- Car Care Tips
Car Care Tips
Table of Contents
Clean and polish glass
Remove brake dust
Remove tree sap
Clean children's car seats
How often to wax a car?
How To Guides:
How to Wash and Wax without Water
How to Clean Car Interiors
How to Clean Auto Glass
How to Make Your Tires Shine
Myths of Waterless Car Washing
Carnauba vs. Polymer Wax
Cleaning microfiber cloths
How to clean and polish glass
Keeping your car's window and glass clean and polished can be a tough job. Your windshield is constantly bombarded from the elements. Rain, snow, sleet, bird droppings and sap degrade the quality of your exterior glass surfaces.
Cleaning glass surfaces
The first step to achieving a smooth and polished surface is to selecting the proper glass cleaning supplies. We highly suggest you avoid using any chemical cleaners that contain ammonia or isopropyl alcohol. These ingredients are hazardous to your own health and can damage other parts of the car such as window tint, vinyl, leather and rubber.
Next choose the proper microfiber cleaning products. There are many different blends of microfiber towels. Choose one that has been woven specifically for window and glass cleaning.
Achieving an optimal polish
Start by spraying the glass directly with the window cleaning formula. Quickly buff off the formula with the towel to reveal an amazing shine. Some of our detailers will also use our Waterless Car Wash as an alternative window cleaner since it contains polymers which help repel rain, dust and grime.
How to remove brake dust without acid or harsh chemicals
Brake dust is the result of your brake pads wearing down during normal driving. Small flakes of material will begin to slough off onto your wheels and the surrounding brake system. Once it's on your wheels, it can be quite a project to remove. Not only that, but brake dust is extremely hazardous to aquatic life, so it is important to take care when cleaning.
Steps for how to remove brake dust:
1. Move your car into a shaded location out of the direct sun.
2. Spread some microfiber towels underneath the car's wheels and tires where you will be cleaning. This is to catch any run-off.
3. Select an all purpose degreaser that does not contain acids or other petrochemical solvents.
4. Spray wheels and allow the degreaser to penetrate for about 2 minutes.
5. Gently scrub wheels with a microfiber cloth on soft brush.
6. Dry wheels with a microfiber towel.
Easily remove tree sap from your car
Tree sap can be one tough contaminant to remove from your car's finish. If not done properly you can leave your finish damaged and paint scratched. There are a couple ways you can treat tree sap.
If the sap has recently fallen and not hardened, you can apply Eco Touch All Purpose Cleaner and gently dab off. Remember not to apply too much pressure. If you aggressively rub you will end up marring the vehicle paint.
If there is hardened sap you'll need to move onto a stronger solvent. Although not 'green' we've found that minerals spirits is your best bet for dissolving the spots. Again, gently dap the spot with mineral spirits and wipe off with a microfiber towel.
Now that the sap has been removed you'll need to apply a paint polish and re-coat the surface with a wax.
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The safer way to clean your child's car seats
Your child's car seat can be one messy place. Crumbs, spills and stains can quickly accumulate if not cleaned regularly. So how do you go about tackling this section of your vehicle without releasing toxic fumes everywhere? We've created a step-by-step guide for a safer way to cleaning those car seats.
1) Start by removing the seat from the vehicle. You'll probably discover that underneath the seat can be just as filthy as the seat itself. Take the vacuum and do a through job to sweep up all the contaminants.
2) Gently shake the car seat to dislodge any crumbs from the folds of the seat.
3) You may now notice an assortment of spills and stains on the seat. Now is a good time to select auto upholstery supplies. Eco Touch offers an upholstery spray cleaner which is non-toxic, biodegradable and safe to use around children. Simply spray and blot with a towel.
4) For the plastic sides of the seat you'll need to find a quality all purpose cleaner. This will remove any sticky residues that your child may have left behind.
5) Lastly you'll need to select the proper glass cleaning supplies for polishing around the window areas. Make sure that the window cleaner you choose does not contain any ammonia or isopropyl alcohols as these can be hazardous to your child.
Now simply put the seat back in and you're ready to go! We suggest cleaning the car seats at least once a month if not more.
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Tips for how often you should wax a car
The amount of time between waxing a car depends on several different factors.
1) Where you live (warm or cold)
2) Type of car paint
3) Quality of wax product applied
4) Number of hours exposed to sunlight daily
All these variables can greatly influence how long a wax will retain on the vehicle surface. Products such as Eco Touch Quick Wax can safely be applied once a month without causing buildup on the clearcoat surface. Many detailers will use Quick Wax as a final detail car wax for their client's vehicles.
