Tips to Clean Volcanic Ash Off Your Vehicle
The recent eruption of Taal Volcano took Filipinos by surprise. It caused tumult and unrest to residents living in, and near, the affected areas. While air quality is of great concern, the prevalent volcanic ash harms your vehicles just as bad as it harms you. The term “ashfall” can be misleading. The black soot falling atop your vehicles isn’t the same fluffy residue you get from incinerating wood nor the likes of what your cigarettes leave behind. It's made up of small fragments of minerals, rock, and volcanic glass. These small fragments do not dissolve in water. In fact, it’s abrasive and corrosive and will most likely scratch off the car paint or weaken the integrity of your windshield. That said, extra caution must be observed when cleaning volcanic ash. Here are a few tips. Give It a Blow. No kidding. While this first step is optional, it is highly-recommended. You’d want to dust off your vehicle first by using a blower. This will help you decrease the amount of volcanic ash when you hose your car down. Water will wash off volcanic soot but there’s also a chance that it will carry it to narrower crevices in between panels where it could get stuck. The idea is to remove as much soot as you can before you water your vehicle without scratching and staining the surface. Water the Surface. If you don’t have a blower within reach, the next best thing is to wash the surface with water. Water will loosen soot particles off your car’s surface. It’s a great way to remove volcanic ash deposits without having to apply pressure and risk rubbing the paint raw. Start from the bottom With any detailing process, you’d want to start with the dirtiest (in this case, the sootiest) part of your vehicle. Your wheels will often accumulate the most amount of volcanic ash, road grime, and brake dust. You’d want to do away with the abrasive particles and not want to fling them back to the body of your car. That said, hose the roof of your car after you’re done with the tires. Slowly work your way to the bottom to rid the surface of volcanic soot. Two Buckets, One Car. When applying foam or soap to your car, we strongly suggest using two separate buckets. Fill one bucket with a solution of water and car shampoo while the other just with water. Here’s a quick guide. Take a sponge or a wash mitt and dip it in the bucket with soapy water. Lightly wipe the panels starting from the top and soap the surface, stroking towards only one direction. Dip the wash mitt in the second bucket to wash away the shampoo. Dip the wash mitt back into the soapy bucket and continue with lathering your vehicle with car shampoo. You aould also want to use grit guards in both buckets. Grit guards will trap volcanic ash at the bottom of the bucket preventing it from sticking back to your wash mitt and eventually scrape your car’s finish. Rinse the Shampoo. Foam or shampoo helps lubricate the car’s surface reducing the possibility of abrasion so you won’t harm the paint when you remove the volcanic soot. Wash the shampoo off the vehicle starting from the roof down to the tires. It’s best to rinse it again to make sure no volcanic debris is left behind. You may want to use a power washer to reach the shallow channels in between the panels or you can just pinch the tip of the hose to come up with the same effect. Wipe the surface dry using a synthetic chamois or a microfiber cloth. Apply Dressing. At this point, applying car wax, tire dressing, and interior dressing will help provide your vehicle with a thin layer of protection apart from its other benefits. Wax will provide an inconsequential coating to ward off soot and protect the paint from exposure to acidic deposits. Lower your car’s windows to wipe off any volcanic ash left in the nooks and corners. Do the same with your windshield wiper to avoid soot from scratching the glass.