A wash job is the simplest, most effective way to keep your car gleaming. Somewhat essential some would say. However something you’ve probably been doing since you were a kid earning some pocket money might not be as simple as a sponge *shudder* and a hose down!
There are seemingly limitless ways to clean your car with all the products on the market today – but just as many ways not to do it. There are a few rules of thumb that will mitigate the common causes of paintwork marring and damage – which manifest themselves in ugly swirls, ghastly scratches and dreadful webbing. Ultimately maintenance details are inevitable on a well-used car, but some easy to implement practices can help stave off the hard work.
Golden Rule 1 – No Sponges
The game has moved on and a sponge should be expelled from your kit without exception. These fluffy critters trap dirt and grit in their pores which in turn get dragged across your paint. All is not lost – there are an abundance of wash mitts on the market today. Extra soft mitts are made of microfiber strands which stand on end. They are absorbent and trap dirt long away from the paint’s surface, allowing it to be safely rinsed away.
Golden Rule 2 – Use two buckets
The two bucket method is essential if you ask us. The unenlightened say it is overkill, but it’s easy to see why it is industry standard. If you’re plunging a rag, sponge, or hopefully – wash mitt into a bucket, filling it with soap to wipe down the car and dunking it back in to the single bucket – you’re mixing clean wash water, with the dirt and sediment that you’ve just removed. Think of it as washing a dog in a bath – the pooch isn’t going to get clean any time soon. Inevitably, your car’s paint becomes scratched with the dirt that you are trying to remove but are inadvertently re-applying.
The simple solution is to introduce a second bucket filled with sudsy wash water. Keep the other bucket with simply water for rinsing. Use a 20L bucket for the best results as there is ample circulation room for dirt particles to be removed from your mitt. Then you immerse your mitt to the wash bucket, and wipe down your car, rinsing in the second bucket before again repeating.
Of course the risk isn’t removed, but the extra volume of water reduces it – and the soapy water stays substantially cleaner.
Golden Rule 3 – Use a Grit Guard
A Grit Guard is reminiscent of a typical wash board that you would clean your clothes with way back when. Effectively a grid that sits at the bottom of the rinse bucket above. Some of them, like the cleancar wash pro have integrated washboards which allow you to drag your mitt against the angled, upright section to really shake out any sediment.
The guard allows the sediment to sink to the bottom of the bucket, and reduces the possibility of the grit circulating around the bucket and becoming caught up in your freshly rinsed mitt.