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How to wash your car in the summer

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Washing a car in the summer gives the risk of the sun evaporating the water quicker then it can be dried off. You either have to be quick or smart to prevent waterspots or dried up products. These tips might help you in reducing the risk.

The risk of washing in the summer

Washing your car in the burning sun might sound like a normal Saturday morning ritual. But it actually has a few downsides.
Just to name a few:

  • The water evaporates more quickly, and can leave watermarks (limescale).
  • Certain products (including wax and polish) can dry up to quickly, which can affect durability and/or effectiveness.
  • Can make certain products very difficult to remove.

Not everybody has the luxury of a garage or other place where the car can be parked in the shadow (or under a roof).

General tips and advice

There are a few things that can help to make it easier on yourself.

  • Check the forecast, perhaps it’s gonna get cloudy in a few hours. Perhaps the next day.
  • See how the sun moves, perhaps the car will be in the shadow if you waited a few hours.
  • Read the label of your product, check for anything regarding use in the sun.
  • If you have products that need to be diluted, dilute it with demi-water. This contains no/much less minerals and when it dries up, there will be no/not much watermarks.
  • Is there a do-it-yourself carwash nearby? These are usually covered.
  • A product that needs less (or no) water can also help to minimize the risk of watermarks. A (nearly) waterless wash can be used for this.
  • A product with limescale inhibitors and sheeting agents can help.

Extra things to consider

When you have no choice, these things can help you.

  • Start with the side that’s in the shadow, and try not to get the sun-side wet when rinsing.
  • After washing and rinsing the side that’s in the sun, dry it as quick as possible. (you can use the sheeting to get most of the water off)
  • Start drying the roof and the hood, these are often the most hot parts.
  • If the sun is only at one side of the car, wash the part first that is in the shadows. Then turn the car around and wash the other side. Running water over the panels should cool them down fairly quick.
  • Try not to use to many products that contain solvents, these will dry very quick and removal can become difficult.
  • You can put a big WET MF cloth on the hood/roof. As long as the cloth stays wet, the water underneath won’t dry up and/or leave watermarks.
  • Use an air-compressor to blow off most of the water. (don’t forget the crevices and small corners)
  • If possible, put the windows open before washing the car. This will slightly lower the interior temp, making the roof and windscreen a little bit less hot.
  • If you’re driving home and are going to wash the car asap, turn on the AC, the lower the interior temp, the lower the temp of the windscreen and roof (difference will be small, but every little bit helps).
  • Try to use a shampoo that has limescale inhibitors, this will help to prevent most of the watermarks.
  • Don’t use cold water in the bucket. Some shampoo dissolve a little bit less with cold water. Hot water helps to dissolve better (shampoo as well as some dirt).
  • You could use cold water to rinse with, but this could affect dissolving a little bit.
  • Many glass cleaners don’t work properly in the burning sun.
  • Doing one panel at a time, (washing, rinsing and drying) will also greatly reduce the risk of spots or dried up products

*the difference of dissolving in cold, luke and warm water is small, and will vary between shampoos. But every little thing might help.

In conclusion

In the end, detailing/washing the car in the hot burning (summer) sun just isn’t ideal. The best environment would be indoors at about 20 degrees Celsius. But sometimes you just don’t much choice. These tips might make it a bit easier and leave less marks.

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