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Honing Technique: Methods for Washing


Eidolon
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So I'm noticing I'm still getting very small scratch marks on the surface of my paint - very slowly, but very surely - and I want to do all that I can to reduce or even eliminate them. So my intent for this thread is for me to list a) my current tools, B) what I'm doing now, and c) a few things I think I'm doing wrong, all to solicit comments on my technique that will hopefully help to refine the process for me and perhaps for others. I'm also reviewing the new Volume 6 videos for tips and hints.

 

Tools of the Trade

I have and use the following for a typical wash, all of them Adams products:

 

  • Green tire cleaner
  • Boulder boar's hair brush
  • Foamy spray gun
  • Adams Car wash
  • with grit guard
  • Standard wash pad
  • Detail Spray
  • White microfiber drying towel
  • VRT
  • Tire sponges

How I Wash

I generally try to use what I read somewhere as the "rinse bucket" method for the washing, but first I start with the tires.

 

Tires/Rims

The rims on my G8 GXP are clear-coated aluminum. I first rinse them down, then hit them with the green wheel cleaner, rimes and tire both. Then I use the boar's hair brush to clean the outside of the rim and more or less work my way in. I then switch to the fender brush and use it on the tire, then give the fender a once over. Then I rinse.

 

I'm noticing small scratch marks on the clear coat on these wheels, so I'll have some comments on my form based on the Adams video, as well as a question or two.

 

Paint

Next up is the full-body wash.

 

  1. First I fill the bucket and grit guard with plain water, placing the standard wash sponge in this bucket.
  2. I then fill up the foamy spray gun with about 1/8th or so car wash and the rest with water. Shake well, then serve with cold dri... OK, just joking on the serving.
  3. I then spray the whole car down with a rinse first.
  4. Next, I do one panel at a time, spraying with the foamy gun and then working it over with the standard wash pad. I find that I have to set the gun on E to get a thick spray.
  5. I start with the roof and windshield, then the hood and bumper and fenders, then the doors from halfway up, then the trunk, then the rear bumper all the way down to the exhaust pipes, and then forward doing the lower half of the doors. After each panel, I rinse.
  6. As I go, I flip the pad back and forth, trying to use portions that aren't visibly dirtied.
  7. After each panel or section, I grind the pad against the grit guard in the bottom of the bucket to dislodge any dirt in the pad. Typically about halfway through the wash, the water in the bucket is pretty sudsy just from rinsing the pad.
  8. Next, use the hose with no sprayer to run water over the entire car to consolidate the beads of water.
  9. Now, spritz the entire car with detail spray.
  10. Towel dry with the microfiber towel, starting high and working down to the rocker panels.
  11. Treat the plastic with VRT and the tire sponge, starting with the trim and finishing with the tires. Love this stuff. It makes the black trim on the car pop, especially the rear diffuser.

Self-Analysis

So after watching the videos, there's a few changes I believe I can make to improve my technique. For anyone who cares enough to read this small novel - and thanks for it -please provide any suggestions for improvement that you can think of!

 

Tires/Rims

Inside to out. My current technique is outside to in, so I'm dragging the brake dust - which is quite plentiful on my car - around all over the rims. Also, switch to all-purpose cleaner on the tires.

 

That said, is there any way I can polish the clear coat on these wheels? Say, take one of my old microfiber towels and hand-apply some of the fine machine polish? I should not use the metal polish on the clear coat, correct?

 

Paint

So after watching the video, I realize I made the crucial mistake of panicking when the suds began to try. That's why I developed the panel-at-a-time method. Knowing I can spray the entire car, wash even as I let it dry, and then rinse and dry makes an enormous difference. But this does bring up two questions.

 

 

  1. When filling the foamy gun, should I mix in any water with the product? Or should it be only product? Thus far I've mixed the product with water because I assumed the product would be too thick to work properly.
  2. When filling the bucket, should I put car wash solution in the bucket as well? Or should/can it be just water?

