Washing Salt Off Your Car – Overview

When inclement weather hits here in Ohio, the roads are slathered with a generally offensive medley of anti-snow & ice compounds; brine, calcium chloride, and other liquid brews are often garnished with some good ‘ol rock salt in an attempt to keep the roads somewhat passable. Unfortunately, this creates a uniquely chalky veil of grime that covers your vehicle, enhancing my already dim view of Winter in the Northeast. Three days and just over 100 miles of daily driving leave me with the aesthetic insult that you see above.

Mercifully, the weather folks predict a slight thaw up into the 50-degree range shortly so it’ll be tolerable to give the car a good wash and enjoy clean, glossy surfaces for a few hours until the next ‘Winter event’. Despite the short-lived eye candy, it’s always good for both the car and my soul to clean things up when I get the chance.

Detail Products For Washing Your Salty Car

I’ll start with the PF22 snub gun kit/cannon that I’ve been using since, well, even before we made it into a kit. Go for the kit if you’re thinking about getting into a foam cannon setup. I ended up with a shoebox full of fittings trying to find the right combo to attach to my oddball pressure washer when I first got my PF22/snub gun before kit availability; don’t be like Kurt or you too will have a shoebox full of pointless reminders of your impatience!

We’ll be shooting Gyeon Foam at about a 1:5 dilution after a good, thorough rinse. I’ll let it dwell for the recommended time (that being right before it begins to dry on the surface) while I sit back and watch the dripping of the foam; very cathartic during a January thaw. Some folks like the thick, creamy, shaving-cream foam but I’d rather have foam that is just thick enough to cling for a bit, assuming the more aqueous nature of it will do better at actually softening/cleaning/lifting grime from the surface.

Salty car in winter

Cleaning up the wheels using my beloved POLISHANGEL Mint+ is next as they’ve had a hard few days in the muck. In this case, I most likely won’t bother with any tire dressing as it’s a safe bet the car will be offensively grimy again in a day or so…it’s not Spring yet! Wheels will get a shot of POLISHANGEL SuperSport because more is indeed better when it comes to Winter protection!

Another thorough ‘total body’ rinse and then squirt some POLISHANGEL Ultrared at the vertical panels on the car, likely from the ‘beltline’ down. After letting that dwell a bit, a good rinse, foaming with Gyeon Bathe at around 1:5 dilution & out comes the Esoteric Sponge for the 2-bucket wash. Another option for a bit of a ‘heartier’ wash if your car is coated is to use Gyeon Restart Wash in your buckets/foam cannon. Restart will do a little decon (hence the smell) as well as provide a bit more overall decontamination ability. Like paint correction though, the least aggressive method at getting the job done is the goal and given the protection on this car, Ultrared + Restart is a bit of unnecessary overkill given what I need to accomplish at this time. This car got a scheduled thorough dousing with Gyeon Iron during one of its last ‘normal’ washes before the weather went South, both figuratively and literally. While I used be be a hearty supporter of “More is better” in the end it’s a step back instead of a step forward; my detailing cabinets (and wallet) are better for the realization.

No Need to Use More Products Than Necessary

If it had been longer between washes, like the first wash in the Spring, I might do a heavier decon with Gyeon Tar and Gyeon Iron, agitating based on need, as it will do a bit better at heavier deposits than Ultrared alone. I used to do this each Spring on my 20k mile-a-year daily driver in NE Ohio that saw nearly 95% freeway use; freeways, notably during Winter, are tough on a car’s finish. In this case though, despite the horrid look of the car, it’s still a relatively light bit of ‘grime’ that needs removal and Ultrared will do nicely while being easy to use. Hit it with a post-wash application of Kamikaze Over Coat to help carry through until the next reasonably nice day and I’ve done what I needed to do.

Preparation is the key!

Much of this works well as the car has been very well protected from the start. When I first got it in late 2019, I prepped the paint and coated it with Kamikaze Miyabi & Kamikaze Zipang. That did quite well but after about 12-15k miles of driving, it was starting to get a bit nicked up. So off to Esoteric it went where they had a few panels resprayed (front end/fenders) and then it received a full application of Paint Protection Film after which it was coated with Kamikaze Zipang. I maintained it for a while with POLISHANGEL High Gloss Spritz, then went through a POLISHANGEL Cosmic Spritz phase but when Kamikaze Over Coat 5 came out in late Summer of 2022 that got the nod as it just works so well for me. It’s been Over Coat for the last 18 months, every 6 weeks or so after a wash and that about does it; I’m probablya about 1/2 way through the 300ml bottle since starting with it so a little goes a loooong way and with the excellent shelf life, I don’t need to reload very often. The wheels are coated with Kamikaze Stance and the glass with Kamikaze Window Coat. Yep, I’m a Kamikaze junkie and have been since 2016!

Fortunately… I can look over my shoulder into our warehouse and grab the proper products at a moment’s notice, so no need to plan ahead! I used to get caught unprepared on occasion when the weather predictions didn’t give quite as much notice as we seem to have in the next week or two; I hope they’re right this time!

Are you ready?

Clean washed Porsche Cayman

MTM Hydro Snub Nose Spray Gun & Foam Cannon Kit

Gyeon Q2M Foam



Esoteric Essential DIY Wash Kit

Gyeon Q2M Tar

Gyeon Q2M Restart Wash

MTM Hydro Spray Gun & Foam Cannon Pro Kit

Gyeon Q2M Bathe


Esoteric Sponge

Esoteric Essential Wheel Care Kit

Gyeon Q2M Iron

Kamikaze Over Coat