Common Mistakes Your Making While Cleaning Your Aircraft or Car

Updated: Aug 21, 2019

The next time you're cleaning your aircraft or car, you could be making some costly mistakes which could potentially be ruining your paint and windows. Below are just some of the common mistakes you could be making that are easy to avoid.

Mistake #1

Using the bucket wash method, for decades, people have been washing their vehicles the traditional way with a bucket and sponge. This method is detrimental to your paint and will create swirls, scratches and holograms. This will occur after you put your sponge back into your bucket, automatically contaminating it. Therefore you're now cleaning your vehicle with water that has dirt, mud, grit and animal droppings in it. People have attempted to come up with strategies to overcome this problem, just a couple of common examples would be the two bucket wash method and grit guards. However, neither of these methods mitigate the problem but only lessen the impact.

The traditional method of cleaning your car

Mistake #2

Cleaning your windows with household window cleaning products (e.g. Windex), though you can use Windex on regular windows and mirrors, you shouldn't use it on your car's glass. Not only does ammonia leave streaks on auto glass (which creates glares while you drive or fly), but it also can ruin the glass if it's tinted. Don't make this mistake, ONLY use a windscreen cleaner that is suitable to be used on cars.

Mistake #3

Not cleaning your car from top to bottom, if you don’t wash your vehicle from the top and then to work your way down the vehicle, you will introduce even more dirt into your wash mitt and create more paint damage. The reason you need to do this is that the lower parts of your car or aircraft are subject to more dirt and grime as they are closer to the ground and will inherently be dirtier.

Mistake #4

Using dish soaps, not many aircraft owners and operators enjoy cleaning the underside of their aircraft since these areas are generally full of grease, oils and dirt as a result of many takeoffs, landings, and taxing events. However, to remove the built-up mess on an aircraft's belly usually only takes a suitable cleaning agent and some elbow grease to remove. Although ideally suited for degreasing last night's pan, these finely scented products make for poor overall degreasers that can leave behind filmy and soapy residues. Also, many of these products now carry anti-bacterial agents, and perfumes meaning they need to be left where they belong, under the kitchen sink and not on an aircraft.


If you have any questions about this article or want to discuss proper cleaning maintenance for your aircraft, contact me at

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