Ceramic car coatings have become increasingly popular in recent years. What was once something only used by high end detailers and body shops is now commonly available to hobbyists and consumers alike. The main attraction of a ceramic car coating is that it helps your vehicle maintain a lustrous shine while also preventing the need for frequent washes.
That said, even if you ceramic coat your car, you will still probably want to regularly wash it to help look as good as possible. Washing a car that has a ceramic coating is not the same as washing a car without one, and there are precautions that you need to take and supplies you’ll want to be sure to have on hand.
The Right Soap for the Right Job
The first thing you need to check before washing your coated car is to make sure the soap you have won’t damage your ceramic coating or paint job. The shampoo you use needs to be very gentle and have a neutral PH to avoid stripping away your coating. You also want to make sure you are using soap that has SiO2, also known as Silicon Dioxide.
Soap that has the SiO2 compound is desirable because not only does it prevent damage, but it will actually help enhance your existing ceramic coating and make it last longer in between new applications. SiO2 soaps also foam very well when used which is important to prevent swirls, streaks, and uneven light reflection after drying.
What’s in Your Bucket?
If you are opting to use the tried and true two bucket method for washing your ceramic coated car, you should take a moment to make sure your setup is right. Dirt traps are large, circular inserts that go in the bottom of your bucket to ensure that your rinse water stays as clean as possible to prevent unwanted scratches.
Essentially, a dirt trap uses dozens of tiny funnels to trap the dirt and dust from rinsing your towel at the bottom of the bucket. Without a dirt trap, you run the risk of grinding all that dirt back onto the surface of your car and causing endless ugly scratches and swirl marks. If you are going through the trouble of hand washing your car, you should spend a few extra dollars on dirt traps to make sure you aren’t doing your paint job more harm than good.
The Importance of a Good Towel
We all have a rag bucket in our garage that is probably filled with old shirts, unwanted kitchen towels, and other scraps of cloth. These are the very last thing you want to use when washing your ceramic coated car. Stiff, abrasive clothes will damage the ceramic coating and make it look uneven. It’s also a good way to cause stubborn swirl marks and streaks to appear.
What you want to use are soft, ultra absorbent microfiber towels and scrub gloves. These types of clothes absorb soap readily, scrub dirt away quickly, and will help to dry your car as evenly as possible. If you’re planning to wand wash your vehicle regularly, you should buy a large set of microfibre towels so that you don’t run the risk of accidentally using a dirty towel or cross contaminating the clothes that you use for scrubbing and the ones you use for drying.
Ceramic Coating Car Care
Treating your car with a ceramic coating is a great way to ensure it looks as good as possible in between washes and detailings. When it is time to wash your car, there are a few things to keep in mind to protect it.
You need to make sure the soap you’re using is intended to be used on ceramic coatings, and you also need to be careful that you do not inadvertently scratch and streak your paint. Using buckets with a dirt trap and clean, microfiber towels will keep your car looking its best for years to come.