How Often You Should Wash a Car in Summer

Washing your car regularly is important to not only keep it looking nice and shiny, but also to stop the paint last degrading. But how often should you wash a car in Summer to keep your car clean and protected?

In this article, I’ll go through all the things you need to consider to decide how often you should wash you vehicle in the Summer months. So let’s get started.

The Quick Answer

You should wash your car at least every 2 weeks in Summer. This prevents contaminants like bird mess, bugs and tree sap causing damage to the clear coat. If you live in a hot, humid and dusty environment, consider washing your car more often.

Washing Prevents Dust Formation

In summer, you usually don’t have to contend with as much rain, mud, grit salt and other forms of dirt as you do in winter. So generally, the car looks cleaner. That’s why most people reckon they don’t have to wash the car as much. But this isn’t really the case.

The main issue with Summer weather, is that the dry and hot climate tends to create a lot of dust which likes to settle all over the vehicle.

Whilst a small layer of dust may not look like a huge issue, it’s actually more of a problem than you might think. Dust particles actually have the potential to scratch your car’s paint, if rubbed into or across it, because the top layer of paint (the clear coat) is super delicate.

This happens when you wash the car improperly, without enough lubrication, or using a sponge. Take a look at this article I’ve written about why you should never use a sponge to wash your car if you’re still using one!

To stop this dust layer becoming too thick, and risking being rubbed into the paintwork, you should wash the car regularly. This helps to prevent scratches and swirls in the wash process because the dust issue isn’t as severe.

It Stops Contaminants Bonding to the Paintwork

There are also plenty of sources of “contaminants” that settle on your car’s paintwork in summer. These include bird droppings, tree sap and bugs.

If you leave these contaminants to sit on your car’s paintwork, they can bond to it. This means they won’t be removed by a routine wash. Instead, you’ll need to use something called a clay bar to get rid of them. Take a look at this article on clay bars if you’ve not heard of them before.

These contaminants can actually corrode and wear away at the paint, causing it to weaken and even become thinner.

However, you can prevent this by regular washing. If you keep your car clean, then the contaminants will have less time to bond to the paint, and can be removed far more easily.

Maintain the Paint Protection

It’s also really important to maintain a good layer of paint protection on your car in summer, as well as in the winter months. This helps to protect it from the contaminants we just discussed, as well as from UV rays which cause the finish to fade over time.

There are three main forms of paint protection: waxes, sealants and ceramic coatings. Don’t skip this step, or you’ll be neglecting your vehicle’s paint. Keeping it clean is only half the battle when it comes to preserving the finish.

How Often Should You Wash a Car in Summer

So what is the optimal frequency to wash a car in Summer? This really depends on the following factors.

  1. The Weather: very hot and humid conditions can degrade the paint protection faster, and increases the level of dust in the environment.
  2. The Environment: if your car is often exposed to tree sap, bird droppings and bugs, then you’ll need to wash the car more to prevent them binding to the paint.
  3. Storage Conditions: if you store your car in a garage, then it will be less exposed to the elements, and won’t need washing as often.
  4. Driving Frequency: cars that are driven more often, get dirtier faster. So daily drivers need washing far more often that garage queens.

Okay, so it’s important to consider these variables, but you’re probably just looking for a simple answer.

Well, if the car is driven daily, stored outside, in a moderately hot climate, you should wash it every 1-2 weeks.

If you store your car in a garage, drive it every few days, and the temperatures aren’t extreme, then you should wash it every 2-3 weeks.

Personally, I wash my car weekly in both summer and winter because I want it too look shiny all the time. But if you wash your car every couple of weeks, then it’ll still be well protected and maintained.

You shouldn’t really go any longer than 3-4 weeks between washes because contaminants are far more likely to bond to the paint.

Check out this complete guide to washing your car without causing scratches.

More Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions car owners have about washing their vehicles.

Is it bad to wash a car very often?

There is no issue with washing a car frequently, even every day, if you want to. Just as long as you do it safely (without causing scratches), and maintain the paint protection. Take a look at this article I’ve written addressing the myth that it’s bad to wash a car too much.

Do automatic car washes ruin the paint?

Automatic car washes cause scratches and swirl marks in the paintwork. It’s best not to wash your car as often, and do it by hand, rather than taking it to an automatic car wash.

What happens if you don’t wash a car?

Leaving dirt, contaminants and water spots on your car causes the clear coat to degrade more quickly. The clear coat is the top layer of paint, and it protects the base coat (the colour), underneath from fading. If this clear coat becomes broken down and thinner, the finish will look duller and flatter over time.

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve found this article helpful. Check out the rest of the website to learn more about making your car look its best.



Heather is a professional car detailer & valeter based in Cheshire and the owner of Auto Care HQ. A familiar face in the car detailing community, she has written over 200 car detailing guides on and has produced over 165 videos on the Auto Care HQ YouTube channel.

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