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Author Topic: Detailed Guide: How to Wash your Car  (Read 27644 times)
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« on: March 17, 2010, 11:35:50 AM »

This is the reprint from a G35 forum I frequent. I've been using his method for washing my car for years and it really helps cut down on the swirls. Before I paste, I want to summarize the two most important tips in this post (in case you get bored and don't read the whole thing)

1) Use multiple wash mitts on different parts of the car (at least one for wheels, rockers, lower trim and another for main body panels) and rinse them in CLEAN water every time you go back for more soap - that means two buckets, just like your grandma does the dishes.
2) ALWAYS move your wash mitt, drying towel, whatever touches your car, in a back and forth motion, from the highest to the lowest point on each panel. Imagine letting a drop of water hit your hood, whatever direction it runs, that's the way you should be wiping - example: up/down on your doors, back/forth on your hood - the idea here is that, no matter how careful you are, you WILL be putting some minor scratches on your car. If you always move your pads in the same direction, and move them in a way that minimizes the direction sunlight is reflected, your "swirls" will actually be only straight marks and will be MUCH harder to see.

Ok, on to the post. Source: http://g35driver.com/forums/showthread.php?t=141057

OK, so maintenance. Now this is even more important that polishing. Why? Proper maintenance means less polishing is required over the life of the car. You want to wash and seal/wax in ways that DO NOT scratch the car, thus eliminating the need for polishing. So, the most important part of car care: how do I wash?

I wash in two ways, either the regular bucket + hose way, or with a rinseless wash. I will go over both.

First, bucket and hose. OK, products I use:

One or two buckets, both with grit guards. You can get them at CT (red, $15.99)
At *least* 2 sheepskin wash mitts. Why 2 or more? you'll see.
A good automotive soap. What's good? Most are; Meguiars deep crystal is cheap, locally available, and good. JUST DON'T USE TOO MUCH OR IT WILL STRIP WAX. Use the quantity directed, don't just pour a bunch in the bucket. Remember, as nice as suds are, too many = too much detergent.
2-3 good microfiber drying towels.
5+ good microfiber clothes.
A good all purpose cleaner and/or bug remover. I like poorboys apc 2:1 with water or bug squash 3:1 with water.
A wheel cleaner and sealant

So, so let's start:

First, the wheels. I only use a wheel cleaner if there is a significant amount of brake dust. What wheel cleaners do I like? The best, imo, locally available are Eagle One All Wheel & Tire Cleaner (caustic), or for less acidic/caustic, their aluminum wheel cleaner. A lot of you have P21S cleaner; use it when needed, it's great stuff.

Put the car in the shade. This is important. If you're using two buckets, fill one with soap and water and the other with just water.

If the wheels are dirty go to step 1, if not, step 3:
1) Hose wheels off (make sure they are not hot). Spray wheel cleaner on wheels and let dwell. Agitate with a brush (a wheel brush, not a tooth brush or a carpet brush) or an old wash mitt, or an old microfiber cloth. Something soft basically.

2) Hose off, if there is still dust repeat. Go to step 4

3) Wash with soap and water (the automotive soap) and an old mitt.

4) If you washed with your bucket water, dump it out and re-pour it. Wheel dust in the water = don't put it on the paint, EVER.

5) Soak one mitt in first bucket with soap. Not all of them.

6) Rinse the car. If it's very dirty/buggy, apply liberal amounts of diluted APC/bug remover to effected areas and let sit.

7) Get the mit and start washing. Use almost no pressure, start at the top and move down. So roof, front and rear window, side windows, upper side panels and fenders, hood, rear deck lid, trunk, lower side panels and fenders, and finally rockers. Why? The lower part of the car is almost always dirtier, you don't want to use the mitt on them then move it to the cleaner areas. Now, don't do this all at once. Do it like this:

Cool Wash roof and front and rear window. Put the mitt in the clean water bucket and thoroughly rinse it out. Put it back in the soapy bucket and wash the side windows and upper side panels (doors, fenders), then back into the water only bucket, rinse... see the pattern? Dirt gets rinsed out. As the mitt gets more and more dirty put it aside and USE A NEW ONE. I use 3 per wash almost always. One for roof, windows, upper side panels, one for hood, read decklid and trunk, and one for lower side panels and rockers.

9) if its hot, rinse the car often; keep it wet at all times.

9.5) Put the hose over the roof and let the water flow freely over the car. This will "sheet" water off and make for about 80% less water on the car to dry.

