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Discussion Starter #1
Proper washing and drying is one of the most overlooked and misunderstood areas of auto care, and sadly improper washing damages and dulls your vehicle's finish over time.

If you take a moment to look at a group of cars under direct sunlight, you will most likely notice that many of the cars have light scratches all over them. These are better known as swirls, many of which are the direct result of improper washing and drying techniques. The article below will discuss the different washing and drying methods, along with the necessary tools to properly perform a wash. It's easy to make this a long winded post, but I did try my best to keep it as short as possible. A quick search on google will yield you a plethora of additional information on all of the topics discussed below.

Popular Wash Techniques: “Good” & “Bad”
1. Automatic “Tunnel Wash”
2. Old Fashion Single Bucket Wash
3. Two Bucket Wash
4. No Rinse Wash

1. Automatic “Tunnel Wash” – If you fall into this category, please read this article: Automatic Car Wash Dangers - and if after reading, you still find no issue with using the automatic wash then I can’t help you…otherwise, continue reading and happy learning!

2. Old Fashion Single Bucket Washing – We’ve all seen it and maybe a few of you are guilty of doing this still. Take a single bucket; pour in a little soap (dawn or something over-the-counter from a local store, and fill with water (the more suds the better wash right!) Then you toss in a rag or over-the-counter local store mitt and get started. Now it’s time to waste some water and spray the car down and start washing. The repeated back and forth motion from the soap bucket to the vehicle and back, as you work your way around the entire vehicle.

Here’s the issue with this particular wash method. When you go to wash your car you are trapping the dirt and grit that’s on your car into your wash mitt or sponge and that dirt and grit is then transferred into your “clean” wash bucket. Now, your “clean” wash bucket has dirt and grit particles floating around in the bucket and these particles are staying trapped in your wash mitt. Only to be transferred back onto your car’s paint when you go to wash the next section, leaving many little scratches everywhere you drag your wash mitt.

3. Two Bucket Wash Method – To minimize and avoid dirt being trapped in your wash mitt and contaminating your clean wash bucket, a second rise bucket should be used. Hence, the two bucket method was born.

The two bucket car wash method effectively removes dirt from your wash mitt and keeps it in your rinse bucket. The most effective way to minimize damage to your car’s paint while washing is to wash a panel or section at a time. Once you are done washing a particular section place your wash mitt in the rinse bucket, then into your wash bucket, and now back to your vehicle to clean the next panel or section. Another, great idea is to use two grit guards, which keeps the dirt and grit trapped in the bottom of the buckets and off of your wash mitts. When you rinse your wash mitt brush it against the grit guard to knock off the dirt and grit that was transferred from your car’s paint.

Video demonstration:

4. Rinseless Wash Method – A rinseless wash is just as it sounds, so leave your garden hose wrapped up. This wash method can be performed two different ways. The first of which is similar to the traditional two bucket wash method. Fill one bucket with a few gallons of your rinseless wash/water solution and have a second bucket of just clean water with grit guards in both buckets. You then pre-soak you wash media (big red sponge, wash mitt, microfiber towel). Take your mash media and wring it out a little. After completing a panel, dunk the wash media into the rinse bucket to remove contaminates, just like you would during a traditional wash method. Then put it back into your rinseless wash/water solution and continue the process on the next panel.
The second method is to have only one bucket with your rinseless wash/water solution. Pre-soak your wash media. Take your wash media and wring it out a little and begin to clean the panel.

Video demonstration:

I personally use the Rinseless Wash Method on every vehicle I clean. I put two gallons of water into my five gallon bucket, pour 1 ounce of ONR (optimum no rinse) into said bucket of water, and allow my big red sponge time to soak. I’ll then take my kwazar pressure sprayer, that has onr/water mixture in it and pre-soak the panel I’m about to clean. Then the process continues as the video above shows. This is a very efficient method and if your not interested in spending the entire day cleaning your car, then I would highly consider the rinseless wash method.

Here are a few additional steps to consider when washing:
1. Always start from the top and work your way down.
2. Always wash in a straight line, as opposed to a circular motion.
3. Wash your vehicle in the shade whenever possible. Especially if your performing the traditional two-bucket method.
4. If your vehicle is heavily soiled, prerinse!

You can also presoak your vehicle via foam cannon. If you’d like to learn more, just ask.


Drying Techniques:

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.
Similar to the washing techniques, the automatic “tunnel washes” and uniformed do it yourselfers have been known to use bath/beach towels and/or squeegee type blade. Throw these out!

