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View Full Version : Using Dawn or something similar to wash car



hslxsmd
Mar 26th, 2013, 01:55 PM
Hi, First post here.

I read that alot of people use Dawn or something similar to wash their car and get the wax off. I tried this in the past and I ran into a weird problem. My window tracks had no grease left. The window did not open/close sometimes and I had to pull the window while holding the switch to close it. Anyone else had this problem?

davey g-force
Mar 26th, 2013, 02:18 PM
Dawn or similar is pretty strong stuff. It is, after all a type of degreaser, so what you're saying makes sense.

It's not recommended to wash with Dawn for every wash. Maybe just every now and then if you want to strip the wax (which is not required btw) or for particularly dirty vehicles.

Use a dedicated car wash soap. Gold Class is very popular and my personal favourite.

*EDIT* Welcome to MOL btw! :)

Michael Stoops
Mar 27th, 2013, 07:37 AM
The reason people mention using Dawn or other dishwashing detergents for washing is that they want to fully strip the existing wax before working on the paint. While we've never heard of your particular issue before when using dish detergent, it's not a huge surprise, really. Dishwashing detergents are designed to be really good at stripping grease, and it sounds like it did just what it was designed to do when it encountered the window tracks on your car. Never blame a product for doing what it's designed to do. This may be one of the reasons why Dawn's own website states that they do not recommend using their product for car washing.

In reality, in the extreme majority of cases, an occasional wash with Dawn or similar isn't going to cause any problems with your paint. Yes, it will strip your wax so you certainly don't want this to be your wash soap of choice for routine maintenance. But before you reach for it just to strip your existing wax, ask yourself these questions:




When did you last wax your car? Wax is a sacrificial barrier that degrades naturally over time. If you haven't waxed in several months, there probably isn't much wax left to strip off anyway so an aggressive detergent isn't really needed.
Are you also planning on claying and/or compounding the paint prior to applying a new coat of wax? Since those will take off any remaining wax pretty easily, an aggressive detergent isn't really needed.
Are you planning on just applying a fresh coat of the same wax you used previously, but nothing else needs to be done to the paint (ie, it needs neither claying nor compounding, just wax)? If so, just wax it after a proper wash with a good car wash soap.

Detailing by M
Mar 27th, 2013, 02:48 PM
Oh god don't do this.
It causes damage and really no reason to do this. as you found out.
just wash with car soap.

jankerson
Nov 24th, 2013, 06:08 AM
Hi, First post here.

I read that alot of people use Dawn or something similar to wash their car and get the wax off. I tried this in the past and I ran into a weird problem. My window tracks had no grease left. The window did not open/close sometimes and I had to pull the window while holding the switch to close it. Anyone else had this problem?


Some of us use Dawn to strip all the old wax/sealant off the paint and or we add it into car wash soap to boast the cleaning power for really dirty cars. It doesn't take a lot of it either as it's pretty strong especially the concentrated vers.

Old school Dawn and Tide....

You can use Tide and it won't create those types of issues that Dawn will, however regular car wash soap is cheaper so today there really isn't a reason to use it.

However I recommend using a car wash soap for regular maintenance like Megs Gold Class, pretty cheap and it works well.

Detailing by M
Nov 24th, 2013, 11:34 AM
oh ****! Tide? Really?
Might as well use ammonia and vinegar, 409, glass cleaner, oven cleaner, bleach.

.... and you people wonder why your cars get messed up.

Gesh, stick to car care products.

there is really no need to do this.
I work paint all the time, no need to strip anything.
Learn how to polish a car.

jankerson
Nov 24th, 2013, 01:59 PM
oh ****! Tide? Really?
Might as well use ammonia and vinegar, 409, glass cleaner, oven cleaner, bleach.

.... and you people wonder why your cars get messed up.

Gesh, stick to car care products.

there is really no need to do this.
I work paint all the time, no need to strip anything.
Learn how to polish a car.