10) Now dry. How to dry? Take one towel and spread it on the roof then slowly move it the same way you washed (top to bottom), DO NOT worry about getting the car dry at this point, you want to remove most of the water but leave it damp.

11) get towel two and finish any areas you missed, then re-dry the entire car to clean up the dampness left behind by towel one. You will be amazed how much easier this makes drying.

12) Now, if your waxing or sealing, do it.

13) Dress trim while wax/sealant is hazing, also dress wheel wells, tires, dry wheels, polish chrome, and clean door jambs.

14) If you're using a spray wax/sealant for maintenance (highly recommended) then go from step 11 to this step and spray seal/wax, then do #13.
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2010, 12:20:04 PM »

Great guide! Thanks for posting that...

Being the detailing nut that I am, I feel compelled to mention a few things:

1. Learn how to Clay a Car before you wax. A couple times a year, a claying is necessary to 'truly' get the surface clean. Even with a good thorough wash, you'll notice the surface isn't perfectly glassy-smooth clean. Claying removes the thin layer of particulates that nothing else really gets. After a good clay, the surface of the car will feel smooth as if you've waxed it.

2. WD-40 is the nectar of the gods. It works well when cleaning any metal parts of your car (eg. rims). Don't use it on plastic, and don't use it on the painted surfaces - long term if it sits will degrade softer materials.

3. To keep your plastic bits looking good, there's a variety of good plastic cleaners in stores, or use a good silicon lube - it's safe for plastics.

4. (Im my personal opinion) avoid Armor-all on interior surfaces. Time and sunlight does nasty things to armor-all in my experience.

5. Don't forget to condition leather a couple times a year. Don't use mink oil, dubbin, or silicon based products. Use a good brand-name leather conditioner such as Lexol, my personal favorite.

That's all for now.
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« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2010, 12:29:00 PM »

Right on Scotty for your comments to a great original post.  I always use a good clear silicone on plastics, particularly black plastic trim.  Brings back original color and keeps sun from further damaging the material.  Armor-All goes milky and just plain yucky (technical term) over time and with multiple use.  I use the same silicone inside the car where needed.  One thing I've learned in the past...the hard way...if you've got painted rims, or even clear-coat...don't use a spray cleaner designed for alloy/metal rims.  Paint and clear-coat starts flaking off after only a couple uses...read the label.  That's my 2 cents.
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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2010, 12:43:16 PM »

The car nuts I know recommend normal every-day baby oil instead of Armor All.  Just have to make sure to get the right scent... wink
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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2010, 03:29:59 PM »

Hey scottyyyc,

Have you tried any of the new orbital clay cleaning devices?  Looks like it'd be a lot faster.

I wouldn't ever use an orbital in the claying process, simply because the process itself is one of removing dirt and particulates. Only in the buffing/waxing stage if I'm satisfied the surface is properly clean would I use an orbital. Pre-clay, the car isn't truly clean. I don't use orbitals and don't recommend friends to use them unless they know what they're doing.
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« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2010, 07:48:22 PM »



Ahhh, OK, so more just a clay holder. Cool, probably wouldn't use it myself, but not a bad idea.
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2010, 04:00:21 PM »

What do you think about waterless car wash systems?
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2010, 04:46:35 PM »

The car nuts I know recommend normal every-day baby oil instead of Armor All.  Just have to make sure to get the right scent... wink
I was going to ask about that.
Heard (or read) about it a while back but never tried it.
For the price, if it works, hey, why not!

BTW, thanks for ALL the great info in this thread!
Good for a bookmark (for the wife and kids to learn, of course...LOL).
Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2010, 07:08:56 PM »

problem with armour all and baby oil is the residue I just cant stand it every time i touch something covered in it my fingers are slippery
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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2010, 01:32:11 AM »

problem with armour all and baby oil is the residue I just cant stand it every time i touch something covered in it my fingers are slippery

I guess armour all has gone the way of the dodo bird and you're right, if baby oil is put onto spots that are frequently handled it would get messy!
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« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2010, 07:52:43 AM »

This is the reprint from a G35 forum I frequent. I've been using his method for washing my car for years and it really helps cut down on the swirls. Before I paste, I want to summarize the two most important tips in this post (in case you get bored and don't read the whole thing)

1) Use multiple wash mitts on different parts of the car (at least one for wheels, rockers, lower trim and another for main body panels) and rinse them in CLEAN water every time you go back for more soap - that means two buckets, just like your grandma does the dishes.
2) ALWAYS move your wash mitt, drying towel, whatever touches your car, in a back and forth motion, from the highest to the lowest point on each panel. Imagine letting a drop of water hit your hood, whatever direction it runs, that's the way you should be wiping - example: up/down on your doors, back/forth on your hood - the idea here is that, no matter how careful you are, you WILL be putting some minor scratches on your car. If you always move your pads in the same direction, and move them in a way that minimizes the direction sunlight is reflected, your "swirls" will actually be only straight marks and will be MUCH harder to see.

