LATHER | RINSE | REPEAT
You wake up early on a Saturday morning in the middle of summer, while studying your neighborhood block to partake of your weekly ritual, washing your pride and joy! Even though the weather conditions are fortuitous, there are a number of nuances that streamline the washing process. Below, I'll share with you a few tips and tricks that will aid you within your washing regimen.
1. Always choose a wash media that is soft to the touch. If you aren't particularly price conscious, I would highly recommend a chenille microfiber wash mitt. The individual fibers are soft to the paintwork, which in turn will remove any existing dirt and debris with the utmost delicacy and precision. When you're moving your wash media around your vehicle, make sure not to rub indiscriminately or with any excessive force, as this will only increase the probability of instilling swirls, scratches, and other blemishes.
There is a common misconception among vehicle owners when it comes to this very subject. For some reason, I'll encounter someone continuously rubbing one panel numerous times. You gain no benefit from washing a single panel over and over. As gravity takes shape, it is best to start from the roof and work your way down. Over time, this systematic approach will eventually become indelibly imprinted into your body.
2. Make sure to employ a two-bucket washing system. In my particular case, I only subscribe to using a three-bucket method of washing (one bucket containing a dedicated washing solution, one bucket with fresh rinse water, and a third bucket dedicated to just wheels). For those of you that are new to this method of washing, please visit my resources page and click on the washing icon for a thorough explanation. If you're pressed for time, let me provide you with an abridged version.
One bucket will contain a dedicated washing solution. Whether this is a soap, shampoo, or conditioner is entirely at your own discretion. Next, your second bucket will contain only fresh rinse water. When you're done washing your first panel, simply dunk your wash media (wash mitt) into your second bucket containing fresh rinse water. Methodically speaking, this will allow the wash media to release any dirt and debris that once existed. Simply repeat this process until your entire vehicle is covered.
3. When drying your vehicle, whatever you do, don't reach for a conventional (cotton) drying towel! While these towels are absorbent, they are coarse to the touch and will only transfer swirls and scratches into your paintwork. Once again, if you aren't price conscious then I would highly recommend either a special plush microfiber towel or waffle-weave drying towel. A list of recommended towels are provided in my blog entitled "towel care and maintenance". Respectively, both of these towels are forgiving against your paintwork and are heavily absorbent. Depending on the construction quality, any one of these towels may include a silk-banded edge for reducing the potential of impairing your paintwork.
In the detailing world, there's a term that rarely warrants any attention, and that's GSM. This acronym stands for gallons per square meter. Ultimately, the higher the number of GSM, the more absorbent the towel. If you're an avid online shopper, you'll traditionally see this information listed under the product description. if not, you can simply contact the manufacturer, and they'll be happy to provide you with that information. If you want a hands-free drying method, you can always opt for a leaf blower to sheet off any remaining water droplets. While this method may be effective, you'll invariably need to use a towel to remove excess water from any inconspicuous areas such as door jambs, door sills, grilles, and other areas of the like.