If you want to get a little deeper, car cleaning pros at the Chemical Guys have put out a couple of videos on the subject of de-ashing cars.

Here’s an older clip that essentially explains how a coat of wax helps. Of course, don’t forget that you need to wax your machine before it gets ash’d on.

And here’s another Chemical Guys vid about removing ash. And while this clip is mainly designed to sell the company’s cleaning wares, one important takeaway is to clean your cleaning equipment often while you’re washing an ashy car.

AAA’s advice echos what you’ve already seen: Do a lot of thorough rinsing. AAA also recommends replacing your cabin air filter and engine intake air filter if you drive around in smoky air for any extended period of time. That’s a good idea, but maybe just inspect them before outright replacing.


Checking an air filter isn’t rocket surgery. If it looks dirty, drop a new one in. You might want to think about replacing your windshield wipers, too – if ash piles up and gets smeared across your windshield, the wipers could wear quickly.

There are dozens of other posts around the internet from various sites and local news outlets on the topic of car cleaning, and they all pretty much concur that the best way to clean a car covered in ash is to rinse the hell out of it, rinse it again and exercise extreme caution with any kind of scrubbery business.


If you’d like to dig into more car cleaning tips, check out Kristen Lee’s detail program or my post about coin-op car washing.