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Bleach in wash water

I live in the humid south where mildew and mold can quickly take over anything. My car is white; it doesn’t get cleaned often enough; there is a little mildew (I think) on the roof where there are grooves. Is it safe to add bleach to my soapy water to wash the car? Will it harm the rubber parts around the windows and doors?

The only thing you should put in your car wash bucket is…water! No soap, bleach, shampoo, conditioner, etc. After washing your car you can put a cap full of car wash in the bucket to wash your tires and wheels. The reason you wax your car is to keep dirt (and mildew) off the paint. If you wash with soap (or bleach) you are stripping off the wax. Twice a year, I use a clay bar then wax it.

Are you properly drying your car after you wash it? Mildew needs moisture to grow – make sure it’s dried soon after it’s washed. You said you are not cleaning it often enough – do it every week and see if the mildew goes away.


Bleach will likely damage the rubber if it is left long enough; possibly the paint, too. If you rinse it off quickly enough it will not be a problem. So, just this once you can do it. Don’t use bleach full strength. Cut it to 5% percent before you wet the car.

One ounce of household bleach in a pail of wash water will not hurt anything…If you WAX your car, you will not have these problems…

Only water? No soap? You probably don’t use a brush either! (I heard you gasp.)

No, I don’t dry it after washing. it’s parked outside, no shelter. I can give a more excuses but I won’t take your time.

I appreciate your input. Really. Thanks.

Yeah, yeah. I get the point. If I keep my car CLEAN all the time, and WAXED all the time…

I was hoping for a magic bullet, but thanks for the input. I really do appreciate it.

Yes, that’s what I am concerned about. The bleach might dry out the rubber, making it crack, creating leaks, and on and on. I think rather than bleach, I need to use elbow grease, darn.

I appreciate your comments. Thanks.

Do you have a touch-free automatic car wash nearby? The combination of fairly alkaline detergent and high-pressure water might do a pretty good job on the mildew. I’d definitely try this before experimenting with bleach.

Use soap (car wash soap please), it is worth it. Not only will it reduce the amount of grease and grime that is attached to your hopefully waxed car, which is difficult to do without the actual soap properties of soap, but it will lift more of the dirt into the sponge (microfibre or similar mitt prefered) instead of grinding it through your wax into your paint. Most auto soaps don’t remove wax as described by twotone. However, if you want to remove everything to get down to paint for polishing and waxing, a little bit of dish soap might not be a bad way to go. Don’t use bleach is basically the message you should take from this. If you are worried about door seals, put a little aerospace 303 protectant on them, they should last forever.

Or just go to an auto wash and deal with the scratches etc that come with it, you seem not to care about it all that much…