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Washing and Drying are the first steps at maintaining a nice finish and is one of the most important part of detailing.

Most swirls (spiderwebbing) & scratches are caused by poor washing and drying techniques or using poor quality washing equipment.   By using proper washing & drying techniques listed below, a good quality car soaps and a good quality wash mitts, you will minimize washing & drying induced swirls and scratches in your paint and be able to maintain a high gloss finish year round.

WASHING


Equipment
  • Foam Gun · A Foam Gun is tool to help reduce the risk of washing induced marring. It aerates a mixture of soap & water to spread a layer of foam on the paint. You can use it alone as a pre-soak before washing - this will help loosen dirt from the paint. Use it with a wash mitt - to help lubricate the surface and help prevent washing induced marring. You can also use it both as a pre-soak and as a washing aid.

    Click here to see the Foam gun in action.

  • 2 five-gallon buckets with Grit Guard · One bucket has the soapy water for washing, the other is clean water for rinsing.

    The benefits of using 2 buckets:
    • It helps keep dirt and debris out of your soap water bucket so you don't pick it back up and scratch your car.

    • It will also allow the soap last longer.

  • 2 wash mitts · Use one for the paint and the other for the wheels, running boards, etc. - sheepskin, chenille, microfiber or Natural Sea Sponge all work well.

  • Stiff scrub brushes · To clean tires and wheel wells.

  • Quality car wash shampoo · A good quality car shampoo, unlike a dish soap, will have good cleaning agents and lubricates that will help loosen, remove and wash away the dirt without leaving scratches. Make sure not too use too much soap, using too much soap can strip or weaken a wax or sealant. Most car soaps are 1oz. of soap to 1-2 gallons of water, but check the soap you are using for the proper ratio.

  • All purpose cleaner · Use as a pre-soak to remove dirt and dressing from wheel wells & tires.

  • Bug and tar remover · Use as a pre-soak before washing for bumpers, mirror covers, grills, etc. to help loosen bugs so they can easily be removed during washing.

  • An Acidic Wheel Cleaner · only use if normal washing or all purpose cleaners don't work.
Be careful with acidic type wheel cleaners.
Some wheel cleaners are too harsh for non-coated aluminum or clearcoated wheels and can damage the wheels. Read the label on the wheel cleaner to make sure it's safe for your type of wheel.


Method

· Start by cleaning your wheels first ·

If you do the paint first, especially in hot climates, the water can dry and cause water spots on the paint.

Don't use the same water you wash your wheels to wash your car. If you use the same bucket for both the wheels and paint be sure to rinse it out and start with new soap and water.


Wheel Cleaning

  • Presoak your wheel wells, tires and wheels (if needed) with an all purpose cleaner.

  • Let it dwell for approximately 30-60 seconds.

  • Rinse with water.

  • Dip your wash mitt or boar's hair brush in the soapy water and clean the wheels - rinse the tool or wash mitt in clean water bucket, repeat.

  • Dip your stiff bristled brush in the soapy water and clean the tires and wheel wells - rinse in clean water bucket.

  • If needed spray the wheels and wheel wells with foam gun and let dwell for approximately 30-60 seconds to help loosen stubborn dirt or stains.


Paint & Trim Cleaning

To help prevent water spots or the soap from drying on the car, wash in a cool, shaded spot.
If that is not possible, do the steps below in sections at a time.

  • Fill 2 buckets with water- one with soapy water, one with clean water.

  • Rinse as much loose dirt off the car as possible with water.

  • Use a bug and tar remover on stubborn problems, don't scrub the spot let the product dwell and come back to it.

  • If using a foam gun saturate the car with a layer of foam and let it dwell for about 30-60 seconds to loosen the dirt and debris. If working in warmer climates or in the sun, spray only the section you are working on to help prevent the soap from drying on the paint.

  • Starting from the top and working your way down, clean one section or panel at a time, using light pressure.

  • Rinse the panel with clean water and dip the wash mitt in the rinse bucket (agitating it on the Grit Guard) after each section, repeat steps until all paint is cleaned. If the car is really dirty only do half a panel at a time.

  • Finish by doing Windows, bumpers, running boards and trim last.

DRYING


Equipment
  • Microfiber Waffle Weave towels · Chamois, Absorbers, 100% Cotton towel, etc. all work well too, but I prefer Microfiber Waffle Weave towels.

  • Compressed air · A Shopvac, Metro Vac-n-Blo, Leaf blower, Compressor, etc. Use these to blow the water off the paint and out the crevices so you donít have water dripping everywhere after you are finished.


Method
To minimize drying induced marring, you need to touch the paint as little as possible.

The best way to do this is to remove as much water off the paint before you start drying. This is achieved by using the flooding method.


Flooding Method

  • Start by removing any nozzle from the hose.

  • Turn your water on to about 50% - 75%.

  • Slowly let the water flood the paint, starting from the top and work you way down.

On a clean-waxed car, this will cause the water to sheet off taking about 80-90% of the water with it.

After using the Flooding Method you can use your towels & Vac-n-Blo, Leaf Blower or Shop Vac, to remove remaining water from the paint and crevices.

There are two ways to use a towel to dry the paint ·


Blotting Method

  • This done by placing the towel on the surface of the paint and allowing it to absorb the water from the paint.


Dragging Method

  • This is done by lightly dragging the towel over the surface of the paint using only the weight of the towel, no pressure.


Finishing
Finishing touch after drying (or after waxing if doing a full detail)
  • Dressing the wheel wells, tires & trim.

  • Wipe down the paint with a Quick Detailer to give it that just waxed look.

  • Clean windows using Invisible Glass and two microfiber towels (one to clean and one to buff dry).

  • Clean door jambs using a Quick Detailer and old microfiber towels.

 
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