There are three main methods of drying.
1. Air
2. Water
3. Blot Dry
4. Normal Drying

1. If you have access to a leaf blower or compressed air, use it, as long as it’s filtered. Blasting the water off with air will reduce the chance of inducing scratching as you’re not physically touching the service.

2. If you have access to water and don’t mind wasting it, then remove the nozzle on it and allow a smooth flow of water to pour onto the vehicle. The smooth flow of the water will drastically remove the large majority of water left behind from washing. However, you will still need to perform one of the other drying methods to completely dry the vehicle.

3. Purchase a drying specific towel (chamois, waffle weave microfiber towel, etc). For this method, you simply place the towel down on the surface of the vehicle and allow the towel to pull the water off the vehicle.

4. Purchase a drying specific towel and you place the towel down on the surface and gently drag the towel across the surface. Similar to washing, make sure your moving in a straight line, as opposed to a circular motion.

Product Links:
Optimum Polymer Technologies - Opti-Coat As an authorized installer of their professional line of coatings, the vast majority of my products are optimum and they are fantastic!
Autogeek – Your Car Wax SuperStore - We Are Car Care, Car Wax, Car Polish, Auto Detailing Supplies, Car Buffers & Car Accessories Store Another one stop store for all of your detailing needs.
DetailersDomain - https://www.detailersdomain.com/ A third option for your detailing needs.

If you have any additional questions regarding any of the information above, please feel free to ask.

Happy Washing!
 

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Just to play devil's advocate: If you use a cloth, sponge, etc.; it will collect abrasive particles. You could rinse it in five buckets of clean water and it will still have those particles trapped in it. Look at it with a 30 power microscope and you'll see what I'm talking about. Yes, "touchless" car washes use powerful chemical detergents, but they won't scratch your car. They can dull the finish over the long haul (very long), but that may be much easier to remedy than scratches.

I commend you for the very important step #2. If you must use a cloth on your car, always go in staight lines fiollowing the coutours of the car. Never use a circular motion.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If your simply looking at preventing the addition of swirls and marring, then you would be correct in saying a touchless wash would be the best method. However, unless your vehicle is coating with a paint coating like OptiCoat pro, you can almost garuntee your protection will be stripped off...this includes waxes, sealants, and SOi2 coatings. This is because touchless wash systems use a low ph shock , followed by a high ph, followed by a neutralizing rinse.

Just to play devil's advocate: If you use a cloth, sponge, etc.; it will collect abrasive particles. You could rinse it in five buckets of clean water and it will still have those particles trapped in it. Look at it with a 30 power microscope and you'll see what I'm talking about. Yes, "touchless" car washes use powerful chemical detergents, but they won't scratch your car. They can dull the finish over the long haul (very long), but that may be much easier to remedy than scratches.

I commend you for the very important step #2. If you must use a cloth on your car, always go in staight lines fiollowing the coutours of the car. Never use a circular motion.
 

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If your simply looking at preventing the addition of swirls and marring, then you would be correct in saying a touchless wash would be the best method. However, unless your vehicle is coating with a paint coating like OptiCoat pro, you can almost garuntee your protection will be stripped off...this includes waxes, sealants, and SOi2 coatings. This is because touchless wash systems use a low ph shock , followed by a high ph, followed by a neutralizing rinse.

Well put. That's the trade off.
 

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Just to play devil's advocate: If you use a cloth, sponge, etc.; it will collect abrasive particles. You could rinse it in five buckets of clean water and it will still have those particles trapped in it. Look at it with a 30 power microscope and you'll see what I'm talking about. Yes, "touchless" car washes use powerful chemical detergents, but they won't scratch your car. They can dull the finish over the long haul (very long), but that may be much easier to remedy than scratches.

I commend you for the very important step #2. If you must use a cloth on your car, always go in staight lines fiollowing the coutours of the car. Never use a circular motion.
All the touchless car washes in my area have attendants that wipe the car down with towels as you exit the tunnel. And, touchless washes often leave road grime on the surface of the car, usually below the beltline. IMO they don't do a great job of cleaning the car and the drying towels create swirl marks due to the grit they carry. Two bucket hand wash is best. And I use a horsehair brush from Griot's that doesn't hold as much dirt as a sponge or towel.
 

