I knocked up these guides for another forum but thought you might appreciate them How To...Wash Your Car
The most important thing to remember when washing your pride and joy is that you are working on dirty surfaces. Your choice of products and technique is therefore very important because you want to be able to gently remove dirt and grime without damaging/scratching the paint and without stripping away existing protection. For this reason, we recommend the use of a pressure washer, a lambswool wash mitt instead of a traditional sponge, and the use of a PH balanced shampoo in conjunction with the two bucket method.
Whats wrong with a sponge?
Imagine your cars paint work after you have done a few hundred miles in all weathers covered in dirt, grit and dead flies. Some of these dirt particles are sharp. If you place a sponge down on top of these particles they become trapped between the face of the sponge and the paint, they have no where to go owing to the flat face of the sponge. When you wipe the sponge across the paintwork you wipe the sharp particles across the paint. As they are dragged over the paint the dirt particles leave a thin hairline scratch or swirl marks. These scratches are highly visible in bright light and this is what gives you the dreaded swirl marks that rob your paint of gloss and colour and ruin the car's look.
Lambswool wash mitts have been developed to get around the problems of sponges trapping dirt and grit on the flat face. If you run your fingers through a lambswool mitt you will see that it is deep pile and not flat faced which allows the particles of dirt to be absorbed into the fibres of the mitt and away from the paint surface plus because the fibres of the mitt are loose, particles of dirt can easily be rinsed out.
Why a PH balanced shampoo?
Carnuba waxes can be expensive and the last thing you want to do after building up a few layers of wax is strip it all off using an aggresive shampoo. Fairy Liquid therefore is a big no no for washing cars. You can feel what happens to the skin on your hand if in prolonged contact with harsh detergents, it dries the skin out, it will do similar damage to the paint. As with all detailing products there are many shampoo's on the market to choose from but always try to use one that is PH balanced/neutral.
What is the two-bucket method?
As suggested by the name, the two bucket method uses two buckets. One bucket contains your shampoo mix and the second bucket clean fresh water. After rinsing the car off with the pressure washer soak your mitt in the shampoo mix and begin washing the car a panel at a time, then before dunking the wash mitt back into the shampoo mix, rinse it out in the second bucket of fresh water. This rinses out the dirt and grit particles from the wash mitt so that they cannot come into contact with your paint, reducing the number of swirls inflicted. Repeat this process over the whole car starting on the roof and working your way down the car a panel at a time in straight lines in a backwards and forwards motion rather than in a circular motion. If your car is very dirty you will notice that the bucket containing fresh water will start to change colour with the dirt that you have removed from the car as the mitt is rinsed out after every panel. If the rinse water becomes very dirty replace it with clean fresh water not forgetting to rinse out the bucket before re-filling.
It is better to wash your car in the shade if you can to prevent the suds from drying out and leaving water marks. If this is not possible, on really hot days you should begin rinsing off as soon as each panel is washed. When rinsing off we first recommend using the pressure washer followed by a hose with all of the end attachments removed, this encourages the rinse water to sheet off the panels making drying easier.
The next step is to dry all of the exterior surfaces. This is important because leaving your car to dry off naturally can lead to the formation of unsightly water marks which can actually damage painted surfaces. Although you are now working on clean surfaces, you still want to minimise the risk of inflicting swirl marks when drying off, microfibre drying towels are safe to use as long as they are clean.
The final step in the washing process is to pack away all of the tools you have used, making sure everything is clean and ready for the next use. You should thoroughly rinse out your buckets, and then store them upside down until they are next required. Next rinse out the wash mitt and drying towel and wash them in a washing machine at a low temperature using a gentle non-biological detergent before allowing everything to dry out naturally.How To...Waxing Tips
Once you have finished cleaning your car we recommend applying a final step product after each wash to help protect the paint against the many elements found in the atmosphere such as water, UV radiation, dust, dirt, industrial fallout, tree sap, insects, bird droppings...the list goes on. Protection is available in many different forms including natural carnauba waxes, synthetic sealants and products that combine both. Final step products typically offer varying degrees of gloss, reflectivity, slickness and durability.
Our favourite and recommended final step product is carnauba based wax. Carnauba is a vegetable wax obtained from the leaves of the carnauba palm that is native to Brazil and is nature's hardest, purest and most transparent wax, once fully cured it sets harder than concrete. There are many different carnauba waxes available ranging in price depending on carnauba content percentage. Basically, the higher the percentage of carnauba in the wax determines how durable and how much gloss and shine the wax provides. Carnauba wax prices range from about £15 up to a staggering £7'118 for the highest carnauba content wax in the world, which incidentally is the wax we use on all our details as the final step product.
In contrast to carnauba wax, synthetic sealants are the product of modern technology and comprise either polymer-based formulas or acrylic resins. Many car care enthusiasts have long argued that synthetic sealants are superior to other types of last step product, as they produce an ultra slick finish that is extremely durable. However, the finish produced by sealants is typically much less glossy than that produced by carnauba wax and some can discolour over time, going milky or turning yellow.
When it comes to actually applying a wax the procedure couldn't be simpler...wax on, wax off daniel-san!!!
Seriously though, higher percentage waxes recommend that you warm the wax in the palm of your hand and then rub over the paint with your fingertips, but I discovered to my horror that this can cause scratches if your hands aren't completely clean! We have found that the best and easiest way of applying the wax is to use a foam applicator pad which gives an thin even coverage and then buff to a shine with a microfibre towel. Always apply and buff the wax in straight lines and out of direct sun light. A good tip is to have a spray bottle filled with detail spray, if the wax goes streaky, simply spray and wipe.
The more layers of wax you build up the better the finish will become but if you decide to apply more than one layer in one sitting leave the first layer at least 30 mins before applying more.