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Soft Cloth vs Touchless Car Wash – Which One’s Best?

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Picking the right kind of car wash near you can be confusing at times. Is a soft-cloth wash always better than the touchless car wash method? We’ve got all the answers right here – read on to find out more!

This blog has been updated on May 24, 2021.

Soft Cloth vs Touchless Car Wash – Which One’s Best?

Get in The Know

We’d highly recommend a thorough understanding, comparison and contrast of the various car cleaning methods available before you shell out money for a car wash. In this blog post, we’re taking a look at the differences between soft cloth car washes and touchless car washes. Understanding the basic differences between the two can go a long way in helping determine if it’s the right choice for your vehicle. This will help you narrow down your choices easier when you type in ‘car washes near me‘ into your phone’s search bar.

Differentiating the Two

A soft cloth car wash uses employs the use of a dedicated washcloth that allows for physical contact with the car’s exterior. The soft cloth method is great for getting rid of dry dirt and grime that has accumulated on your car’s surface. On the contrary, washcloths or brushes are not used in the touchless car wash method. Instead, high-powered jets of pressurized water (often mixed with specialized detergents) are used to clean grime and dirt from the surface of your vehicle.


Soft Cloth Car Washes vs Touchless Car Washes

For your car’s windshield

Your vehicle’s windshield attracts a lot of gravel, grime, and road salt – particularly during the winter months. Even in warmer conditions, thin layers of dust can obscure your vision while out on the road. Wiper fluid is a great way to keep the windshield clean, but it’s a fact that wipers can only do so much. The wipers neglect the windshield’s upper areas where dirt stains are left behind as it’s beyond the wipers’ arc reach. A soft cloth car wash is your best bet in this scenario. This is because gentle, controlled friction and foam are highly efficient at removing debris and grime from the surface of your car’s windshield.

For the underside of the vehicle

Run-of-the-mill automatic car washes (this includes touchless car washes) tend to not be efficient at cleaning the hard-to-reach places on your car’s exterior and underside. The license plate is a typical spot that automatic car washes tend to ignore. Opting for a soft cloth car wash, in this case, ensures that all areas of your car are covered during the cleaning process.

Soft Cloth vs Touchless Car Wash – Which One’s Best?

For smudges on your door panels

Sticky fingerprints on your car’s door panels can be hard to get off. Often times the pressurized water jets of a touchless car wash, don’t quite cut it. Combining food, sweat, and finger grease will also produce hard-to-shift imprints on your car’s exterior paintwork. Soft cloth car washes make quick work of this problem.

For tree sap stains on your car

Tree sap is essentially a solution of water and minerals and can be quite resilient to traditional washing techniques. You’re likely to end up getting sap all over your vehicle if you park under one and that’s not going to look good on your car. What’s more, after tree sap hardens, it is close to impossible to clean, creating issues with car paint if you don’t wipe it off as quickly as possible. In this case, when it comes to comparing a soft cloth car wash versus a touchless car wash when you want to remove tree sap stains, the former is much more effective.


For bird droppings on your car

Bird droppings can be corrosive and can discolor your paintwork in no time – it’s imperative that they be removed carefully. Friction from soft fabrics like in a soft cloth car wash is better at extracting bird droppings from the car’s exterior than a touchless car wash when put to the test. The soft cloth car washes typically use micro-fiber cloth strips that make easy work of challenging stains, such as bird droppings.

For removing bug splats on your car

Windshield wipers can easily smear dead bugs, making an already ugly situation worse. Touchless car washes often use chemical agents to help remove bug splats and organic debris easily. Soft cloth car washes, on the other hand, thanks to the strong friction of the cleaning cloths and the foam created in the cleaning process is quite efficient in eliminating bug splats from the windshield, hood, and roof of the car.


Should I choose a touchless car wash or a soft-cloth wash?

Some people claim that an automatic car wash could affect your car’s paint – is that necessarily true, however? Not really! The softer cloths used for soft-cloth car washes make for gentler scrubbing of painted surfaces, we agree but provided the brushes being used in an automated car wash are intact and grime-free, you end up getting the same results.

Websites and apps like Way.com offer professional and top-rated car wash services at great prices. What’s more, the whole family can get in on the sudsy action thanks to Way.com’s Carwash Voucher and Family Car Wash Pass that can be used on multiple (that’s right, multiple) vehicles!

Soft Cloth vs Touchless Car Wash – Which One’s Best?

Read our blogs for information on the best airport parking and hourly parking spots near you and the most affordable insurance for your car. 


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