Talking like 30+ years ago....

A lot of people used Tide Powder and no it won't and didn't hurt the paint or anything else, just pour a little power into the bucket add water while stirring.

I now people personally that used it (Including ME) every week and some had Black Cars and it never did any harm to them...

And it doesn't strip off the wax either, washed every week and waxed once a month using the Old Megs Classic Paste Wax...

Back then the car care products sucked in general as far as soaps etc went.... The products that were around anyway....

Most of the better products around today are stronger than Tide believe me...

jankerson
Nov 25th, 2013, 04:27 AM
The reason people mention using Dawn or other dishwashing detergents for washing is that they want to fully strip the existing wax before working on the paint. While we've never heard of your particular issue before when using dish detergent, it's not a huge surprise, really. Dishwashing detergents are designed to be really good at stripping grease, and it sounds like it did just what it was designed to do when it encountered the window tracks on your car. Never blame a product for doing what it's designed to do. This may be one of the reasons why Dawn's own website states that they do not recommend using their product for car washing.

In reality, in the extreme majority of cases, an occasional wash with Dawn or similar isn't going to cause any problems with your paint. Yes, it will strip your wax so you certainly don't want this to be your wash soap of choice for routine maintenance. But before you reach for it just to strip your existing wax, ask yourself these questions:




When did you last wax your car? Wax is a sacrificial barrier that degrades naturally over time. If you haven't waxed in several months, there probably isn't much wax left to strip off anyway so an aggressive detergent isn't really needed.
Are you also planning on claying and/or compounding the paint prior to applying a new coat of wax? Since those will take off any remaining wax pretty easily, an aggressive detergent isn't really needed.
Are you planning on just applying a fresh coat of the same wax you used previously, but nothing else needs to be done to the paint (ie, it needs neither claying nor compounding, just wax)? If so, just wax it after a proper wash with a good car wash soap.



Only time I use Dawn these days is when I have a severely neglected car that needs a full correction and it's very dirty.

It will strip all of the junk off the car, dirt, wax, everything and leave it pretty clean for the claying step as there won't be as much junk left on the paint for the clay to remove so it does save some time there and clay....

I mix it in with a car soap, it doesn't take much of it to really boast the cleaning power of the car soap so it's not like it's used straight as it doesn't need to be. Works better and a lot cheaper in the long run than using 3 times as much car soap that still won't work as well as a little Dawn added into the mix.

I know I don't want to have to spend 2 hours just washing a car with the so called proper products or some boutique car wash soap when I can cut that time in half or less using something stronger.

I guess we could add APC or APC+ into the car soap instead of Dawn for really dirty cars, but I haven't tried that yet.

jankerson
Nov 25th, 2013, 04:44 AM
oh ****! Tide? Really?
Might as well use ammonia and vinegar, 409, glass cleaner, oven cleaner, bleach.

.... and you people wonder why your cars get messed up.

Gesh, stick to car care products.

there is really no need to do this.
I work paint all the time, no need to strip anything.
Learn how to polish a car.


Not everything is cookie cutter all the time.....

That means easy......

Take a soccer mom or Billy Joe Bob car that hasn't see any soap at all for 3 to 5 years and sits outside 100% of the time and you would want to use something that will cut down the work and time to get it to the claying stage...... And make that easier.

The latest and greatest boutique car wash soap won't likely even make a dent in it, even at 3X Strength unless one wants to spend a lot of time just washing the car....

And that's not even getting into the claying stage....... And the extra time that would take.......

Detailing by M
Nov 25th, 2013, 08:25 AM
Washing a car doesn't mean Paint correction.

The act of washing is only to remove the "non-bonded" contaminates. Dawn or anything like it won't remove bonded contaminates.

Fist you wash, then de-contaminate, then paint correction.
These steps don't change.
So why do people try to combine all the steps into one?

I see this all the time "I used (non car thing) and it messed up my car, that's what you get.

