How To Clean Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is a popular material in the automotive industry due to its strength, lightweight properties, and sleek appearance. However, keeping carbon fiber components clean and well-maintained is crucial to preserving their aesthetic appeal and structural integrity. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to effectively clean carbon fiber parts on your vehicle.

Materials You’ll Need


Follow these steps to clean your carbon fiber components properly:

Step 1: Prepare the Work Area

Choose a shaded or indoor area to work on your vehicle. Avoid cleaning carbon fiber parts in direct sunlight, as it can cause soap to dry quickly, leaving streaks.

Step 2: Rinse the Surface

Start by rinsing the carbon fiber surface with clean water. This helps remove loose dirt and debris, reducing the risk of scratching the material during cleaning.

Step 3: Prepare the Soapy Solution

Dilute a small amount of mild soap in a bucket of lukewarm water. Ensure the soap is evenly mixed.

Step 4: Wash Gently

Dip a microfiber towel or sponge into the soapy solution and gently wash the carbon fiber parts. Use a light touch to avoid scratching the surface. Pay close attention to any areas with visible dirt or grime.

Step 5: Use a Soft Brush (if needed)

For intricate areas or stubborn contaminants, use a soft-bristle brush. Again, be gentle to prevent scratches. Avoid abrasive brushes or pads.

Step 6: Rinse Thoroughly

After cleaning, rinse the carbon fiber surface with clean water. Ensure all soap residues are completely removed.

Step 7: Dry Carefully

Pat the cleaned surface dry with a clean, dry microfiber towel. Avoid wiping vigorously to prevent scratches or swirl marks.

Step 8: Address Stubborn Stains

If you encounter stubborn stains or contaminants that soap and water can’t remove, dampen a microfiber towel with isopropyl alcohol and gently rub the affected area. Rinse and dry afterward.

Step 9: Apply Protective Wax/Sealant (Optional)

To enhance the shine and provide some protection, you can apply a carbon fiber-specific wax or sealant. Follow the product’s instructions for application.

Step 10: Polishing (Periodic)

Carbon fiber surfaces can benefit from periodic polishing to keep them looking pristine. Use a dedicated carbon fiber polish or a high-quality automotive polish that’s safe for clear-coated surfaces. Apply a small amount of polish to a clean, dry microfiber cloth and gently buff the carbon fiber in a circular motion. Wipe away any residue with a separate clean cloth.

Preventing Damage

Step 11: Avoid Scratches

Preventing scratches is essential for carbon fiber care:

  • Use separate cloths: Always use a different cloth for cleaning, drying, and polishing to minimize the risk of cross-contamination with abrasive particles.
  • Clean tools: Ensure that any brushes or applicators you use are clean and free from debris.
  • Inspect your towels: Regularly inspect your microfiber towels for embedded dirt or debris that could scratch the surface. Wash them separately from other laundry to prevent contamination.
  • No pressure: Avoid applying excessive pressure while cleaning, drying, or polishing. Let the materials and cleaning agents do the work for you.

Long-Term Protection

Step 12: Seal and Protect

For long-term protection against environmental elements and UV rays:

  • Use a sealant: Consider applying a carbon fiber-specific sealant after polishing. This protective layer can help shield the carbon fiber from UV damage and contaminants.
  • Store wisely: If your vehicle has carbon fiber components that are removable (such as trim pieces), consider storing them indoors or using protective covers when the vehicle is not in use.
  • Regular inspection: Periodically inspect your carbon fiber parts for signs of fading, yellowing, or damage. Early detection allows for timely maintenance or repair.

When to Seek Professional Help

If your carbon fiber components have sustained significant damage, it’s best to consult with a professional who specializes in carbon fiber repair. Attempting to repair severe damage on your own may lead to further issues.

In conclusion, cleaning and maintaining carbon fiber components on your vehicle require care, attention to detail, and the right tools and products. Regular cleaning, gentle handling, and proper protection can help preserve the appearance and structural integrity of carbon fiber parts, ensuring they remain a stunning feature of your automotive masterpiece for years to come.


Cleaning Products

Product NamePurposeSuitable SurfacesInstructionsRecommended Frequency
Carbon Fiber CleanerRemoves dirt and grimeCarbon fiber surfacesApply, scrub gently, rinseMonthly
Microfiber TowelsBuffing and dryingAll surfacesUse for drying and polishingAs needed
Soft-Bristle BrushGentle scrubbingDelicate areasUse for stubborn stainsAs needed
Isopropyl AlcoholRemoves adhesive residueAll surfacesApply with a clothAs needed
Water and SoapBasic cleaningAll surfacesMix mild soap with waterWeekly

Cleaning Tips

Test a small areaAlways test cleaning products on a hidden spot to avoid damage.
Use gentle pressureScrub gently to prevent scratching or damaging the carbon fiber.
Dry thoroughlyEnsure surfaces are completely dry after cleaning to prevent water spots.
Avoid abrasive toolsDo not use abrasive scrubbers or harsh chemicals on carbon fiber.
Apply a protectantConsider applying a carbon fiber protectant for added shine and protection.

 Common Stains

StainHow to Remove
Dirt and DustUse a carbon fiber cleaner and a soft cloth.
Tree SapApply isopropyl alcohol and gently rub with a cloth.
Grease and OilUse a degreaser or dish soap and warm water.
Bird DroppingsSoak with water, then use a soft brush and cleaner.
Water SpotsBuff with a microfiber towel and carbon fiber cleaner.

Do Not Use

Abrasive CleanersCan scratch or dull the carbon fiber surface.
Steel WoolHighly abrasive and damaging to the finish.
Harsh ChemicalsMay cause discoloration or weaken the material.
Pressure WashersHigh pressure can damage the carbon fiber.
Rough SpongesCan scratch and mar the surface.

Maintenance Schedule

Regular CleaningWeekly
Deep CleaningMonthly
Inspection for DamageQuarterly
Application of ProtectantSemi-annually
Professional DetailingAnnually or as needed


Tips and Precautions

  • Avoid harsh chemicals: Never use abrasive cleaners, harsh chemicals, or solvents on carbon fiber as they can damage the surface.
  • Regular maintenance: Clean your carbon fiber parts regularly to prevent the buildup of dirt and contaminants.
  • Avoid pressure washers: High-pressure water can damage carbon fiber, so it’s best to hand wash instead.
  • Inspect for damage: While cleaning, inspect your carbon fiber components for any signs of damage or cracks that may need repair.

By following these steps and maintaining a gentle touch, you can keep your carbon fiber automotive components looking their best for years to come. Regular cleaning and care will not only preserve their appearance but also extend their lifespan.

How To Clean Carbon Fiber


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