top of page

When it has to be clean, but it’s 110 in the shade…. (Auto Detailing Tips From A Professional)

While generally not desired, it’s not impossible to wash a car in hot weather without damage.

It’s all in the thought process and preparation. Which could start as early as first thing in the morning, probably one of the best times one could choose during hot summers to get in a wash but if you aren’t an early bird, the other option might be sharing a beautiful sunset with your ride while you wash.

But if in mid day scenarios ideally move the car to shade or prove some form of cover prior to starting the wash process but this may not always be available. As a contingency it would be a good idea to bring along a tube of sunscreen in your detailing kit that should also be packed with some pH neutral products that are safe for wax. Especially if you're prepping for a show and you just had it paint corrected!

  • Shine Guardian Dripping Suds Shampoo

  • Maguires or similar detailing spray that you may find available at common stores. ( These products add lubrication to your wash)

Where the washing in sunlight myth originates from is a reasonable premise of water evaporation, by the time it’s vaporized itself what’s left behind is residues from the soap along with grime, chemicals or other debris that was already on the car. Not only is it an unsightly mess, there could be chemical experiments happening on the surface too small for the human eye to see.

(If not washed properly, a combination of soap, minerals and other contaminants may be left behind that will create lasting staining effects, most commonly in the form of water spots.)

A compound commonly found in household water supplies is Calcium Hydroxide, you may have already noted this stuff stuck or embedded in many surfaces that your mother told you to grab some white vinegar to remove if it was too stubborn for a simple scrub pad. And while vinegar’s low pH can act to neutralize the high acid in the calcium residue, it offers little in the way of protection to the substrate underneath. This is where detailing technology comes in to save your paint.

Products, such as Shine Guardian’s Dripping Suds Shampoo, are created with paint protection in mind and have been formulated with a unique blend of biodegradable surfactants that add lubrication to the wash process. These slippery little compounds get the grime, minerals and other potentially harmful chemicals suspended in the suds giving you more time to complete the wash while also working to break down the build up creating the unsightly spot.

When steam is rolling off your car like a jacuzzi you only have short spans to wipe or rinse away the melting sludge, time for a plan! Pick a panel and move through washing one at a time instead of rinsing down the entire car so you can race to see who is faster, you or the evaporating water with a two bucket method. Hoses or a pressure washer will give you that extra edge but all hope isn’t lost if all you have is some rinseless wash. Good products do the hard work for you as the science of bubbles and oxygen do their magic. Just be sure to spray copious amounts of your chosen wash or detail spray to help loosen and lift the dirt from the surface.


Grab that microfiber towel and make a quarter fold, this gives you 8 sides of each towel that can be rotated through as you progress through panels to avoid rubbing excess dirt into the finish. Note that some towels have a stiff seam stitch, this can be the culprit behind micro scratches and swirls during a wash so just carefully mind your handy work with a towel. To prevent swirls avoid using a circular motion but rather move from side to side or in an up and down direction to lightly agitate any surface grime.

Tip: A scooping hand action can really help lift the excess that’s floated to the surface of the soap when you don’t have a water source.

Wipe down and rinse each portion you’re working on before moving onto the next, it can be helpful to use the body lines of the car starting on the front driver fender, onto the door, then rear door and so on until the car is done. Most panels will have already evaporated any excessive liquid that remained, be sure to check around the vehicle for spots where any soap might have been trapped in channels around body edges that could dry into damaging residue.

It's not an enthusiast faux pas to wash in the heat, just a few mindful tricks will reduce scratching and staining.

But if it’s just too hot and you would rather not, Kyle Pascua at TREADLYFE Detailing can help out so you’re free to hit the pools or bay area’s best entertainment spots. Booking appointments from San Jose to San Francisco and beyond! Well, at least as far as the Pleasanton Livermore area to provide mobile detailing services by appointment: Interior and exterior cleaning, paint correction and paint protection options available too.

150 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page