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All the touchless car washes in my area have attendants that wipe the car down with towels as you exit the tunnel. And, touchless washes often leave road grime on the surface of the car, usually below the beltline. IMO they don't do a great job of cleaning the car and the drying towels create swirl marks due to the grit they carry. Two bucket hand wash is best. And I use a horsehair brush from Griot's that doesn't hold as much dirt as a sponge or towel.
What you describe as a "touchless" car wash sounds anything but. And if that were the only alternative, I'd do exactly as you say. An actual "touchless car wash" uses a high pressure blower to dry the car. This is my preferred method.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm glad to hear that your first experience this ORN went well...it will be even easier with OCP+ on the vehicle.

Rinseless Wash

I bought these two products

Optimum (NR2010G) No Rinse Wash & Shine (for my RS after applying Opti-Coat Pro)
Optimum (NRWW2012G) No Rinse Wash & Wax (for my current cars)

I tried NRWW2012G today and it worked great!


YMMV,

MidCow3
 

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Why are these guys washing pristine paint to demonstrate how great they are at washing dirty cars???

I sit between touchless & 2 bucket.

Get properly dirty & there is no substitute for the pressure washer pre rinse, 15-30min soak with suds (rewet as necessary), pressure wash then 2 bucket...NEVER get help from wife or kids - thanks Dear, I'll be right. The kids can join in cleaning the dirt bike : )

Strong detergents (CT18), minimal ribbing dirt away & regular polishing. I work top down in 5 levels in 5 'laps' - 1. Roof. 2.Windows & bonnet. 3. Mid door. 4.Lower door. 5.Sill & underside surfaces.

Finish improves with age (notwithstanding general wear & tear) as the surface polishes flat. Just keep off the edges to prevent paint erosion.

I taught myself a whole lot about working paint as an Industrial Design student model making - how to turn timber consumer product models to look & feel like gloss or textured plastic with a paint gun, wet & dry abrasive paper, & polish.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It's just a demonstration.

As to your method, yes a pressure washer does have its benefits, for removing large debris. As to your presoak, I'd love to know what type of soap your using that stands for 15-30 minutes and if your just re applying the presoak soap over the course of thirty minutes, then your just wasting your time.

Here's an example of presoaking via ONR and foam:

After your presoak, your wash method is excellent. However if your using strong detergents every time, then don't expect your wax or sealant to last very long. Finally, I'd also like to know what you mean by regular polishing? If your polishing your paint regularly, you do realize that eventually you'll eat through that post it note thick clear coat.

Also, here is a video of a dirty vehicle being washed with ORN, as well as decontaminated and waxed!
Why are these guys washing pristine paint to demonstrate how great they are at washing dirty cars???

I sit between touchless & 2 bucket.

Get properly dirty & there is no substitute for the pressure washer pre rinse, 15-30min soak with suds (rewet as necessary), pressure wash then 2 bucket...NEVER get help from wife or kids - thanks Dear, I'll be right. The kids can join in cleaning the dirt bike : )

Strong detergents (CT18), minimal ribbing dirt away & regular polishing. I work top down in 5 levels in 5 'laps' - 1. Roof. 2.Windows & bonnet. 3. Mid door. 4.Lower door. 5.Sill & underside surfaces.

Finish improves with age (notwithstanding general wear & tear) as the surface polishes flat. Just keep off the edges to prevent paint erosion.

I taught myself a whole lot about working paint as an Industrial Design student model making - how to turn timber consumer product models to look & feel like gloss or textured plastic with a paint gun, wet & dry abrasive paper, & polish.
 

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Two bucket method is the only way to wash it right.
I do cheat once in a while and use the touch less car wash. The junk man or Adams car polishes
Videos on u tube is how I learned to detail my ride


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I'll probably stick with two bucket method for the RS in addition to my current method for the ST and previous cars.

I go to a "self wash" near me to wash my cars since I live in a condo complex and don't have a driveway to wash my car. This is a fairly well maintained self wash but I still never touch any of their brushes to my cars. I take my own washed microfiber mitts and washed microfiber drying towels, and a bucket.

I'll start by filling the bucket with the filtered water (labeled as "spotless rinse") and leaving the bucket as is, then moving backwards in the self wash to "soak".

I'll layer the car with soft soap and water for about 5 minutes then switch to a higher pressure soap and water for another 5 minutes at which point my initial time for the self wash ends.

Then, I'll mix some Maguire's Ultimate Wash & Wax to my bucket of clean filtered water and use my mitt to go one panel at a time, top to bottom. My bucket stays pretty clean since MOST of the grime is washed away by the pre-soak and higher pressure soap wash. Once I do this I skip the high pressure rinse and jump right to the "spotless rinse" and rinse the car slowly and carefully making sure to get all the soap off sometimes going over panel breaks to get the soapy stuff to run out.

