How do I keep my black car clean?
April 10, 2006 3:06 PM   Subscribe

How do I keep my black car clean?

I just got a brand new car (Hyundai Tucson) in a color (obsidian black) that shows every speck of dust to touch it. What should I do to keep my paint job, and the car, looking the best they can as long as I can?

I have a carport, not a garage, and live in Oregon, so it rains a bit. I am physically unable to do a lot myself in terms of washing, so mechanical or professional options are best, but light work (duster, chamois cloth, etc.) is okay. Thanks!
posted by karmaville to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Really, the best thing you can do is get the car professionally detailed at least once a year...twice would be better. This should include polishing followed by a good coat of wax. After that, an occasional touchless car wash (no automatic brushes) when it gets dirty will do it.
In between washes, a dusting should be all you need.
It's damn near impossible to keep a black car showroom-shiny over time.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:29 PM on April 10, 2006

When you've got it parked at home, put a car cover on it.

On weekends, maybe give it a quick hose down with the garden hose.

And like Thorzdad said, detail it at least once a year.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:32 PM on April 10, 2006

Note that road dirt is abrasive, so if you try to wipe it off with lambswool, etc., you'll be creating some interesting dusting mitt holograms
posted by billb at 4:02 PM on April 10, 2006

Don't put a car cover on a less-than-spotless car, either, or you run a similar risk of scratching.
posted by Tubes at 4:18 PM on April 10, 2006

Keep it waxed (I always used Maguires Car Wax), it will be easier to wash/dust.

A california duster will help between detailing, for dust...don't use it on dirt....

Car covers are iffy, a good way to scratch the paint...

Bottom line..there is NO way to keep a black car clean, other than storing it in a dust free industrial "clean room" will show dust within moments of being washed and waxed. The only way to have it look good is to keep it detailed, keep it waxed, and dust it whenever you want to drive it (dusting it when you're stopped at a stop light may be necessary as well! :-)
posted by HuronBob at 4:23 PM on April 10, 2006

I used to have a black car. They look awesome for a day or two after a wash and look like crap after a week. I guess that's why they appeal to those with extreme personalities. I used to time my washes strategically. So if I had a date on Saturday I would wash it Saturday afternoon etc. That's really the best you can do. Next time get yourself a light blue car - looks the same, dirty or clean.
posted by any major dude at 4:31 PM on April 10, 2006

Black cars will show off swirl marks (fine scratches) more than any other color, too, so be careful with whatever cleaning approach you take.
posted by knave at 4:37 PM on April 10, 2006

Wax 'er up, and none of that pansy-assed spray-on wax.

I'm talking about the kind of wax where it takes you several hours of absurdly hard labor, and when you're done the finish on your car is so smooth that it's literally impossible to set a clean cloth on the car, because it just slides off, no matter where you put it.

If you do it right, it'll look better than it did brand new.
posted by I Love Tacos at 4:38 PM on April 10, 2006

(oh, and as a bonus, it'll stay a lot cleaner after each wash, and be easier to clean if you're a hand-wash kind of guy.)
posted by I Love Tacos at 4:45 PM on April 10, 2006

I just take my black cars through an automated wash at the gas station whenever I fill up. Usually that's somewhere between once every week and every two weeks, and they look fine for years afterwards (I don't lose sleep over minor scratches or imperfect swirls). Once every year or two, I get them detailed.
posted by mathowie at 4:46 PM on April 10, 2006

Loads of obsessive-compulsive car cleaning advice available at the VW Vortex (applicable to non-Dubs as well, of course).
posted by schoolgirl report at 4:51 PM on April 10, 2006

(oh, and I know hand waxing isn't "light work", but it's definitely something you can do with your car in a car port.)
posted by I Love Tacos at 4:57 PM on April 10, 2006

When you do wash it at home, do so in the shade, so that you're the one that's drying it. Sun-dried spots of dust/dirt appear everywhere if you're not quick enough to get to them - and you're never quick enough to get to them. Experience has taught me that washing a black car in the sunlight is an extremely, EXTREMELY frustrating exercise.
posted by bunglin jones at 6:53 PM on April 10, 2006

Car clay cleans without damage.
posted by hortense at 6:58 PM on April 10, 2006

I second that, Hortense. I just discovered Mother's clay bar. Now I can slide across my hood fast as a Duke boy!
posted by Oddly at 7:12 PM on April 10, 2006

If you use clay, just remember that it strips the wax, so you'll need to put a coat on after you finish.
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:31 PM on April 10, 2006

I haven't used that California Duster tool, but I got hooked on microfiber clothes a couple of years back, and I just noticed that WalMart is now carrying them in the car care department. They are kind of like a soft velcro. And if you have a good coat of wax on your car, you can lightly dust it with cloth.

Some info here (not affiliated):

I use caranuba wax on my car, but I'm mildly OCD about things like that =). Since you're looking to minimize the amount of time that has to be spent keeping things clean, and might have to hire someone to do the work, you might look into a sealant rather than a traditional wax. They arent quite as brilliant as caranuba, but will last much longer (6 months or so).

This page compares the two (and is pushing their products, but the info is good):
posted by kableh at 5:52 AM on April 11, 2006

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