One of the most important issues with caring for your vehicle is the damage left behind when dirt is dragged across the surface. This creates micro scratching and ultimately wears down the clear coat, leaving a dull lackluster surface. Most of the techniques and products used in this guide will help limit this type of damage during a car wash. This process is exactly the same technique our technicians follow for our exterior slick up.
It is recommended to hand wash your vehicle AT LEAST once per month and no touch rinse in between washes. It is important to not allow contamination to bake into the clear coat over extended periods of time causing etching, staining and possible permanent damage. If bird droppings, tree sap or hard water finds their way on your paint, remove AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. If your vehicle is ceramic coated, most of these steps become SIGNIFICANTLY EASIER to accomplish.
Required Tools Needed-
Car Wash Specific Soap (PH Balanced)
Crystal Clear Window Cleaner
3 Buckets With Grit Guards (Wheel Bucket, Soap Bucket, Clean Water Bucket)
1 mitt for the paint and 1 mitt for lower, more dirty, areas of the vehicle
Microfiber towel for exterior touch ups
Optional Tools Recommended-
Deionized Water Purification
- Do Not Wash In Direct Sunlight or If Surfaces Are Hot
- Always Work With Top Down Workflow So You Are Not Repeating Steps From Falling Dirt
- If Surfaces Start To Dry Before Intended; Add Soap & Water!
Hand Car Wash Process-
-Add 3-5oz of soap to Wheels Bucket & To Soap Bucket (and foam cannon if applicable) and Fill All 3 Buckets With Water. Submerge your cleaning tools in their corresponding buckets (Soap & Wheels Buckets)
-Start with the wheels & tires first: ensure they are not hot! Pre rinse the tires and wheels with water. Spray tire degreaser all over the tires and agitate with an abrasive/coarse brush, rinse off immediately. Spray and soak the rim in IronX, be liberal. Allow 1-2 minutes for the Fallout Remover / IronX to penetrate the surface and then lather the wheels with soap from foam cannon without rinsing off the IronX. Use your wheel bucket and wheel cleaning tools to agitate the contamination with the IronX and Soap mixture. DO NOT ALLOW TO DRY, work on only 1-2 wheels at a time. Rinse thoroughly before moving on as the IronX and Soap can stain the wheel finish.
-Rinse the exterior from the top down to remove as much loose debris as possible.
-Attach your foam cannon and soak down the entire car in soapy suds to help encapsulate the debris and slide down to lower surfaces.
-Starting with the roof, slide the wash mitt from left to right in straight lines to remove the debris. DO NOT GO in circles.
-After completing the roof and windows, RINSE the mitt in your clean water bucket, then dunk it in the soap before proceeding to the hood. It is recommended to do this after EVERY panel in order to avoid tracking dirt all around the car with a dirty wash mitt.
-If you encounter more stubborn contamination, feel free to ‘aggressively’ agitate with the mitt and LOTS of soap to lubricate the surface. If it is not coming off – more advanced techniques will be needed after completion of the wash.
-After washing all of the exterior panels- use a separate mitt to attack lower areas of the vehicle (bottom edge of side skirts, wheel wells, exhaust tips)
-Refoam if surfaces are drying to avoid soap scum before completely rinsing.
-It is HIGHLY recommended to perform a blow dry finish in order to limit touching of the clear coat. We recommend the Master Blaster or even an electric leaf blower.
-Start from the top and blow the car completely dry.
-Double Back With a Soft Clean Microfiber Towel and Final Finish To Catch Water Drips And Any Missed Contamination. Use a ‘Dabbing’ Motion Instead of Wiping In Order To Limit Scratching.
– Always be sure to thoroughly wipe the door jambs immediately after the wash in order to avoid staining.