Almost every car owner knows that automatic car washes can do some real damage to the paintwork of their motor. They may well be a brilliant invention, but only when used in moderation, and when you know how to take care of your vehicle yourself the rest of the time.
But what’s that you just said? You don’t know how to do a proper job of it at home? Never fear. We’re here to talk you through it, so all that you need to do is read our brief guide to find the answers you’ve been searching for…
Step #1: Pre Rinse
Let’s begin. Before you move on to anything else, you’ll need to perform a pre-rinse to loosen up any dirt or silt. The reason that this is so important is because if you don’t do it, these materials can get caught in your wash mitt or sponge and cause marring. Pressure washers are probably the best piece of equipment for performing this job, although hoses are a close second. You want to take a good fifteen minutes at least on this part of the process, to really release as much detritus as you can.
Step #2: Two Bucket Wash
Now let’s move onto the most important part: the two bucket wash. This is where you physically wash the paintwork using a suitable wash mitt or sponge dipped in a high quality car shampoo solution.Start by filling your first bucket – or rinsing bucket – with fresh water, and the second with three parts water and one-part car shampoo, well stirred to mix the two elements together. Use the latter to clean the car from top to bottom, using only a very light pressure to remove any remaining dirt. Every minute or so, place the wash mitt into the second bucket and rinse it thoroughly before beginning the process anew.
Step #3: Rinse
Once you’ve washed your car, you need to take the time to rinse it properly, ideally panel per panel. A pressure washer or hose is best for this job, and should be set to release a steady stream of water. If you don’t have access to either of these, you can use a watering can, but it will take at least five of these to fully rinse even the smallest car. Whatever you choose to use, you’re best beginning from the top down, or else you run the risk of washing any remaining dirt onto areas that have already been cleaned.
The next time you need to clean your car, resist the urge to take it to the garage and drive it through the car wash: you really can do a much better job yourself, and this way, you don’t risk damaging your paintwork in the process.