Safely Washing your Vehicle

Washing your car - should be a straight forward thing, right?

Nope! Not if you want to avoid doing more damage to your vehicle than the environment, people, and objects already do. For machine washes, only use touch-free! When you drive your vehicle through a car wash with brushes\foam noodles\who knows what rubbing all over your vehicle, all you're doing is rubbing the dirt from the car ahead of you into your paint.

Hand washing can be just as dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. Read on for advice on how to do it right!


Gather Your Materials

Your products are almost as important as your technique. A few vital products should be part of your arsenal. We're happy to provide products to help maintain your vehicle, or you can purchase them on your own.

Wheels and Tires

Wheels and tires can be the most time-consuming part of detailing a vehicle if they aren't regularly maintained.

Brushes: DI ATLASTA Soft Tip Brush (lugs, tight crevices), DI Wheel Wash Boar's Hair Brush (wheel face\spokes), DI Speed Master Wheel Brush (wheel barrel, wheel well), DI Wheel Woolies (general), Tuf Shine Tire Brush

Spray the tires with Tuf Shine Tire Cleaner, scrub with Tuf Shine Tire Brush, rinse, repeat until the water coming off is white\clear.

Spray the wheels with the Sonax Wheel Cleaner Plus and go to town with the various brushes. Some wheels are easy to clean, others are not. It all depends.

Buckets\Grit Guards

Five Gallon Buckets (two) with Grit Guards

This is one of the most vital parts - use two buckets! Your first is a rinse bucket with clean water in it. Your second is a soap bucket with water and shampoo. The grit guard goes in the bottom of the bucket to help keep dirt that's settled from coming back up into your wash media (mitt, sponge, etc.)

Pre-soak

At the minimum, take a powerful stream of water to rinse off as much loose dirt and grime as you can. If you have a pressure washer, use it on the widest fan setting and at least six inches away from the paint.

For pressure washers, investing in a foam cannon is worthwhile. A foam cannon produces massive amounts of thick suds, especially when used with a good foaming soap such as Chemical Guys Citrus or Honeydew Snow Foam.

Chemical Guys Citrus Wash and a DI Foam Cannon

Chemical Guys Citrus Wash and a DI Foam Cannon

For a regular hose, a Gilmour Foamaster II Foam Gun is also worth considering. While you won't get quite as much foam as the above foam cannon, it does a great job as well.

Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam and a Gilmour Foam Gun

Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam and a Gilmour Foam Gun

Once you've let the foam soak for several minutes, rinse it off with a strong stream of water. Make sure you don't let the foam dry on the paint!

Wash Media

Lake Country Wash Wedge or DI reTHICKulous Wool Wash Mitt

I alternate between these two. Your primary objective when washing is to pull the dirt away from the vehicle as quickly and easily as possible, without scratching it against the paint as you're doing so. Both the Wash Wedge and reTHICKulous Wash Mitt do a great job at this. 

Shampoo

Chemical Guys Citrus Wash and GlossChemical Guys Citrus Wash, or CarPro HydrO2 Foam

There are many options for shampoos. For over the counter shampoos from AutoZone\Advance Auto\Wal-Mart, Meguiar's Deep Crystal is your best bet. 

For waxed cars: We recommend using the Citrus Wash and Gloss, as it will help rejuvenate the wax as it wears off.

For sealed cars: We recommend either the Citrus Wash and Gloss or regular Citrus Wash.

For coated cars: We recommend the Citrus Wash for regular washes, and the CarPro HydrO2 Foam once a month to help rejuvenate the coating.

Washing Technique

Since we're trying to minimize scratching the paint, you want to start with the cleanest surfaces first - this typically means working from top to bottom. Rinse your wash media after every panel (i.e. hood, quarter panel, door) and make sure not to let shampoo dry on the paint.

Drying

Using forced air is best. An electric leaf blower will work wonders on a properly protected car (especially if it's coated!). A DI Microfiber Waffle Weave Drying Towel is best to catch the leftover drips.

Topping Off

It's not a bad idea to top off your LSP with a complimentary spray product. This helps extend the protection offered, and bring back some of the positive aspect (gloss, hydrophobic qualities, etc.)

Optimum Car Wax, Chemical Guys V7 Spray Sealant, Car Pro Reload

For waxed vehicles, Optimum Car Wax is a good choice.

For sealed vehicles, Chemical Guys V7 is one of the best options for spray sealants.

Coatings are a bit picky - putting a spray wax or sealant on top of them gets rid of most of the best attributes of the coating. CarPro Reload is one of your best choices.

Hopefully this helps make car care a little easier AND safer for your pride and joy!