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Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to car detailing, however there are some things that should never be done when detailing a car. We put together a list of the top 10 most common car detailing habits that are bad for your car. Most of these car detailing mistakes are easily avoidable, and can be corrected the next time you wash your car.  It is important to have a good understanding of the basic car detailing process before you wash your car.

1.Using a Drying Towel to Remove Dirt Missed During the Wash

When you use a drying towel to pick up any dirt missed during the wash, you are simply forcing the dirt into your cars paint and creating scratches. If you miss a spot, go back and wash that particular spot to make sure all of the dirt is removed. It is also a bad idea to use a squeegee to dry your vehicle as it can also create scratches on the surface of your paint.

2. Overwaxing

It is never necessary to apply more than 2 coats of wax to your cars paint. Too much wax will be wasted as it cannot bond to the paint if it is too thick of a layer. Apply one coat as the base layer, and then follow it up with a second coat of wax to fill in any missed spots from the first round.

3. Not Cleaning Car Towels Properly

After each wash, you are going to want to clean your towels to be used the next time you wash your car. It is important to not use a fabric softener when washing your towels, and to also keep the towels you use for each process of the wash separate.

Clean Car

4. Cleaning Wheels and Tires Last

You are supposed to wash a vehicle from the top down, however you should always start with the wheels. If you wash the wheels and tires last, all of the contaminates you remove from the wheels and tires will splash up onto the clean paint surfaces of the vehicle. Clean the wheels and tires in the beginning to keep these contaminates from covering the car.

5. Pouring Wax and Coatings Directly on the Paint

Apply all waxes and coatings to an applicator, rather than directly on the cars paint. This will prevent the product from being built up in certain spots, and will ensure the coating is applied evenly around the car.

6. Using Household soaps to Clean

Dish soap works well on cars, however it can actually strip away wax and coatings that are there to protect your paint. Only use dish soap if you are intending to remove all wax from your cars paint.

7. Cleaning Windows with Ammonia Based Cleaner

These glass cleaners are harmful to your cars interior surfaces. Plastics, upholstery, and even the dashboard of your car can be damaged over time if ammonia based glass cleaner is continuously used.

8. Not treating Plastic Surfaces Properly

Each plastic surface in a cars interior and exterior needs to be treated differently depending on the type of plastic. Typically, hard plastics should be treated with a different cleaning product than soft plastics.

9. Only Cleaning Isolated Stains in a Cars Interior

Cleaning individual spots will leave the rest of your carpet looking dirty. Your entire carpet should be cleaned periodically to remove the built up dirt, as well as isolated stains. Upholstery cleaner can be applied to the entire surface, and then scrubbed out with a brush to remove built up dirt.

Seat Cleaning

10. Washing Paint with the same Mitt as the Wheels

This is probably the most damaging thing you can do to your cars exterior surfaces. Your wheels have more contaminates than anywhere else on the car. When you use the same mitt to wash your wheels as the rest of the car, you are spreading contaminates. Brake dust, iron, and other materials build up on the wheels can cause scratches if the same mitt is used. Instead, use a separate bucket and mitt to clean your cars wheels and paint.


Most of these mistakes are easily avoidable, however can be detrimental to your cars surfaces if ignored. Next time you wash your car, remember these 10 mistakes and try to implement better habits. This will help to increase the life of your vehicles exterior and interior surfaces. Contact Reliable Auto today to learn more about good habits you can implement into your next car detail.