How to Clean Ash off Your Car? – 8 Easy Steps Everyone Can Do

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to clean ash off your car

Ash falls aren’t just harmful to people and the environment, they can be harmful to vehicles’ paintwork too, aside from being unsightly. That’s why you should clean ashes off your car immediately, as they can damage the paintwork. They must not simply be wiped off though, as they are abrasive.

So the right way to clean them off would be car washing. How to clean ash off your car requires washing with a pressure washer and a pH-neutral car wash soap. If the ashes are too stubborn though, you would need degreaser.

What You Need to Follow This Tutorial


Using the right cleaning products and tools will make the cleaning much more effective and efficient. So prepare the appropriate items for cleaning ashes off a car that are mentioned in this list.

1. Pressure Washer or Garden Hose

The use of a pressure washer would make cleaning off the ashes easier. If you don’t have a pressure washer, a garden hose with a pressure-inducing extension would also work. But if you don’t have the extension either, you can simply place your thumb over the hose’s opening to add pressure.

2. Pressure Washer Extender, Step Ladder, or Stool

If you’re washing a van or SUV, you could use a pressure washer extender, step ladder, or stool to reach the car’s roof when rinsing.

3. pH-Neutral Solution (pH Seven)

Ash has high alkalinity, so when you’re going to wash ash off car, do away with alkaline car wash soaps, as they are not effective in getting rid of alkaline contaminants.

A pH-neutral car wash soap, specifically one with pH seven, would be more effective for the job without causing any damage to the paintwork. You can check a car wash soap’s pH level on its front label or back label.

4. Water

Like for most cleaning solutions, you would need water for diluting.

5. Buckets

You would need two buckets for your solution and for rinsing your wash mitt or towel and scrub brush.

6. Microfiber Towel, Microfiber Wash Mitt, or Sheepskin Wash Mitt

You should use a microfiber towel, microfiber wash mitt, or sheepskin wash mitt for hand washing your car. Do not use a sponge, as its open cells can trap particles, which would then be dragged across the paintwork and cause micro scratches.

7. Scrub Brush for Wheels

A wheel cleaning scrub brush is a long cylindrical brush, which makes it easier to clean the wheels and hubcaps. You should use one that has sturdy bristles to effectively clean off the ashes and grime.

8. Degreaser

If there are thick, stubborn ashes on your car, you would be needing a degreaser to get rid of them.

9. Spray Bottle

If you would be using a degreaser, you would also need a spray bottle for diluting and applying it.

10. Wax

Applying wax would protect your car from future ash falls and other contaminants.

11. Microfiber Wax Applicator

A microfiber applicator would be needed for applying the wax.

Step by Step Instructions


Apart from using the right cleaning products and tools, you must also do the process of washing ash off your car properly to achieve the best results. See how it is done below.

Step 1: Rinse Away the Ashes With a Pressure Washer or Hose Starting From the Roof Going Down

You must thoroughly rinse the car immediately when you see ashes on its exterior so that they won’t cause any damage to the paintwork. Although ashes are not harmful to the paintwork when they are dry, when dew or rain gets them wet, they become caustic and can damage the paintwork.

Rinse the car with a pressure washer starting from the roof going down to the sides of the car, its front, its back, and finally, the wheels.

Working from the top is the ideal way to rinse, because if you rinse from the bottom up or at random, you would have to redo the rinsing if the ashes and dirt re-coat the lower parts of the car when you work on the upper parts later.

Step 2: Prepare Your pH-Neutral Solution

As mentioned earlier, you need a pH-neutral car wash soap to do an effective and thorough cleaning. You may check the instructions on the product label to see how you can prepare it.

It’s important to create suds, as the more suds there are, the more effective the soap is in getting rid of the ashes.

Step 3: Wash the Car With the Solution Starting From the Roof Going Down

Hand wash your car using either a microfiber towel, microfiber wash mitt, or sheepskin wash mitt. Same as how you rinse the car, hand wash your car starting from the roof going down to the lower parts of the car for more efficient cleaning.

Step 4: Clean the Hubcaps With a Wheel Cleaning Scrub Brush

Dip the wheel cleaning scrub brush into the bucket with car wash soap, and use it to scrub the hubcaps and wheels clean. Make sure you get the soap on all visible parts, even the holes of the hubcaps, to ensure that you get rid of all the ashes and grime in all the nooks and crannies.

Step 5: Rinse the Car With a Pressure Washer

Again, start from the roof going down so that you won’t have to do any re-rinsing. Rinse with the pressure washer, holding it up high to work on the roof first. Then move on to the other lower parts of the car.

Step 6: For Thick, Stubborn Ash, Use a Degreaser

First, dilute the degreaser. Prepare a spray bottle and mix the degreaser and water thoroughly by shaking the spray bottle.

Diluting would depend on the degreaser’s strength. Heavy-duty degreasers would typically require a 1 to 10 degreaser to water ratio for diluting.

Spray your car from the top going down. When spraying the windows, don’t spray the solution on them directly, but rather, spray the solution onto a microfiber cloth, and rub the cloth against them. Let the solution sit on the surface for about three to five minutes, then rinse it off.

Step 7: Rinse the Car Once Again

Do one final rinse to remove the stubborn ashes and the degreaser from your car. Remember to work starting from the roof going down.

Step 8: Apply Wax to Protect the Paintwork

After you get ash off car, apply wax onto it using a microfiber applicator, and let the wax sit on the surface according to the product instructions. You can also apply it on the windshield and headlights. Afterwards, buff the surface with a microfiber towel.


These steps on how to clean ash off your car must be done immediately and carefully to avoid causing damages to your vehicle. Now that you know how to do it, why not also share this information to other car owners by hitting the share button. We’d also like to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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