The pollen season is a nightmare for car owners. It is like a never-ending battle trying to protect your car against pollen damage.
Many of the concerns around this problem often revolve around how often to wash pollen off a car, or even simply how to get dried pollen off a car safely. A big one is understanding whether pollen will cause paint damage.
All of these concerns are critical and must be understood clearly. But first, we need to know the best ways to protect your car against pollen damage. Understanding this will save a world of pain in the future for car owners.
There are a number of steps that you can take to protect your car from the effects of pollen. How often you use your car and how you store it will also dictate how frequently you should perform each of these steps.
Here is a summary:
Table of Contents
Step 1. Wash your car regularly by hand
It is essential to wash your car as and when you find pollen accumulating. Leaving pollen on your vehicle for a long time can cause long term damage to your paintwork.
You will need:
For average usage, you should wash your car every 1-2 weeks in areas of high pollen exposure.
- Start by spraying the car with water using a jet hose. This will loosen the easy to remove pollen and other dirt.
- Apply a prewash to your car, ensuring that you cover the whole car.
- Then spray the prewash off with water, using the jet hose again.
- Get two buckets and fill one with plain water and place a grit guard in it. Fill the other with soapy water.
- Apply shampoo all over the car using a foam sprayer. The car should be covered in a snow-like lather.
- Using a soft sponge scrub the car to loosen up even more pollen and dirt.
- Using the jet hose, rinse the car with water.
- Using a wheel cleaner and a wheel cleaning brush, give the wheels and scrub. As we know, pollen can attach to almost any surface of a car.
- Rinse a fresh wash mitt in the plain water, then dip it in the soapy water and begin scrubbing the car.
- Start with the roof and work your way down to ensure any pollen particles are moved down the car.
- Be sure to frequently rinse the wash mitt in the plain water bucket to wash off the accumulated grit and then get more soapy water.
- Rinse the car again with water using a jet hose.
Step 2. Decontaminate Car Paint
This step will remove any pollen fragments and tree sap that the washing process couldn’t remove, especially the stubborn yellow spots on your car.
This should be done every time you polish your car.
There are two types of decontamination that you can do here:
For this step, we’ll focus on clay barring your vehicle.
Clay Decontamination (clay bar)
You can clay bar your vehicle as follows:
- Get your clay bar cut a bit off for use
- Get plain water in a spray bottle.
- Covering small sections spray the surface with water and rub the clay bar on the wet surface.
- Continue this for the whole surface, remembering to fold the clay bar whenever the debris becomes obvious.
- Dry the surface as you progress.
- The surface will now be completely clean and ready for the next step.
Step 3. Polish the car
It is usually recommended to polish your car roughly every 6 months.
Polishing your vehicle will remove most of the scratches that occur over time. Removing these scratches will reduce the ability of the pollen particles to latch onto tiny grooves in the paintwork caused by scratches and swirl marks.
This can be done by hand, but for best results, we recommend polishing the car using a polishing machine e.g. a dual action polisher.
- Add the polish compound to the buffer pad and begin applying the polish by dabbing the pad on the surface.
- Then switch on the polisher to begin properly applying the polish, covering the whole car.
- While applying the polish, maneuver the buffing pad in a circular motion, overlapping each time
- Try not to touch any vinyl sections.
- Once you have applied the polish, switch to a microfiber buffing pad and buff away the polish residue.
Step 4. Apply wax or sealant to your car paint periodically
Applying wax should be done after every polish session. In addition to that, there is also no harm in doing this between polishes after a wash.
Wax will fill in any imperfections in the paintwork missed by the polishing phase.
This will create a smooth layer of protection on top of the paintwork, making it harder for pollen to latch onto anything, acting almost as a pollen repellant for your car in this respect.
- This can be done by hand or with a dual-action polisher.
- Apply the wax to a clean buffing pad and apply to the paint.
- When applying the wax you can use circular or straight motion with the pad
- After the wax is applied leave it to cure for a period of time – according to the specific wax instructions.
- Then using a clean microfiber towel buff the cured wax away.
Step 5. Use Windscreen / Glass Rain Repellent
Glass repellent will provide a layer of protection for your car windscreen and windows.
This will create a smooth surface making it easier for the wiper blades to clean pollen away. In a similar fashion to polish and wax, this makes it less likely for them to attach, acting almost like a pollen repellent for your car windscreen.
This can be done after every wash.
Rain repellent is usually provided in:
- a spray bottle that you can apply directly to the window
- or a bottle that you can pour onto a microfiber towel before applying to the windscreen.
Step 6. Clean your wiper blades regularly
Using a microfiber towel, simply pull up the wiper blades and wipe down the rubber.
This is most effective during a car wash.
Step 7. Keep windshield washer fluid topped up
Good quality windscreen washer fluid will help to condition your wiper blades and make them effortlessly clean the pollen away.
Step 8. Check your cabin air filter
Keeping on top of your car maintenance is a critical consideration when it comes to protecting your car against pollen damage.
By regularly checking your cabin air filter you will help to keep the air supply to your cabin clean. During high pollen periods, this can get clogged up making the vehicle cabin feel less ventilated.
Step 9 Check your engine air filter
The best way to know when the right time to do this is by following your vehicle manufacturer’s servicing manual.
Step 10. Vacuum your car interior regularly
Regular vacuuming of the car interior with a quality HEPA filter vacuum cleaner will remove the pollen that managed to sneak into the car.
In high pollen seasons, this should be done at least once a week.
So we now know how to tackle the dreaded pollen problem, what else are people concerned about?
Does pollen ruin car paint?
If left to sit for a prolonged amount of time without washing, pollen can damage your vehicle's paintwork.
The reason for this is not necessarily because of the potential for pollen to physically scratch the paint - this is actually not as likely to happen as you might think. It is due to the acidic properties that pollen will release onto paintwork.
The acidic effects of pollen are maximized after it comes into contact with water. Rainwater will activate the acidic property within the pollen, which over time will damage the paintwork.
This is why you should wash pollen off your car as soon you can.
Should you wash your car during pollen season?
Yes, you should wash your car during the pollen season as frequently as needed. Leaving pollen on the car long term can result in lasting damage to paintwork over time.
We recommend giving your car a full wash, polish, and wax at the end of the winter season – as described in this post. This will get rid of any built-up salt and other corrosive elements and help to provide a protective layer over your car paint.
Is it bad to leave pollen on car?
Leaving pollen on your car without washing will lead to long-term damage to paintwork. This is due to the acid that is released from pollen. This acid is activated after contact with water i.e. after rainfall.
As you can see there a good number of things that can be done to keep your car protected against the effects of pollen.
The damage that pollen can cause isn’t limited to the outside of your vehicle. As you have read the internals of your car should not be overlooked either.
Carrying out the above steps will ensure that you have done everything you can to avoid pollen damaging your car in the long term.