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Why You Shouldn’t Be Using Detergent to Clean Your Car

A man washes his car's tires while the car's body is covered in soap suds.
Nejron Photo/Shutterstock.com

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer when it comes to car washes, then you want to know a few basics before tackling the job head-on. However, you don’t want to damage your car in the process of taking care of it, and there’s one surprising way you might be doing just that.

Most of us reach for the soap products—like dish and laundry detergent—we already have under our sinks. If that’s you, stop right now. You should never use household soaps or detergents on your car.

Hand soap, dish soap, glass cleaner, and laundry detergent do an amazing job cleaning what they were designed to clean: household items. However, these products are made to degrease and deeply clean fabric. They aren’t formulated to clean automotive paint and can easily strip the protective wax on your car.

Save yourself from a big headache and purchase car cleaning products that are designed specifically for exterior use on a car. Car washing detergents are manufactured with milder chemicals, making them safe to use on automotive paint. Use a soft cloth or sponge to clean your vehicle and don’t use anything rough or scratchy when scrubbing.

If you’re looking for the perfect setup for your at-home car washes, make sure you check out our list of the best car washing kits.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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