View Full Version : Volcanic ash ...........What to do

Dave Z
24-04-2010, 10:52 AM
Over this last week we have started to come into contact with cars that have this layer of volcanic ash on them , below is a rough guide as to what you should be doing to remove it as safely as possible.
The two potential problems caused from the stuff is :-
Scratch damage - from the pumice and glass
corrosion / burning to paint and trims from the acidic residue/sulphur deposits.

I think the first thing that needs to be said is don't panic:grin: i have seen different levels of damage this week ranging from minor paint burns to .....well nothing , so no need to go out panic buying fuel or food or anything , just wash it off:laugh:

I think the biggest problem faced (as with Spice's BMW) is if the car is left and gets water or dew droplets on , this seems to activate the sulphur or acid in the dust and burn the paint.
I've come across cars this week that have been left outside in the dry and are covered in the dust but after washing show absolutely no sign of damage .

I've been using the following process to remove the stuff safely:-

Pre-spray with degreaser followed immediately with a snow foam.
Rinse thoroughly with a jet wash , pay particular attention to the crevices on the car , don't forget to do your door/bonnet/boot shuts
wash using the 2 bucket method
thorough rinse again with jet wash
final rinse /sheet with hose with water on low/medium flow
dry with microfibre or drying towel

bare in mind that you need to do this in the shade , you don't want degreaser , foam or shampoo drying out too quickly on the car , this will leave you with nasty watermarks which you'll have to polish off .

Wax the car as soon as possible , you need to get a layer of protection over the paint , a good carnauba wax or sealant will do , now you don't have to go out and spend a massive amount on waxes , any of the shelf wax at halfords will do or if you want to treat yourself 30-40 will by you a good enough wax from the guys at dodo juice, raceglaze , swissvax , zymol , zaino ,etc .

If you need to buy yourself some products , see links below for what i recommend




(karcher pressure washers only)


Enter promotion code FFFS100 on orders over 75 for free delivery

If you have any major problems , feel free to give me a call on 07970 713062 or PM me
Hope that helps:thumbsup:

24-04-2010, 12:05 PM
Thanks Dave.

24-04-2010, 12:08 PM
I've just follwed pretty much the exact same process for my Civic - all dust off and no apparent damage.

I was thinking that black/dark cars might be suffering more as they absorb the heat from the sun more than lighter colours and that might bake the crud onto the paint.

24-04-2010, 12:53 PM
Thanks for the tips Dave.

I washed my 355 last night (which has been outdoors since the volcano erupted), using my usual method but taking more time to rinse it first, and it seems to be fine. I'll take my, black, Merc to the local hand wash place today and they can do the work on that one since I don't care about it :)

25-04-2010, 12:35 PM
Right - went out and spent 30 mins soaking my car with water to see how much ash I could remove without too much trouble. Truth is, the car looks exactly the same, the marks are still there, and the car has small grains all over it that will no doubt scratch the paintwork if I use anything to scrub it. :mad:

I have been looking at the tips for Snow Foam - do you have to use it with a lance? I have a Karcher pressure washer, but have seen that the lance is around 50-60 pounds. Is there a way of using it without the lance?

I usually use a car shampoo with the Karcher brush to clean it, but obviously am wary that I might damage it. This morning all I did was put the hose on 'shower' mode which didnt achieve anything!

Answers on a postcard please :)

25-04-2010, 01:02 PM
Maybe this could work: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/KARCHER-FOAM-LANCE-BOTTLE-SNOW-FOAM-CAR-WASHER_W0QQitemZ220593548575QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_ Home_Garden_PowerTools_SM?hash=item335c666d1f

25-04-2010, 01:34 PM
The pressure washer on its own should shift most of the dust. Once you get rid of that you can wash the thing.

Does your Karcher have a detergent bottle thing? If so it may have an attachment you can use with that anyway - probably won't produce "snow foam" but will allow you to cover the thing with detergent solution. Leave that on for a few minutes & then switch to the pressure lance & blast it off & repeat till you get back to just standard grease/grime/road dirt which you can then wash as normal. Tis what I have just been doing this morning with one of mine.

Failing that maybe use an old washing up liquid bottle or similar, mix up a solution of car wash/shampoo & use that to squirt it all over the car?

25-04-2010, 02:21 PM
nice advice Dave, my Masser has dust on it now from the rain this morning , will give it a rinse over :thumbsup:

stevie b
27-04-2010, 09:33 PM
i managed to get these watermarks you mentioned and paniced big time as you dont know if they will come out,

I got the car parked in the garage, heat on and polished whole car with zaino, took me around 5 hours as i havent polished a car in years, car looking lovely when finished at quarter to midnight.