Holi is a festival of colour and cheer, but one that can leave owners of shiny white cars with multi-coloured heartburn. If you love your car/motorcycle you better make sure it’s well protected from the raucous festivities, as not everyone uses dry natural colours to “play Holi”.
It’s a pretty common sight a day after Holi to see white cars with blue, pink and purple stains all over them. And it’s even worse when the car’s upholstery and interiors get soiled by Holi colours, as this is very difficult to clean without damaging the car.
Here are some tips to protect your car/motorcycle from the Holi onslaught as well as some to clean up any accidental mess that may happen.
The most common-sense way of protecting your vehicle from Holi is obviously not using your car/motorcycle/scooter on this festive day. Just keep it parked away safely and if you have a car/bike cover, this would be the ideal time to use it and keep your prized possession under wraps.
Apply wax polish before Holi
However, if you live in a complex where it’s hard to avoid being part of the Holi celebrations, take some precautionary measures before the festival. Wash and clean the car/bike and then apply a good coat of wax polish on the car. The wax polish will prevent colours from soaking into the top-coat of the paint. If your car was recently “Teflon” coated, that too would do.
Use cling film or food wrap
For further protection, especially if you think just waxing is not going to be enough, use kitchen wrap or “cling film” over vulnerable areas especially over the door handles, boot lid, bonnet and fenders – areas where people are likely to lean on or touch your car during the festivities. It may look a little ridiculous wrapping your car in cling film a day before the festival, but it will save you a lot of trouble later.
Protecting the interiors
If the car is going to be used on Holi, then you better take some precautions for the interiors as well. Get large size polythene bags if you have them and use them over the headrest and backrest on the seats. If that’s not possible, use old curtains or terry towels you may have at home and drape them around the seats, using safety pins to keep them in place. Wrap things like inside door handles, the steering wheel and gear knob in cling film or food wrap to prevent colour getting on it.
How to remove Holi colour stains from your car
Despite all the precautions, sometimes your car can still become a victim of the festivities. If your car does get some colour on it, don’t fret, there are still ways of cleaning up the mess.
First wash and clean the car/,motorcycle using only water and a good car shampoo. Don’t use household detergent or dish cleaning liquid, as they are very harsh and will remove the polish film from the car’s surface as well. Use such harsher detergents only if regular car shampoo and water does not work. With some chemical Holi colours, this may be needed as they will eat into the car’s finish.
If the damage to the paint is deeper, you may need to resort to more extreme measures to remove the colour. The first step is to use a rubbing compound (Motomax, Formula 1 Scratch-Out etc) or “No.7 cleaner” (Brasso, a brass polish, has this key ingredient in it). Gently rub this over the affected paint area – don’t press hard as it will remove paint layers. Buff it off with a dry cloth. Repeat if there’s still some stain left.
Once you’ve managed to get the colour stain out, immediately wash the area with clean water, dry it and then apply thick wax polish over the car/motorcycle again to protect the paint finish.
If your car upholstery has been stained due to Holi colours, it is much more difficult getting it out. For leather upholstery, you can use household detergent and a soft brush to work up a foam and clean it. Then use a leather polish to protect it. For fabric upholstery, you will require a “dry-cleaning” process done, but that too won’t get all the colour out. You may have to change your seat covers.