Cleaning our cars is not always a task we look forward to – although we are always glad we’ve done it when we look at the shining vehicle on our driveways afterwards! Most people have a standard routine, or process, that they follow when detailing their cars –but, are we doing it correctly?

Here are five of the most common misconceptions we have, or mistakes we make, when cleaning our vehicles:

1. All waxes remove scratches

Not true! Some waxes will – but not all – it all depends on the type of wax. To remove scratches from a paint surface, a wax has to contain abrasives – and even these will, ordinarily, only remove light scratches, not deeper grooves!

A butter wet wax, for example, that contains NO abrasive, will only remove scuff marks, some paint transfers and other dirt and patches, but will have no effect on ingrained scratches.

2. A clay bar will remove scratches

Again – not true! As with the wax, unless the clay bar contains abrasives it will NOT remove scratches from your paint surface.

What a clay bar CAN do is restore a smooth texture, and feel, to a paint surface that has become rough over time. A clay bar will also remove some oxidation from the paint, but only on a light level – if your paint surface is severely oxidised then you are better served using a proper car polish.

3. Cross contaminating towels

A very common mistake made when detailing cars – lots of people just use the one towel, or cloth, when cleaning their car. If, for example, you use a towel to dry your tyres, and you then apply the same towel to the car’s paint surface, then you are merely spreading any contaminants and dirt lifted from the tyres directly on to your car!

This can scratch your paint surface and cause other imperfections. It is a good idea to use a number of different towels when cleaning your car – one for each different section or component of the vehicle – this will provide a much better finish.

4. Failing to dry your car

Another very common mistake – especially if you have just been through an automated car wash! Very often these facilities don’t use deionised water and fail to dry the car thoroughly after the wash – this creates water spots due to dust and dirt sticking to the wet surface of the paint.

The only way to ensure there are no water spots is to polish the entire car – so, after every wash, use quality microfiber towels to dry the car and prevent these water spots from forming.

6. Using water as a clay lubricant

This is never a good idea as water tends to ‘drag’ and prevents a ‘smooth glide’ of the bar over the car surface. This can damage the car in a number of ways, including creating scratches and other marks. You are much better off using a specialised clay lubricant for the finish you want.