Ok, on to the post. Source: http://g35driver.com/forums/showthread.php?t=141057

OK, so maintenance. Now this is even more important that polishing. Why? Proper maintenance means less polishing is required over the life of the car. You want to wash and seal/wax in ways that DO NOT scratch the car, thus eliminating the need for polishing. So, the most important part of car care: how do I wash?

I wash in two ways, either the regular bucket + hose way, or with a rinseless wash. I will go over both.

First, bucket and hose. OK, products I use:

One or two buckets, both with grit guards. You can get them at CT (red, $15.99)
At *least* 2 sheepskin wash mitts. Why 2 or more? you'll see.
A good automotive soap. What's good? Most are; Meguiars deep crystal is cheap, locally available, and good. JUST DON'T USE TOO MUCH OR IT WILL STRIP WAX. Use the quantity directed, don't just pour a bunch in the bucket. Remember, as nice as suds are, too many = too much detergent.
2-3 good microfiber drying towels.
5+ good microfiber clothes.
A good all purpose cleaner and/or bug remover. I like poorboys apc 2:1 with water or bug squash 3:1 with water.
A wheel cleaner and sealant

So, so let's start:

First, the wheels. I only use a wheel cleaner if there is a significant amount of brake dust. What wheel cleaners do I like? The best, imo, locally available are Eagle One All Wheel & Tire Cleaner (caustic), or for less acidic/caustic, their aluminum wheel cleaner. A lot of you have P21S cleaner; use it when needed, it's great stuff.

Put the car in the shade. This is important. If you're using two buckets, fill one with soap and water and the other with just water.

If the wheels are dirty go to step 1, if not, step 3:
1) Hose wheels off (make sure they are not hot). Spray wheel cleaner on wheels and let dwell. Agitate with a brush (a wheel brush, not a tooth brush or a carpet brush) or an old wash mitt, or an old microfiber cloth. Something soft basically.

2) Hose off, if there is still dust repeat. Go to step 4

3) Wash with soap and water (the automotive soap) and an old mitt.

4) If you washed with your bucket water, dump it out and re-pour it. Wheel dust in the water = don't put it on the paint, EVER.

5) Soak one mitt in first bucket with soap. Not all of them.

6) Rinse the car. If it's very dirty/buggy, apply liberal amounts of diluted APC/bug remover to effected areas and let sit.

7) Get the mit and start washing. Use almost no pressure, start at the top and move down. So roof, front and rear window, side windows, upper side panels and fenders, hood, rear deck lid, trunk, lower side panels and fenders, and finally rockers. Why? The lower part of the car is almost always dirtier, you don't want to use the mitt on them then move it to the cleaner areas. Now, don't do this all at once. Do it like this:

Cool Wash roof and front and rear window. Put the mitt in the clean water bucket and thoroughly rinse it out. Put it back in the soapy bucket and wash the side windows and upper side panels (doors, fenders), then back into the water only bucket, rinse... see the pattern? Dirt gets rinsed out. As the mitt gets more and more dirty put it aside and USE A NEW ONE. I use 3 per wash almost always. One for roof, windows, upper side panels, one for hood, read decklid and trunk, and one for lower side panels and rockers.

9) if its hot, rinse the car often; keep it wet at all times.

9.5) Put the hose over the roof and let the water flow freely over the car. This will "sheet" water off and make for about 80% less water on the car to dry.

10) Now dry. How to dry? Take one towel and spread it on the roof then slowly move it the same way you washed (top to bottom), DO NOT worry about getting the car dry at this point, you want to remove most of the water but leave it damp.

11) get towel two and finish any areas you missed, then re-dry the entire car to clean up the dampness left behind by towel one. You will be amazed how much easier this makes drying.

12) Now, if your waxing or sealing, do it.

13) Dress trim while wax/sealant is hazing, also dress wheel wells, tires, dry wheels, polish chrome, and clean door jambs.

14) If you're using a spray wax/sealant for maintenance (highly recommended) then go from step 11 to this step and spray seal/wax, then do #13.

I tried this car wash procedure this am and I like it.
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« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2010, 08:57:31 AM »

I tried this car wash procedure this am and I like it.

