Your car is filthy.  You know it, the lady driving beside you knows it, and you know that your kids know it, because they’ve already started drawing pictures on the back windscreen. You’re on your way to drop the kids off at school, and you don’t know if you can face it again – that line of parents, watching you while you do the morning drop off, wondering how in the world your car got that dirty. You’ve got the time. Somehow, the kids were organised this morning, and you’ve got an extra ten minutes up your sleeve. You decide to do it. You change lanes like you’re Dominic Torretto and red line it all the way there.

You’re first in line; everything’s going your way. The water starts and as your car is vigorously scrubbed, and soap is automatically lathered up on your car. For those few minutes, it’s like you yourself are going for a lightening quick trip to the spa.

Your car emerges. Those obvious clunks of dirt are gone. Your children’s artwork has been washed away. You feel clean – new, even. You drive away satisfied, and when you drop off your children, you’re surprised to still see those parents watching you. Are they that surprised your car is clean? You get out, helping your children with your bags and that, my friend, is when you see it. Enormous, unsightly swirl marks all over the hood of your car.

The dirt is gone, but there’s something new and nasty in its place.

Why? Didn’t you do the right thing as a car owner? You took your car to an automatic car wash and had it cleaned. What’s so wrong with that?

Well… a lot.

They’re Full of Dirt

The bristles and brushes of automatic car washes are absolutely full of dirt, so it’s kind of like washing your dishes in a mop bucket once you’ve finished mopping your deck after a dust storm. These bits of dirt can actually damage your paint, causing scratches and swirl marks. These brushes constantly slap against your car, dragging dirt and small stones across your paint. And it’s not just the dirt from your own car – it’s the dirt from the one that came in before you, and so on.

These swirl marks and scratches are unsightly, and can reduce the resale value of your car if you ever want to sell it. To get them removed, you’ll need to take it to a professional detailer and get them buffed out, but if the damage is too extensive, you may even need to get your car repainted, which can cost well over $800.

Air Drying Just Doesn’t Cut It

Those enormous blowers that attempt to dry your car in an automatic car wash, simply aren’t good enough. All they’re really doing is pushing the water around across your paint. Letting your car air dry is also unhealthy for your car’s paint job. These kinds of drying methods after a wash can create ugly water spots on your paint, by leaving behind mineral deposits. These water spots can be very difficult to remove, just like build up in your shower can seem impossible to remove.

You might be wondering about rain, at this point. Typically, it’s overcast when it’s raining, and sunny when you’re having your car washed. On a sunny day, your paint gets hot, and water evaporates quickly, giving you a high risk of those hideous water spots.

Having someone hand dry your car at a more premium car wash, isn’t always the best idea, either. More than likely, those cloths have been used on countless cars, and dropped on the ground more times than you can count.

Brushless Car Washes Don’t Help

You might think it’s a better idea to take your car to a brushless car wash, in the hopes that you’ll avoid that scraping over your paint that comes with the intense scrubbing. However, that high pressure water can be like spraying your car with a wet sandblaster. There’s also the possibility that particles from other cars can be shot onto your car, and this can create those spider web scratches no one wants to see on their car.

Chemicals, Chemicals.

If you are going to take your car to an automatic car wash, make sure that you find out what cleaners they use on the cars. A lot of cleaners used in car washes can be hazardous to the car, by eating away at the paint and even etch the glass of your windows.

Damaged Goods

Automatic car washes can also damage or even break different parts on your car. Antennas, windshield wipers and side mirrors are all susceptible to being damaged by the rough process of automatic car washes.

So, what’s a car to do?

There are several alternatives to running your car through a car wash. We’ve broken them down below.

Wash the car at home

This is the cheapest option, of course, but it isn’t necessarily the best option. Washing your car is a much more complicated process than one might realise. There are a lot of different steps to take to ensure that you don’t end up inflicting the same damage on your car that an automatic car wash could.

Use a clean microfibre mitt

It’s important to ensure that the mitts you use are clean. If they become filled with debris, stones, or dirt, wash it out completely or get a new one.

Use clean water

If you’re washing your car with a bucket and sponge like most people do at home, make sure you refresh the water often. If the water gets dirty, you could be dragging particles and small stones across your paint with every scrub.

Dry, Dry, Dry

Make sure that you dry your car completely after washing it. If you don’t dry your car after washing it, you can leave behind water spots, that can be difficult to remove later.

Take Your Car to a Professional Detailer

This is the easiest way to ensure that your car is getting the love and attention that it needs. Professional car detailers, like the team here at Clean Getaway, are purposefully trained to ensure that your car is getting washed and dried in the right way, to make sure the paint doesn’t become a canvas for some unpleasant marks, swirls, and scratches.

Car Detailers Know How To Wash

Here at Clean Getaway, we only use cleaners that we know aren’t going to damage your paint. We use Bowden’s Own, and that sets us apart from other car detailers. We only use premium products, that are PH neutral and biodegradable. Safe for the environment and for your car!

We Get to Places Most People Don’t Even Think Of

We don’t just give your car a quick going over. We treat your car like the premium product it is. We can flush door jambs, rejuvenate your tyres, shine your wheels and get into all the cracks and crevices.

Have your car ceramic coated

Having your car covered by a ceramic coating can be an excellent way to keep your paint protected and your car cleaner for longer. Ceramic coating provides a protective shield over your paint to make sure that dirt, stones, debris and even the sun, don’t cause the same damage to your car.

Here at Clean Getaway, we use Gtechniq C1 Crystal Lacquer Ceramic Paint Protection. It forms a sub-micron crystalline film which is extremely hard, giving you an excellent paint protection. This coating can be up to 10 times more durable than the paint protection that comes from your dealership. It also offers you fantastic UV protection and scratch resistance, while also repelling water and retaining that glossy shine you love.

Safe for your car

The Gtechniq C1 Crystal Lacquer Ceramic Paint Protection is safe for use on all vehicles, from your son’s first car to your beloved ’66 Mustang.

We’ve Got You Covered

The Gtechniq C1 Crystal Lacquer Ceramic Paint Protection comes with a three-year warranty so you can rest easy knowing your car is covered.

Stay Cleaner

A ceramic coating can make it much harder for dirt and particles to stick to your car in the first place, reducing the number of times you need to wash it. Less washes is less risk of damage.


If you want to know more about how you can keep your car clean, protect it from damage, or simply want to book in for a professional detail, get in touch with Clean Getaway today. Our experienced staff are passionate about protecting your car. From exterior details, to full-service interior and exterior, we’ve got what you need. While it might be tempted to zoom through that automatic car wash, it’s a wise idea to resist the urge, and reduce your risk of damage. Protect your car from avoidable damage, and choose a professional car detail for your car.