Detailing FAIL

Washing with Windex

car cleaning products | car care products

You know those days that you just hate being inside and do everything in your power to get out? For me, that was last Tuesday. While that has nothing to do with car care, if it weren’t for such beautiful weather, I wouldn’t have spotted this detailing disaster. So I took a left out of my house, crossed the street and ducked down the next East/West I could find as I was heading Downtown. I turn the corner only to be greeted by a little man washing his car with nothing but Windex and gas station paper towels. Not the good paper towels – I’m talking about that rough garbage that you wouldn’t even blow your nose in. The fact remains that even if you are using a microfiber towel, it’s never okay to wash or detail your paint with Windex.

But what about “all purpose” Windex?

Absolutely not. The main ingredients in Windex, according to SC Johnson, are basically caustic chemicals that are geared toward trapping, lifting, and holding on to dirt/grime. The problem here isn’t necessarily in the cleaners (although harsh is never good on a delicate painted surface – yes, your car can be too clean), but rather in the carriers (alcohol and glycol). Alcohol, for one, evaporates fairly quickly -one of the main reasons Windex uses it for cleaning glass. Glycol, a sugary substance used in odor eliminators, anti-freeze and much more, is generally known for its ability to ensure even distribution of all the ingredients. If there’s glycol, typically there’s a lot of elements that are being used – more is not always better when it comes to cleaning. Bottom line, check the ingredients on your products and do NOT use windex to clean any other surface on your car other than windows. Even for your glass surfaces, Windex is a bit overkill and can attract dust and oil.

When it comes to paint, leather, vinyl, upholstery, and basically any surface on your car other than glass, trust the car care experts and not the glass experts. (The good) Car cleaning products are (or should be) formulated for the preservation of vehicle surfaces, not just to strip off everything it can. In many cases, the chemical balance of cleaning products is either acidic or basic depending on its formulation – in any instance, you might want to consider grabbing a pH neutralizer – this will combat any residual/caustic chemicals left on the surface after cleaning. Read more about neutralizing and the benefits of doing so.

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