It seems as though as soon as you finish washing a car in the Spring, the pollen that you couldn’t see floating by as you washed and dried has started to lay itself down on your smooth, silky, shiny paint. But believe or not, that really isn’t a problem. Sure, pollen gives black cars a nuclear green glow, and white cars look like yellow, but the pollen just laying there isn’t all that bad. The problem comes after you decide how to best remove it. There are a few ways you could do it, but only one guaranteed to not ruin your paint.
Pollen is something you want to remove as often as you can. While there are many forms of pollen, two popular forms around this time of year are flower (like Morning Glorys) pollen and tree (like pine) pollen. Although it is mighty small, a single pollen grain can cling to the various pores of your paint. Once there, it’s the acidity of the grain that can cause damage. The acidity is often activated in pine pollen (for example) when it rains can cause staining and premature oxidation over time. It uses the prongs to hold on tight to bees, mites, and your car’s paint in hopes of doing its job.
Those same prongs are the reasons you should avoid two popular pollen removal techniques: The Wipe and The Rinse.
The Wipe: Wiping seems “okay” at first, but even one swipe on dry paint with no lubricant could start the viral streaks and light scratches that ruin your perfect paint. Think it’s too light to do damage? Maybe, but that Flail look-a-like is just one at a microscopic level. Multiply that one times a lot, add some pressure, and dry paint…now that is a disaster waiting to happen.
The Rinse: Simply “hosing” the car at the house or spraying it off at the car-wash. While you do in fact remove much of the pollen this way and don’t threaten the paint in any way, you do miss the pollen closest to the perfection. Even with hot water and a pressure washer, the pollen is still there, hanging tight. Not only is it not gone, but you have now activated some of its acidic qualities.
What to do?
A good old wash: soapy water, gentle agitation, and dry. The soap will encapsulate the pollen and loosen its grip on the paint. Light agitation will move it out of the pores and leave you with a glossy, scratch free finish. While you may not be able to wash your car every night, when you do take the time you’ll end up with one that allows you to enjoy the warm weather and not hate the scratches in your paint.
Note: If you apply wax or sealant the first time you wash it. You will make the secondary washes much easier and you’ll notice the pollen will not stick to the paint surface nearly as much. Once that happens, simply driving will remove a lot of the pollen because the wind will blow it off since it can’t stick very well.