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Do Car Wash Brushes Scratch Paint

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If you love driving, taking care of your car is a must. Taking care of your car includes washing it as well. You may even think it will look prettier if you wash it daily.

But do you know your car paint can get scratched while washing it? 

Horrifying, right!?

But you don’t need to worry about it. You can wash and take care of it without harming the pretty shine and color. Here in this following discussion, you will learn some of the best ways to wash your car without having any scratches in the paint.

Do Car Wash Brushes Scratch Your Car?

Well, washing your car is necessary, but a brush can create scratches on the car’s body. What can be the reason here?

One of the reasons can be hard bristle brush. Again, car owners can be another reason for it. Improper hand-washing techniques can create scratches on vehicles. So, you must be careful about using old equipment and techniques before you wash your car.

Apart from that, some areas need proper cleaning equipment. Without it, the paint may get scratched. Again, different car washing methods might be good at cleaning but bad at saving paint.

Let’s know some methods and determine whether they can scratch your car.

Tunnel Car Washes with Rotating Brushes

If you are thinking about cleaning your car with a tunnel car washing method, you must know that this method may scratch your car paint. You may not notice it instantly, but the scratches will look more prominent over time.

It carries harsh components like dirt, sand, etc. when you wash your car using this process. The tunnel car washing method has a brush to wash your car, which will carry these components and can easily scratch your car paint.

These places will claim that their brushes do not contain such harsh components. But in reality, no matter how clean they claim their brushes are, the risk is never zero, and the chance of scratches is actually 100%.

Learn: Can I Use Shampoo to Wash My Car?

Soft Cloth Car Washes 

You can clean your car with soft fabric or cloth. However, it is not risk-free either. Soft fabrics can also damage your car paint.

The friction of the cloth can cause clear coat or swirl scratches. Well, these kinds of scratches aren’t very much severe. But if you keep cleaning your car with this, the paint may gradually lose its shine.

Manual Car Wash Brushes

Some brushes can remove stubborn dirt in the manual car wash method. During this washing method, you will surely do it really carefully, Yet, there remains a chance of getting scratches or even micro scratches. As a result, the outlook of your car will get harmed.

These brushes are best suited for tires, but these will only go well with your car’s paint. Still, if you want to clean your car using a brush, clean and dry it well beforehand.

What is the Best Way to Wash a Car?

It is proven that handwashing is the best and safest for a car. You can use different equipment to ensure your car is shining like a brand-new one.

Wash a Car with a Brush

You can choose a brush where the bristles are soft and smooth, not hard and abrasive. If you choose to use an old brush, make sure you are cleaning it properly. Wash and dry it well, so it doesn’t create scratches.

If you’ve used the brush before, wash it out thoroughly to remove dirt hiding in that brush. Then, follow the below steps to clean your car well.

  • Get a good amount of soap or cleansing element and mix it well in a bucket
  • Then, rinse the car’s body well.
  • Soak the cleaning brush in that mixture and pull it back and forth on the car’s body. 
  • Make sure you are using gentle movements, avoiding harsh movements.
Learn More: How Frequently You Should Wash Your Car

Hand Washing

You can also hand wash your car using soft fiber fabrics to save your car’s paint. In this method, you must use the perfect tool suitable for your car’s paint. Thus, you can avoid scratches and keep the paint shiny.

The tools you can use here are:

Microfiber Wash Mitt

It is a sponge-type tool that has a lot of dreadlocks on it. This is the best option as it doesn’t spread over the surface scratching around. But ensure it is the microfibre one. It is very safe for your vehicle’s surface. But if it doesn’t have microfibre, it will surely give your car swirly scratches.

Microfiber Wash Mop

Another good option for washing your car safely is a microfiber washing mop. You can easily cover a big surface using a mop to clean your car. But like any other cleaning tool, you must ensure the head is clean.

It will scratch your car’s paint and make the process tougher if you allow dirt buildup in your mop bristles. Also, avoid hard and uneven pressure and movement while cleaning your car. Otherwise, it can cause micro and swirl scratches on your car’s surface.

Microfiber Towel

You can also use a microfiber towel to wash and dry your car. But there remains a slight risk. You must know how much stress and kind of stroke you need to provide while washing your car. 

You may think, why not a regular bath towel, then? The reason microfiber towels and regular towels are quite different formations. A regular bath towel will surely scratch your car’s paint. Even if you use a microfibre one, you can starch it if you use the wrong motion while cleaning. 

Learn More: Best Car Wash Brush (Expert Picks): Review & Buying Guide

Top Tips to Avoid Damage

Even if you use the best method, there always remains a risk of stretching your car. Avoid that situation by following the below tips.

  • Get those cleaning services that use soft fabric in their cleaning service
  • Make sure the fabrics aren’t harsh and gentle on your paint.
  • Get a touchless car cleaning service, like a Tesla, if your car is expensive. No cleaning equipment will touch your car, which saves your car from any kind of scratches. 
  • Refrain from using the towel-drying method for your car. Because in those cleaning places, one towel is used to clean several cars and needs to be cleaned more often. As a result, it can scratch your car.
  • In a pressure washing method, start with low pressure. Increase the pressure later as required. Because sometimes heavy pressure of water can chip off your car paint. 
  • If the pressure isn’t adjustable, stand far from the car and come closer gradually to vary the pressure. 
Learn More: Best Way to Wash a Car by Hand (3 Step How to Guide)

To Wrap Up

We know how much you love your car. The performance amazes you every time, and so does the outlook. So you want to keep it as clean as possible. But sadly, over-cleaning and wrong cleaning harm your car’s appearance. So make sure you avoid the hash tools and methods and follow the suitable ones to clean your car.


Do Car Washes Actually Damage the Paint?

Car washes can damage the paint on your car due to abrasive tools and harsh methods used in the process. Yet, it can be avoided if microfibre equipment and gentle methods can be used. It will clean your car like a brand new one without harming the paint.

Is it Okay to Use the Brush at a Car Wash?

There are better ways for a car cleaning process than using a brush. Because they are more prone to scratches and swirls, you can use soft bristle ones with gentle strokes if you want to use a brush for this cleaning method.

Do Detailing Brushes Scratch Paint?

No, they don’t. In fact, detailing brushes are the best for cleaning your car. It will help you to clean the most unreachable area of your car without causing any scratches or swirls. Besides, it can help you to remove all the dirt and sand on your car’s surface.

Do Manual Car Washes Scratch Paint?

Well, this will depend on the tools used for car washing. Using old and abrasive equipment will surely leave scratches, but it won’t happen if you ensure microfibre brushes with gentle movements.

How Can I Keep My Car Shining Like New?

  1. Never let the dirt sit for a long time
  2. Clean your car with a microfiber washing equipment
  3. Ensure the best cleaning solutions
  4. Get your car waxed every 3 months
  5. Repair scratches instantly at an expert car workshop
  6. Stay away from parking your car directly under the sun.
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