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Detailing Library - Washing & Drying

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Introduction

Washing and drying is the first basic step to maintaining your car. It also plays a crucial role in the condition of your car in the long term.

A large majority of imperfections such as swirls, scratches and water spots are induced during the washing and drying process. With this in mind, it is vitally important that we use quality products and learn correct techniques to minimise this damage as much as possible.

How Often Should I Wash?

We recommend washing 2-4 times a month. That is at least every fortnight, or once a week at most.

Pre-Wash Foam Rinse

Incorporating the use of a foam lance into your washing technique can greatly help to further minimise swirls and imperfections on your paintwork.

A foam lance will allow you to pre-soak your vehicle in a thick layer of soap without physically touching the surface. A "touchless" pre-wash. This process will strip the surface of excess dirt and debris and therefore minimising the amount of this contamination being trapped between your wash mitt or sponge and causing damage.

Use of strong cleaners such as traffic film removers, or heavy duty shampoos are highly effective at removing most, if not all of the surface contamination. Keep in mind these cleaners can also strip some waxes and sealants from the surface which will then require reapplication.

Washing Top To Bottom

Always wash the cleanest panels first, and the dirtiest panels last. Usually this means starting with the roof of the car, followed by bonnet, upper sides, boot lid and then leaving lower sides, front and rear fenders to last.

Two Bucket Method

The “two bucket method” is the most popular and safest way to wash your car. It involves a wash bucket containing your soap solution, and a second bucket containing clean water for rinsing your mitt or sponge.

  1. In the first bucket, prepare your selected washing solution and water and fill to desired level
  2. In the second bucket, insert your grit guard and fill with clean water
  3. Rinse the car surface with water removing as much loose debris as possible.
  4. Soak your wash mitt or sponge in the first bucket containing the washing solution and commence washing the first panel using only light pressure and using the lubrication from the soap suds to glide the mitt or sponge over the surface.
  5. Once complete place the mitt or sponge in the second bucket containing the clean water and grit guard. Run the mitt/sponge over the surface of the grit guard to release as much of the contamination as possible.
  6. Once the mitt/sponge is rinsed return it to the first bucket containing the wash solution
  7. Rinse off the panel
  8. Repeat steps 4-7 until complete. Empty the contents of the rinse bucket as required and refill with fresh water.

Sheeting

Sheeting is a method of pooling or “flooding” water over a panel. The surface tension causes it to flow off the surface in a single body of water leaving only a few drops behind. The effect is amplified on a waxed or sealed surface, and allows you to dry the panel with minimal contact from a chamois or waffle weave drying towel.

The video below demonstrates

 

 

How To Correctly Dry A Car

One of the single, worst mistakes people make when drying the car is heavily dragging a chamois or drying towel across the surface. A chamois should be used only to lightly push excess water from the surface, if required. This can be avoided using the sheeting method above. A microfibre waffle weave drying towel should then be used to complete the process, but not by dragging and wiping the surface, but by placing the towel to the surface and allowing the material to absorb the water.

  1. Use the sheeting method to remove most of the water from the surface
  2. Starting from the top, pat the surface dry and avoid dragging across the surface as much as possible. The microfibre material will absorb the remaining water beads from the surface.
  3. Use of a quick detail spray and plush microfibre cloth can be used to remove any remaining waterspots and enhance the shine.

Rinseless Washing

Optimum No Rinse is a unique type of "rinseless wash". That is, it allows you to wash your vehicle and then skip straight to drying without the need for hosing off soap residues. It utilises a special type of polymer that encapsulates the dirt particles to prevent scratches.

This type of wash, along with waterless washing is ideal for those living in apartments with limited space or ability to wash your car with a bucket and hose.

Waterless Wash

Optimum Opti-Clean is the latest in waterless washing technology, and contains the same polymers as Optimum No Rinse, but in higher concentration. The substantive polymers encapsulate the dirt and grime to protect the paint from marring.

Waterless washing is ideal when spot cleaning on a relatively clean car is required, such as dust removal and finger prints. Waterless washing on heavily soiled cars should be avoided as it may damage the surface.

  1. Spray the panel liberally with the waterless wash
  2. Using a folded plush microfibre cloth, gently wipe the surface clean
  3. Refold to produce a new clean surface on the cloth and repeat step 2.