CAR lovers have been warned to avoid using these damaging products when cleaning their vehicles at home.

The motoring experts at have compiled the worst things Brits commonly use on their paintwork.

Regular cleaning of the car’s shiny outer shell not only keeps it looking tidy, but also prevents dirt and contaminants from causing damage to the exterior.

Car owners are being told to swerve towels and detergents at all costs, instead opting for specialist shampoos and microfiber cloths.

A spokesperson for said: “If the clear coat protecting the body work and paint gets damaged, it exposes metal to all of the outdoor elements.

“Rust, surface bubbles, fading, and discoloration are a strong possibility once rain, snow and mud get in, impacting on the appeal of the car when it comes to reselling and driving with pride.

“Nipping those superficial problems in the bud will help prevent them from becoming much larger issues down the line.”

Avoid these near the car at any cost:

1. Automatic car wash

Although a vehicle might appear spotless after a ride through the automatic car wash, a closer look at the bristles and strips of drying cloth will expose the road grime and scum it has scraped past the bodywork. Whilst they are a quick fix to rid vast amounts of mud and dirt but shouldn’t be used as a regular method of cleaning.

2. Washing up liquid

Despite the detrimental effects of using dish soap on a car being proven time and again, people still us it. The chemicals used to cut through the grease on your dishes can also accelerate oxidation processes, eating into the clear topcoat of a car over time, causing premature corrosion and colour fading. Paint jobs can be costly to sort, so a sensible solution would be picking up some specialist shampoo for the vehicle.

3. Towels, flannels or sponges

Not only will the have detergent residue on, but the rough-seamed edges on normal towels can inflict some serious damage to the top layer of paint. The way towels are woven, and the way sponges are formed, allow them to hold deeply ingrained dirt. This grit could cause fine scratches on the surface of a car when drying or cleaning. Microfiber cloths are a much better alternative.

4. The same cloth twice

The microfiber cloth will save the car from being scratched in the beginning, but by the second or third use it will be coated in dirt from the last clean. In the same breath, if the mitt or cloth drops on the ground, it will become covered in tiny granules of grit. Either wash the cloth thoroughly in specialist car safe detergent or opt for single use cloths.

5. A jet wash or powerful hose

A pressurised jet will blast the car and remove dirt quickly, but it can also work its way under any exposed edges of paint and force further damage. The rubber seals on a cars window and doors is only designed to keep rain and puddles away, not for water blasted at pressure. To avoid peeling paint work and damp interiors, switch out the powerful jet for a trickling hose.