Washing the car

Hi, I washed my car with fairy liquid and I am now worried I didn’t get it all off, what damage can it do if any? Please help im so worried

A dish washng soap is a grease cutter and is not usually recomended but; I would just give it another wash with a car soap and warm water and a good rinse. Maybe, run it through a powered touch less car wash.

What the heck is fairy liquid ?

Dish soap is harsh. Always use car washing soap. It will not kill the paint using it once, but I would not keep doing it.

Will it be OK if left for a couple of days or should I do it tomorrow if I can?

I’m sure there’s still some washing liquid on it, will it just take wax off or damage the paint as well? my worry is the paint is going to come off will that happen?

“What the heck is fairy liquid ?”

Haven’t you ever been to The UK?
Fairy is the most popular bar soap in The UK, and Fairy Liquid is the most popular dish detergent. This is a P&G product, IIRC.

All of that being said, while I don’t believe that this dish detergent will strip the paint from the OP’s car, it has surely removed every last vestige of wax protection. My advice is to rinse the car with plain water a.s.a.p., and then to resolve never again to use a household cleaning product on your car’s paint.

If you wouldn’t use a car wash detergent on your dishes, why would you use a dish detergent on your car?

Thanks VDC , I thought it had something to do with Peter Pan.

I would say rinse it well before it gets dirty again and then apply a good coat of wax. If you are in Britain, you can rely on the rain to rinse it off, here in California, we are out of luck.

@VolvoV70. Well, the author of Peter Pan was J M Barrie a Scottsman. Is that close enough to UK ?

If you didn’t get it all off, I don’t think it’ll hurt your paint, but it might leave spots that are very hard to remove. If that happens, a clay bar will probably be your best choice for that.

As already mentioned, dish soap usually removes wax, so you’ll want to get another coat of wax on it soon.

Scotland is part of the UK, they just voted on it. I have never been to the UK. The republic of Ireland is as close as I got.

I have been using dish soap to wash my Dodge Stratus for fifteen years, I am expecting the negative effects to show in the next ten years. It is a cheap car and I have never been obsessed with waxing and polishing it but it looks better than most other twenty year old cars here in the desert.

This is an old discussion about washing and waxing;


To Quote SteveF:

Dish soap is too harsh for washing cars?? Nonsense! Just another silly myth. Car paints and clear coats are quite impervious to liquid dish soap.

Yes, I’m a chemist.

Read up on dish soap used as a car wash and you will be told it dissolves natural oils and waxes. True. But who waxes with carnauba these days? Who wants to rewax every month?

Modern car waxes use synthetic materials. When applied and dried they polymerize. That means your paint is encased in a thin film of plastic. Plastic is not fazed by Dawn, Ivory, etc., as millions of car-washing folks already know.

I don’t know if Steve really is a chemist but I don’t fear that my paint is going to peel from using dish soap.

I don’t usually wash the 20+ year old Corolla with soap, just rinse it off with the hose, then wipe the water off with a towel to avoid spotting. But when it gets really dirty I’ve used warm water and diluted liquid dish soap, Ajax-Orange usually, and never had any problem. I wax twice a year too with an easy to apply and remove wax. The finish remains in pretty good shape.

OP, just rinse what’s left of the soap off. Unlikely any damage has been done.

Thanks VDC , I thought it had something to do with Peter Pan.

I was thinking something different…but we won’t go there.

I dunno, I’ve never waxed a car in my life (10 cars, 50 years) and I don’t think I lost a dime at trade time, because they are usually 10 years old at that time and sold for auction.

A simple rinse with water would take off the soap - didn’t you do this?

Dish soap takes a ton of water to fully wash off. It’s not low-sudsing like car wash soap.

I dunno, I've never waxed a car in my life (10 cars, 50 years) and I don't think I lost a dime at trade time, because they are usually 10 years old at that time and sold for auction.

You must live in the South.

Dish soap rinses clean pretty easily, otherwise food would taste like soap!