Car Washing - How to look after your car.

Discussion in 'All Things Technical' started by HYP1C, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. HYP1C

    HYP1C Active Member

    At todays meeting we had Tim from Clean Your Car , and a few people were asking about how to clean your car properly , and what to use.
    Here's a post I found from one of the detailing sites I use , hope it helps.
    As far as products are concerned , if you use Zymol,Swissol(Swissvax),Clearkote,Meguirs Professional,Sonus,Poorboys,Menzerna,Chemical Guys or Victoria Wax , then you won't go far wrong .
    I'll post up another thread on polishing & waxing another time when I get chance.

    Washing represents the most hazardous process for your cars paintwork. Using a sponge is just about the worst thing you can do to your car. Believe it or not, whilst cleaning your pride and joy you are probably inflicting the worst damage it has experienced!

    We will cover the basic equipment you’ll need and how to get the best finish without inflicting damage to your car.

    What you will need:
    Wheel brush
    Wheel Cleaner
    Three buckets (clear plastic if possible)
    Wash mitt – 2 preferably
    Car shampoo
    Drying Towel – 2 or 3 preferably

    Where possible try not to wash your car in strong sunlight. Early morning or late afternoon is best. This will help stop the water drying too quickly on the car and leaving water marks which require washing off again. If it is hot and drying too quickly you will need to wash and dry your car in sections.

    If possible use a jetwash to prepare the car for washing. Don’t get the nozzle too close to the car, and don’t dry and blast any stubborn bugs or bird muck off, these will respond better to soaking. If you are washing a cabriolet don’t be tempted to wash the fabric with the jetwash. If you don’t have access to a jetwash, use a hose and focus on soaking the car.

    Don’t use a sponge
    Although widely used a sponge is the worst thing you can use to clean your car. If you think of the grit that is sitting on your paintwork, then placing a flat sponge on top of it there is no where for the grit to go. It doesn’t ‘soak’ into the sponge; you just move it off the paintwork and into the water solution. But in doing this you first have to move the grit, and it is this movement that caused the swirling you see in the paintwork.

    To mitigate against this you should use a Wash Mitt. Wash Mitts come in two materials, Lambswool or Microfibre. The basic principle that the pile in a wash mitt allows the grit to be moved away from the surface. The depth of the pile encourages the grit to be absorbed into the mitt rather than just moved across the surface. It isn’t a guaranteed to eliminate swirling, but it is the best way to wash your car.


    Two bucket method
    This is the most important part of keeping your car in the best possible condition.

    Get two buckets of water ready. One wash, one rinse. The wash bucket is the one to put the car shampoo in. Contary to popular belief bubbles are not what your looking for. Lubracy is the key, to get this add the shampoo when the bucket is one third full, then use the hose to mix it in whilst filling the bucket. Warm water helps too.

    The second bucket is plain water.


    The technique is as follows:

    Dip wash mitt in washing bucket.

    Wash a section of the car.
    Squeeze out wash mitt
    Dip in rinsing bucket

    Squeeze out wash mitt
    Then dip wash mitt in washing bucket and repeat

    Change the rinsing water at least once. In the winter, keep an eye on the water in each bucket and change as soon as it discolours and/or contaminants show.

    Right then onto how to wash the car……

    Wheels first
    You need to get the worst of the grime away from the car first, so it’s the wheels first.

    Use a wheel cleaner product. There are two types of cleaner, acidic and citrus.

    Products like Autoglym Wheel Cleaner and Wonder Wheels are very acidic and should be avoided. I once had a set of alloys replaced on a new car when I knew it was because I was using Wonder Wheels the damage occurred, but the dealership didn’t know that :whistling:

    I recommend using a more PH balanced product like Chemical Guys Premium Blue Rim & Wheel Cleaner or Sonus Rim Bright Alloy Wheel Cleaner.

    The alternative is to use a citrus based cleaner. These are completely safe and extremely effective at removing brake dust. My recommendation is Virisol. Made by Clover Chemicals it is a trade degreaser mainly used by commercial cleaning companies. It is incredibly good value for money, 5 ltrs costing approx £8 plus delivery. I get mine from . Be aware, Virisol strips wax, so keep it off the paintwork.

    You will need a good wheel brush. It has been difficult to find one that reaches inside the wheel so I recommend the Meguiars Wheel Spoke Brush.

    Agitate the brake dust/dirt then jet wash off and leave to dry.

    Basic principles
    You are working from ‘cleanest’ area of the car, to the dirtiest last.
    Refreshing water and washing surfaces at every opportunity to avoid inflicting defects.
    Be as gentle as possible, no scrubbing.
    Wash in 'straight' lines, not circles.


    Roof first
    Side windows leave front and rear (depending on body shape, if it’s a coupe or saloon you can wash them at this point)
    Wings and doors top three quarters only, both sides.
    Change wash mitt.
    Door/boot jams (if needed)
    Windscreen and rear screen (if not done)
    Headlights, grill and front bumper
    Wings and doors bottom quarter, both sides, do not do under sills
    Rear bumper
    Under sills


    You can use the Jetwash to remove most of the water, but you should finish using an open hose to sheet water over the car as this will provide the best method of removing any remaining grit/dirt.

