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Reprinted With Permission - TriAngles Newsletter

Sounds easy - get a bucket of suds, a sponge, fresh air and sunshine, and have at it. The correct way to wash a car is not that easy. We'll take a look at the supplies you’ll need, and the correct technique.


Suds - never ever use dishwashing soap. It’s made to remove grease and guess what, car wax is a grease! Not only that, but it streaks and can even soften clear coat. Buy a quality car wash soap. It will not remove wax and is formulated to lift dirt so it won’t scratch your paint. I use Griots Garage products.

Sponges - you got it, don't use them. They can hold dirt in their pores that scratch paint. They also dull the paint. Get a good sheepskin wash mitt. They are soft on the paint and holds a lot of soap. You need two.

Sunshine - don't do it. Get the car in a shaded area and make sure the paint is cool. Not only will you be more comfortable, but the soap won't streak and you'll get fewer water spots.

Towels - only use 100% cotton, no polyester. Polyester threads will scratch your paint. Ask your wife where the good ones are!

Ok lets wash!

First rinse the car well; try to remove all loose dirt. Make sure every panel is wet. Start with the wheels and rocker panels. Dedicate one of your wash mitts for this and only use it for this. Never use that mitt on painted surfaces. I like Simple Green for this area; it gets brake dust and tar.

Next re-spray the hood, roof and trunk. Do these as a unit, all the time keeping your mitt filled with soap. Do this area with the second mitt, which is ONLY for paint. Rinse this area and keep it and all other clean areas wet while you wash the rest of the car. Continue washing the sides and the bumpers, keeping the clean panels WET at all times. If your sheep skin wash mitt
de-lamb-inates, get a new one.

Drying. You have kept the paint wet, right? Here's why. Now you’re going to dry your car WITH water! Yes water! Respray your car and get everything good and wet. Remove the spray nozzle and turn it on to about medium. Start at the roof and run the water back and forth over the entire car. This will sheet the water off the paint and leave you with just spots of water to blot up with a 100% cotton towel.

Now sit back, admire your work, and have a few of your favorite SUDS.