Detailing - Washing 101
Proper Washing & Drying Techniques Are Critical In Keeping Your Paint Looking Great. Most Swirls, Light Scratchs, Micro-Marring Etc. Are Cause By Improper Washing & Drying Techniques & Poor Quality Products
Are You Washing Weekly ... Or Weakly?
Weekly washing is the best, because a lot of contaminantes can do a lot of damage, in very little time. Two of the most damaging contaminantes are actually bug splatters & bird droppings. These bio-hazards contain complex proteins that bond to the surface and nourish biological processes and organic acids that penetrate and break down the surface eating into your clear coat if not removed promptly. Weak spots in the clear coat make your vehicle susceptible to corrosion and discoloration. Another problem contaminant is brake dust. It contains metal shavings from the rotors and adhesives used in the production of brake pads. Try to picture the dirty plume of brake dust and roadway chemicals that travels along with a moving vehicle. This fog of chemicals shower the lower portion of your vehicle with a clinging, nearly invisible mist. Brake dust itself, is highly corrosive and very sticky. Washing your vehicle weekly will remove these contaminants before they have the opportunity to do unsightly permanent damage.
I HIGHLY recommend using the "Two Bucket Method" of washing. What this is, is exactly what you think. Fill one bucket with water & your wash shampoo. The other bucket, fill with clean water only. As your washing, and you get ready to dip your sponge back into the soap, put it in the clean water bucket and rinse away the dirt/contaminants that are on the sponge. I also HIGHLY recommend using what are calling "Grit Guards". These are plastic "guards" that lay in the bottom of the bucket, and actually trap the dirt,contaminants that come out of your sponge. The grit guard does NOT allow these particles to re-surface into the water. Using these two major things will GREATLY reduce swirls, scratchs, and micro-marring
There are a lot of different types, sizes, materials, etc. Here is what I personally use, and personally recommend to everybody. First off, there are sponges, and there are mitts. Both have there major pros/cons, but we will get into that war another time.
Natural Sea Sponge-they have numerous deep compartments where dirt and debris can accumulate. The natural fibers themselves will not scratch the paint and they will essentially pull contamination into the sponge’s openings, away from the paint. Always use the softer side of the sponge for washing. Rinse new sea sponges thoroughly before use to remove any shell fragments or sand.
Sheep-Skin Wash Mit-Sheepskin is extremely soft and plush. The fibers are gentle on the paint while the nap is deep enough to accommodate loose dirt and sand so they do not rub against the vehicle. NOTE: Because it is "natural" it will not last as long as some of the others. But still a great tool to have!
Micro-Fiber-Microfiber’s combination of polyester and polyamide make it capable of scrubbing the paint without scratching or swirling. It traps dirt and grit within the fibers rather than leaving them on the surface of your vehicle. Be sure to rinse the mitt frequently to release these particles.
(My personal favorite, and my most "go-to" wash tool.
There are several others, but I will stick with the main ones here.
I do not use, or recommend using any brush on paint. I know a lot of guys who use them with luck, but I personally do not like them. However, I do have some fantasic uses for the brushs that I do have. Since we are dealing with the exterior of the vehicle, Ill stick with those ones.
I use brushes for the wheel-wells, and it lets you reach much more easier, and cleans a lot better. I also use them for the wheels, and tires. Make sure you use the right brush, and the right stiffness bristles. I personally only use Boar-Hair Brushes.
Wash the wheels and tires first. If you splash wheel cleaners or dirt onto your vehicle, you can simply wash it off as you wash your vehicle. Wash each wheel and tire one at a time and rinse thoroughly before moving on to the next one.
Now you’re ready to wash. Let’s start with clean water and a freshly rinsed bucket. (Remember the "Two-Bucket" method here!!) It is very important to use a good washing soap. Pick one with excellent lubricants. The purpose of the car wash is to remove contaminants and lubricate them so they do not scratch the paint as they slide off the vehicle. Dish detergents are not ideal because they remove protective coatings. I also personally use pH balanced shampoos :thumbsup
Always rinse your vehicle thoroughly before you begin washing in order to remove loose debris. You can also use what we call a "Foam Gun" to soak the entire area in a rich, foamy, soap to help remove a lot of dirt & debree. Then begin washing at the top of the vehicle. Wash down the vehicle as opposed to front to back. Remember that the lower panels are dirtiest. You want to clean the windows and the upper panels before cleaning the lower half of the vehicle so that you don’t transfer grit to the top half of the vehicle. Rinse and reload your Sponge often to prevent cross-contamination. Rinse your vehicle frequently as you work, especially in hot weather. For tough spots, use a cleaner that will safely and effectivly remove them. You may also "soak" this area with warm water for 3-5 minutes.
When rinsing, you don’t have to blast your car clean with the water hose. Free-flowing water (no nozzle) will allow the water to sheet off of your vehicle for a more thorough rinsing. This will also help a TON in the drying stage.
Do not let it air dry, or drive it down the road to dry it! ... Drying is JUST as important as washing. Its prevents water spots, which can etch your paint from the contaminants in the water (no water is 100% clean!!)
There are MANY different drying methods from chamois, to waffle-weave, to blades, to blowers!! ... I personally use a combination of waffle-weave towells, water blades, and blowers. (I personally do not like traditional chamois)
If using a blade, use LIGHT pressure, and "glide" it across the surface. I only use the blade for windows, but thats just me.
Waffle-Weave, Chamois, Etc- Lay the towell down, and lightly "pat" it to soak up the left over water. This will greatly decrease the chance of "dragging" any particles over the paint, causing swirling, scratching, and micro-marring. Dont forget about door-jambs!! ... Dry your wheels just like you would your paint.
These are just that, my personal recommendations.
Pinnacle Body Work Shampoo
Cobra Microfiber "Bone" Sponge
Boars Hair Brushes
Pinnacle Safe Scrub Bug & Tar Sponge
Pinnacle Wheel & Tire Gel Cleaner
WolfGang Tire & Wheel Cleaner
California Water Blade
Cobra Wafle-Weave Towells
There are MANY other things that I use, but these are the basics. Any other questions, please PM me or ask
Michael Charlton - Keystone Diesel