Then I'll lay dry microfiber towels on wet parts or use them to wipe down the windows to wet them a bit before they touch the paint and when they do, like you said I just lay it on the paint and run it down so it collects the water without putting additional pressure to dry.

This technique has kept my cars fairly swirl mark free but like I said, I'll probably just go to the two bucket method instead of single bucket with this same process with the RS.

I also clay and wax cars I really care about once every six months and immediately after I take it home from the dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Nothing wrong with your wash method KingZee, but why not try ORN? The rinseless wash method might be an excellent option to mix in from time to time. I too live in a condo and at one point traveled to my parents house to wash my vehicle via the foam soak and then two bucket method. However, now I perform strictly ONR rinseless washes. From time to time I will break out the pressure washer for a deeper cleaning of the wheels and wheel wells. This method is as safe, if not safer than the two bucket method, and youll become a much more efficient washer, allowing you more time to get out on the road in the RS!

I'll probably stick with two bucket method for the RS in addition to my current method for the ST and previous cars.

I go to a "self wash" near me to wash my cars since I live in a condo complex and don't have a driveway to wash my car. This is a fairly well maintained self wash but I still never touch any of their brushes to my cars. I take my own washed microfiber mitts and washed microfiber drying towels, and a bucket.

I'll start by filling the bucket with the filtered water (labeled as "spotless rinse") and leaving the bucket as is, then moving backwards in the self wash to "soak".

I'll layer the car with soft soap and water for about 5 minutes then switch to a higher pressure soap and water for another 5 minutes at which point my initial time for the self wash ends.

Then, I'll mix some Maguire's Ultimate Wash & Wax to my bucket of clean filtered water and use my mitt to go one panel at a time, top to bottom. My bucket stays pretty clean since MOST of the grime is washed away by the pre-soak and higher pressure soap wash. Once I do this I skip the high pressure rinse and jump right to the "spotless rinse" and rinse the car slowly and carefully making sure to get all the soap off sometimes going over panel breaks to get the soapy stuff to run out.

Then I'll lay dry microfiber towels on wet parts or use them to wipe down the windows to wet them a bit before they touch the paint and when they do, like you said I just lay it on the paint and run it down so it collects the water without putting additional pressure to dry.

This technique has kept my cars fairly swirl mark free but like I said, I'll probably just go to the two bucket method instead of single bucket with this same process with the RS.

I also clay and wax cars I really care about once every six months and immediately after I take it home from the dealer.
 

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I'll probably stick with two bucket method for the RS in addition to my current method for the ST and previous cars.

I go to a "self wash" near me to wash my cars since I live in a condo complex and don't have a driveway to wash my car. This is a fairly well maintained self wash but I still never touch any of their brushes to my cars. I take my own washed microfiber mitts and washed microfiber drying towels, and a bucket.

I'll start by filling the bucket with the filtered water (labeled as "spotless rinse") and leaving the bucket as is, then moving backwards in the self wash to "soak".

I'll layer the car with soft soap and water for about 5 minutes then switch to a higher pressure soap and water for another 5 minutes at which point my initial time for the self wash ends.

Then, I'll mix some Maguire's Ultimate Wash & Wax to my bucket of clean filtered water and use my mitt to go one panel at a time, top to bottom. My bucket stays pretty clean since MOST of the grime is washed away by the pre-soak and higher pressure soap wash. Once I do this I skip the high pressure rinse and jump right to the "spotless rinse" and rinse the car slowly and carefully making sure to get all the soap off sometimes going over panel breaks to get the soapy stuff to run out.

Then I'll lay dry microfiber towels on wet parts or use them to wipe down the windows to wet them a bit before they touch the paint and when they do, like you said I just lay it on the paint and run it down so it collects the water without putting additional pressure to dry.

This technique has kept my cars fairly swirl mark free but like I said, I'll probably just go to the two bucket method instead of single bucket with this same process with the RS.

I also clay and wax cars I really care about once every six months and immediately after I take it home from the dealer.
KingZee,

I like your process with one minor modification, changing Maguire's Ultimate Wash & Wax to Optimum No Rinse
Wash: Newsletter Special that was recommend by @Roadrunner1659



YMMV,

MidCow3



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Bugger...first timed out & now exists in the ether!

Now the abridged version.

No experience or issue with ONR, may well be a fine product. Just commented on wiping over a dirty surface. I prefer to be sure to remove abrasive grit best as I can before taking to wiping. Then again, these dudes were cleaning clean paint so, what's the harm eh?