I use a variation of this method, too.  Except I do my wheels last.  So far, I've been extremely happy with the results.
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« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2010, 09:01:00 AM »

I use a variation of this method, too.  Except I do my wheels last.  So far, I've been extremely happy with the results.

I actually do the same thing, so that I don't have to refill my wash bucket Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2010, 12:33:02 PM »

Years ago when I bought a pick up and had a top put on it, the salesman said to rub baby oil on all the rubber seals between the top and the cab. It helps prevent rubbing the paint off as the 2 sections move independantly of each other.
And while you're at it, don't forget to silicone all the door seals to keep them plyable. My 10 year old Aztek's seals looked and felt new the day I trader her for the Terrain.
I also use AccuView (similar to Rain-X) on all the windows.
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« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2010, 05:00:36 PM »

Guys, you're completely crazy!  Grin

It's a car: it's metal, plastic and rubber. Get a life!  Shocked
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« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2010, 09:19:14 PM »

I do something similar but I like to start from the bottom up, that way the soap will not run and will hide where I have to apply.. (obviously I need more towels).
Wheels at the end.
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« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2010, 05:53:35 PM »

I do something similar but I like to start from the bottom up, that way the soap will not run and will hide where I have to apply.. (obviously I need more towels).
Wheels at the end.

Hey oracle, have you seen the movie "Matrix"?

One question: Do you predict any future problem with your wash method if the roof is dirty and the filth runs down your clean bottom? Just curious!
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« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2010, 10:25:57 PM »

Ha!! Grin  Of course I predict the future.. I'm the oracle...


Hey oracle, have you seen the movie "Matrix"?

One question: Do you predict any future problem with your wash method if the roof is dirty and the filth runs down your clean bottom? Just curious!
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« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2010, 09:51:09 AM »

Yeah washing the bottom of your car first is actually bad practice. Typically, the bottom of your car gets FAR more dirty than the top. You want to do everything in your power to keep dirt out of your water and wash mitt as much as possible. So washing from the top down minimizes the amount of dirt in both for as long as possible. The dirt on your wash mitt is the #1 cause of swirls and scratches in your paint caused during the wash cycle.
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« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2010, 07:19:43 PM »

That's mistake #1, never use one mitt/rag for the whole car.. (just like using the same bucket of dirty water for the whole car)
If the bottom is dirty then it means the roof is dirty too, just smaller grain dust.. All loose dirt will come off with a good rinse from the hose..

I go to the self serve car wash and with the power washer I get all loose dirt. Then I wash it..
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« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2010, 09:16:44 PM »

for my part, i am so bad at washing a car that i use a car hand wash business near my home that wash perfectly the entire car in and out for 20$

That's mistake #1, never use one mitt/rag for the whole car.. (just like using the same bucket of dirty water for the whole car)
If the bottom is dirty then it means the roof is dirty too, just smaller grain dust.. All loose dirt will come off with a good rinse from the hose..

I go to the self serve car wash and with the power washer I get all loose dirt. Then I wash it..

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« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2010, 07:32:02 AM »

I do the same thing if my car is really dirty, I take it to a touchless car wash. In most cases that's all that's needed. A couple times a year I'll wash and polish/wax it. Did that on all my show Corvettes for years. Always won 1st or 2nd place. No claying ever, just good old washing and waxing....and detailing the hell out of it. Ha Ha

Never heard of anyone washing a car from the bottom up.  Roll Eyes

SuperMat, I can't believe anyone can't wash a car.  Grin
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« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2010, 07:45:05 AM »

Beleive it or not, i am not good at all washing my car !!!! Even more with the Terrain and all is corners and curves ! lol


I do the same thing if my car is really dirty, I take it to a touchless car wash. In most cases that's all that's needed. A couple times a year I'll wash and polish/wax it. Did that on all my show Corvettes for years. Always won 1st or 2nd place. No claying ever, just good old washing and waxing....and detailing the hell out of it. Ha Ha

Never heard of anyone washing a car from the bottom up.  Roll Eyes

SuperMat, I can't believe anyone can't wash a car.  Grin
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« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2010, 08:50:55 AM »

Give the bucket and spunge to your wife and tell her to start earning her keep.   Shocked


That ought to get me in trouble with the N.O.W. gang  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2010, 08:35:20 PM »

Guys..  no need to get into details, the solution exists already..
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« Reply #25 on: September 23, 2010, 05:56:51 AM »

Does it come in a "Wife" model???
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« Reply #26 on: September 23, 2010, 06:24:53 AM »

