All Reasons Why Plasti-Dipped Cars And Car Washes Are A No-Go

Plasti-Dip is a specialty coating for cars that, when properly applied, lasts up to three years.

The coating utilizes non-slip rubber, so many car owners wonder if it’s safe to take Plasti-Dipped cars through automatic car washes.

Quick Answer

You can take a Plasti-Dipped car through an automatic touch or touchless car wash earliest two weeks after the initial coating application. However, hand washing is the best option, as it provides a more thorough clean and reduces the risk of damaging the Plasti-Dip coating.

In this article, I’ll discuss the safety of taking a Plasti-Dipped vehicle through an automatic touch or touchless car wash.

Additionally, I’ll touch on the safety of washing a Plasti-Dipped vehicle using a pressure washer and the best method for cleaning your coated car.

Read on to learn more.

Can You Go Through A Car Wash With Plasti-Dip?

In an automatic touch car wash, water sprays onto the vehicle’s exterior, and large brushes rotate along the vehicle’s body to scrub the surface.

Due to the abrasiveness of these rotary brushes, many people believe that the force is too rough for a Plasti-Dipped vehicle.

However, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Quick Answer

You can go through an automatic car wash with Plasti-Dip as long as the dip completely cures beforehand (usually two weeks post-application). Many car owners with Plasti-Dip vehicles claim that the automatic rotary brushes in car washes have little effect on the rubber coating.

It’s unlikely to damage a Plasti-Dip coating by running the vehicle through an automatic touch car wash.

Several YouTube channels put Plasti-Dip to the test, and none of the vehicles in the videos experienced any cosmetic defects as a result of the automatic car wash.

Even though the durability of Plasti-Dip is hardly contested, many car owners still prefer the thoroughness of washing a vehicle by hand.

This provides a more detailed cleaning and reduces the likelihood of damage to the Plasti-Dip.

Does Plasti-Dip Come Off With A Pressure Washer?

Quick Answer

Plasti-Dip doesn’t come off with a pressure washer if properly applied and cured. Improper application or curing of Plasti-Dip may cause lifting or peeling along the edges when exposed to high pressure. This is why it’s essential to choose a trusted, reputable body shop to apply the coating.

As a testament to the durability of a properly Plasti-Dipped vehicle, YouTubers have created various videos of themselves utilizing pressure washers on their Plasti-Dip coated cars.

Spending Jar, a YouTube channel, recorded the outcome of a Plasti-Dipped car washed with a pressure washer:

In the video, the coating remains intact with no noticeable lifting, peeling, or tearing of the Plasti-Dip.

Another YouTube channel, New Touch Auto, features a video washing a Plasti-Dipped vehicle with a pressure washer and taking it through an automatic touch car wash immediately after:

Again, there were no noticeable problems with the coating after either method of washing the car.

Judging by these videos, it’s safe to say that it’s safe to use a pressure washer on a properly dipped vehicle.

With that said, there are some precautions that you should take when using a pressure washer on Plasti-Dipped cars:

  • Use a soap designed for Plasti-Dip. Cars with a Plasti-Dip coating should use a dip-safe soap. Most car wash soaps are safe options, including glass cleaner. Avoid products that require buffing, as you cannot buff the surface of a Plasti-Dipped car. Sites including Dip Your Car and Paisley Products offer dip-specific soaps.
  • Do not get too close with the pressure washer. Getting too close with the pressure washer increases the pressure, which may cause the Plasti-Dip to lift or peel.
  • Avoid using harsh cleaners. Never use products containing solvents, thinners, or gasoline. Wheel cleaners and degreasers often contain harsh chemicals that could degrade the coating.

When Can I Wash My Car After Plasti-Dip?

Immediately after applying Plasti-Dip to a vehicle, it must sit for at least one hour (up to four hours) to completely dry.

During this initial stage, it’s imperative that you protect the coating from debris and moisture.

Do not drive the vehicle during this time. Exposure to debris may cause small indentations, holes, tears, and cracks.

Moisture exposure before the Plasti-Dip dries can lead to lifting and peeling.

Once the Plasti-Dip dries, it takes at least 24 hours to cure.

Most body shops recommend allowing one to two weeks to ensure the coating fully cures.

