Wash Your Cars, You Cowards

Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Summer is here and all excuses you have for not washing your car (and really, are there even any legitimate ones?) have gone out the window. The sun is out, the weather is nice and everyone is generally in a better mood. Get your car to the car wash!

On this week’s Ask a Clean Person podcast with Jolie Kerr, I make a reappearance and am accompanied by none other than Justin Westbrook. We chat through car cleaning best methods, frequency (often, duh!) and the magic of microfiber towels.

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There is a camp of people that believe you never have to wash your car. They say that “the rain washes it anyway.” This is wrong. There is no soap in rain, so the rain will not wash away bird poo, bugs, sap or any other stubborn dirt. That crap is acidic and will eventually eat away at your clear coat. Once that clear coat is gone, your car and its exposed sheet metal is at a greater risk for rust, which can result in thousands of dollars of body work down the road.

Plus, if you’re trying to sell your car, clean it up for the photos! A clean car will almost always fetch more money than a dirty one. Just think about how you shop online. If the photo is appealing, you automatically feel better about what’s being photographed. Same goes for cars.

And there’s a bit of practical advice in the episode, too. A reader wrote in to Kerr about some leftover residue that was left on her car from an automated car wash. She described it as a “sticky, hazy, creepy mess” and it has to go. But despite her efforts using Turtle Wax cleaner, a Magic Eraser, hot water and alcohol, the crap hasn’t budged.

The three of us thought it might be some kind of leftover wax that got mixed with car soap. And to tackle wax, reach for the WD-40. The lube of life. Something in WD-40 has the ability to remove waxy substances. But if you don’t have WD-40 handy, a dab of olive oil or any kind of cooking oil should work. Just be sure to wash the oily area with car soap afterwards.

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Listen to the full episode for other car care tips, laughs and general jolliness.

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About the author

Kristen Lee

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.