The Do’s And Don’ts Of Detailing Your Car
When it comes to car detailing, there can be no shortcuts. Attention to detail, quality products and techniques make all the difference, and it all starts with the wash.
Don't use a sponge
Don’t: Put the sponge down and walk away. The motoring shelves in supermarkets and high street motor factors are groaning with products to wash a vehicle, including sponges. Yet, as any car care professional will tell you, sponges are one of the worst things you can use to wash your car, as the artificial, dense surface moves dirt rather than lift and can cause swirl marks in the paintwork.
Bringing the shampoo-engorged sponge to the car bodywork and beginning to wash in circular motions traps any grit on the car in and beneath the sponge. Although small, these grit particles can be abrasive, resulting in swirl marks, which are fine hairline scratches that mar the surface and distract from the shine.
Do: Use a purpose-made deep-pile wash mitt. These can be of cotton, lambswool or a soft microfibre material and any grit gets absorbed into that material, away from the paint, helping to minimise swirls. Rinse often and there’s a method for that too...
Wash Your Car Using The Two-Bucket Method.
Don’t: Use a single bucket. Dirt and grit from the car can be transferred into the wash bucket during the washing process, contaminating the water. Any grit in the bucket has the potential to be transported back to the car.
Do: As suggested by the heading, the two bucket method uses two buckets, one with the shampoo in and one for just plain water to rinse. Soak the wash mitt in the shampoo bucket and commence the washing. When returning for the next load, first immerse the mitt into the rinse water to wash away any dirt and detritus. As an added precaution, grit guards that sit low in the buckets will trap any grit and dirt at the bottom.
Always Use A Good Quality Car Shampoo
Don’t: Be cheap. There are numerous car shampoos on the market that promise performance but they are not all ideal. Some contain detergents which can strip away previously applied wax, with household washing-up liquid being the biggest culprit. Leave it on the kitchen window sill!
Do: Use a premium shampoo. This will have a silky, soapy feel thanks to added lubricants which help draw contaminants away from the paint and into the mitt, ready to be rinsed away.
A Good Car Wash Technique
Don’t: Focus pressured water directly on the bodywork, this can cause damage to the paint by inflicting scratches from any embedded grit.
Do: Be gentle when shampooing, remembering to rinse the mitt often. A top tip is to use warm (not hot) water, especially in chilly weather. If nothing else if helps prevent freezing hands! Finally, rinse away the shampoo from the top down with fresh, clean indirect water.
Don’t: Use the paintwork wash mitt and shampoo on the wheels. The wheels are typically much dirtier than the paintwork, therefore you may want to use separate wash media for thee areas to prevent cross-contamination.
Help break down built-up dirt
Do: Use a good purpose-designed wheel cleaner and a wheel brush to break down the built-up road grime and break dust. Don't forget about the tyres; use a tyre dressing to make the rubber look like new. After all, car detailing is all about the little extra touches.
Remember the Hidden Areas
Do: Remember to wash not just the exterior bodywork but also the door jambs, sills and undersides. Boot and door seals are not always perfect and can allow water ingress.
Prevent Water Spots
Don’t: Leave a car to air-dry. Water spots and water marks can spoil the look of a vehicle, rendering all your hard work pointless. Ideally you would use forced air to remove as much water as possible, especially round the smaller areas like grills, badges etc. Although you can also use drying towels. Remember quality matters as harsh cheap towelling could impact swirl marks too!
Do: Use a clean drying towel. The best are constructed from a sandwich technique. The outer layers; front and back, use a ‘Diamond Weave’ Microfibre with a highly absorbent microfibre inner layer. This makes the material very soft and absorbent.
The Next Step: Protecting With Car Wax
Take a step back and admire your craftmanship, knowing that is a job is worth doing, it's worth doing right: It's important to remember, that car detailing is all about going the extra mile.
Finish the job by adding a layer of your favourite protection. We recommend wax as it will enhance the shine and offer durable protection to the paintwork, plus application is always very satisfying!