How to Wash a Black Car

Black is the best color for almost any car. It looks sleek and fast with a tremendous shine. When your car’s paint is new, it looks great. Over time, black cars tend to look less shiny and you might be surprised by the reason. It’s because most people wash their car wrong. Improper washing techniques leave swirl marks in the paint that make it look dull. Avoiding swirl marks is easy when you know the right way to wash your black car.

Products You’ll Need for Washing Black Cars

First and foremost, you need high-quality wash mitts. We recommend buying several wash mitts. Some of our favorites for washing black cars are these wash mitts from Chemical Guys. They are made from chenille microfiber for scratch-free washing. They are also available in different colors which we like for using the multiple-mitt wash method we’ll describe below. We sometimes use as many as eight mitts to wash one car.

Get several medium-size buckets. If you get too large of a bucket, it becomes cumbersome to move around. Too small and you won’t have enough water and soap for the process. You don’t need to spend a lot on a bucket. You can usually get a five-gallon bucket at a home-improvement store for around $5.

A foam sprayer will benefit you because it reduces the physical contact you must make when washing the car. We like this one for connecting to a regular garden hose, while this one is our favorite when using a pressure washer. You should never wash your car directly with a pressure washer on full blast. A pressure washer can strip the paint off your car.

Don’t forget to pick up drying towels. Again, you’ll want to use the softest materials possible. Never use a bath towel or a cotton towel to dry a black car because it can scratch the paint. We like these microfiber drying towels from SoLiD as an affordable option, while our overall favorite product is the Woolly Mammoth drying towel from Chemical Guys.

A water blade will speed up drying time which is critical when washing a black car. Water spots are the enemy of black paint, so you’ll want to get the water off as quickly as possible. We like this design from High Tech Industries because it provides an excellent shape and size for getting water off of your car comfortably.

Our Favorite Way to Wash a Black Car

This method of washing black cars was developed while working for a chauffeured limousine service. Washing 15 black limos every day requires a perfect process that leaves the car looking its best. The method is known as the multiple mitt method.

What is the Multiple Mitt Method?

You are probably familiar with the two-bucket method. This process builds on the two bucket method to make sure that no scratches or swirl marks happen. The method is pretty straight-forward: you use a mitt to wash a section of the car but never put it back into the soap bucket. That way, the soap bucket stays clean the entire time.

How to Use the Multiple Mitt Method to Wash Your Car

Don’t ever try to wash a black car in the sun. The deeper the shade, the better. Also, try to avoid washing the car on hot days when the water will evaporate quickly. If possible, you should wash the car inside a garage.

Start by spraying the surface of the car with cool water until the entire surface is wet. Then, attach your foam spray gun and apply foam to the car. Foam is best because the bubbles lift the dirt from the surface of the car without you having to scrub the paint. Once the car is coated in foam, you’ll fill a bucket with clean water and add car soap. Don’t use dish liquid to wash your car, particularly black cars. It can give the paint a weird rainbow finish.

Select a clean wash mitt and immerse it in the soap bucket. Begin at the top of the car working back and forth. Don’t go in circular motions because that can cause swirls. Switch to a fresh mitt when you move to a new section of the car. As soon as the car has been fully washed with the mitts, use a stream of cool water to rinse the soap from the paint.

Use the water blade to quickly remove as much water as possible, then quickly switch to the microfiber towel. Don’t forget to dry the areas around doors and windows and the bottoms of mirrors that tend to drip and leave marks.


Washing your black car this way will keep it looking great for years. We recommend using a high-quality wax at least once per year and regularly treating the paint with a detailing spray to keep the car looking great. Our favorite wax for black cars is the Meguiar’s Paste Wax and we like to supplement the shine using Meguiar’s Detailing Spray.

Washing a black car the right way is a little more of a challenge than other colors but using the multiple mitt method will keep your paint in great shape.