The Beginners Guide to Car Washing (Like a Pro)

Proper Washing & Drying Technique

Are you washing your car, or just damaging the paint?

Most of the swirl marks that disfigure your vehicle are likely caused by poor washing technique. Thorough weekly washes and careful hand-drying can be the best care you can give your vehicle. Improper techniques will cause unsightly swirls and scratches in the paint requiring compounding or polishing at the very least. You can eliminate these problems and save yourself extra work by following a few simple tips when washing and drying your vehicle.

Are you washing weekly or weakly?

Weekly washing is best because some contaminants quickly do serious long term damage to paint if they are allowed to remain. Two such organic compounds are bug remains and bird droppings. These bio-hazards contain complex proteins that bond to the surface 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.

Wash Tools

First Never wash in direct sunlight. Pick a shady spot. Second it’s very important to choose tools that are gentle on the paint, yet still effective at removing contamination. As a rule of thumb, Chenille Microfiber Car Wash Sponge that are plush or have a deep nap are better than flat weave towels or dense sponges. For example, a Natural Sea Sponge has 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.

Another option is a Ultimate Chenille Microfiber Wash MittUltimate Chenille Microfiber Wash Mitt 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. 

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.

Proper Washing

1. 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. Use a cleaner that is safe for all wheels.  Wash each wheel and tire one at a time and rinse thoroughly before moving on to the next one.

2. Now you’re ready to wash. Let’s start with clean water and a freshly rinsed container and our Ultimate Chenille Microfiber Wash Mitt. It’s important to use a car wash that is rich in 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. Please use car wash dedicated shampoo or cleaner. They are specially designed and will not remove wax and provide ample lubrication of gritty particles.

3. How do you prevent swirl marks? Use two buckets. Fill one bucket with soapy water and fill the other with clean water. Each time you’re ready to reload your Ultimate Chenille Microfiber Wash Mitt with soapy water, dip it in the clean water first, to rinse out the grit and contamination you’ve just removed from your vehicle. Then dip it in the soapy water and continue washing.

4. Always rinse your vehicle thoroughly before you begin washing in order to remove loose debris. 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 your vehicle frequently as you work, especially in hot weather.

5. 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.

Drying

Never skip drying! Drying your vehicle after washing is necessary to prevent water spots. Water spots are caused by mineral deposits that etch the outline of a drop of water into your vehicle’s paint. All water has minerals, whether it’s from the hose or the sky. As the water evaporates, the minerals remain on the surface and they will eventually, invariably create water spots.

You can dry your vehicle in a variety of ways, but you want to make sure you do it quickly. 650gsm Thick Plush Microfiber Towel and 850gsm Ultra Thick Plush Microfiber Towel are a good choice to dry the vehicle after washing. They are manufactured with a waffle-weave texture. This weave increases the surface area so the towel can absorb more water. They can absorb 8-10 times its own weight in moisture, and they are completely nonabrasive.Microfiber towel is more absorbent than terry cloth or chamois, and it lasts longer.

Terry cloth towels are not recommended because the fibers can become matted and hard after repeated uses. They shed lint. They increase the chance of swirls. Compared to microfiber, they are not as absorbent and they don’t last as long. Never use bath towels that have been discarded from the house. 

You may also use a genuine or synthetic chamois.

Drying Tips

1. Dry the windows and mirrors first. 

2. Use the 850gsm Ultra Thick Plush Microfiber Towel to remove the majority of water from your vehicle because it absorbs 10 times its own weight in moisture.  Go back over the vehicle with 650gsm Thick Plush Microfiber Towel to catch any water the large towel may have missed. This quick two-step process will leave your vehicle bone-dry and ready for polishing or wax.

3. Once the outside is dry, wipe down all your door jambs. Open the trunk and hood to wipe the jambs.

4. Dry your wheels using a towel or chamois that is designated just for this purpose. Don’t use this towel on your paint to avoid cross-contamination. You may also use this towel to wipe off surfaces under the hood. Wash this towel before you use it again.

The Snow Foam Cannon Option

If the hose and bucket method isn’t for you, there’s the foam gun option. The idea behind a foam cannon is that it presoaks the vehicle in suds to start loosening grime and lubricating the paint right away. And truth be told, it’s a lot of fun to use a foam cannon. 

The Adjustable Snow Foam Cannon works with your water hose to deliver the soapy water to the vehicle. The Foamaster’s tip helps boost water pressure to put a little power behind the delivery. It is widely used on car, motorcycle washing, floors,windows washing, driveways, roofs, siding washing and so on.Ideal for enthusiast or professional use.It can be directly connected with the gun on the pressure washer gun.

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