How to clean desert dust off your car

Porsche Macan dust
3 Apr, 2014 10:05am Steve Walker

The Sahara desert dust deluge has left thousands of UK cars looking distinctly grimy. Here’s how to clean yours

Motorists in many parts of the UK have a pressing appointment with the old sponge and bucket this weekend – and have Saharan desert dust to thank for the inconvenience.  

The prevailing climatic conditions in recent days have picked up significant quantities of fine dust fresh from the Sahara Desert in North Africa and dumped it on the cars of Southern England, the Midlands and East Anglia.   

The desert dust isn’t going to clean itself and as always, there’s a right way and a wrong way to get it off.

Saharan desert dust: how to get it off your car

Our Auto Express car care experts recommend a thorough rinse with cold water to remove any larger grains of dust that could scratch your car’s paintwork. From there, it’s a simple case of applying a good quality car shampoo such as those rated in our 2014 Best Car Shampoo group test.

Ordinary household detergent can harm car paintwork so investing in a good car shampoo is a must. Together with a quality sponge or car-cleaning mitt, plenty of clean water, and maybe even a wheel brush, this should be enough to eradicate the offending film of desert dust from your vehicle. 

Desert dust levels in the air are expected to peak ahead of the weekend, along with the current high levels of air pollution caused by same light south-easterly winds that have brought the dust up from the Sahara. 

That means the car washes of southern and central England are likely to be thronging with dust-caked cars come Saturday morning. Breaking out the bucket and sponge for a bit of DIY car care could well be the best option. 

Has your car fallen victim to the Saharan desert dust onslaught? How dusty did it get? Share a picture with us on Twitter or Facebook or tell us about it in the comments section below. Visit our Car Accessories section for more car cleaning tips from the Auto Express experts.

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Two bucket method. Otherwise you're leaving sand particles on your sponge and dragging them across the lacquer.

Water rinse, snow foam, then rinse again. No need to wipe, so preventing paint damage

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