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How to correctly wash your car, the easy way.

I was driving over the weekend and saw a brand new VW Polo, it did not even have number plates yet, that had so much swirls in it’s paint it looked like it was washed with a kitchen scourer. There is nothing that pains me more than seeing this happen to cars, and it’s mainly caused by incorrect washing methods.

Swirls in car paint

If you do not want your car to look like a movie extra in Charlotte’s Web (swirls look like spider webs when viewed in the sun), there are a few very simple and easy precautions you can take.

1. Do not use roller type car washers, those you drive through.

Even though soap and water are in abundance, dirt and grime particles collect on the bristles, these bristles are then flung against your car at high speed. The damage being done is not instantly visible, but these very fine scratches (also called micro marring) get more evident over time, and within a few months, your car’s paint will be in need of some serious attention. This type of damage cannot be removed by simply polishing your car, and you will need to get professional help to machine polish your paint. This is very costly.

2. Hand carwash with badly maintained sponges and cloths.

Scenario One: A few cars before you, Jim, who just came back from an off-roading weekend had his mud covered truck washed. Sand particles got stuck in the sponge.

Scenario Two: The guy washing your car cannot find a place to put down the sponge and cloth he is busy washing your car with, and puts it down on the ground next to your car. These are now full of sand.

With your car being washed with sponges and cloths containing sand particles, chances are high that your car’s paint will be scratched. These scratches might be very fine and barely visible, but over time they build up and become an eyesore for everyone wanting to admire your car.

It’s impractical and uneconomical for a carwash business to properly wash and dry their sponges and cloths after every car washed. Keep this in mind when you drop your car at the carwash again.

So, how do you keep your car’s paint in good condition for longer? The answer is simple. Wash your cars yourself!

What you need:

1. Two buckets
2. Microfibre Sponge
3. Good car shampoo
4. Microfibre Towel

How to wash your car, in 5 easy steps:

1. In the shade, hose down your car to remove all loose dirt. This reduces the chances of sand getting stuck in your sponge. If you do not have a high pressure hose, a normal garden hose will do.

2. Fill one of your buckets with the soap solution, the other with clean water. I prefer using different colored buckets, that way you always know which one contains what.

3. Dip your sponge in the soap bucket and proceed to wash your car, one panel at a time, from top to bottom. Each time, before you dip your sponge in the soap bucket again, give it a quick rinse in the bucket with the clean water. Do this more often when your car is very dirty. This is called the “Two Bucket Method” and removes any particles that may have got stuck in your sponge from washing the panel. After washing a few panels, hose them down to remove the soap before it dries. Proceed until you’ve completed the whole car.

4. Rinse the car down with a thick stream of water, to make sure all soap residue is washed away. You may have to remove any nozzle attachments to accomplish this.

5. Dry the car using your microfibre towel. As windows dry quickly, dry them first to prevent water marks.

That’s it, you are done. To see exactly how much grime you just saved your paint from, slowly throw the water out of the bucket with the clean water and look at what you find at the bottom of the bucket.

If you are serious about keeping your car looking like it came off the showroom floor, this is the most basic method of looking after your investment’s paint.