How to Keep A Black Car Clean, Shiny and Scratch-Free

One of the biggest worries for most Black car owners is to not make their car look messy or dirty from the outside. They know something that everyone doesn’t. That even the tiniest spec of dust on Black paint is amplified manifold. As a result, Black cars tend to look a lot dirtier than they really are. But if that is truly the case, how to keep a black car clean, shiny, and scratch-free all the time?

How does the owner save himself from the embarrassment of taking a new Black car out that looks like it has been around the entire country unwashed whereas it actually only spent an extra day in the parking and got some dust on it in the process?

The problem is in the paint color, which is not exactly a problem but the precise nature of it. Extremely dark paint on cars is glossy and high in contrast. So, no matter what falls on the car’s paint or sticks to the car’s surface, it would be highlighted quite easily.

Through this guide, we’re making the lives of Black car owners a lot easier by mentioning the correct ways of cleaning and maintaining cars with Black paint. In addition, we’re also listing down the car wash and car polish products that help in cleaning and maintaining the paint on Black cars.

Are Black Cars Hard to Keep Clean?

In a nutshell, yes. To reiterate the matter correctly, it is not difficult to keep a Black vehicle clean but it is challenging to hide dirt from being visible on a Black surface. As I mentioned earlier, extremely dark paint colors like Black tend to highlight even the lightest layer and smallest spec of dirt on its surface.

As a result, Black colored paint tends to look dirtier than other cars of different colors parked next to each other. It is not that dirt and bird poo aren’t seen on cars coated with other colors. Other colors look dirty too but, not as dirty as Black.

For example, if you take Black paper and add some sand or salt over it. Then have another cardboard next to it of any other color and spill the same items on it. Take your eyes off both papers for a few seconds and look back at them. You will notice that the Black paper with salt or sand on it caught your attention first due to the contrast it created.

The same logic applies to Black cars. So to answer the question, it is challenging to keep Black cars clean but with the right set of tools and practices that we’re going to mention below, your Black car won’t seem like a burden anymore.

Of course, you can take your Black car to an automatic car wash outlet followed by applying a layer of car wax over the clear coat. But would it actually help? Not really. Read on to find out!

Best Practices To Keep A Black Car Clean

One thing to keep in mind before you know the best ways to keep a Black car clean is to understand that it isn’t dirt which always ruins the look of your car. Tiny scratches and swirl marks that occur as a result of improper washing get highlighted quite easily too!

There’s not much you can do about scratches that have occurred as a result of contact or an accident, except to have the surface re-painted or have that part of the car replaced entirely. But micro-scratches occur when you wash your car the wrong way or by using tools that do more harm than good.

Most car owners don’t realize that it is these marks that dull the look of the colored paint. To tell you a lesser known fact- car covers being used on dusty dirty cars cause scratches on the clear coat too!

When we say improper washing, we mean washing techniques or products that drag tiny dust particles on the paint when the car’s surface is being wiped. These tiny dust particles rub against the clear coat paint.

Repeated rubbing causes multiple scratches to occur on the clear coat, often in the direction in which they are being rubbed. To wash the car properly, we’re listing the correct way below.

Spray and Scrub Using Two Buckets

To begin to wash your car the right way, use a high-pressure car wash machine or hose to remove all the dirt from the top layer. A garden hose would do the job too, as long as there is enough water pressure to take off the dirt.

The next step is to use two buckets- one filled with fresh water and the other filled with soapy water. As you wipe the car’s surface with soapy water, the idea is to rinse the cloth in the fresh water in the bucket.

This is the best practice to prevent dirt and grime from getting back onto the car’s surface which is an important contributor to the creation of micro scratches and swirl marks. Remember, it all starts from a single scratch so it is important to prevent them from occurring by getting to the root cause.

Wipe the top of the car after dipping the microfiber towel in soapy water. Microfiber towels are the best to use for car washing since they are soft and absorb the maximum amount of moisture. As you work your way toward the bottom, rinse the microfiber towel in the freshwater bucket before using the soapy water.

Hand washing is one of the best-proven ways to prevent dirt and grime from creating scratches on your Black Vehicle. Also, do make sure you’re using mild detergents. However, we would recommend you use a car wash solution as the soap since they are built for the result you’re looking to achieve.

They maintain a good amount of fluidity when you’re washing the car which helps minimize friction between the microfiber cloth and the car’s clear coat, thereby preventing scratches from occurring on the paint surface.

Blott, Not Wipe

One needs to take more precautions when trying to dry your Black car when wiping down the water. In that particular instance, there is lesser moisture present between the car’s paint and the microfiber cloth, thereby increasing the friction between the surfaces.

