What’s This Yellow Dust On My Car?

March 22, 2012

It’s that time of year again, where vehicles around the United States are getting a brand new coating of beautiful, yellow… pollen dust. Anyone that is even remotely particular about the cleanliness of their car will be sent into insanityville at the mere sight of pollen, and spring is prime time pollen season.

Many areas, especially in the Southeast U.S. have heavy seasons of pollen early spring. The pollen is a yellow dust that is produced by newly blooming plants, trees, and flowers. The yellow dust can easily be seen settling your vehicle, and it doesn’t matter how proactive you are at protecting your vehicle, it will fall victim to pollination, even if you garage it at night and never park under trees or around flowers. The pollen is everywhere, and you cannot escape it.

To make matters worse, it can take less than a few minutes for your freshly washed vehicle to have a fresh noticeable coating of yellow dust.

Now you have a decision to make. Do you leave the pollen dust on there until your next wash? Do you get your car washed every 5 minutes to keep it clean? Is there anything you can do between car washes to keep your clean car look?

It’s simply not reasonable to have your car washed every 5 minutes, but there are some things you should and should not do between washes to keep the pollen off your car.

Fighting Pollen

To start, you’ll want to wash your car once a week. This is a good practice regardless of the season, and a twice a week wash in the spring (or winter in the northern states) is not bad either. If a car wash offers protective coatings like waxes or a clear coat, then opt in for that service. This will help you wash away pollen in between washes.

Now let’s address some things to NOT do between washes to get the pollen off your car.

Stay away from dry rags. My as well stay away from dusters, towels, blowers, and hand wiping as well. As you can see in the picture to the right, pollen is a very abrasive element that if wiped across your vehicle’s paint, can scratch the surface. To make things worse, pollen will likely cover your entire vehicle, and not just small spots, so you’ll practically be wiping a scratchy substance across the entire surface of your vehicle.

Don’t park under trees in the early spring. I know when it’s hot outside, people like to search out the nearest shade in the parking lot, but come early spring, stay away from the trees. This is the worst time of year for saps, buds, pollen, and new plant growth to fall from the sky and onto your precious paint job. Once the new blooms are in and the “dust has settled” then parking under trees is safe(r).

So what should you do between washes?

The best way to remove pollen between car washes is to simple rinse your car off without drying it. This can be done in about 30 seconds and will help remove some of the pollen from your vehicle. We do not recommend drying the car afterwards because being that it was only rinses and not washes, there may still be pollen on the paint surface. Instead, take it for a quick spin, or let it sun dry. Remember, this is only an interim method used to keep your car decent between washes.

Keeping your car clean during pollen season is essential to your car’s health, and to yours as well. Washing your vehicle frequently will reduce the amount of pollen that is traveling with you from place to place, which is an added benefit to those with bad allergies.

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