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How to wash and wax a car
Waterless wash steps:
Waxing steps: Tips:
Maintaining your car's exterior with washing and waxing will not only keep it looking great, but also help prolong the life of your vehicle. We've put together a comprehensive set of steps to help clean and polish your vehicle in the best manner.
1) Find a shaded location, out of direct sunlight.
2) Spray waterless car wash product onto vehicle, one panel at a time.
3) Take a clean microfiber towel and wipe gently to remove surface contaminants.
4) Quickly use a second dry microfiber towel and buff area to a shine.
5) Repeat, working your way from the top of the car down.
1) Make sure surface you are about to wax is clean and free of contaminants.
2) Spray wax onto vehicle surface and spread with microfiber towel.
3) Quickly turn to a dry section of the towel and buff to a shine.
4) Repeat until your car is sparkling clean!
• Make sure you select quality waxes and polishes
• Windows are one of the toughest spots to clean. Select glass cleaning supplies that will not streak.
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Waterless wash steps:
How to clean car interiors
Let's face it, your car's interior can be one of the most neglected places in your vehicle. As time goes by you may start to accumulate all sorts of debris including wrappers, dust, grime and other contaminants.
Learning how to clean your interior can be broken down into two tasks: cleaning and conditioning.
This includes vacuuming and sweeping up heavy debris. You may need specialty tools to get into hard to reach places, such as crevices. Most vacuums have special accessories with brush heads for car vents. Next, shake out car mats and remove from the vehicle.
Select an all purpose cleaner to remove grime from consoles and car interior doors. When you choose an all purpose spray cleaner, check to make sure that there are no synthetic fragrances or harsh chemicals inside. Ask the manufacturer for an msds sheet to see what they are putting inside. If they don't list all ingredients, ask them why.
Finally, you'll need glass cleaning supplies to remove smudges and fingerprints from the windows.
Having a good supply of microfiber cleaning cloths is essential for how to clean your car's interior. These types of towels are extremely absorbent and can be re-used multiple times.
After all the surfaces have been cleaned thoroughly, you'll need to go back to 'condition' them. This will help restore vinyl and trim pieces to their original luster.
Eco Touch's offers an excellent vinyl cleaner and conditioner. It has a light lavender fragrance that will leave your car smelling fresh and new. The natural oils in the formula will penetrate and help bring about a natural shine to these surfaces.
When you're done, you will have a sparkling clean interior that will look like new and that you'll be proud of.
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Auto Glass Cleaning - Tips for Sparkling Clean Windows and Mirrors
The windows of your car take a beating from dirt, bugs, bird droppings and other debris. But with a few simple techniques and a little know-how, you can make even the dirtiest windows sparkle. Here's a list of helpful glass cleaning tips to get your windows brilliantly clean - without leaving behind streaks, scratches, residue or lint.
1. The first step is to choose an auto glass cleaner. Make sure your glass cleaner does NOT contain ammonia, alcohol or any ingredient that could produce toxic fumes. Beyond the obvious health concerns of inhaling these fumes, consider the impact your automotive cleaning products have on the environment. Eco Touch makes a product called Window Clear that is non-toxic, biodegradable and 100% recyclable.
2. Any product containing ammonia is a definite no-no when it comes to auto detailing. Ammonia and ammonia fumes cause plastic, rubber, vinyl and leather to dry out, and will damage any tint your windows may have. Do your homework and you won't end up destroying your vehicle's interior while you're trying to clean it!
3. The type of towel you choose to clean your windows with can make all the difference. Choose a high-quality, glass cleaning microfiber towel of at least 300 GSM. Microfiber towels can hold up to eight times their weight in water, are lint-free and will not cause scratches. An electrostatic charge causes dirt and debris to be lifted up and away from the surface, rather than dragged across it. Old t-shirts, towels, socks and newspaper are not the best choice when cleaning your car's glass, and will likely cause scratches, streaks and missed spots.
4. If you are cleaning the entire interior of your car, save your windows and rear-view mirror for last to avoid getting stray spray from other cleaning products on your freshly cleaned glass. You can also avoid stray spray by spraying your window cleaner (and other applicable interior auto detailing products) onto the microfiber towel - not directly on the surface.
5. Another factor to keep in mind is the buffing motion you use with your microfiber towel. While a circular motion may appear to be actively buffing away any streaks from your windows, a straight back-and-forth and then up-and-down motion will ensure that the entire surface has been cleaned and wiped down, and with Eco Touch Window Clear, there will not be any streaks left behind.
