Matte Car Paint Care: Essential Washing and Protection Techniques

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detailing matte car paint

Cleaning, maintaining, and detailing matte car paint is slightly different than metallic ones, and because of that, I decided to write a matte car paint care guide that you can implement in your car wash routine.

Key Takeaways:

  • Matte car paint should be cleaned and washed with as little touching as possible because it’s prone to scratches.
  • Always pre-wash matte car paints with a degreaser or a snow foam, and then continue with a hand wash.
  • An air compressor or pet hair dryer is the best way to dry matte cars. That way you’ll avoid unnecessary contact with the paint.
  • To protect matte car paint, dedicated ceramic coatings are the best choice.

How To Wash and Protect Matte Paint Cars

mercedes in matte finish

Before we dive into the exact steps, let’s see what you’ll need:

  • High-pressure washer
  • Snow foam
  • Microfiber cloths: wash mitt, drying towel, applicator pad
  • Car wash buckets and shampoo
  • Wheel cleaner, tire dressing, wheel protectant
  • Matte car protective coating
  • Pet hair dryer or an air compressor (optional)

1. Treat Tough Stains and Marks

Matte car finishes are prone to attract stubborn stains. Start by applying a car paint degreaser to these spots. Let it sit for a few minutes to break down the stains. This pre-treatment is essential before washing your car.

After the degreaser has set, rinse it off with a pressure washer. However, keep the pressure moderate — around 1200 PSI is optimal for matte car paint finishes. This initial step loosens stains, preparing them for removal in subsequent cleaning stages.

2. Spray Snow Foam and Rinse The Car Again

Now, focus on the finer dirt particles with snow foam. This step is vital for its ability to loosen and lift dirt, dust, and contaminants from your car’s matte finish.

Generously coat your car with snow foam and let it sit for about 4-5 minutes. This allows the foam to penetrate and soften the remaining dirt. Following this, rinse your vehicle thoroughly to remove all traces of the foam.

This ensures a deep clean and sets the stage for scratch-free detailing in the next steps.

3. Hand Wash The Car

Begin by cleaning the wheels. It’s crucial to do this before washing the car’s body to prevent dirt from the wheels transferring onto the car.

Next, focus on the car’s body. You’ll need two buckets: one with clean water and the other with a mix of water and a high-quality car wash soap, like Dr. Beasley's Matte Body Wash Shampoo. Soak a microfiber wash mitt in the soapy water and start washing from the top, moving downwards, using straight lines and gentle pressure to avoid scratches and swirl marks on the matte finish.

Remember to rinse the mitt in clean water after each panel to remove dirt before re-soaking it in soapy water. Once you’ve washed the entire car, give it a thorough rinse. This leaves your car spotlessly clean and prepped for the next steps.

Related: How To Wash a Car at Home

4. Dry Your Matte Car

After washing, drying your car correctly is key, especially for a matte finish. Unlike glossy finishes, matte requires a gentler approach to avoid marks or scratches.

While microfiber drying towels are a good option, consider using a pet hair dryer or an air compressor for a touchless drying method. These tools effectively dry your car while minimizing contact with the paint.

If you choose to use a microfiber towel, select one with ultra-soft fibers to prevent damage to the matte finish. A high-quality towel can provide safe and effective drying, maintaining the integrity of your car’s unique paintwork.

5. Apply Protection For Paint, Wheels, and Tires

Dr. Beasley's Matte Paint Coating - Ceramic Protects Matte & Satin from Staines, Dirt, Contaminants,...
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With your car dry, it’s crucial to protect the matte finish. I recommend Dr. Beasley’s Matte Paint Coating, specially formulated for matte surfaces. Apply it using an applicator pad and buff it with a microfiber cloth, following the instructions on the bottle for optimal results.

Next, focus on the wheels. A ceramic coating will add an extra layer of protection. For detailed guidance, refer to my comprehensive guide on ceramic coatings for wheels. And after that, apply tire dressing and clean the windows, and you’re done.

Is Matte Car Paint Hard To Wash?

As we’ve explored in the steps above, washing a car with matte paint is not as complicated as it might seem. In fact, the process isn’t much different from washing a car with a typical glossy finish.

The main difference lies in the extra care and specific methods employed to preserve the unique look and feel of matte paint.

So, to answer the question, washing matte cars isn’t inherently harder. The key is to be extra cautious to avoid scratching or marring this special paint finish.


Can you pressure wash matte car paint?

Yes, you can use a pressure washer on matte car paint. However, it’s advised to keep the PSI below 1500, ideally around 1200, to prevent any potential damage to the finish.

Does matte car paint require special cleaning?

Yes, matte car paint requires different washing techniques. This includes using a degreaser to remove tough stains and being extremely careful during contact washing to avoid scratching the paint.

What happens if you wax a matte car?

Wax should not be used on matte cars. It can fill the tiny bumps on the matte surface and add an unwanted gloss to the finish, which can ruin its unique look.

Is matte paint hard to maintain?

Maintaining matte paint is not hard if you use proper techniques. Regularly applying paint protectants and frequent pressure washing can help preserve the finish. Quick detailers are also useful for immediate dirt removal.

What are the best paint protectants for matte cars?

The best protectants for matte car paints are sealants or ceramic coatings that have been specifically created for matte finishes. Dr. Beasley’s Matte Coating is one of the best products out there.

How to keep matte car paint from fading?

To prevent matte car paint from fading, regularly apply a paint sealant or ceramic coating. These will block damaging UV rays and help maintain the paint’s integrity.

Final Words

Maintaining the pristine condition of your matte car paint requires a blend of gentleness and quality. Ensuring that you’re as gentle as possible during the washing and protection processes is crucial. Similarly, choosing high-quality products is a non-negotiable aspect of caring for your matte paint finish.

While these requirements may seem a bit daunting initially, with time and practice, you’ll find them easily achievable. By following these guidelines, you can keep your matte car looking as stunning as the day you bought it for years to come.

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