    You will need to use more water than you normally use, have you ever seen the oiliness left in the water when drying off the car? More is better here.

    In the similar way to the sponge the traditional chamois is a potential source of defects. Professional detailers have long since abandoned the chamois and moved to microfibre drying towels. The highest rated towel in the detailing community is the Sonus Der Wunder Drying Towel. One of these towel will dry a complete car with little wringing out, they are amazing.

    I use three towels, one for paintwork, one for door shuts and one for engine bay (if detailed) and wheels.


    Using the microfibre drying towel, pat or drag gently over the car.
    Top down, follow the same sequence as the washing routine.
    Then open doors and do door jams with a second towel
    Then if you have previously cleaned the engine bay, wipe it down with the third towel and finish with drying the wheels.

    You are done! The car is finished.

    The most important thing is you’ve done it in the safest possible way and kept your car in the best condition possible.

    Megs Wheel Brush
    Wheel cleaner
    3 clear buckets, B&Q or Clean Yor Car
    Wash mitt
    Sonus drying towel x 2/3

    I would recommend getting all of the above from

    Care of your washing gear
    Rinse wheel brushes and hang dry
    Wash mitt, wash by hand and spin before hang dry
    Drying towels, periodic machine wash at 30C, at a minimum run under running tap and spin before drying on radiator.

    Have fun.
  2. Watky

    Watky New Member

    Just got back and chucked all my sponge's out!!!! :shock:
  3. scoobyphil2000

    scoobyphil2000 No there not new wheels

    mine are all in the bin aswell
  4. Nice write up Gary.

    I'll put a link to this thread on Tim's details in the discount section.
  5. ELV1S

    ELV1S Administrator

    Nice one Gaz, any chance you can come round and do mine mate :D
  6. Willo

    Willo New Member

    Bugger. Just been out and bought a load of cleaning products etc. Including sponges. Looks like they'll be going in the bin then :cry:

    Great write up though Gary :D shame I missed the meet
  7. Mrbroph

    Mrbroph New Member

    I wish people would stop giving me reasons to spend money! :cry:
  8. Killer

    Killer New Member

    Yep get your car all clean and gleaming.. :D walk in the house to come back out to see a bird has targeted your car with biggest blueberry splat of shat :shock: on part of the car where your windscreen wipers just miss, does this everytime so that's why I use a sponge and a hose and a shami and maybe a wax if it's warm.
  9. ste mako

    ste mako New Member

    washed my car two days ago and in the first hour i got a blueberry splat :twisted: :twisted: i want an air rifle :lol: kiddin :lol:
  10. Killer

    Killer New Member

    it is a pain because I dont have a garage so it's open season on my car for all the young shepies in spring so thats why i dont spend more than an hour cleaning anymore unless it's scorching and I want a tan.

    I do have a air rifle... :evil: But it doesnt fire straight so the birds are safe for now :shock:
  11. HYP1C

    HYP1C Active Member

    Get an outdoor car cover .
  12. Dasco

    Dasco New Member

    Dont throw away your sponges they are good for cleaning wheel arches and under the car
  13. carlos

    carlos New Member

    hi all..
    can any of you tell me if autoglym shampoo is any good?? and if autoglym super resin polish is any good as a polish??

    if there not could u tell me wat is good and where i could get my hands on them.....

    thanks carl
  14. HYP1C

    HYP1C Active Member

    Both good quality stuff.
    The Resin polish is very underrated.
  15. att2detail

    att2detail New Member

    Autoglym shampoo is a good product as is super resin which is a bit filler heavy which will in turn fill any faint scratches, it will reduse swirl marks and remove any fallout(bird stains/tree sap) it can be applied by hand or machine. It offers little protection though and advice would be to top it up with Extra Gloss Protectionj if your using the autoglym range personal favourite of mine is Dodo Juice Supernatural which i have in my armour :D but its not for the faint hearted, if paintwork is quite bad a suggestion may be to clay the car after washing.

    hope it helps a little :)
  16. att2detail

    att2detail New Member

    Sponges are not too bad its all in the preperation and if the car has been pre washed correctly, a Zymol sponge is highly rated and used by alot of pros (cough) but they arent cheap but are great quality really soft and silicone free :)
  17. att2detail

    att2detail New Member


    A great addition to the bucket would be a grit guard basically a filter that sits approx 4inch of the bottom of the bucket and any grit falls below the level reducing the risk of any grit being picked up back onto the sponge/mitt
  18. AD

    AD New Member

    Anyone reccommend a good washing kit, things i need and items to?
    This is a great write up and i am going to get the see through buckets and Blue wheel cleaner, but need tyre black, wax, wash mitts etc etc

  19. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    You need to be chatting to me my friend :wink: :lol:

  20. Graphite

    Graphite 23rd June 2016 - Vote LEAVE EU!

    LOL Adam - you've done it now... :lol:

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