6. Remember when cleaning your windows or mirrors to use one towel (or one side of a towel) to wipe the surface clean, and a second to buff the surface to a residue-free shine. Not only do you need two clean towel surfaces per swipe, but per window. The last thing you want to do is spread the dirt and dead bugs that you wiped off of your windshield onto the next window you clean. Make sure you have enough clean towels to avoid contaminating one window with the last one's mess.
7. Avoid cleaning your vehicle's windows in direct sunlight or very hot conditions, if possible. This is especially important if you are using a window cleaner containing harsh chemicals. When the liquid evaporates, the fumes left behind could easily be inhaled, posing a serious health risk. Even with non-toxic cleaners like Eco Touch Window Clear, evaporation can also mean a spotty residue before your towel even hits the glass.
8. The easiest place to overlook when cleaning your vehicle's windows is the small edging area at the top of the window. Often, this area is especially dirty from build up in the rubber lip. Be sure you roll each window down several inches to clean this area on both the interior and exterior of the glass.
9. Ever get a build up on the edges of your windshield wipers that causes blurry areas on your windshield? Wipe down your blades with a damp cloth and a bit of white vinegar. The vinegar will remove the debris that's stuck on the blades and allow them to make full contact with the windshield again. If after a wipe down, your windshield wipers haven't improved any, you may be due for a new pair. And don't forget to clean out your wiper cowl once in a while! The wiper cowl is the area at the base of the windshield where your wipers lay when not in use. Keeping this area free of grime will greatly reduce the amount of debris on your wipers.
10. Got a tough spot on your windshield? Here's a list of problems and solutions:
Bugs, fingerprints, bird droppings - Eco Touch Window Clear will easily remove most problem spots.
Stuck-on bug - Find an all purpose cleaner like Eco Touch's All Purpose cleaner and degreaser. Saturate the spot and then wipe away with a microfiber towel. Follow with Window Clear for a brilliant shine.
Greasy spot - Eco Touch All Purpose, followed by Window Clear.
Tree sap - Use mineral spirits if the sap has dried, if it has not, use Eco Touch All Purpose. Spray directly on the spot, then very gently wipe the sap up and away from the surface with a microfiber towel.
Old sticker -
Allow white vinegar to completely saturate the effected area and then peel the sticker off with a card.
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Waterless Car Wash Myths
Myth #1: A Waterless Car Wash will scratch my car's paint.
Avoiding scratching and marring comes down to technique and common sense.
First, make sure you are using quality microfiber towels. My personal preference is to use towels with a minimum weight of 300 GSM (grams per square meter). Either look on the tag or ask the manufacturer for the weight of the towels.
Next, when wiping the Waterless Car Wash formula from the surface of the vehicle, use light strokes to pick up dirt. There is no need to aggressively rub the formula on the car's surface. I typically take the approach of "wipe and lift" so that the contaminants are not dragging on the surface of the vehicle.
Lastly, use common sense. If you are dealing with a surface that is muddy or sandy, you will obviously need a pre-rinse. Many people will argue that a pre-rinse defeats the purpose of a "waterless" car wash. Not in my opinion. With any method of washing your vehicle, whether it's waterless, rinseless or a hose and bucket...you'll need to somehow removes those heavy contaminants before cleaning the car. Otherwise you will definitely run into problems.
Myth #2: It's not really "waterless" if you have to clean the microfiber towels in water.
To tackle this myth, we need to first clarify what "waterless" means. When people first hear the term they automatically think it means using absolutely no water at all. While this would be nice, it's not realistic. In my personal opinion, it means using significantly LESS water than the other methods available to consumers. What are those methods? See Myth #5.
So yes, you will need to clean the microfiber towels. The towels can easily be washed by letting them soak in a 1-gallon bucket of hot water with a little dish detergent. If you have a bunch of towels, save them all up and do one full load versus cleaning individually. There is also the misconception people have that the towels are disposed of after one use. Not true. The average microfiber towel can be washed and re-used up to 50 times. Considering that the average person cleans their cars once ever two weeks, the towels will last you for about two years before disposal.
If you want to truly be "waterless" then perhaps you should not clean your car at all. But, for most of us who want to keep our vehicles looking nice and maintain their finish, a Waterless Car Wash is a great option.
Myth #3: A quick detailing product and waterless car wash product are the exact same thing.
