Firstly, whenever we make contact with our car’s paint we run the risk of damaging it, it is inevitable. But with good technique we can really limit the damage caused and delay the need to perform any expensive paint correction processes.
Before we start… Do you use a sponge? Yes? Throw it away, now! Sponges pick up dirt (good) but they also trap it at their surface (bad), this means that you actually end up dragging or scraping this dirt across your paint. This results in micro-scratching (a.k.a swirls) and possible more serious scratches.
So what should I use? Pick yourself up a couple (why a couple? You’ll find out soon..) of lambs-wool wash mitts or micro-fiber wash mitts. Whilst these also pick up dirt, the dirt moves away from the surface and onto the “innards” of the glove, keeping it away from your paint work, resulting in a lower risk of damage.
So why did you need to buy a couple? Here is the NUMBER ONE MISTAKE people make while washing their car. NEVER USE THE SAME WASH MITT FOR YOUR WHEELS AND YOUR PAINT! Read that again, it is that important. Using the same mitt is single handedly the quickest way to damage your paint. Let’s break it down… Your wheels are metal, that black “dirt” stuff that accumulates on them is break-dust, it’s metal. Remember we said that your wash mitt picks up dirt, you wouldn’t go and scrap metal on your paint now would you? Well I hope not. So that wash mitt (even if the dirt heads to the “innards”) never, EVER goes anywhere near your paint. EVER! So that’s why you need two. One for rims, one for paint.
Here’s the number two mistake – If you drop your mitt, DO NOT USE IT, it is designed to pick up dirt, there’s a lot of dirt on the floor… It sucks but you cannot use it, it needs to be rinsed then washed before you can even think of using it again.
What you need ;
2 x Buckets
2 x Microfiber or Lambs wool wash-mitts.
Fill one of your buckets (A) with water and your chosen wash soap, put one of your wash-mitts in there to soak.
Fill the other bucket (B) with just water.
Rinse any loose dirt / grime off with your hose/power washer.
Take your soaked wash mitt and wash your vehicle.
KEY: Before you dip your wash-mitt back into the soapy water (A) you must first rinse it in your other bucket (B). This rinses off most of the dirt you have just removed and will lower the chances of you causing swirls. You can even introduce a 3rd bucket to rinse it further if you wish.
Note: You don’t need to use pressure or “scrub”, scrub = scratches. Let your wash soap do the work for you. Soak any bird poo or other more significant debris before.
Pro-tip: Work from the top down. This gives any more serious grime on the lower half of the car more chance of being soaked and loosened by the soapy water running off. It also means you aren’t cleaning the dirtiest part (and picking up the most debris) and then taking that debris and running it over the cleaner areas.
Rinse! Very simple, again from the top down using your hose or power washer.
Make sure to rinse any cracks/nooks where the soapy water may pool. E.g. window edges, badges etc etc.
Drying your vehicle. Try to master water-sheeting to remove most of the water. Then dry it with a nice clean Microfiber towel (We like the ones with satin-edges to limit the risk of scratching).
A great technique is to lay it flat, let it absorb the drops then “peel” it off. If you are going to dry by running over the car then don’t use any pressure and let the towel absorb as much as possible.
Pro-tip: Does your paint feel “rough”? You may need a clay bar. Check out www.claybars.com.au to pick up a great kit at a great price.
Now you know how the pro’s do it! It’s a little more effort but it is absolutely key to maintaining your paintwork and delaying the need to fork out the $$$ to get your paint back to standard! Got a question? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask us on our facebook page for a quicker response!