you can reduce maintenance time by flushing the car frequently.

If it is difficult to find time to wash your car, we recommend that you take the plunge and hire a contractor to do it for you. Never leave dirt behind and keep your car clean in a way that suits your lifestyle.