Also, two questions/comments about drying.

 

  1. I note that my microfiber drying towels are getting pretty rough to the touch, likely from washing them with Tide at first. Ditto for the wash pad itself. I've got Woolite now and dry them on low, but they've still gotten tough. They're likely contributing to the swirls, so I hope to replace them soon. I'll get new towels, stick to the Woolite, and line dry. No dryers.
  2. When wiping down inside the door jams, which haven't been washed as have the rest of the car, should I worry about the potentially impressive amounts of dirt harming the microfiber towel? I know I should definitely do these last.

 

Dressing

I'm gonna have to try the 50/50 VRT/water mix for dressing the engine bay. I have yet to clean that part of my car.

 

So these are my questions regarding the washing process. If I think of any others, I'll post them into this thread. Thanks, all, for the help; and thanks again, Adams, for the truly impressive car-care products.

Edited by Eidolon
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I think your method is pretty spot on. I use two buckets, but your eliminating the wash bucket by washing and spraying at the same time. I use 1-1/2oz of adam's shampoo fill the rest with water; in my foam gun, it seems to produce the highest amount of suds. I think the only thing I do different is I have a cheap toro leaf blower I use to blow off the excess water after the rinse (you use the flood method, which is just as good), then I mist the car with DS to help dry with a white drying towel.

 

You can try boiling your microfibers to rejuvenate them a little bit.

 

I use cheaper microfibers on my door jams, engine bay, trim, to avoid ruining my expensive microfibers. If you do get spotting on your microfibers use a little APC on the spots to "spot treat" before washing.

 

I grade my microfibers, new ones get used for polishing/buffing/detail spray, medium grade (ok, just not new) get used for door jams, interior, wheels. then the older not so great condition ones get used for cleaning the heavy gunk that builds up in the enginebay / wheels wells ect. Once they have become a too soiled they find they way to the round file.

 

Hope this helped.

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Sounds like you have really thought about your process. I am glad that you have posted so much detail - it really helps.

 

Here's my two cents, for what it's worth. :)

 

You might try incorporating a 2 wash bucket(w/gritguards) & two pad method (aka the Junkman videos)- one wash pad used exclusively for the upper part of the car-used first, a different wash pad for the lower (dirtier) part of the car used 2nd. I have marked one of my wash pads with a black marker on one edge (a dark line that goes from one side to the other) maybe 1 inch each side so that I can know that IT is the lower washing pad. I have one bucket with 1 oz or so of car wash and water in it, the other bucket with just plain water used only for rinsing the pad from the car, both buckets with grit guards in them. I really rub the pads on the grit guards, both sides, before taking them to the finish. And if the rinse water gets the least amount of color, dump it and refill with fresh water. Every little dirt/dust particle is a mini swirl generator.

 

If your microfiber feels noticeably rough, I would be very suspicious of them as you have already noted. I am not sure that boiling them will remove any stuff/filler from the Tide powder washing detergent, but give it a shot. I think you've nailed part of the issue. Go ahead and get a couple new great white drying towels and baby them in their laundering process (woolite, air dry indoors) as you have noted.

 

The only other thing I could think of is that you might try the water flooding method of rinsing instead of using the leaf blower, as it could be that your leaf blower is kicking up some dust from the garage into the air and settling it on the finish.

 

I guess the idea would be to correct the finish, and then update all your areas that might seem questionable, and see how the finish looks through time.

 

My feeling is that every time I touch the finish, it is an opportunity for swirls/scratches, so I end up (with a black finish) just being as careful as I can during the wash/dry process. Around here in Huntington Beach, if it looks dirty, it IS gritty, so I just go ahead and wash the car.

