Never use a car wash brush on the paintwork of your car! You might not have read our article about sponges but you can be assured a car wash brush produces similar damage.
It is a very common mistake to use a sponge or car wash brush and both these can cause a lot of damage to car bodywork when washing. What’s wrong with wash brushes and sponges they are both sold to clean my car after all…
Millions of people wash their car using sponges and brushes you say. That also is true. But it doesn’t make it right or good advice!
Don’t do it!
The standard yellow rectangular sponges do hold a lot of water and we know water lubricates but like car wash brushes they don’t have much ‘give’ in them. In addition they also tend to have a flat face.
When you come to wash your car it is covered in grit particles. Some of these dirt particles are sharp. As you run a sponge over the body these grit particles become trapped between the face of the sponge and the paint – they have nowhere to go owing to the flat face of the sponge so it won’t recess in. When you wipe the sponge across the paintwork, you wipe the sharp grit particles straight across the paint leaving a thin hairline scratch.
In a similar way when using a car wash brush to remove what looks to be stubborn mud or dirt although there are places for the sharp particles to go, the ends of the wash brush itself present a very aggressive contact patch with the top coat (also known as the clear coat or lacquer ) of your cars paintwork. They have a small surface area and so present a lot of pressure within that area – they are very stiff when presented end on.
Try pushing the brush end on against your hand! As you wipe the brush head across the paintwork, again, there is a distinct danger that you will be leaving thin hairline scratches.
These little scratches are highly visible in bright light because they catch the light, and this is what gives the dreaded swirl marks that deprives your paint of deep gloss and rich colour and so ruin your car’s look.
Sponges also have great longer term storage facilities for things like tiny stones, keeping them entrapped and scratching your paint forever. Car wash brushes can be easily washed out but will keep scratching your car given the chance!
So learn the lesson!
Bin the sponge and at the very least confine your wash brush, if it is soft to your wheels only. If not then we suggest you only clean under / inside wheel arches and no more. These areas of your car are what wash brushes are best used for and will minimise any damage.
In a way, think of it like rubbing your car with sandpaper, you would never want to do that!