Car Care Companys spend every working hour trying to develop "safe" products for cars, yet people go to the hardware store for car care products. Make no sense to me what so ever.

Let the pro's make the products you need and then USE THEM.

jankerson
Nov 25th, 2013, 08:34 AM
Washing a car doesn't mean Paint correction.

The act of washing is only to remove the "non-bonded" contaminates. Dawn or anything like it won't remove bonded contaminates.

Fist you wash, then de-contaminate, then paint correction.
These steps don't change.
So why do people try to combine all the steps into one?

I see this all the time "I used (non car thing) and it messed up my car, that's what you get.

Car Care Companys spend every working hour trying to develop "safe" products for cars, yet people go to the hardware store for car care products. Make no sense to me what so ever.

Let the pro's make the products you need and then USE THEM.

Sure they do these days......

And they do keep getting better, more so in the past 10 years or so, and then even more within the past 4 or 5 years....

I use all Professional car care products and all Megs except in extreme cases when one has to get more inventive....

Very large difference between 20 and 30 years ago and today....



Fist you wash, then de-contaminate, then paint correction.
These steps don't change.
So why do people try to combine all the steps into one?

Because that's the way we used to do back in the old days....

Half the time we would just grab the Rotary with a wool pad with some Compound and start from there...... Because it didn't matter and the wool pad and compound would remove everything anyway...

Things have changed though with the clear coat paint systems.

Michael Stoops
Nov 25th, 2013, 08:45 AM
In reality, in the extreme majority of cases, an occasional wash with Dawn or similar isn't going to cause any problems with your paint. Yes, it will strip your wax so you certainly don't want this to be your wash soap of choice for routine maintenance.






Only time I use Dawn these days is when I have a severely neglected car that needs a full correction and it's very dirty.

It will strip all of the junk off the car, dirt, wax, everything and leave it pretty clean for the claying step as there won't be as much junk left on the paint for the clay to remove so it does save some time there and clay....

I mix it in with a car soap, it doesn't take much of it to really boast the cleaning power of the car soap so it's not like it's used straight as it doesn't need to be. Works better and a lot cheaper in the long run than using 3 times as much car soap that still won't work as well as a little Dawn added into the mix.

I know I don't want to have to spend 2 hours just washing a car with the so called proper products or some boutique car wash soap when I can cut that time in half or less using something stronger.

I guess we could add APC or APC+ into the car soap instead of Dawn for really dirty cars, but I haven't tried that yet.

Your description perfectly fits in with our earlier comment above. There certainly are situations where a car is so neglected that you need something a bit more potent to clean it. While our preference is for APC in these situations, it's not uncommon for detailers to do exactly what you describe, or even to spray the car with something like IronX either prior to or after washing.

But we strongly maintain that things like APC and dish detergent be avoided when doing routine maintenance washing on any vehicle. There's just no need for it and it does more negative than positive (stripping of wax and potentially lubricants for window tracks, door hinges, etc as mentioned by the OP).

jankerson
Nov 25th, 2013, 08:53 AM
Your description perfectly fits in with our earlier comment above. There certainly are situations where a car is so neglected that you need something a bit more potent to clean it. While our preference is for APC in these situations, it's not uncommon for detailers to do exactly what you describe, or even to spray the car with something like IronX either prior to or after washing.

But we strongly maintain that things like APC and dish detergent be avoided when doing routine maintenance washing on any vehicle. There's just no need for it and it does more negative than positive (stripping of wax and potentially lubricants for window tracks, door hinges, etc as mentioned by the OP).

Mike,

There is no way I would use any of that for any kind of regular maintenance and we wouldn't need to.

The products today are a lot better than they used to be as you well know.

So I could add APC into the car soap from what you said. :)

Detailing by M
Nov 25th, 2013, 03:04 PM
Sure they do these days......

And they do keep getting better, more so in the past 10 years or so, and then even more within the past 4 or 5 years....