More friction leads to a higher chance of scratches and swirls appearing on the car’s bodywork. The microfiber cloth works best in this scenario, thanks to its soft sponge-like surface and the ability to absorb a lot of moisture.

What you can even use is a microfiber chenille wash mitt to wipe the water. Do keep in mind to use a good quality wash mitt like the one we suggested in the link because, in many instances, cheaper mitts fall apart during use. If you buy a set of three or more, you may use one set for the hard panels, one set for the body, and one set for the wheels.

Now that you have the right paraphernalia beforehand, the next step is to be wary while wiping over the Black paint. Conventional methods suggest you wipe the clear coat with a soft cloth.

However, that will surely cause fine scratches and swirl marks to occur. The correct technique is to not drag the microfiber towel across the painted surface but, to gently pat it. Also known as blotting, this method emphasizes on allowing the towel to absorb water droplets without having to wipe them.

The only disadvantage of the blotting technique is that it is time-consuming. It would take a pretty long time to blot the entire car. But if you’re someone who misses out on time, you could adopt the option to gently wipe over the water droplets. This won’t guarantee a scratch-free finish but, it is better than wiping the car in a jiffy.

If you love automation and if wiping or blotting is not your thing, we’d also suggest the use of a leaf blower or an air compressor. Air drying is a much quicker method to dry your car after a car wash.

Not only that, but air drying also helps remove water spots before they dry up, especially from tiny gaps like the front grill and areas around the side view mirrors that would be difficult to wipe.

Waterless Wash – If Saving Water is Your Thing

You may choose to opt for a waterless wash, which in many ways not only saves water but, it also saves you the effort of having to blot or airdry the entire car. Look at it as a quick wash that saves resources and time.

All you have to do is get your hands on a spray bottle of an effective waterless detailer and spray it all over your vehicle. The cleaner is laced with chemical components that simply take off any kind of dirt from your car’s paint surface. Be it road grime, bird crap, tree sap, and other contaminants that are often found on car paint.

The waterless washer is paint-friendly so your car’s paint will not be harmed. Just spray a decent amount of waterless detailer and wipe it off gently after a few minutes. You require no owner’s manual or other special instructions to use the waterless detailer. That is how simple the cleaning process really is.

Also, you won’t have to worry about water spots that are often left behind after a water wash and refuse to go away, they occur as a result of tiny contaminants in the tap water supply that love to find a spot on the car’s paint after the water has dried.

The waterless washer contains anti-static and hydrophobic properties that prevent dirt from sticking to your vehicle’s paint after it has been washed. Good thing that your vehicle would end up looking a lot cleaner for a long time when compared to a vehicle that has undergone a water wash. Washing your vehicle couldn’t get easier than this.

One word of caution we’d like to express is to always use waterless detailers that are meant to wash cars. Using alternative shampoos or dish soap could damage the clear coat or the paint.

How Do I Protect My Black Car?

Now that you’ve concluded the car washing process, the next step is to protect the Black paint of your vehicle. This can be done in two ways:

Wax Your Vehicle

By applying good wax, you will benefit in three ways. Firstly, it would protect the car from harmful UV rays of the sun.

Secondly, car wax helps repel water from the surface so there’s no problem of water spots harming the paint. Lastly, wax helps the paint shine a lot more. It makes the paint surface a lot more reflective and does full justice to a paint color like Black which is known for darker reflection.

The best practice is to apply the wax as soon as you’re done washing your car and drying it completely. Most people who wax their vehicles on their own tend to take a break or prefer a short interval between the drying and waxing process. However, we suggest you don’t do that.

To protect the Black paint fully, you must wax your car as soon as it has dried. This is also ideal since you wouldn’t want to allow dust to settle on the paint, just in case you gave it a longer gap.

Luckily, car wax specifically made for Black vehicles are available in the market. They help enhance the look of Black cars even more. Not only that, but it also helps cover up some scratches that are not deep enough. Such car wax protects and creates a darker reflection. You can read our detailed guide about the Best Car Wax for Black Cars

Ceramic Coating

Car detailing is something that can make your Black car look a lot shinier. While waxing is something we recommended earlier because it has many advantages, it falls short of car ceramic coatings.

A wax polish can last from a few weeks to a few months on the car’s surface. However, ceramic coating would last much longer. From two years to even half a decade, your vehicle’s Black paint can receive this ultimate long-lasting protection!

Ceramic coating is an exclusive polymer coating that acts as an additional protective layer over your vehicle’s clear coat. Imagine having an additional layer of protective skin over your body, that’s how this exactly works.

Just like waxing, ceramic coating protects Black cars from harmful UV rays and other elements like tree sap, pollen, bugs, iron deposits, and acidic bird droppings. While waxing is one option, ceramic coating is the next best full-proof option to protect your car’s paint.

