Has the time come to wash your car and you aren’t sure how hot the water should be?
Maybe you have heard people say you should not use hot water and want to know if it is true or not?
Or are you curious and want to know more? No matter what the question is that brought you here, we have the answer for you!
When it comes to cleaning our cars, we all know that we need water to get the dirt or soap off the car. But we start to wonder what temperature the water should be.
We don’t want to do a subpar clean, but we also don’t want to damage our cars either.
And as hot water helps us so much when we are cleaning our home, surely it is the right choice for cleaning our cars?
But then when people say it can be dangerous, we start to doubt ourselves, standing next to our cars with a bucket of water wondering what to do.
Well, wonder no more! Today, we are here with the answers you need.
Just keep reading to find out if it is safe to wash your car with hot water and the right temperature your water should be when cleaning your car.
Table of Contents
Hot Water – Can I Use It On My Car?
Hot water is a tool we all use to clean our homes, but should we use it to clean our cars?
The answer is no, hot water should not be used to clean your car, especially during the winter. Instead, you should opt for warm or cold water when cleaning your car.
There are lots of reasons why it is not safe to use hot water when cleaning your car, so let’s take a quick look at the main reasons now!
- Hot water when used with a pressure wash can destroy the paint on your car, causing rust.
- Hot water breaks up sealants and waxes, leaving the finish of your car unprotected.
- Hot water in the winter might cause your windows to crack. This is because of the temperature difference between your hot water and cold windows that have been outdoors in winter.
- You could burn your skin if you come into contact with boiling hot water, leaving you with burns that might need medical attention.
- Hot water can melt the glue holding on any car stickers, causing them to fall off.
These are just some of the reasons why you should not use hot water to clean your car, truck, RV, motorcycle, or other vehicles.
And looking at these reasons, we bet you will agree that avoiding hot water when cleaning your car is justified!
So what temperature water should you use to clean your car? Well, keep reading to find out the answer!
Why Should I Use Warm Water To Wash My Car?
Ideally, you should always use warm water when cleaning your car.
Warm water is hot enough to lift any dirt from your car quickly, but not too hot that it will damage any protectants or your car paint.
In the words of Goldilocks, warm water is just right!
If you want to get specific, you should use water that is between 100 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit when washing your car.
The water should not be hotter than 140 degrees Fahrenheit, as it could cause some of the damage we listed earlier!
If you take your car to a car wash, you will notice that they all use warm water too. And that is because they will clean your car without damaging it.
The last thing a car cleaning business wants is lots of angry customers with damaged cars, so they use warm water when cleaning your car!
Warm water is also cheaper to use, as there is no need to use more energy to heat the water to boiling.
From a personal and professional point of view, warm water is just easier to use!
What About Cold Water To Clean A Car?
Although warm water is best, there are lots of people that still use cold water when washing their cars.
Part of this reason is that not every garage or household has a water boiler or water system outside that will provide them with access to warm water.
Mobile detailers, for example, aren’t able to implement water systems in their setups, so make do with cold water instead.
And if you have ever had a mobile detailer come to clean and detail your car, you will know that it is still sparkling clean!
So if you don’t have access to warm water, then cold water will work just as well at cleaning your car.
You might just find that you need to spend a little longer breaking down and removing the dirt from your car, as the water won’t have the heat that usually speeds this process up.
Even though we said earlier that ideally, your water should be between 100 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit, you can also clean your car with water that is 50 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter, providing it does not exceed 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you want to accurately check the temperature of your water, you can pick up a thermometer for a few dollars that will tell you instantly just how warm (or cold) your water is!
Can I Use Warm Water Inside Car Wash Buckets?
Yes, you can use warm water inside car wash buckets! Using warm water in car wash buckets can help to improve how effective your car shampoos are.
You can use the three bucket system, filling your buckets with warm water instead of cold.
This warm water will easily lift the dirt from your car, improving the results of your wash!
This is a great method for dirty cars, and it will help save you some time too.
Of course, if you don’t have access to warm water, you can still do this with cold water, it might just take a little longer.
If you do it at an established car wash though, there is a higher chance they will have water heaters on site that will allow you to use warm water.
Just keep in mind that there might be a charge for using this warm water.
Using warm water with the three bucket system is a fantastic way to clean your car in the winter too, especially if you are cleaning your car in sub-zero temperatures.
Not only will it take you less time to clean your car, but the warmth from the warm water should heat your hands, making it easier for you to continue cleaning.
When cleaning your car in the winter, make sure that you wear warm clothes and thick gloves to keep you warm and protected from the elements.
To perform the three bucket system, use cold water for your contactless wash (pre-wash, foam, and rinsing).
Next, use warm water for your contact wash (buckets and wash mitts).
When we tested it, we found it the easiest method. Not only was it quick to do, but you got brilliant results, which when you are standing in the freezing cold, is a huge win!
And there you have it, hot water is not safe to use when cleaning your car.
When you use hot water on your car, you can end up with cracked windows, rust spots, unprotected finishes, and even lose stickers you had on the car!
In our opinion, it isn’t worth risking your car just to use some hot water.
Where possible, use warm water to clean your car, as this is the fastest way to remove dirt from your car and get it sparkling clean.
If you don’t have warm water to hand though, you can use cold water to achieve the same results.
If you are heading to a detailing garage to have your car cleaned, keep an eye out for water boilers, as these will tell you if there is warm water or not on site.
It shouldn’t impact the cleaning of your car too much, but sometimes warm water car washes cost more as the business tries to recoup the money spent on the boiler.
No matter the water you use though, just make sure it isn’t hotter than 140 degrees Fahrenheit and you are good to go!