I use all Professional car care products and all Megs except in extreme cases when one has to get more inventive....

Very large difference between 20 and 30 years ago and today....




Because that's the way we used to do back in the old days....

Half the time we would just grab the Rotary with a wool pad with some Compound and start from there...... Because it didn't matter and the wool pad and compound would remove everything anyway...

Things have changed though with the clear coat paint systems.
Hu? what does that have to do with anything?
Since your talking about the past, I've been doing this since the '70. But that has nothing to do with people using "non" car care products on there cars, that's all I'm saying.

Here's a thread on filthy paint, and no "non" car car products were used to clean this paint up.
http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?59471-Ford-F150-should-be-Filthy-150!!!-Caution-This-might-make-you-sick-jk&highlight=filthy+f150 (http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?59471-Ford-F150-should-be-Filthy-150!!!-Caution-This-might-make-you-sick-jk&highlight=filthy+f150)

jankerson
Nov 25th, 2013, 04:06 PM
Hu? what does that have to do with anything?
Since your talking about the past, I've been doing this since the '70. But that has nothing to do with people using "non" car care products on there cars, that's all I'm saying.

Here's a thread on filthy paint, and no "non" car car products were used to clean this paint up.
http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?59471-Ford-F150-should-be-Filthy-150!!!-Caution-This-might-make-you-sick-jk&highlight=filthy+f150 (http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?59471-Ford-F150-should-be-Filthy-150!!!-Caution-This-might-make-you-sick-jk&highlight=filthy+f150)



Same here, late 70's. :)

The truck turned out good. :D

I have one coming up soon that's in pretty bad shape, not dirty per say, just really neglected, an 05 Chevy Malibu....

Still has a little shine left from an angle..... LOL

davey g-force
Nov 25th, 2013, 05:33 PM
Mario, you've been doing this for 40 years?

How old are you? Your profile says you're 45...

Ghawk
Nov 25th, 2013, 08:03 PM
This thread is getting a little crazy. Why can't we just wash cars and live happy little lives? :chuckle1
This forum should be a place where everybody can come together to discuss detailing and our different methods and learn tips and tricks from the pros. No need to question what everybody does, or to start degrading other members practices. If you have a suggestion just calmly present that. No need to try and make some one out to be stupid. This is not directed at anyone in particular, but this mentality spreads. I love this forum, and I think everyone here does, so let's keep it a place of community and learning and get off each other's backs and get back to our detailing! :)

Thanks yall!
As for my weigh in on the subject on hand:
Obviously you shouldn't use dawn or any degreaser as a regular wash solution. However, I have used it to degrease cars, but I usually mix it in with some milder car soap as well. It has worked quite well for me removing old wax and contaminates safely before paint correction. Should only have to do this once or twice in a car's life if maintained properly.

Thanks everybody,
Griffith Hawk
:burnout

Detailing by M
Nov 25th, 2013, 09:19 PM
It's a discussion, nothing getting "out of hand"

Yes I've been detailing cars since I was very young.

Also use what ever you want, use your Tide, Dawn or what ever you have under the sink.
just don't complain when things go wrong. See it all the time.

jankerson
Nov 26th, 2013, 03:47 AM
Thanks yall!
As for my weigh in on the subject on hand:
Obviously you shouldn't use dawn or any degreaser as a regular wash solution. However, I have used it to degrease cars, but I usually mix it in with some milder car soap as well. It has worked quite well for me removing old wax and contaminates safely before paint correction. Should only have to do this once or twice in a car's life if maintained properly.

Thanks everybody,
Griffith Hawk
:burnout

That's what I was saying too as nobody is saying to fill up the foam gun with straight Dawn and go for it or put it in straight in a bucket and cover the whole car with it....

I think moderation is the key here, a few drops in a 5 gallon bucket mixed in with car soap will boast the cleaning power of the car soap. I would hope that would be all we want....

