Explained: Don’t use a Sponge to wash your car

When I was young, I remember my parents telling me that I shouldn’t use a sponge to wash the car. When I would ask why, they would tell me that it could scratch the car’s paint.

I also remember just using the sponge anyway, because I didn’t see how it could do any harm. I always saw people using them – in movies, on my street and at car washes.

But did you know that washing your car with a sponge might actually be causing some serious damage to your paintwork? I know this now – and I’ve never gone back to using a sponge.

In this article, we’ll answer some of the common misconceptions about using sponges for car washing and why you should avoid them when giving your car a good old-fashioned scrub-down.

Do sponges scratch car paint?

Yes, sponges can scratch your car’s paint. The holes in a sponge are perfect for trapping dirt and grime from your car. Once those particles are trapped in the sponge, they can get rubbed back into your paint during the washing process.

As trapped dirt and grime is rubbed back into your paintwork, the friction can cause some serious scratching. This will leave you with – at best – a nasty-looking gash in your sparkling paint.

Serious scratching can really weaken your paintwork. Bare metal scratches can rust and cause issues further down the line.

But don’t worry – there’s a better way to give your car’s paintwork some well-deserved love. Here’s what I’m using to wash my pride and joy…

What should I wash my car with?

We would highly recommend using a high-quality microfibre wash mitt to clean your car. Microfibre wash mitts are useful for lifting dirt and grime from your car’s paint. They’re also great at keeping the dirt and grime isolated from your paintwork – locking it in its strands until you rinse the mitt.

Rolson Microfibre
Noodle Mitt
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I have personally used the Rolson Microfibre wash mitt when cleaning my Mazda MX-5 for two years. It’s great quality and it does exactly what I need it to do.

Wash mitts are also soft and fluffy on both sides – giving you a much gentler clean than a traditional sponge. They usually come with an elasticated band that fits nicely over your hand, meaning there’s a low chance of accidentally dropping it on the ground and picking up more dirt.

You can use a wash mitt with a bucket of soapy water, or you can just add water and soap right to the mitt itself. I would recommend using the two-bucket method (one bucket with car shampoo and water, another with clean water to rinse) to ensure a great clean with minimum fuss. It also leaves the perfect foundation for waxing your car.

Trust us – the difference will be crystal clear. There’s no better cleaning tool for a car enthusiast than a trusty wash mitt!

Can I use a kitchen sponge to wash my car?

You should not use a kitchen sponge to wash your car. Kitchen sponges can be highly abrasive and they will scratch your car’s paint. They will also trap dirt and embed it into your paintwork. Try using a microfibre wash mitt instead!

We know it can be tempting to use whatever is most conveniently available to wash your car. But if you want to protect your paintwork in the long-term, make sure you opt for a dedicated wash mitt. This will help to keep your car sparkling clean and streak-free for years to come.

Keep that kitchen sponge where it belongs – in the kitchen!

OK, but can I use the brush at a car wash?

We get it. Taking your car to a supermarket or petrol station car wash is an affordable and efficient option for millions of car owners.

However, you should never use the brush attachment at a car wash on your car. Brushes can be stiff and sharp, which can scratch up your car’s paint. Also, deep brushes can hide dirt and grit from previous vehicles and transfer it onto your paintwork. This will result in deep scratches and scuffs which could have been avoided.

Next time you visit a car wash, bring along a wash mitt to use. That way you can still benefit from the pressure washer and shampoo tools without having to use the brush and risk damage to your car. Happy days!

Final thoughts

I hope this article helped you. As a keen car cleaner, I always run into the same questions from friends – ‘will a sponge scratch my car?’ or ‘should I use a sponge on my car?’.

The fact is that if you want to make your car look sparkling clean, you’re going to need the right tools. 

When it comes to cleaning your car properly, using a wash mitt is one of the best ways to do so. Having a good wash mitt to hand will make a real difference to your washing routine. Ditch the old sponge and see what a difference it makes!

Do you use a wash mitt to clean your car? Why or why not? Let us know!

1 thought on “Explained: Don’t use a Sponge to wash your car”

  1. If there is grit on the surface of a sponge & it can scratch your paint work…
    How can that be any different to grit on the surface of the wash mitt?


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