Scientists haven't figured it out.. Apparently too unpredictable and they have said it will be expensive...
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« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2010, 02:15:33 AM »

I hear that some test units have blown up in the users hand when testing that feature.
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« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2010, 08:09:03 AM »

That was only on the Bathroom mode. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #29 on: October 15, 2011, 12:37:55 PM »

Just purchased my 2007 SRX love everything about it except the paint finish on the hood. Two things; Wait I call acid rain spots. A splotchy look after it rains and drys and a very tiny white spot. I can't tell if it's a pit in the clearcoat or something like tar sap. Seems to small. Any ideas. Almost looks like it needs to be wet sanded and re painted with clear coat. Really don't want to go to that expense. I am very familair with clay process but haven't done it yet.
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« Reply #30 on: October 18, 2011, 08:42:55 AM »

Just purchased my 2007 SRX love everything about it except the paint finish on the hood. Two things; Wait I call acid rain spots. A splotchy look after it rains and drys and a very tiny white spot. I can't tell if it's a pit in the clearcoat or something like tar sap. Seems to small. Any ideas. Almost looks like it needs to be wet sanded and re painted with clear coat. Really don't want to go to that expense. I am very familair with clay process but haven't done it yet.

 I was able to find some information in the owner's manual on page 5-95 regarding your concern.  "Foreign materials such as calcium chloride and other salts, ice melting agents, road oil and tar, tree sap, bird droppings, chemicals from industrial chimneys, etc., can damage your vehicle’s finish if they remain on painted surfaces. Wash the vehicle as soon as possible. If necessary, use non-abrasive cleaners that are marked safe for painted surfaces to remove foreign matter." I hope this helps. Please feel free to keep me posted regarding your progress.

Tricia, GM Customer Service.
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« Reply #31 on: October 18, 2011, 11:57:57 AM »

Just purchased my 2007 SRX love everything about it except the paint finish on the hood. Two things; Wait I call acid rain spots. A splotchy look after it rains and drys and a very tiny white spot. I can't tell if it's a pit in the clearcoat or something like tar sap. Seems to small. Any ideas. Almost looks like it needs to be wet sanded and re painted with clear coat. Really don't want to go to that expense. I am very familair with clay process but haven't done it yet.

Why not take it to your dealer's body shop and get their opinion on what they suggest ?  They should be the experts.
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« Reply #32 on: April 07, 2012, 01:37:10 AM »

Washing from the bottom up?  Bang Head  If you want all that gritty material left behind on your mitt scraping the rest of your vehicle have at it. 

I've found a lot of concerns with some of these posts and it's no wonder why so many people wind up with terrible swirls and dull finishes.

I always have hand washed my cars using the two bucket method with the grit guard and microfiber mitt from top to bottom keeping every panel wet in the process.  First you should do the top, followed by the hood, trunk lid, top of doors, fenders etc, work your way down to below the belt line last. 

As for using WD40 to polish my metals... No thank you.  I don't even own a can of WD40 as I don't believe in it.  I'll stick to my PB for loosening bolts and good old fashioned grease for lubing things up...

Don't like using silicon containing products around painted surfaces... Ask just about anyone in the auto body industry why not. 

+1 for the clay barrers out there.  As long as you know how with the proper lubrication and don't drop that damn bar it's one of the best things you can do. 

Carnuba wax vs sealant waxes... Carnuba is great for producing astonishing shine/depth and sealants are great for long lasting protection, I love applying sealant wax prior to long winter months here in the upper midwest when washing and waxing cannot be achieved as often as I'd like. 

Product usage:  I am a professional detailer who owns my own business, I can tell you I use about 20 different products at least for interior and exterior and 19 out of 20 of them are Meguiars products... Especially professional line products but their consumer products are great minus there spray on leather cleaner and spray on leather conditioner.  Avoid armour all, turtle wax and ESPECIALLY black magic.  Take a whiff of black magic products and they will make you feel sick.  Smells more like zippo fluid to me.  Turtle wax has gotten better over the years due to added competition from brands like Meguiars and Mothers but I've found they still have plenty of room for improvement. 