That later post showing the residue comparison is a good example of what physical contact wiping should be removing.

Detergent - CT18 or other auto specific detergents. Dishwashing, floor cleaner or other domestic products should stay in the home.

Currently in the kit are Meguiars Scratch 2.0 and Auto Glym Paint Renovator for polishing minor imperfections, probably annually or so. Finish polish - a carumbra wax is always a good option, don't mind the Auto Glym Super Resin Polish works - plenty of others out there too.

Alluded to paint having a finite thickness with the 'stay away from edges' comment. There is thickness to work with too - some of the finest finishes are hand rubbed with abrasive wet & dry. Ambivalent over working edges is all too easy and will almost always rub through.

Wet soak is to soften the baked on bugs, sap and other hard to remove real world uglies so less rubbing, fingernail scratching or spot remover is needed. Polish works a treat too on the residual muck.

I mist from the pressure cleaner or respray suds - whatever suits to help rehydrate those aforementioned nasties. The more rehydrated they are the easier the wash off. Haven't yet found a good solvent for highly nectared splats. What's the last thing that goes through a grass hoppers head when it hits a windscreen - it's arse. ( :\ next!)

Having years of experience in model, pattern, mould & composite repair with chopped, woven glass, 'Kevlar' & carbon as well as award winning furniture (if you're interested I'll post up some pic's of bits'n'bobs) and a 10yr stint manufacturing (hand crafting) custom, high end boutique full suspension (now abandoned patent) MTB frames in aluminium (twice winning solo 24hr MTB events - not me pedalling mind)...I get that. But it is a valid point for new players to appreciate. This is 101 so let's offer what we know.

Never use a dropped sponge, cloth or rag. It's not clean. It has nasty scratches hiding in it just waiting to find some pristine paint. Even if you are in a hurry. Pick it from the ground and put it in the bin. And smile. You just did yourself a favour.

Never power buff textured plastics (or surface edged). Unless you want the unrepairairable swirl amateur car detailer effect everywhere you drive, so long as you drive the car.

Avoid polish contacting rubbers, badges, mesh, around fittings like tail lights or textured plastic trim. It's aggravating to remove. If you're doing a big detail consider masking these features.

Always wash your reusable sponge, or rags (not that one in the bin) with the best linen - avoid being caught by your wife by hanging out the laundry, which also ensures she doesn't drop your newly cleaned sponge on the ground without confessing her sin. (clearly your are neurotic, but she isn't AND you earn brownie points). Store, once dry in a sealed zip-lock bag.

Rinse frequently with plenty of water - before drying occurs.

Never wipe, polish, rub unwashed paint. Polish directly after washing...

Do inner doors first, around hinges, sills - before the interior trim.

Wash wheels last - better not use your best sponge or rag.

Dinner is always 10 minutes before your finished.

Don't expect your wife to consider car care a valid household chore - everrrrrrrr! You like detailing your car. You like detailing her car. No brownie points to earn here.

I'm sure there are many more tips out there more useful than 'buy this product'.

My wife will never read this post. :) Secret men's business.

Cheers
Pete
 

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Nothing wrong with your wash method KingZee, but why not try ORN? The rinseless wash method might be an excellent option to mix in from time to time. I too live in a condo and at one point traveled to my parents house to wash my vehicle via the foam soak and then two bucket method. However, now I perform strictly ONR rinseless washes. From time to time I will break out the pressure washer for a deeper cleaning of the wheels and wheel wells. This method is as safe, if not safer than the two bucket method, and youll become a much more efficient washer, allowing you more time to get out on the road in the RS!
KingZee,

I like your process with one minor modification, changing Maguire's Ultimate Wash & Wax to Optimum No Rinse
Wash: Newsletter Special that was recommend by @Roadrunner1659



YMMV,

MidCow3
Interesting...I've never tried ONR, didn't even know such a thing existed. I did some reading and definitely seems interesting. I'm always hesitant to touch paint with minimal water to lubricate but I just might give this a try in between washes.
 

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I have to hand it to you guys. You either have way more time than I do (no offense), or you're just way more patient. LOL if I threw away every sponge that I've dropped, my car would never get washed.
 

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I have to hand it to you guys. You either have way more time than I do (no offense), or you're just way more patient. LOL if I threw away every sponge that I've dropped, my car would never get washed.
lol, I wouldn't throw it away, but I wouldn't use it again until it goes through the washer.
 
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