Car Wash Methods Compared: This Is The Safest Car Wash Method

There is no strict rule as to how to wash a car.

You can wash it by hand or at the car wash, and the one you choose can be touchless, brushless, waterless, or any other type.

While there are no strict rules, not all are perfect for your car.

If you care much about your car, you will choose the safest method to protect it.

Quick Answer

As a general rule, the safest type of car wash is a hand wash because it’s gentle, more efficient, and effective, and you’re in control of how well you wash your car and what cleaning agents to use

Of course, other car wash types are not terrible for your car and may not harm it; however, a hand wash is the safest.

You may have been washing your car with other methods, and you’re unsure whether it’s safest. 

Read through this article to find out if your current car wash method is safe and which might be safer for your vehicle.

What is The Safest Type of Car Wash?

Some car owners stick to the car wash they feel is the fastest and get things done.

That’s a valid reason to choose a car wash type over the others; however, your car’s protection should be a priority if you don’t want to spend extra money on fixing paint problems and other issues on the vehicle.

Quick Answer

As a whole, the safest type of car wash is hand wash, while touchless, brushless, automatic, rain, and other car wash options follow

Washing with hands might be tedious, but it is the best way to wash your car for the best result. The safest type of car wash is better ranked below:


Car detailing experts recommend a hand wash as the safest car wash type.

Whether you use the two-bucket method or high-tech pressurized foam cannon, your car’s finish will turn out good.

You can remove dirt, water spots, grime, and other contaminants from your car through a careful hand car wash.

Starting with the prewash, spraying with a foam cannon, getting your two buckets ready, and gently washing off with a mitt is a careful and effective process of cleaning your car.

You can target the dirty nook, and cranny automatic car washes will miss. 

In addition, you don’t have to scrub hard or use harsh chemicals to eliminate grime and dirt from the car.

Furthermore, drying your car is more accurate, leaving no water spots or scratches on your car.

You may also decide to do interior detailing or wax your car after you’re done.

Overall, a hand wash is safe, protects your car’s coating and paint, and makes your car squeaky. 


  • Leaves little or no scratches on cars.
  • Effective in removing contaminants.
  • Efficient cleaning.
  • Great for new cars.


  • Takes more time than other car wash types.
  • Can be more expensive than other car washes.
  • Requires much water with no recycling option.
  • Tough to do in limited spaces.

Touchless Car Wash

After a hand wash, the next safest one is touchless washing. There’s no brushing or touching here to get your car clean.

This car wash uses chemicals, pressure water, and air to clean your car.

This minimizes scratches on your car, and the chemical effectively removes dirt, grime, and other contaminants.

Touchless car wash saves you time and cleans your car; however, it’s not without its disadvantages.


  • It is quick.
  • Minimize scratching.
  • Less expensive than a hand wash.


  • Uses harsh chemicals that can damage a car’s finish.
  • Hardly removes heavy contamination.
  • More expensive than brushless and automatic car washes.

Brushless Wash (Soft-touch) 

Brushless wash is an automatic car wash that uses soft strip cloth to wash vehicles in place of brushes in its machinery.

The soft-touch gently removes dirt from the car’s surface.

While this sounds good, it’s not the greatest option.

The cloth washes many cars and transfers contaminants from one to another, and your vehicle may not get so lucky.

In addition, brushless car washes still use harsh chemicals which can damage the paint. 


  • Quick
  • Inexpensive
  • Minimal abrasive when compared to brush automatic car wash.


  • Uses harsh chemicals that can damage a car’s finish.
  • May leave significant scratches on a car.
  • Doesn’t effectively remove heavy contaminants.

Automatic Car Wash

Automatic car wash or tunnel wash ranks after brushless wash.

You drive your car into a conveyor belt that takes you through different brushes and blowers to get your car clean. 

The brushes can cause scratches on your car and, worse, leave abrasive grime from other cars on yours.

Furthermore, they use harsh chemicals and may use wash soap with abrasives that can damage your car’s coating or wax. 


  • Convenient and inexpensive
  • Quick


  • Can dry out the paint and make the color fade.
  • Uses harsh chemicals.
  • Leaves heavy scratches.
  • Ineffective on heavy contaminants.


Driving your car or leaving it in the rain might get your car clean. It’s low effort, inexpensive, and saves time from washing or driving your car to the car wash.

However, the most rain you can do on your car is rinse dirt off the car without doing any serious cleaning.

However, that’s the least of your worries. First, rain can leave contaminants and dirt on your car without removing any.

Second, it can leave water spots on your car that may be problematic if you do nothing about it.

The list goes on, and the best thing is to avoid washing your car with rain. It does more harm than good. 


  • Convenient and low effort.
  • Low cost


  • Rain is acidic.
  • Can leave water spots on your car.
  • May leave your car dirtier than it was.
  • Rain attracts dirt and dust.
  • Risk of getting more contaminants on the car than before.
  • It is bad for your car’s finish.


With many car wash options available, it may be a bit difficult to choose one for your car or not. Many people choose convenience and low cost.

However, a hand wash is the safest way to clean your car, but it’s not that simple.

You need to use the right tools and cleaners and dry effectively. Avoid using abrasive cleaning agents and chemicals or brushes to clean your car. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Handwash is the safest type of car wash.
  • Use hand wash for your new car.
  • Touchless car wash ranks second as the safest car wash.
  • You should avoid washing your car in the rain.