Routine Maintenance


If you’ve got a darker colored car, you’ve no doubt noticed that about 15 minutes after you wash it, you’ll see a haze of dust on the surface. Unless cars are under covers in a garage, they start to get dirty pretty quickly.

There are a few products you can use to keep your finish looking good between washes. Keep in mind that none of these products or techniques are a substitute for washing. If your car is really dirty, don’t rely on a “quick” cleanup.

The California Duster

One of my favorite
car care products

Car covers

California Duster

One of the best products to have is the California Duster. Lightly wipe the surface at the end of the day and the dust will be removed. Don’t rub too hard, don’t use it when the surface is wet, and never if it’s really dirty.

Quick Detailer

Quick Detailer (QD) is another product and technique to keep your car shiny. A bit more work (and expense) than the Duster, you spray on a lubricant/cleaner, and wipe the surface with a microfiber cloth. QD is not really meant for a very dirty car, but it’s great for cleaning off a layer of dust and giving your car that “just waxed” look. Some Quick Detailers can be used for clay bar lubricant...but not all of them. Read the label.

Car Covers

A car cover is also a very good way to keep cars clean. However you need to evaluate the pluses and minuses. In my opinion, covers are not ideal for a vehicle that is used every day.

In the first place, you should only use a cover on a very clean vehicle. You don’t want that cover to be rubbing dirt that is on your paint. That means if you commute to work, leave the car outside, and drive it home, you don’t want to put a cover on it without at least dusting it off or giving it a quick detail treatment as described above. Even then, it may be too dirty.

And removing a wet car cover (covered in morning dew, for example) is a pain. Where do you leave a wet cover? You certainly don’t want to leave it all balled up in the trunk.

But if you have a vehicle that is not a “daily driver,” a car cover will keep it much cleaner between uses, especially if it is outside.