As the daffodils emerge and we sing sayonara to another long winter, the season for Sunday afternoon car cleaning is upon us.
The cold weather may have kept your classic in the garage - or, at least, the winter dirt was too much to bother cleaning off - but now the trees are blossoming, the time for automotive hibernation is over, and what better way to welcome in the spring than with a deep scrub?
Sitting on a driveway, your car was probably collecting dirt and grime all winter - even locked away in a garage, it wasn’t safe from dust - so the exterior is a good place to start. Along with a quality car shampoo, you’ll want to invest in a decent wash pad to get the job done.
Cloths and sponges may displace water effectively, but they won’t grip dirt in the same way a wash pad will. Multifibre pads will also reduce the risk of scratching compared to a sponge or cloth, so with paint protection and maintenance in mind, these are the tools for the job.
What to look out for
Microfibres - Unlike sponges, the soft quality of microfibres is perfect for car washing by virtue of their light touch on the vehicle paint, meaning dirt can be lifted without any scratching or swirling at all. A microfibre can lift dirt and retain within the strands away from the surface, rather than dragging the dirt along with each glide. Manufacturers will often quote the GSM - Grams per Square Meter. This is a measurement of the density of the towel, indicating how much liquid can be absorbed and then redistributed.
Size- Some pads are bigger than others, meaning more liquid can be retained, but a larger size can be quite unwieldy, restricting cleaning potential in some of the more intricate areas. For a wider reaching pad, opt for a noodle version, as the long thick strands increase surface area. Alternatively, a wash pad mitt will allow hand insertion for improved convenience and portability, but just mind how much pressure is applied to the paint when operating as it may differ without realising.
Here are CAR’s picks of the best wash pads.
Fanegle Microfibre Wash Pad
These wash pads from Fanegle are designed with lint-free microfibres for scratch-free exterior cleaning. Built into the pad itself is an interior sponge to retain and displace liquid with a simple squeeze, meaning this wash pad can be applied to different areas of the vehicle exterior without much liquid leaking out in transit.
Ergonomically sized up, this pad can easily fit into a single adult hand, meaning even the toughest spots can be reached with ease. If dried, the microfibres can be used to dust the inside of the car, or even be applied as a defogger. To reuse, stick this wash-pad in the washing machine, then air dry and you’re good to go.
Adam's Polishes Wool Wash Pad
This wash pad by Adam’s Polishes is manufactured with plush synthetic wool, as opposed to microfibres. The wool blend is able to retain and deliver 20% more liquid than regular washing mitts, and without scratching or swirling the paint job of the car.
This product is quite large in comparison to the Fanegle wash pad, meaning it will be more cumbersome and perhaps less effective for intricate cleaning, but for getting mass dirt off this is a great tool to use.
Kent Car Care Noodle Wash Pad
If you’re washing on a budget, this microfibre ‘noodle’ wash mitt from Kent Car Care is the perfect tool to get going. At just under £6, this is a very affordable option, while the microfibre strands still lift dirt and dust without scratching or damaging the surface below.
The long ‘noodles’ also ensure this wash pad mitt can reach every crack and crevice for a comprehensive scrub down.
TopTeck Wash Pad
This car washing mitt from TopTeck is manufactured with ultra-fine, PE and Rayon external microfibres for the ultimate soft wash, providing the paintwork of your prized car with the elite protection it needs during washing. With an elasticated waistband, this is mitt slips snuggly onto the hand, without movement or risk of sliding off.
After use, wash this mitt in warm water to recharge and remove dirt; once hung on the line to air dry, the TopTeck is ready to go again. If you really want to care for your car this summer, invest in this high-quality mitt.
26JPN Microfibre Wash Pad
These microfibre wash pads from 26JPN feature 1100gsm Korean microfibres for the softest and most efficient glide when scrubbing down your car. The pad is relatively large and doesn’t provide the capability to insert a hand to make a mitt, but the large foam core does allow substantial water and shampoo to be retained and then distributed, saving on trips to the bucket.
The large size also allows the exterior microfibres to cover a greater area on each glide, saving overall washing time; once finished, simply pop in the washing machine to recharge. At just £12, this wash pad is a high-quality product for a great price.