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The Best Way to Remove Wildfire Ash From Your Car’s Exterior

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Touch-Free Car Wash
Touch-less car washes are the safest and easiest way to remove ash from your car
Photo: Paul Brennan via Pixabay

Wildfires aren’t just dangerous for the environment and those who live in the vicinity; the ash from these blazes can also harm your car’s exterior. Here are some tips for shielding your vehicle from wildfire soot and how to clean it off when it does get on your car.

Time for TLC: Schedule your car’s service appointment here

Ways to protect your car

The easiest way to keep your car clean from ash is to keep it in a garage. If you don’t have a garage, invest in a car cover. This product will serve as a protective barrier to ward off any soot and other debris from nearby wildfires.

Yet another simple way to preserve your vehicle’s paint coat is to regularly wax it. You can do this yourself or select waxing as an add-on the next time you drive your car through a touchless car wash.

What is the best way to clean ash off your car?

Wash it at home

As soon as you notice ash on your vehicle, rinse the exterior thoroughly with a hose to remove the soot. This is the most important step to removing ash from your vehicle’s surface, according to NBC 7 San Diego.

That’s because ash contains chemicals like calcium and potassium. When it’s dry, the ash won’t harm your car’s surface. However, when it gets wet from dew or rain, the ash turns into a caustic substance that can damage your car’s paint coat.

After rinsing it, use warm water, car soap, and a soft sponge to cleanse the outside of the vehicle. Make sure to start with the roof and work your way down the sides to the wheels. This will help prevent re-coating washed surfaces with any loose soot or debris.

As you’re washing each part of your vehicle, rinse each area with hose water as you clean it to remove accumulated ash as fast as possible. Dry the car with a microfiber towel and apply a protective coating of wax to shield it from future soot buildup.

Take it to an automatic car wash

Automatic car washes are an even better way to go to remove ash from your car. When wildfires are raging in your area, it might be unsafe to spend time outside washing your car, exposing your lungs to smoke and ash particles in the air.

Stay safe and save yourself some hassle by taking your vehicle to a touchless car wash. Another perk of automatic car washes is that they tend to be less abrasive than the handwash method. (It’s a good idea to review these helpful tips before you head to the automatic car wash, though.)

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