Avoid brush washes, gas station washes, etc.  If you can't hand wash take it to the laser/touchless wash.  It wont get your vehicle nearly as clean as you might like but it sure beats going through the wash that some off roading trucker just went through right before you and now you are getting your vehicle "cleaned" with a combination of muddy dirt, cheap chemicals and water... My local gas station actually cuts corners (indian owned) and they believe it or not use laundry detergent as their wash solution because he claimed its much cheaper and goes a long way.   Bang Head  Laundry detergent by the way is probably the WORST thing you can use to wash a vehicle with.  Google it if your curious. 

www.meguiars.com has an online forum that has plenty of tips for you wash novices looking to baby your finish.  www.autopia.org is a GREAT place where professional detailers get together and chat it up about the dos and dont's of maintaining finishes, products to use, where to buy and techniques.  It's a great foundation for those of you DIY'selfers...  thumbs up

Through trial and error I've learned just about all of the techniques needed and steps required to obtaining a great finish without running the risk of doing more harm than good.  Better to avoid making the mistake in the first place when possible... do some research before running out there and taking some windex and paper towels to your entire car... I've seen it done....  shrug

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« Reply #33 on: April 07, 2012, 07:18:58 AM »

eeks and knocks, I agree with most of your post. I never understood the wash from the bottom up method either - it sounds stupid. Maybe someone can explain that. I am not a real crazy clean person. I had my fill entering my Corvettes in concourses .

The only thing I never did and won't do is clay my car. OK it may be wonderful, but I have a lot better things to do then spend hours claying and getting a marginally better look. I always took first place on body paint in the concourses, so what's good for the judges is good for me.

off topic - this is the second post I did today and noticed that the backround is light blue and the text is white - I can't see what I'm typimg unless I highlite it. Any solutions on how to get back to the standard burgabdy backround? I tried changing the text color , but can't find how to change backroud color.
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« Reply #34 on: April 07, 2012, 07:41:33 AM »


The only thing I never did and won't do is clay my car. OK it may be wonderful, but I have a lot better things to do then spend hours claying and getting a marginally better look. I always took first place on body paint in the concourses, so what's good for the judges is good for me.


I think the general consensus is that if you stay on top of your car's paint maintenance, then you probably won't have to clay it.  You're right - you'll only get marginal improvement.  I think clay is best for people that only wash/wax their cars ever few years.  Then, it will be like night and day, before and after the claying.

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« Reply #35 on: April 07, 2012, 09:43:10 AM »

Clay is one of the most misunderstood and misused items out there.

First thing to understand is clay is not a polishing agent it is a cleaning agent. The idea of it is to remove the embedded materials and things that get stuck in the paint. It originally was developed to remove bits of metal that got lodged in the paint during rail transportation. They used to have issues of rust spots on paint of light colored cars. The MFG found bits of metal got stuck in the paint and would rust. They used to have to do a lot of work to clean it up but then clay came along are would remove the bits and things stuck in the paint.

If you keep a car polished and waxed you should never really need to clay it. But now if you clean a car once a year it or seldom wash it it does come in handy. Just today I am going to detail my Mother inlaws DTS. It has been a year since I had cleaned it up. She treats it like crap and it needs clayed.

Note to when I clay I use it with water. The liquid is only really needed as a lubricante and flowing water really works well. Also keep folding the clay over You want to refresh it often. Finally once you get a bar tear it in half. That way if you drop it you still have half left to use.

Once you clay you still need to use one or several levels of good polish. Once that is done then you can wax it with a good pure carnuba paste. Then finish it off with detailer. Always use microfiber towels.


I show a black car and I drive a black car daily and I have learned a lot over the years with showing cars. Once you take the time to get the suface properly done it will be much easier to just do a little clean up each week and maintain it.

I also now use a Metro Airforce Blaster. This is a car blow dryer made to dry cars. It is not cheap but it helps keeps the paint looking great and keeps the drips away. I would not live with out it anymore. Note this is not a leaf blower it is a 8 HP electric air blower that blows warm dry air that clears off a car with no need to drag a towel over the paint. Even microfiber will mess with paint as it picks up dirt and will mar a surgface.
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« Reply #36 on: April 07, 2012, 10:31:20 AM »

I also now use a Metro Airforce Blaster. This is a car blow dryer made to dry cars. It is not cheap but it helps keeps the paint looking great and keeps the drips away. I would not live with out it anymore. Note this is not a leaf blower it is a 8 HP electric air blower that blows warm dry air that clears off a car with no need to drag a towel over the paint. Even microfiber will mess with paint as it picks up dirt and will mar a surgface.

Never heard of this device.  Wondering why not use a leaf blower, or an air hose from a compressor.  I have both of those, and would like to avoid spending $300.  I am intrigued by the air blower for drying a car !