Do not rush the curing process, or you’ll see poor results.

Quick Answer

You can wash a Plasti-Dipped car after one to two weeks (after the coating has fully dried and cured). At this point, it’s safe to wash the car by hand, with a pressure washer, or in an automatic touch or touchless car wash. If the Plasti-Dip was properly applied, these methods won’t affect the coating.

However, you may want to determine what type of soap the automatic car washes use to ensure that it won’t damage the coating.

Most regular car soaps are safe, but degreasers and wheel cleaners tend to be too harsh and abrasive for Plasti-Dip.

How To Wash A Plasti-Dipped Car

As I’ve discussed above, Plasti-Dipped vehicles typically remain unaffected by automatic car washes and pressure washers.

However, I still highly recommend washing Plasti-Dipped vehicles by hand to achieve the best results.

Not only does hand-washing ensure a thorough clean, but it allows you to choose all of the products and prevents any risk of damaging the coating.

Below, I’ll cover the steps to hand-washing a Plasti-Dipped car.

Afterward, I’ll touch on some additional information regarding automatic car washes:

Hand Washing A Plasti-Dipped Car

According to Plymouth State University, the two-bucket method provides the best results when washing a vehicle.

For a Plasti-Dipped vehicle, I recommend washing with a sponge, shimmy rag, or microfiber cloth.

These materials are not rough on the surface of the Plasti-Dip. For drying, a shimmy rag is best.

Here’s how to hand wash and dry a Plasti-Dipped car using the two-bucket method.

  • Fill one bucket with a soap solution. Use warm water and add your dip-safe soap according to the directions on the bottle.
  • Fill the other bucket with clean, warm water. This is the “rinse” bucket for washing the cloth or sponge in between to avoid dirt transfer.
  • Dip the sponge or shimmy rag into the soapy water. Working in small sections, use circular motions to clean the vehicle.
  • Rinse the sponge in the plain water between washing. Whenever you come back for more soapy water, dip the sponge or rag in plain water first. Wring it out before dipping back into the soap bucket. This rinses off any dirt or debris, preventing it from contaminating the soapy water.
  • Repeat steps 3 and 4. Continue these steps until you’ve thoroughly cleaned the entire vehicle.
  • Rinse completely. Using a hose or buckets filled with fresh, clean water, rinse the vehicle. Ensure that all soap is rinsed from the car.
  • Dry the vehicle. Use a shimmy rag to dry the vehicle. Wring out the rag in between drying and continue to use it. If you do not have a shimmy rag, choose a clean, microfiber cloth to fully dry the car.

Things To Consider Regarding Plasti-Dip And Chemicals

When washing a Plasti-Dipped vehicle, there are a few things to consider regarding the solutions that you use:

  • Avoid wheel degreasers and cleaners. If the rims are also Plasti-Dipped, do not use wheel cleaners or degreasers, and stay away from coarse scrub brushes. Simply wash away dirt and debris using the hand-washing method above.
  • Don’t be afraid of window cleaners. It’s safe to use window cleaner on Plasti-Dip. Don’t fret if you spray some onto the coating while washing the windows and mirrors.
  • Stay away from waxes and clays. The anti-slip rubber feel of Plasti-Dip does not allow for the typical buffing motion. Therefore, stay away from products that require buffing, including most solid waxes and clays.

Automatic Car Washes For Plasti-Dipped Cars

Throughout this article, I’ve explained that automatic car washes are generally considered safe for Plasti-Dip coated cars, as long as they’re properly dried and cured.

With that said, I highly recommend thoroughly inspecting the coating before taking the vehicle through an automatic car wash.

If you notice any tears, peeling, or lifting of the Plasti-Dip, do not use the automatic car wash and do not use a pressure washer.

These can easily cause the coating to further lift and tear.

Key Takeaways

  • Plasti-Dip provides a durable, flexible coating on a car’s exterior to protect the paint and create a new look. 
  • The strength of Plasti-Dip is tried and tested and shows great resistance when put through pressure washing and automatic car washes.
  • It’s still best to protect the coating and extend its life with gentle hand washing and touchless car washes.


Jan-Lucas Ganssauge
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge