Tips & Tricks

Car Washing in Winter: Benefit or Harm

Polishing, waxing, or car washing – what is preferable in the cold period?

Many car owners believe that there is no point in frequent car washing in winter: anyway, the body will soon be covered with a layer of dirt. Such an opinion is wrong.

During this period, the body’s paintwork is particularly actively affected by abrasive and chemically aggressive substances – salt, sand, anti-icing reagents, and so on. The destructive influence of these factors can be reduced only with regular washing, polishing, and waxing of the vehicle.

Cleanliness Is the Key to Health

Washing is the first stage of body protection. In its course, aggressive substances are removed from the paint coating and micropores, which can destroy the paint and varnish, giving moisture access to the metal, and speeding up corrosion processes. That is why the car must be washed in winter at least once a week, and special detergents must be used.

In winter, it is advisable to use preparations with wax. This group includes the so-called “hot wax” shampoo polishers. Before use, they are diluted with water heated to a temperature of 50-60°C. After the solution cools down to 40°C and below, you can start washing.

After washing the body with such shampoos, a waxy film forms on the paintwork, which remains until the next cleaning. To give the surface shine and gloss, after drying it can be manually polished with a cotton cloth.

There are wax shampoos containing various additives (silicones or polymers) remaining on the surface as a protective layer.

It should be noted that the film left after washing with a product of this group is usually short-lived. It is washed off 1-3 times, after which it is necessary to re-treat the body with shampoo.

A separate group consists of antacids (their type is indicated in the instructions). They have increased alkalinity (pH = 8-10 to neutralize the destructive effect of exhaust gases’ aggressive compounds on paintwork.

When using ordinary and anti-acid shampoos, an additional protective layer must be applied to the painted surface. For this, waxes and special polishes are used for the surface to shine again.

Shine + Protection

Polishes are produced in the form of liquids, gels, and pastes. At home, liquid polishes are more convenient (especially aerosol or with a mechanical sprayer). They are easily applied to the surface and rubbed by hand.

In winter, it is best to use multi-component compounds (so-called conditioning polishes) to protect the paintwork. They contain not only natural or synthetic waxes but also combined polymers (for example, Teflon, silicones, etc.), which strengthen the protective coating and reduce its icing.

There are special “winter” polishes with improved properties, for example, Salt Barrier that features increased resistance to the aggressive effects of salt and other anti-icing reagents and remains functional at temperatures down to -10°С.


Preparations based on waxes are used to apply an additional protective film to the surface of the body. Conventionally, they are classified into two groups – liquid and solid. Liquid preparations contain natural or synthetic wax diluted with a special solution. They leave a thin protective film on the paintwork that “works” only until the next wash.

Hard waxes are pastes. They can be applied to the body and polished manually, but it is better to do it by hammering with the help of special equipment. Hard waxes provide a stronger protective coating that remains on the body for 4-6 months and withstands 5-7 washes with neutral shampoos.


In winter, the car needs the owner’s special attention. This applies to both technical conditions and cosmetic issues, and washing the car is also an important part of its care.

If in the warm season, you can get pleasure from washing your vehicle at a self-service car wash, then in winter this process is not so pleasant. In the cold season, we advise you to wash your car in closed boxes, where the temperature is consistently above 0°C. In particular, in dealerships.

After washing, it is necessary to remove water residues from all crevices and joints on the body by blowing with compressed air. We also recommend wiping the door seals dry and applying silicone grease to prevent them from freezing to the body.

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