THX

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« Reply #37 on: April 07, 2012, 03:12:57 PM »

Ah let the clay wars begin...  +1 for the poster that said clay is a cleaner and not a polisher.  When done right you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Is clay barring necessary to do when you maticulously follow a proper wash and wax schedule?? Hmm, yes and no.  Do the simple plastic bag on the hand test after a good wash and let it tell you... You may or may not feel invisible little bumps all over the finish.  I am lucky enough to live next door to someone who loves painting bikes out in his garage and I can tell you from multiple experiences nothing works better for overspray removal than a little clay and lube... Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of parking all of my vehicles in the garage.  That spot is reserved for my heavily modded 2007 mustang gt being the ford guy I am.  Yep, I said it lol...
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« Reply #38 on: April 07, 2012, 04:58:46 PM »

Never heard of this device.  Wondering why not use a leaf blower, or an air hose from a compressor.  I have both of those, and would like to avoid spending $300.  I am intrigued by the air blower for drying a car !

THX

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I have done the leaf blower deal and compressed air deal and neither do the kind of job this thing does.


The air is concentratied and is warm. I had the 4 HP and it worked ok but the 8 HP has two electric motors and does twice the work. I was pretty unsure when I bought one and now I would not want to ever give it up.

I do recomend ear protection as it is loud.
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« Reply #39 on: April 07, 2012, 05:02:23 PM »

Ah let the clay wars begin...  +1 for the poster that said clay is a cleaner and not a polisher.  When done right you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Is clay barring necessary to do when you maticulously follow a proper wash and wax schedule?? Hmm, yes and no.  Do the simple plastic bag on the hand test after a good wash and let it tell you... You may or may not feel invisible little bumps all over the finish.  I am lucky enough to live next door to someone who loves painting bikes out in his garage and I can tell you from multiple experiences nothing works better for overspray removal than a little clay and lube... Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of parking all of my vehicles in the garage.  That spot is reserved for my heavily modded 2007 mustang gt being the ford guy I am.  Yep, I said it lol...

No need for the plastic bag as you can feel it with your hand very easily,.

It is the bomb for overspray.


The key is to not treat it as a polish or a must do. It is a tool to use when there is a need.
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« Reply #40 on: April 07, 2012, 06:25:21 PM »

hyperv6

What do you think about using the California Water Blade for drying a car.  They are silicone blades, I believe.  I have 2 of them, but am afraid to use them on paint.  I use them on the windows to get most of the water off, but I am always afraid to use them on painted surfaces.

What does and "expert" think of those ?

THX

Rit

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« Reply #41 on: April 07, 2012, 08:01:09 PM »

I have a black '99 miata, stored in the winter and kept in the garage. I do the claybar every spring,  when I do a full detail.  It cleans the surface and preps it for the wax and glaze that I apply. Then I can do washes and quick waxing the rest of the summer.

I also use the California duster for the dust/pollen on the clean surface..

I have one of the California blades, used it once...didn't care for it.
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« Reply #42 on: April 07, 2012, 10:24:33 PM »

hyperv6

What do you think about using the California Water Blade for drying a car.  They are silicone blades, I believe.  I have 2 of them, but am afraid to use them on paint.  I use them on the windows to get most of the water off, but I am always afraid to use them on painted surfaces.

What does and "expert" think of those ?

THX

Rit



I use the California jelly blade every dry.  I'm curious as to whether or not the user who didn't like it has the red blade handle version or the yellow.  I have both and I must say I despise of the yellow one because it is way too stiff compared to my old red one. 

Don't go expecting it to remove all of the water.  It's great for quickly moving about 80-90% of it off the panels and then I follow up with a gentle blot dry with a microfiber towel.  I think some people under estimate how important it is to use the right products when drying because they are so focused on the wash technique itself.  Not to say its a bad thing to do.  I've actually seen people taking bath towels to dry their cars and worse shop rags and paper towels..  Might as well dry it off with 2000 grit sandpaper at that point.
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« Reply #43 on: April 08, 2012, 05:27:27 AM »

hyperv6

What do you think about using the California Water Blade for drying a car.  They are silicone blades, I believe.  I have 2 of them, but am afraid to use them on paint.  I use them on the windows to get most of the water off, but I am always afraid to use them on painted surfaces.

What does and "expert" think of those ?

THX

Rit



I have one and have used it but generally I only use it on older flat cars that the paint is not perfect on. They do work but you need to use a lot of care not to get any dirt in them. Damage will happen if not careful.  To be honest it has been a few years since i used one. With a towel the towel can pick up the dirt the blade if not found can drag the dirt on the surface. Both can streak but the towel has less risk. THis is why I went to the blow dryer.  Nothing but air touches the surfaece and on a black car that means a lot on, Silver or lighter color it is not as important. 