The only drawback of ceramic coating is the amount of time it demands to be applied to your vehicle. It needs to be done by a professional and it may take a couple of hours since the vehicle would first undergo a wash.

If ceramic coating sounds too cumbersome and expensive for you, you can even try ceramic spray coating that comes in a spray bottle. The spray layers the car with a protective ceramic coating. It is cheaper and takes little time to get done. You may even use it on the car’s wheels, trim, headlights, and glass!

However, it isn’t the same as full-fledged ceramic coating protection. But, it is better than car wax and should last at least six months. This is an ideal option if you’re looking for something that sits in between car wax and ceramic coating.

A word of caution before you indulge in any kind of polishing or ceramic coating for your Black car would be to ensure it is completely washed first. Pre-wash, ensure to inspect any scratch that can be filled up with polish.

After wash, use a clay bar or compound across the car to remove specs of dust and other contaminants. The surface must be as clean and as spotless as possible. We hope the tips we’ve given help you achieve the expected shine on your Black car.

Why are Black Cars Hard to Keep Clean?

As we’ve mentioned earlier, the color Black tends to add a lot of contrast when dirt or a scratch appears over it. With pollution and other external factors acting against the color, it could get challenging to keep Black cars clean all the time. But we’re helping you with simple techniques that could help you deal with day-to-day challenges.

1. Swirl marks

Swirl marks usually appear as a result of an incorrect washing technique. Follow the steps we mentioned earlier when you wash your car. Also, use a microfiber towel to blot or gently wipe the wet surface.

2. Water Spots

Tap water is filled with tiny contaminants that make it to the car’s surface and appear when the water dries up. They’re not pleasing to look at in any way and are harmful to the car’s paint.

To avoid water spots, be quick enough to dry the car after the wash. Use a leaf blower to speed up the process and finish the drying process before the droplets evaporate on their own.

3. Road Grime, Bugs, and Bird Poop

Road grime and bird poop harden over time and can damage the paint when you try to forcefully peel them off. Moreover, bird poop has acid in it that causes great harm to the car’s clear coat.

Wash the affected area on the car when you encounter these elements. Loosen them with flowing water and gently rub the area. The other best thing to do is to try and take them off as early as possible. This way, you won’t be giving them enough time to harden on the paint.

4. Scratches

Scratch or scratches are nothing but the removal of the clear coat on the surface. When something slides over the paint, the clear coat paint tends to take the initial hit. You may choose to use a scratch remover to fill the gap.

The scratch remover evens out the surface by acting as a filling and stays there. This is a cost-effective way of dealing with swirls and scratches. However, if the scratch is deep and had made it through the paint, then you would need the help of a professional at a body shop.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Black Cars

To speak of the advantages of having a Black car:

  1. A black vehicle is always visually appealing
  2. It tends to shadow design elements of the car that are otherwise not so attractive
  3. Black is more rewarding and satisfying to have when its shine is maintained
  4. Black paint is relatively easier to make for re-painting jobs

The disadvantages of having a Black car are:

  1. Black tends to absorb heat. So during summer, it is hotter inside a Black car
  2. Black cars get dirty easily
  3. They need to be washed and waxed more often compared to other colors

Is It Better to Have a Black or White Car?

To be honest, this really boils down to your taste and preferences. While Black cars demand efforts to maintain their shine, similarly, White cars too have their own challenges when owners try and maintain the bright white look.

Every color has its own set of disadvantages and advantages when it comes to maintenance. However, that shouldn’t discourage you from buying a certain color. We’d say you should go for whatever you find more appealing and most importantly, the color that would add to your overall driving experience.


Do Black cars fade faster?

No. Though the color Black tends to absorb more heat, however, it would fade at the same rate as any other color.

Is the sun bad for Black cars?

In a way, yes. If you live in a hot country, a Black car would get a lot hotter when compared with cars of other colors. More heat inside the car would mean more load on its air conditioning system to keep the temperature low.

Do Black cars get more scratches?

No, scratches don’t occur on the basis of car color. However, the Black color tends to display them prominently as a result of the contrast.

How many times should I wash my Black car?

You may choose to wash your Black car every day or every week. It all depends on how quickly it gets dirty which is in turn dependent on the local pollution levels.


We’ve imparted sufficient tips and tricks that would help keep your Black car clean, shiny, and scratch-free in the most efficient and easy way possible. Many people look at Black cars as a burden to maintain and in turn, choose another color despite Black being their favorite.

We’d suggest that there’s no other color that could look as classy and as elegant as Black. If you’re out in the market for a Black car but are hesitant to buy it after considering the challenges it comes with, following our guide would help you overcome all the stress you have on your mind. And then you can thank us later!

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