Why Are Black Cars So Hard To Wash and Keep Clean?

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black car is dirty, angry owner, illustration

While I’m a big fan of black cars, I have to be objective and say that there is one bad thing about black cars: they’re extremely hard to keep clean. In this post, I’ll show you all the reasons for that, but also share some tips for you on how to keep black cars clean.

Key Takeaways:

  • Black cars are harder to clean mostly because the color is so contrasty, and everything else (dust, dirt, mud, water spots, etc.) is lighter than black, so it’s always easily seenable.
  • As an owner of a black car, you should get used to it and not stress about it.
  • Using paint protectants and quick detailers is much more important if you have a black car that you want to keep clean all the time.

8 Reasons Why Black Cars Are Hard To Keep Clean

Here, I’m bringing you the most common reasons why black cars are hard to keep clean and shiny.


black peugeot 308
My Black Peugeot 308 SW (A bit awful because of the winter wheels hehe)

Contrast is probably the biggest problem of the black-painted car. Most of the dirt, swirls, and scratches reflect a sort of white color. 

As you may know, the white color is 100% in contrast to the black. That’s the reason why we notice every little scratch or dirt on the black car.

This is probably the number one problem with black cars, and most of the things below I’m going to mention will be related to the contrast of the black color.

Black Color Absorbs The Heat Faster

Leave a white and a black car in the sun for 3 hours. Which one will be hotter inside? 

Black one, of course. It’s because of the heat absorption of the black color. It just attracts the sun and will heat up pretty quickly. 

Drying Problem

The black color is also drying much faster because of that heat absorption. When washing the car, letting it dry naturally is the worst thing if we own a black car.

Hundreds of water spots will appear on the paint. Water spots are white, and the white is the opposite of the blackAs you know, the simplest thing to notice is a contrast color. You have to be blindfolded not to see some water spots on a black car.

That’s why you should be very quick and dry black cars as soon as you wash them. And don’t forget to use high-quality microfiber drying towels. Otherwise, you’ll scratch the paint, which is another con of black cars (check below).

Swirls and Scratches

All the swirls and scratches reflect greatly on black cars, especially when the car is in direct sunlight.

You might not believe it, but touching the car with sweaty fingers will leave scratches for the rest of the car’s life unless you polish it, of course.

You don’t have to scratch your car to have little scratches. Washing it the wrong way is enough to make scratches. For instance, go to an automatic car wash only once, and your car will be covered in swirl marks and light scratches.


black car on the rain

Recently, I just washed my Peugeot. Just a few minutes after I washed it, the rain started. Even though it wasn’t really raining, only a few drops and my car was dirty again.

Mostly, summer rains leave a brownish color on the car because of all the dirt (dust particles, etc.) that comes with the rain.

Even if the rain is “clean” and doesn’t come with the dust trapped inside the water, roads will become very dirty. The final result is the same – dirty car again.


Under the dirt category, I would put every kind of dirt you can imagine. Dust, bird droppings, bee feces, and other specks of dirt are some of the worst things when it comes to black cars.

What’s the point?

  1. They are easily noticeable on the black car because of the contrast I mentioned earlier.
  2. They stick to the black car very much, so it’s harder to wash it. This happens because of the heating absorption black color has.


Most chemicals leave some marks on the car paint. Especially the ones for car interior cleaning. 

Those chemicals will leave marks on every car, but they won’t be as noticeable as on the black car.

So, you always have to be careful not to spray any chemicals on your black-painted car in order to wash it properly and keep it clean. Of course, we’re not speaking about chemicals for exterior cleaning (shampoos, waxes, compounds, foams, quick detailers, etc.).

Hard To Get Shiny Look

A shiny look is something we all want to achieve when washing the car. With the black car, it’s hard to achieve that mirror effect.

Without claying, polishing, and waxing the black car, you’ll never be able to accomplish a deep gloss and shine.  

Today, I did a quick wash of my friend’s black BMW. It was pretty much clean but not as shiny as I wanted it to be. Even though he was more than happy, I knew I could get better results by claying and waxing it. 

He didn’t want that, so I couldn’t do anything about it. I just want you not to be disappointed with the look of the car just after you washed it. 

It’s never going to be perfect with just a basic wash. That’s a thing that black car owners have to live with. Unless you’re going to apply car wax to the car, which will give it a fantastic deep gloss and shine, if you’d like to do that, make sure to check out the best car waxes on the market.

How To Keep a Black Car Clean – 5 Simple Tips

Here are a few tips that helped me to keep my black car clean for longer, and I’m sure those will work for you as well.

  • Do quick washes every week. I usually recommend washing cars every two weeks, but for owners of black cars, I suggest that you do a quick wash every week. You can just go to the self-service car wash and quickly spray the car to remove that dirt and dust sitting on a car. It’ll take only 10 minutes, and your car will look much better.
  • Learn how to wash a car properly. With black cars, you have to be much more careful, which is another reason to learn proper ways of washing cars without scratching the paint. I have a guide on washing black cars, so check that out.
  • Start using paint protectants. If you still don’t use waxes, sealants, or ceramic coatings on your car, you should do it ASAP. Paint protectants increase the shine of your car, protect it from harmful external factors, and make it easier to clean. For best protection, I suggest using any of the best ceramic coatings.
  • Start utilizing quick detailers. Quick detailers are great for removing light dust from a car and increasing its shine. I use them on my silver car, and using them on black cars is even more important if you want them to be shiny all the time.
  • Consider doing paint correction. If your black car just can’t look shiny and clean, you might want to polish it to remove all those scratches and oxidation from the paint so the car can look like new again. I wrote a guide on how to polish a car, so check that out.

Final Advice – Get Used To It

The best thing to do if you have a black car is to accept the fact that it won’t be easy to wash and maintain it.

Washing the car more often and buying some extra products are obligatory if you want to keep it clean. Also, you’ll have to learn some extra skills to wash it properly in order to get the best results.

My current car is silver, and it’s ten times easier to keep clean, and it sometimes looks shiny, even if it’s slightly dirty. But I’m pretty sure that my next car will be black again. I just adore that color, and I believe most of you share my opinion as well.

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