Yeah I can see how it could be an issue if people go crazy and use it straight and strong...

I do like Mikes recommendation of using APC though mixed in with the car soap instead.

As far as Tide goes it really doesn't make much since to use it these days as the Car Soaps are a lot better than they used to be and they end up cheaper too in the long run cost wise.

Back when I used to use it the car soaps just plain sucked and just about anything worked better than what was available back then.

Michael Stoops
Nov 26th, 2013, 08:11 AM
This thread is getting a little crazy. Why can't we just wash cars and live happy little lives? :chuckle1
This forum should be a place where everybody can come together to discuss detailing and our different methods and learn tips and tricks from the pros. No need to question what everybody does, or to start degrading other members practices. If you have a suggestion just calmly present that. No need to try and make some one out to be stupid. This is not directed at anyone in particular, but this mentality spreads. I love this forum, and I think everyone here does, so let's keep it a place of community and learning and get off each other's backs and get back to our detailing! :)
Well said! Yes, this thread has become a bit borderline as far as civility goes and we want to make sure it doesn't go any further. Of course, sometimes it's just a bit tricky to really get someone's intentions across with written words so things can easily be taken the wrong way. Now, Mario knows I'm not picking on him here (heck, we've spoken about this very thing in person) but he sometimes comes across online as being a bit more gruff than I know he intends to be. Kudos to jankerson for taking Mario's comments in the spirit intended!

Thanks yall!

As for my weigh in on the subject on hand:
Obviously you shouldn't use dawn or any degreaser as a regular wash solution. However, I have used it to degrease cars, but I usually mix it in with some milder car soap as well. It has worked quite well for me removing old wax and contaminates safely before paint correction. Should only have to do this once or twice in a car's life if maintained properly.

Thanks everybody,
Griffith Hawk
:burnout
Agreed. We've said it before and we'll say it again - a quality car wash soap, whether traditional in-the-bucket, rinseless or waterless, should always be used for routine maintenance washing of any vehicle. But if you're prepping a nasty car for a full correction, then there is absolutely no harm in using something a bit more aggressive to clean the surface. If your preference is for a bit of detergent to help strip things, fine. If you're an IronX fan, fine. If you prefer to mix some APC in with your snow foam type product and let it dwell on the surface in a thick foam dispensed from a foam cannon, go for it. There is no one correct answer here - find the process that works best for you and use it when appropriate.

jankerson
Nov 26th, 2013, 09:15 AM
Well said! Yes, this thread has become a bit borderline as far as civility goes and we want to make sure it doesn't go any further. Of course, sometimes it's just a bit tricky to really get someone's intentions across with written words so things can easily be taken the wrong way. Now, Mario knows I'm not picking on him here (heck, we've spoken about this very thing in person) but he sometimes comes across online as being a bit more gruff than I know he intends to be. Kudos to jankerson for taking Mario's comments in the spirit intended!



Kinda got a chuckle out of it all really thinking back. :D

One thing that I don't miss is getting all wrapped up and putting on a Respirator and goggles to compound cars.

Dave6
Feb 10th, 2014, 09:33 AM
One other good use for a Dawn wash is after using bug/tar remover. Most of the ones at the auto parts stores are kerosene with fragrance added, or if you're old school (or pre-historic school, as I am), just buy kerosene and save some $$. I do tar removal before any washing.

That said, kerosene leaves a greasy film that I want to remove before claying or compounding. And the Dawn suds provide enough slip that clay can be used on top of the soapy surface, thereby saving time (and your #34).

larry0071
Feb 10th, 2014, 10:12 AM
I've used gasoline as tar removal on paint for 20 years. Never had a reason to try anything else. I would follow it up with wax and be done.

I'm new to this enthusiastic amateur detailing hobby, so I'm open to trying out all of the new products on the market as well as being excited over the much improved finish I'm able to get using these more professional products and techniques.