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How To Keep a White Car Looking Clean 9 Tips

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Car detailing professional washing and cleaning a white car

When it comes to your white car, it is extremely important that you keep it clean. There are specific steps you need to take to accomplish that goal. 

Once you have finished the cleaning process, you can reap all the rewards a beautiful white shiny car has to offer. Follow these nine tips if you want to know how to keep a white car looking clean!

How Do You Keep a White Car Clean?

Cleaning your white car is easier than you think. Dark-colored cars are more challenging to clean, but with a bit of work, your can keep your white car looking pristine and new for a long time. With the following tips, you make your car look like it was washed by a professional:

1. Break Out the Cleaning Supplies

Some cleaning supplies are necessary to wash your white car. You want to make sure that you have everything you need to be able to get the job done. Some of the cleaning supplies you will need:

  • Car soap
  • Wash mitt or microfiber cloth
  • Two buckets
  • Drying cloth

You want to use two separate buckets when cleaning your car because a separate rinse bucket will eliminate the dirt the wash mitt procures. If you use only one bucket, you will transfer the dirt into the soapy water, then take your wash mitt and use a dirty cloth to clean your car. 

Keep in mind that if your car is old and the coat is in poor condition, you may need an army of supplies, such as polishes, clays, and waxes, to protect the paint. Newer cars do not require much cleaning, as the coat is usually in top-notch condition.

Car Wash Equipment

2. Wash the Wheels First  

You should wash the wheels before washing the body of the car. Cleaning the tire first is ideal because the dark brake dust froth that comes with washing the tires can easily be seen on the surface. The overspray that occurs over the paintwork can be easily removed, as you do not want to make the paint dirty again.

Make sure that you use the appropriate cleaning product for your car that was formulated for your specific brand of tire and type of wheel. Some of the products or tools you may consider using when washing your tires:

  • Hose or pressure washer
  • Tire brush
  • Detailing brush
  • Long wheel brush
  • Wheel brush
  • Long handle brush
  • Applicator pad

You will need these various wheel brushes to ensure the depth and clarity of the wheel. You should first wash the wheels thoroughly and get all that dirt off the tire. If you fail to do this, the soil will remain stuck on the wheels, and they could get scratched. Use the pressure washer to clean the wheels. If you only have access to a hose, squeeze it at the end to get better pressure.

When you have finished this, spray the wheel cleaner on the wheels, which will help to remove dirt, grime, and brake dust. Wash the wheel with brushes and car soap. Use a broad tire brush to clean. A long wheel brush will help you with those hard-to-reach spots on your wheel.

A detailing brush is a special brush used for lug nuts, brakes, and calipers. Make sure you clean the wheel from top to bottom. Clean the wheel wells because they can easily attract dirt and grime. All of this may look as if it is a lot of work, but it is necessary to clean your wheels thoroughly. 

Car service detailing professional washing the tires on a white Ford Mustang

3. Wash and Scrub the Body of Your Car

Scrub your vehicle from the top down. Do not press too hard on the mitt because you want to prevent grinding in dirt and scratching the paint. Make sure that your car stays wet during this process. You will be scrubbing a lot of unwanted debris off your vehicle:

  • Dirt
  • Tar
  • Bird poop
  • Tree sap

At times soap and water are not enough to get these difficult stains out. Using a clay bar to extract dirt and debris will provide a nice, smooth, contaminant-free finish, preparing your car for waxing. Take care to remove these stains, as they could cause permanent damage to your vehicle. However, be gentle when you use a brush because if you are not careful, you can scratch your car.

A good tip when cleaning a white-colored car is to use a colored washing product. It gives the paint some contrast. You can easily see that your car was washed with blue or pink foam, which gives the car’s surface a better wash. Use a colored mitt to scrub the car. It will provide a more thorough cleaning because your eyes will see the contrast between the colored mitt and the white car.

Washing a white SUV outside with active soap foam visible running down the sides at sunset

4. Use the Wash Mitt to Give it a Sudsy Clean

After scrubbing the entire car, go over it with a wash mitt. Most car soap has agents which help to avoid water spots. It is a great tactic when you want to make sure that all the dirt is gone. While cleaning, ensure you rinse the mitt consistently to get all the dirt off the glove. 

Person using a wash mitt to clean a white car

5. Prepare the Surface

After washing and soaping, you will need to look for certain blemishes on your car:

  • Scratches
  • Swirls
  • Oxidation in the paint
  • Other bonded contaminants

Use a clay bar to help lift any harsh blemishes affecting your car’s surface. Scratches can be a pain to deal with, especially when they are being stubborn and not coming off. You will need to use a compound, which usually requires more than one application.

Another great tip for removing scratches is to run your fingernail over a minor blemish, and if it does not catch, you can use toothpaste as a quick fix. Deeper scratches may be a little tougher to treat. Make sure that your auto has been thoroughly washed before applying the paste. Once you have that done, get some toothpaste, preferably a whitening formula, and put on a quarter-sized blob on a microfiber towel.

Once it is on the towel, employ a circular motion and a little pressure to get the toothpaste into the scratch and eradicate it. Wipe the area where the scratch was with a microfiber towel or rewash it with light soap.