 

I hope this gives you some ideas - try them as you will and see how things go. :)

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You might try incorporating a 2 wash bucket(w/gritguards) & two pad method (aka the Junkman videos)- one wash pad used exclusively for the upper part of the car-used first, a different wash pad for the lower (dirtier) part of the car used 2nd. I have marked one of my wash pads with a black marker on one edge (a dark line that goes from one side to the other) maybe 1 inch each side so that I can know that IT is the lower washing pad. I have one bucket with 1 oz or so of car wash and water in it, the other bucket with just plain water used only for rinsing the pad from the car, both buckets with grit guards in them. I really rub the pads on the grit guards, both sides, before taking them to the finish. And if the rinse water gets the least amount of color, dump it and refill with fresh water. Every little dirt/dust particle is a mini swirl generator.

I think the one-bucket method I've got going can work OK, though I'll have to check out Junkman's videos as you suggest. The use of two pads seems like a very good idea, and since the pads are $9 apiece, it's easy to do.

 

So my ideas for execution based on your suggestion would be to actually use a true two-phase method. Use one bucket, with a bit of product in it, with the first pad for the top half of the car. The majority of the suds will come from the foamy gun, and the product in the "rinse" bucket is more or less just to ensure that there are some suds already in the pad.

 

Then, after doing the top half, switch pads, dump the bucket and refill, and then do the lower half of the car.

 

If your microfiber feels noticeably rough, I would be very suspicious of them as you have already noted. I am not sure that boiling them will remove any stuff/filler from the Tide powder washing detergent, but give it a shot. I think you've nailed part of the issue. Go ahead and get a couple new great white drying towels and baby them in their laundering process (woolite, air dry indoors) as you have noted.

I actually have only used liquid detergent - I never use powder, even for my own clothes - but Tide is rough stuff! I noticed a difference in softness in the microfiber even by bumping the wash up to two rinse cycles. So next time around, no Tide!! I'll also skip the dryer. Get some twine, string it up in my garage, and I should be set.

 

The only other thing I could think of is that you might try the water flooding method of rinsing instead of using the leaf blower, as it could be that your leaf blower is kicking up some dust from the garage into the air and settling it on the finish.

Water flooding is actually what I do now. I haven't used a leaf blower yet, though it's tempting considering that water does like to hide in the nooks and crannies.

 

I guess the idea would be to correct the finish, and then update all your areas that might seem questionable, and see how the finish looks through time.

Agreed. Looking at my finish now, it really is still in pretty good shape. There's just very gentle and slight spider-webbing that's visible at angles in the sunlight, and I haven't polished or waxed my car since November. So the damage isn't too bad. But if I can reduce it further, so much the better!

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I think the only thing I do different is I have a cheap toro leaf blower I use to blow off the excess water after the rinse (you use the flood method, which is just as good), then I mist the car with DS to help dry with a white drying towel.

I might have to try the leaf-blower trick, as I tend to get water running all down the car afterward. I even have an electric leafblower sitting around.

 

 

I use cheaper microfibers on my door jams, engine bay, trim, to avoid ruining my expensive microfibers. If you do get spotting on your microfibers use a little APC on the spots to "spot treat" before washing.

Also a good idea. I've even got an ancient Meguiar's microfiber towel that I would be terrified to use on my finish that I could use for tasks such as these.

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Alway when filling your bucket with Shampoo put a good amount on the pad as well as the water. And do the whole top of the car first, you said you did the rear bumper cover down to tips. Do that last ,along with below your door molding. And your door jambs use a separate MF towel with WCW or DS, depending how dirty, if they are real dirty spray a good bit turning your towel or using more than one towel ,do them last after you dry the car.:thumbsup:

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You definitely need to get a full understanding of my wash technique. One bucket is NOT the way you want to go under any circumstances, especially with a dirty car. There is no safe way around it. In my wash and wax video series, I explain my method and the logic behind my madness in detail. Click this link to see and hear how I do it. When that video end, pick up the next video here.

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You definitely need to get a full understanding of my wash technique. One bucket is NOT the way you want to go under any circumstances, especially with a dirty car. There is no safe way around it. In my wash and wax video series, I explain my method and the logic behind my madness in detail. Click this link to see and hear how I do it. When that video end, pick up the next video here.

