A simple enough task you may say, but having read other guides written on this topic it seems that some people are washing cars as if they are an "old banger". If i had my way i think the car wash sponge should be outlawed. Put simply a sponge traps dirt which you as the car owner wipe all over your car infl;icting all manner of damage. People sometimes ask me how i keep my car looking so good? But what they should be asking is Why does my car look like it has been washed with a brillo pad? The answer is here.
Whats wrong with a sponge?
Whats right with a sponge should be the question. The flat surface that most sponges have is their very downfall. Dirt by its very nature is made up or small sharp particles, for someone to want to break out the sponge and bucket says to me that there must be dirt on their car. The sponge with its flat surface is placed on the dirty panel trapping the dirt between the surfaces equals hundred of tiny scratches EVERYWHERE. The dirt the sponge picks up has no place to go and is forced against the delicate paintwork. This is more aparent when you next see your car in sunlight. Because of the motion the sponge is used in, the scratching left by it tend to form circles, commonly known as swirl marks.
How do i get around the problems that sponges have?
Wash Mitts, High quality lambswool wash mitts are the answer. These mitts have a very deep pile and as a result there is somewhere for the lifted dirt to go to. The dirt is lifted into the pile of the mitt keeping it away from the paintwork
This wash mitt from MOTHERS is perfect.
Wash mitts are much better than a sponge but they cannot completely safeguard you against swirlmark infliction. What we do in this guide is try to minimise the damage done to paint during your weekly wash process
TIP: If your lucky enough to have acess to a pressure hose or power washer then dont be afraid to use it. Blast any excessive dirt away using good old water pressure. Dont be tempted to use any harsh chemicals as these can remove the waxes leaving a horrid dull finish.
Shampoo is very important, there are hundreds of different ones available, some good and some bad. The reasons behind what makes a good shampoo are not what you might think! Suds? Suds are not really important. The most important factor behind a good shampoo is lubricity. If you dip your hand in the wash bucket it should come out feeling very silppy. The reason for this is so the dirt can slip off easily without marking the paint. Detergents remove the waxes leaving that dull finish we all hate. On that note never be tempted to use fairy liquid or the like to wash your car.
A good shampoo choice is key.
Your bucket is important also. It rinses the wash mitt. The dirt that washes off your mitt is trapped in the base of the bucket. This dirt can still cause harm. When you rinse your mitt in contaminated water it can pick up particles and transfer them to the paint. The solution is a grit guard. This fits inside the bucket keeping the dirt below and the clean water above. It also acts as a tool to remove heavy soiling from the mitt.
Better Bucket Work.
The two bucket method is a better way to ensure that contaminants are not wiped back over your car. This obviously involves two buckets and two grit guards. One bucket for shampoo solution as normal and the second for clean water. The tecnique is as follows. Dip your mitt in shampoo solution and begin to wash, rinse in clean water scraping the mitt along the grit guard. Dip into the shampoo solution and continue to wash. Repeat as necessary. Easy.
For reassurance that your efforts are not in vain check the bottom ovf the buckets to see the grit that has settled. Now imagine taking it and rubbing it into your freshly cleaned car.
Always ensure all shampoos and other products are rinsed off your car and not left sitting to dry in. Proper rinsing is important in mainting a good finish. Practice using a slow flow of water down the car trying not to break its flow down the panel. This is referred to as sheeting and if well executed can leave very little drying work to do. (Another task that can inflick swirls)
To finish i will describe in my opinion the best order to tackle the job
Powerhose wheel arches and body of the car
Apply a quality wheel cleaner to the wheels
agitate with wheel brush
Fill two buckets with grit guards fitted
Make sure car is totally wet
Commence washing with mitt moving from top to bottom
Never let the car start to dry off
Rinse as often as required
Sheet the car off with a slow flow of water
Pat Dry (This will be covered in another guide to follow shortly)
Thanks for listening