Also like stated above they still leave a lot of water and all of the drips.

WIth the arrival of Microfiber towels I would recomend using them as they absorbe a lot of water and protect the surface. Make sure to follow the directions on the care of them and you get good service out of them. I use nothing but large microfiber towels now. Prices are resonable on most but note the really cheap once will not last as long. It is another case of you get what you pay for.
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« Reply #44 on: April 08, 2012, 03:22:45 PM »

IMO generally anything you do to wash and dry your car can damage it when done incorrectly.  I have about 3 storage bins full of microfiber towels that I use religiously.  BUT even they have their flaws... Once you start picking up any leaves or other contaminant particles they are next to impossible to remove from the Material wet or dry... That's probably why 75% of my microfibers have navigated to my interior only bin.

Still love my RED jelly blade.  Prior to drying with it I just lightly "wash" it with my wash mitt and then rinse off under the hose and it's good to go...

No problem at all with the blow drying though IMO its the safest method out there I just havent gotten around to investing the money into the unit I want. 
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« Reply #45 on: April 09, 2012, 07:13:29 AM »

Ah let the clay wars begin...  +1 for the poster that said clay is a cleaner and not a polisher.  When done right you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Is clay barring necessary to do when you maticulously follow a proper wash and wax schedule?? Hmm, yes and no.  Do the simple plastic bag on the hand test after a good wash and let it tell you... You may or may not feel invisible little bumps all over the finish.  I am lucky enough to live next door to someone who loves painting bikes out in his garage and I can tell you from multiple experiences nothing works better for overspray removal than a little clay and lube... Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of parking all of my vehicles in the garage.  That spot is reserved for my heavily modded 2007 mustang gt being the ford guy I am.  Yep, I said it lol...


Awwww man........ I want one of these!!! I don't have $300 to drop right now, but I REALLY want one! If anyone ever sees these things at a lower price, PLEEEEEEEASE post! Guess I need to sell some stuff on ebay so I can save for one.

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« Reply #46 on: April 09, 2012, 07:27:34 AM »

Nothing against claying, if you intend to keep your car forever or put put it in a car show like I do, then it's a good thing to do.
I don't do it - too time consumming for very little benefit. Since most people trade in their cars in 5 to 6 years while the paint is still looking great, I have to question the reason why do it. My main objection to doing it is I'd much rather be out riding my Harley.

I also use the California Duster - it's a great cleaning tool. I do use a silicone squeegy - only on my windows year round. In the winter I spray all the windows with windshield de-icer and then use use the squeegy - works great. I do use the squeegy on my back up car(2001 Tiberon), but not on the Terrain. What I do use is the Mr. Clean Auto Dry Wash system. No need to blow dry or squeegy. I get a spot free rinse every time.
I do have a blow dryer - it's my wifes old dog grooming dryer - and only use it on my bike to get all the water out of the nooks and cranies.
I polish or wax my cars a couple times a year - that's it.  I still use terry cloth towels instead of microfiber and believe it or not - I use one large wash bucket to clean the car. Old habits die hard - especially if I don't see any improvements.  Cheers
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« Reply #47 on: April 09, 2012, 09:50:03 AM »

I'm not sure what California blade I have...I will have to check!
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« Reply #48 on: April 09, 2012, 12:08:42 PM »

I'm not sure what California blade I have...I will have to check!

Big difference believe it or not between the red and yellow.  I bought a yellow one as a backup to my heavily used red one and the only time I use the yellow is when I can't find my red one... At first I thought it was just me and because it was new it was so much stiffer... Nope, bought the red one and just like my old red one it had a lot more flex allowing it to get around corners much easier
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« Reply #49 on: June 23, 2012, 06:46:21 AM »

I will reply. My 06 black exterior car gets and $80.00 exterior treatment from Ziebart around September of every year.  From then on it is AUTO car wash winter and summer with under body flushes.  There are NO swirl marks or finger nail scratches around the door handles and the paint still has the clear coat original factory shine.  This is how I wash my car with no muss or fuss and still looks like it came off the show room floor. IMO, of coarse.    Binky Baby

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« Reply #50 on: June 11, 2013, 06:53:15 AM »

two things i have sap on my hood what is the best way to take it off?The other thought my seats are vinyl (slt1) so i just use a wipe i was told they are not leather and a leather cleaner does not work on vinyl.Is that right?
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