I can't speak for all brands on this point but will do my best to address this myth. Typically Waterless Car Wash products have greater cleaning power than quick detailers. Waterless car wash products combine surfactants, lubricants and pH builders to help break down surface grime more effectively. Quick detailers on the other hand are primarily used to add an instant shine/gloss to a car's paint and are not specifically engineered for cleaning purposes.
Myth #4: All waterless car wash products are the same.
Not so. There are actually many differences between the various waterless car wash products out there. Here are some questions to ask when viewing the vast array of products:
• Water-based or petroleum-distillate based formula?
• Full ingredient disclosure on packaging and all CAS numbers on MSDS sheets?
• Does formula contain protective agents (e.g. silicone emulsion, carnauba wax, teflon, PEG, etc)
• Is there isopropyl alcohol used in the formula?
• Are bottles and sprayers 100% recyclable?
• Can the formula be used on both paint & windows?
• Is the product a private-label brand?
• Is the product made in the USA?
• Are there fragrances or dyes? Are they synthetic or natural?
• Aerosol or pump sprayer?
Myth #5: Using a waterless car wash product doesn't really help the environment.
The best method of analysis is to compare Waterless Car Washing to the other options available on the market today for consumers.
Environmental impact by method:
Hose and bucket wash
Production and transportation of chemicals -> distributor -> retail store -> consumer
80 - 140 gallons of water per wash (data from the International Car Wash Association)
Discharge of soapy suds, brake dust and car oils into environment
Water sanitation costs and energy
Disposal of packaging
Commercial car wash
Production and transportation of chemicals -> distributor -> car wash facility
Disposal of packaging (drums)
45 gallons of water per wash
Energy required to run equipment and reclaim water
Fixed sites impact on the land
Waterless car wash
Production and transportation of chemicals -> distributor -> retail store -> consumer
4 - 6 oz of waterless car wash formula used per car
Disposal of packaging
Comparisons of the three most common methods available to consumers today clearly illustrate that Waterless Car Washing has the least environmental impact. The savings in water, energy and chemicals are only compounded as you think of the millions of cars being washed every day.
In the future, it would be great to do a full product life cycle analysis on the Waterless Car Wash method and find what our true net impact is.
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Carnauba vs. polymer wax
Automotive waxes are a great way to preserve your paint's finish and enhance the its overall beauty. But, there exist distinct differences between the types of automotive waxes on the market today. Carnauba wax has long been a popular method of maintaining your vehicle's finish. Polymers waxes on the other hand are relatively new, and need to be taking into consideration when choosing the right product.
Carnauba wax derives from the Copernicia prunifera plant. This plant is found in the northeastern section of the Brazilian states of Piauí, Ceará, and Rio Grande do Norte. Pure carnauba wax is extremely hard and therefore needs additional ingredients such as oils or solvents to arrive into a liquid form.
Carnauba wax provides a deep rich look on the car's paint which is hard to imitate with synthetic waxes. Plus, it is extremely durable and can last on your car for several months depending on the blend.
From an environmental perspective, Carnauba Wax would be the most appropriate choice since it is a renewable resource. Although, one must also consider where it is being sourced from and how quickly it is being replenished from its natural environment.
Cost is the final consideration when selection a carnauba vs. polymer wax. Carnauba waxes are on average more expensive because of how the ingredients are sourced.
Eco Touch Quick Wax uses a unique blend of Carnauba and Polymers to create an amazing finish on your car's paint.
Polymer waxes are typically manmade ingredients which simulate the same properties as a natural wax. They do not offer the same luster as a carnauba wax. However, car enthusiasts find that they are easier to work with in terms of application and buffing.
Polymer waxes are not as desirable from an environmental standpoint due to the fact that they derive from petroleum-based resources. However, advances in chemistry have opened up the doors to new "bio-based" polymers such as soy and starch.
To recap:Carnauba wax benefits
• deep luster and shine on paint
• proven technology
Carnauba wax drawbacks
• can be harder to work with on the paint
• higher price points vs. synthetics Polymer wax benefits
• easier to buff in/out
• lower product cost Polymer wax drawbacks
• gloss/shine not as deep as carnauba
• synthetic in origin (majority of the time) Eco Touch Quick Wax was formulated to take the amazing gloss from traditional Carnauba Wax, but also the ease of use of a Polymer Wax. The final result is a product which produces a rich shine that is easy to apply and buff off! In fact, many of our detailers use Quick Wax as a final detail car wax for cleaning their customer's cars.
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