Drat, so there's no good way to substitute the foamy gun for the wash bucket? To this point, that's pretty much what I've been trying to do.

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Drat, so there's no good way to substitute the foamy gun for the wash bucket? To this point, that's pretty much what I've been trying to do.

 

Like I said before, if you truly understand the madness behind my method, you will answer that question for yourself. I not only explain what I do, I also explain why. If you can come up with a safer method than what I do, then I'll adopt your way. I am constantly trying to improve what I do so I always listen to what others do.

 

Keep in mind that I don't do this to my daily driver or I wouldn't have a life. I only do this to my pride and joy. My daily driver gets absolutely NO love when it comes to being washed. I think the last time I washed it was around 3 years ago. It could be longer.

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Like I said before, if you truly understand the madness behind my method, you will answer that question for yourself. I not only explain what I do, I also explain why. If you can come up with a safer method than what I do, then I'll adopt your way. I am constantly trying to improve what I do so I always listen to what others do.

I watched your videos, actually, and I understand exactly why you do it; and I'm not denying the benefit of so doing. I'm only resisting because I don't want to have to purchase another bucket or keep track of two when washing. In short, I'm a lazy miser. :)

 

Keep in mind that I don't do this to my daily driver or I wouldn't have a life. I only do this to my pride and joy. My daily driver gets absolutely NO love when it comes to being washed. I think the last time I washed it was around 3 years ago. It could be longer.

Here's my other problem. My pride and joy - see my sig - is my daily driver. Last summer, I was performing my current rinse bucket method more or less every weekend. During the winter, I washed it more or less once a month. I know it should have been more, but time and weather didn't much permit. I can't really wash my car in my garage, and weekend rain makes washing outdoors impossible.

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Keeping a daily driver as pristine as my Vette is next to impossible if you have a life. Don't even think about it if you have a wife and kids. :willy:

Agreed. I don't have a wife and kids. Yet. But I do like to keep my car clean by giving it a bath every week or two. If I can keep that up, I'd be happy.

 

The two bucket method's really no slower than what I do now, considering that I currently use the foamy gun per panel. So if I use it to soak the entire car, then use the bucket for washing, then the actual wash process should be roughly the same length.

 

One thing I might also try to pick up is the air blaster that Adams has added to their line. It seems a good way to get water out of nooks and crannies, and my G8 has a good number of them. I'd use a leaf blower, but it would stand a chance of kicking up dust.

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... One thing I might also try to pick up is the air blaster that Adams has added to their line. It seems a good way to get water out of nooks and crannies, and my G8 has a good number of them. I'd use a leaf blower, but it would stand a chance of kicking up dust.

 

I agree. I use a electric leaf blower but I wash my car in my garage. :D

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Let me just say that you CAN NOT eliminate putting small/fine scratches in your paint. No way no how. You can reduce them though.

 

I use NOTHING but Adams products on my car and I still get them. Now... Mine's a DD so I'm not all to worried about it, but I do have a PC and I DO keep it looking DANG nice.

 

Chris

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Let me just say that you CAN NOT eliminate putting small/fine scratches in your paint. No way no how. You can reduce them though.

 

Which is precisely why I posted this thread. :) Saw someone driving a Bonneville GXP this morning, and the paint glistened like it was brand new, the tires were blacked... It was a thing of beauty. Made me remember why I care for my car, and also made me want to give my car a thorough going-over with the PC.

 

Good news, though, I've got some new wash pads, a new drying towel, AND a second bucket on the way.

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Let me just say that you CAN NOT eliminate putting small/fine scratches in your paint. No way no how. You can reduce them though.

 

... and let me add that the repair of those ever so fine scratches that do reappear are extremely easy to fix once you have totally paint corrected your car. A quick hit with FMP and the white pad and you're back on the road, scratch free. Don't forget to replace the wax in the areas you touch up. :thumbsup:

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