Detailing professional using a clay bar to remove dirt and scratches from the surface of a white car

6. Expert Polishing

Now that you know how to wash up your white car and remove scratches properly, you must polish your vehicle. You want your car to look showroom new when you polish it up. After preparing the surface, you are ready for the polish. Use a soft foam pad or orbital sander and apply paste wax to the car.

Paste wax will help to decrease the fading of the paint. Use a circular motion to reinforce the removal of scratches, only polish one area at a time. Rinse each section after polishing. You can use a hose for this purpose. Polish all sections the same way, and rinse when you are finished.

Car detailing professional using an orbital sander with foam pad to apply polish to a white car

7. Wax On, Wax Off

You should attempt to use a product specifically created for your white car. Waxing is essential to protect your vehicle’s coat. It gives a shine like nothing else, as it will help to keep your vehicle in mint condition. Wax helps to shield your car from a lot of pesky debris:

  • Dirt
  • Traffic Film
  • Bird poop
  • Tree sap
  • UV rays

Anything undesirable that comes onto your car will be confronted with a protective layer of paint, not the actual paintwork. It helps for easy removal of contaminants. Waxing is the extra step to ensure the quality of your car’s coat. If you want to increase gloss when waxing, apply an additional coat to ensure you do not miss a spot.

A person using a microfiber towel to apply wax to a white car vehicle

8. Window Duty

Spray glass cleaning product on the surface of the windshield and windows. Wipe the windshield with a cloth and take care to avoid streaks. Dry it with a microfiber cloth.

Do the same for the back windshield and the side windows. Apply glass treatment to the windshield and then wipe and dry. Do the same for all other windows on the back and sides. Window cleaning is the easiest part of the job.

Person using a microfiber towel to cleaning the windows on a white car

9. Be Ready for Action

Keep a cleaning spray in your car and a fresh microfiber cloth to remove dirt, dust, and debris whenever necessary. Keeping your vehicle well maintained requires a wash at least twice a week—Wax the surface of your car every three to five months.

Your white car may need more upkeep during summer and winter. In the summer, dirt, mud, and sand get on your pristine white car. Intense heat and direct sunlight can age your vehicle more. There are also more bugs and bird poop in the summer. Pollutants from the rain are also detrimental to the coat condition of your car.

In the winter, the roadways are often salted to keep them slippery. The salt gets on your car, and if it stays there, the salt will corrode your finish. Keeping it clean is the best defense against corrosion from salt and winter sludge made of ice, snow, and chemicals on the road. You will need to be ready to clean your car at any time.

You will also need to prepare for your car to freeze after it is washed. You could simply wash the lower body and the undercarriage to keep it from rusting. You can also try using a waterless wash. There is a product called swift to wipe waterless car wash. Chemical guys make it. All you do is squirt it on the car and wipe it off, as it will remove dust, dirt, and salt.

White BMW 3-Series F30 driving down a countryside asphalt road at sunset
BMW 3-Series F30

Products to Use to Keep Your White Car Looking Clean

There are products specific to white cars. You can use them to make your vehicle look clean and showroom new. You should take a peek at these various items:

  • Turtle Wax Color Magic Auto Paintwork Polish White enhances car paint and gives it a luster. Masks slight scratches and swirls while restoring the color  
  • Car Gods White 3-in-1 Polish Wax Color Restore & scratch remover (Diamond Custom Colour) has tiny white pigments that rejuvenate the color and look of the paintwork. Eliminates stubborn spots, such as oxidation, imperfections, or light scratches in the paint.
  • Chemical Guys HOL204 White Car Kit for White and Light Colored Cars, Trucks, and SUVs cleans any white-colored car and enhances shine. Everything you could need for your white car is in this kit!

You have many products to choose from when it comes to cleaning your white car. The above products are highly rated on Amazon and are ideal for keeping your paintwork in prime condition.

Is it a Myth That White Cars Need to Be Cleaned More?

White is the most popular color in cars. Many people think that white vehicles get the dirtiest, kind of like when you wear a white blouse, you will notice stains on it more. However, it has been shown that black cars get dirtier than white cars. Any small amount of dirt on a black car will likely show.

Black cars tend to attract dirt, dust, and bird poop. Black cars also absorb more heat than white ones. A black car manages to look worse when exposed to high temperatures. Black cars have been proven that they are the hardest to keep clean. In truth, cleanliness is a significant problem for all dark-colored vehicles. Whenever you are in a disagreement over which car color gets dirtier, you are correct to say it is black.

Black Volvo XC90 SUV in motion on the city road driving side view showing it to be dirty in need of a car wash
Volvo XC90


You can keep your white car nice and clean with a bit of work. Be ready with all the right supplies and various brushes. Make sure you clean your wheels and correctly polish and wax your car with a good product designed explicitly for white cars. Once you are finished the work, enjoy your excellent ride! 

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Ernest Martynyuk

An automotive enthusiast who's been tinkering with vehicles since I was 15-years old. Repairing automotive electronics has been my main job for over a decade now and have a passion for everything technical regarding cars.

1 thought on “How To Keep a White Car Looking Clean 9 Tips”

  1. These tips are really good. As our white vehicle begins to collect dust, dirt, bird droppings, and other contaminants, it becomes important to clean these contaminants sooner than later.


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