The Best Way to Clean & Polish a Black Car

by Dawna Theo
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Cleaning, polishing and maintaining a black car can be a challenge. Black cars show dirt, smudges and swirls more readily than lighter color cars. Washing the car often may be necessary to remove the dirt, but should be avoided as this ruins the paint and leaves watermarks. There are a few tricks to cleaning and polishing your black car to make it more manageable.

Protective Top Coat

Most new black car paintwork is sealed with a protective clear coat. This clear coat may protect the black paint from scratches, chips and rust. Each time you wash your car, you rub a little of this protective coat off and possibly leave little scratches. Even though a black car shows dirt more easily, you should wash it as little as possible.


When washing the paint on your black car, use non-abrasive soaps specifically formulated for cars. Use a hand mitt specifically made for cars. A sponge may trap the dirt in the holes and then scratch the black paint. Wash your car in the shade if possible. Wet your car down gently with a hose. Walk around the car with the soapy mitt in one hand gently washing off the dirt while you have the water hose in the other hand rinsing the soap off immediately. If there is a dried bug on the paint, wet it down and leave it to soak a minute or two, then go back to wipe it off. Rinse the entire car one more time thoroughly after you have finished soaping it.


Drive your car into the garage or to a shady location as quickly as possible if you are not already in the shade. Dry your car with a good quality non-smearing chamois. Being in the shade will allow you more time to chamois the entire car, thus avoiding water marks on your black paint.


Build up a good foundation of wax on your black paintwork so that dirt, bugs, bird droppings and dirty water do not cling to it. You may not have to wash your car as often with a good foundation of wax. Polish the black paint with a hard wax that says it will last a year. Make sure to use a non-abrasive wax. Do a heavy layer of wax, one section at a time, and buff it out. A day or two later dust off any loose dirt and dust and polish the car again with the same wax and buff it out. This should give you a good base of wax that should last months.


Keep the dust off your car so you don’t have to wash it every week. Every day when you get home from work use a car duster to remove the loose dirt and dust. With the heavy coat of polish, the dust and dirt should easily come off with no pressure at all. Keep your car in a garage if possible and avoid parking under foliage or trees. Never park your car near sprinklers.

Spot Cleaning

You can spot clean bird droppings and dead bugs off your car--no need to wash the entire car. Bird droppings and dead bugs are extremely bad for your black paint due to the chemicals and acids they contain. Use a small spray bottle and spray down the dropping or dead bug. Let it soak and soften up. Use a small soapy cloth and wipe it off. Spray the area again to rinse off soap and dry it with your chamois.

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