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How to Wash a Car Cover (and Other Maintenance Tips)

How to Wash a Car Cover

Do you know how to wash a car cover? Some car owners may take their covers for granted, but if you’re serious about protecting your car’s paintwork against the harmful effects of UV rays, moisture, dust, dirt, pollen, bird droppings, and other potentially damaging elements, you need to keep your car cover clean at all times. How do you do it? Follow these steps and you’ll never go wrong!

How to Wash a Car Cover

When washing a car cover, you can either do it by hand or in a washing machine. However, since different fabrics require different care techniques, check the cleaning instruction sheet that came with your cover before washing it.

Washing a Car Cover by Hand

Materials needed:

  • All-purpose cleaner or mild detergent
  • Water (warm or cold)
  • Bucket
  • Hose
  • Sponge
  • A place to hang it dry

Instructions:

  • Put the cover on your car. Stretch it tight to minimize wrinkles or folds.
  • Fill a bucket with water and mild detergent.
  • Spray the cover with a hose to loosen any debris or residue (e.g. dirt, bird droppings, etc.).
  • Soak the sponge in the detergent solution and scrub the cover.
  • Rinse thoroughly with the hose two to three times to remove all traces of suds.
  • Turn the cover inside out and put it back on the car.
  • Repeat the previous steps.
  • Remove the cover and hang to dry.

Washing a Car Cover in a Washing Machine

Materials needed:

  • All-purpose cleaner or mild detergent
  • Commercial, front-loading washer (like the ones used in a laundromat)

Instructions:

  • Check if your car cover is machine-washable. Most of them, are but you need to be sure about it, so go ahead and check the tag.
  • Add the required amount of detergent to the washer and fill it with cold or warm water.
  • Make sure the detergent is fully dissolved in the water before putting the cover in the washer.
  • Run through a normal wash/rinse cycle. For best results, choose the “gentle” or “delicate” cycle option.
  • Remove all traces of detergent by running an additional rinse cycle. This extra step can help preserve the water-resistance capabilities of your car cover.
  • Allow it to dry completely. The easiest way to do this is to put the cover over the car and let it air dry. Avoid using a dryer unless you’re sure that it is machine-dryable. When in doubt, refer to the care instructions.

Special Cleaning Instructions:

For removing dirt

  • Apply a spray stain remover before washing.

For removing bird droppings

  • Apply a commercial stain remover or Poop-off (a spray specially made for cleaning bird droppings) before washing. You can also add a little amount of vinegar to the detergent solution to do the trick.
  • Rub the solution on the affected areas until the stain is removed.

For removing sap

  • Rub affected areas with ethanol (denatured alcohol) or mineral spirits.
  • Scrape with a plastic knife or dab with a paper towel as the sap softens.

How to Fold a Car Cover

Some car owners often run into problems when folding car covers. They just don’t know how to do it right! So, instead of folding, they simply pull the cover off and shove it straight into its storage bag. This is definitely not a good idea since careless packing ruins the stitches and causes small wear and tear in the fabric. Do this and your cover will eventually wear out faster than it should – and it’ll have that musty fungus smell.

So, how do you fold a car cover? Here’s how.

  • Make sure the cover is thoroughly dry to prevent fungus buildup.
  • Get all four sides of the cover on the roof of the vehicle. Do not fold it on the ground to prevent sand particles from attaching to it. These particles can be extremely abrasive and may eventually scratch the car’s finish.
  • Bring the front and back sides of the cover to the center.
  • Roll the cover or fold it by 3 to 4 times and store it in its special case.

Additional Tips for Washing a Car Cover:

  • Never use hot water when washing a car cover.
  • Avoid dry cleaning.
  • Don’t use fabric softener since it can ruin the cover’s water-resistance properties.
  • Do not wash in machines with central agitators (i.e., top-loading washing machines).
  • Make sure you are using a bleach-free detergent.
  • While you can use a piece of cloth in the absence of a sponge, never use a colorful cloth to avoid the risk of staining the car cover.

Car covers are meant to protect your car’s finish from harmful elements, but a cover cannot do its job if you don’t give it the tender loving care it deserves. Give your car cover a good cleaning from time to time, and you can be sure it will give your car the protection it needs for years to come.

Seal Skin Covers: The Cover that Cares

Seal Skin manufactures semi-custom covers that provide a great fit at a great price. We guarantee that you'll receive your cover free of defects and as advertised, or we'll exchange that cover out.

We understand that you might want to ask some questions about our products, exchange, and refund policies before making a purchase, so please don’t hesitate to call us at 800-915-0038 during our office hours (Monday to Friday at 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST). We’re always here to help, so give us a call today.