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Discussion Starter #1
May 1st, 2020

Washing a car requires more than a bucket and a hose. Here’s how to do it right.


A clean car is a happy car. That applies to the inside and outside of your car. You want your car to be happy, right?


The idea of cleaning your car may be an unpleasant one, but for some (raises hand), it’s a therapeutic exercise and an outlet for one’s obsessive nature. Whether you love it or hate it, the hardest part about cleaning your car is getting up and doing it.



Cleaning the exterior of your vehicle has a wide range of benefits, from increasing resale value to prolonging the life of your vehicle. Did I mention it makes your car happier?


A few hours, or less if you are efficient, with the right equipment and processes can result in a shiny, happy vehicle. From more than 25 years of cleaning vehicles (and boats) along with six years of professional detailing experience, here are my recommended steps to properly clean your vehicle. Pedantic OCD Feder sold separately, some exclusions apply.


The following steps are the best way to ensure your vehicle’s paint is clean, protected, and doesn’t get marred or scratched while being washed. It’s far superior to taking your vehicle through an automated touch car wash where the paint will be scratched, swirled, and marred by the dirt on the brushes (sometimes not even cloth, but plastic) from the previous lineup of vehicles.




How to wash a car like a pro



Precautions


Like I tell my kids, safety first. Any time you touch your paint, no matter what, you risk scratching it. We want to minimize the risk.


Take off every single piece of jewelry before starting. Yes, that includes your wedding ring. No, it doesn’t matter if your wedding ring is made of rubber or moon stones: no jewelry. Belts with buckles are a hazard, but if your shirt covers the buckle, it can be acceptable.




How to wash a car like a pro
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Wash


The car is now wet and all major dirt and debris is cleared from the paint. Time to wash. Using a microfiber wash mitt and extremely sudsy water from the soap bucket, clean the vehicle using a side-to-side motion, never circular motions, at the roof, then windshield, and then hood, working your way down. After each panel or half panel, depending on the panel size (roofs are large, hoods are large), put the mitt into the “dirty water bucket” with the grit guard and use your hand to agitate it to get all the remaining dirt off the mitt. Pull the mitt from the dirty water, squeeze all the remaining water off the mitt, then dunk the mitt into the soapy, sudsy bucket to get fresh water and suds on the mitt. Repeat the side-to-side wash motion on the next panel. Wash the vehicle from top to bottom, roof to lower sides, as vehicles are dirtiest at the lower third because that’s where dirt and debris are kicked up onto the paint.


Move quickly and efficiently so neither the water or soap dry on the paint. Ideally, you don’t want to wash it in the sun because it dries quicker and leaves damaging spots on the paint. But, washing your car in the sun is one of life’s great American cliches, so you do you, just do it efficiently. Sometimes it’s necessary to rinse each panel as you go to keep the car wet.




How to wash a car like a pro


Rinse


Once the entire car, including the wheels, has been washed, it’s time for a final rinse. Using the pressure washer make sure to rinse all the soap off the vehicle top to bottom.


How to wash a car like a pro

How to wash a car like a pro

How to wash a car like a pro

How to wash a car like a pro



Dry


An easy way to dry the vehicle is to use a leaf blower to get most of the water off the paint. For those without a leaf blower, it’s best to use soft, clean microfiber towels. A large “guzzler” towel that can absorb a lot of water makes the job quick and easy. If a full detail isn’t on the to do list after the wash, I recommend spraying a quick detailer. In my experience, Wizard's and Griot’s Garage quick detailers seem to produce satisfying results while keeping things lubricated and protected as you dry the rest of the car.


Once most of the water has been dried off the vehicle it’s time to remove the hidden water. All the vehicle badging, door sills, gaskets, grilles, spoilers, and cladding retain water. Use a hand-held blower (Pro tip: You can tell your spouse you need one of these to help dry your pet after a bath, if you happen to have a pet, to justify the expense) to blow all the hidden water from every nook, cranny, and crevice around the vehicle. You’ll be surprised how much hidden water is retained that will later drip out from its hiding spots and leave etched water spots on your paint.


How to wash a car like a pro

How to wash a car like a pro

How to wash a car like a pro



Protect and finish


It’s a good idea to give the exterior––and interior––glass its own dedicated cleaning to ensure a crystal clear, streak-free view. Use a clean microfiber towel (or high-end paper towel in a pinch, the cheap stuff leaves behind lint) with an ammonia-free glass cleaner such as Sprayaway Glass Cleaner or Stoner Glass Cleaner.


It’s also important to keep things clean under the hood, but don’t use a product that is going to attract dirt, such as Armor All. A plastics cleaner and conditioner from AMMO, Meguiar’s, Wizard’s, Griot’s Garage, or 303 will work well and keep the engine bay clean of debris and the plastics looking new.


To give the paint an extra level of protection from the elements, I recommend wiping it down again with a clean microfiber towel and spray detailer or wax. I have had positive results with products from Griot’s Garage, 303, Wizard’s, Meguiar’s, and AMMO.


How often your vehicle needs to be washed will vary depending on factors such as location, weather, and lifestyle, but a bi-weekly or monthly cleaning will keep your car clean and protected.


Now, go clean your car and make it happy.



How to wash a car like a pro

How to wash a car like a pro

How to wash a car like a pro

How to wash a car like a pro

How to wash a car like a pro

How to wash a car like a pro



 

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Once I used to go to the car shop for this job. But now I have learned how to wash car at home. I learned it by watching some videos and reading some articles related to the topic. I thought that I have learned everything I should know. But this post proved me wrong. It is more informative than I expected. It will be more helpful for me in the coming days. Thanks.
 
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