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Hey all, I wrote this up to help a buddy. He had no idea how to wash a car well, so wrote this little how to up, hope it helps someone :)

Large bucket for your soapy water, if using a brush, make sure it is large enough for the brush to be submerged completely.

Fill bucket with water and soap, loosely follow the directions for the soap as far as how much of the liquid to use to water, i tend to use about 25-50% more than they call for. If your bucket gets low on water during washing add a bit more liquid soap and fill back up. The dirt your clothe or brush picks up will settle at the bottom, so you don't want to pick it back up and wash the car with that grit.

Preparing to wash, RINSE the whole car TOP to BOTTOM using water from your hose. The idea here is to knock any loose large particle of dirt off the car and to cool the paint. Hot paint dries the soap and causes spots. Never attempt to wash the entire car in one go. Make sure the roof is very wet and wash it, rinse, then move to other panels, only wash what wont dry, then rinse and move on. Always rinse top to bottom, making sure to remove ALL soap. Rewet the towel used to wash often in the bucket, putting the towel in the bucket helps to wash off the grit from the towel so you are not scratching the paint.

Once car is washed, we can move onto the wheels, this serves two purposes, it allows the car to dry in prep. for other things, and we DO NOT want to use dirty water from washing the wheels to wash the car with. If your soap bucket is TRULY nasty from doing the car, make fresh soap water. 1st wet the wheel and tire well, the liberally apply the bleche-wyte tire cleaner, preferably a short bristle brush to SCRUB the tire with, and any hard/stubborn brake dust on the wheel. Wash the wheel with the rag. Rinse well. While your down here washing the wheel and tire, it is also a good time to rinse your wheel wells out.

Once the car is DRY, then we can start applying the wax, I prefer a foam wax applicator.
If using a liquid wax, apply it to the applicator and in circular motion run/work into the paint. If using a paste wax rub applicator in the paste then onto the paint.
Apply wax to a complete panel, and move onto the next to apply. As the first panel dries to a haze, take a clean terry/microfiber cloth and polish the wax off, you will use circular motion here as well to remove the wax. Flip the towel often to get a clean side of the towel to prevent build up of the dried wax on the towel. Continue this to complete the car. Optionally you may apply wax to the glass and headlights/tailights as well.
Do not apply wax to any rough/porous surface as it is a ***** to remove. Do not apply wax to rubber item either. It will haze up and be a ***** to remove and you'll have this white crap all over the car.

Once you are done waxing, the tires will be dry as well, Take your tire shine spray can, spray closely to the tire to avoid over spray of the tire shine on the paint.
Take a spare wax applicator that is CLEAN and spray some on the applicator as well, run the applicator over the tire to even out and distribute the shine all over the tire sidewall. Allow to dry 15-30 minutes before driving to avoid slinging it on the paint.

Now move inside the car, remove all trash and dispose of it. Remove all items from car temp. Vacuum well, remove floor mats and vacuum beneath and also the mats. Once vacuumed well we can clean the vinyl and other surfaces. Make a clean bucket of soap water, use very little of the soap liquid this time. Using a clean terry cloth towel soak it in the bucket and wring out well to just damp. Now clean the interior, you can use this towel on basically everything in the car, scrub and rub til all clean, paying close attention to the steering wheel and driver side door panel, basically anything you touch regularly. If it does no come clean you can use something a bit stronger, I like diluted purple power, or mean green cleaners. Any mild degreaser will work well, Nothing too strong. If you have used a degreaser or something stronger to clean stubborn stains/dirt go back over it with your mild soapy water terry clothe to remove the degreaser from the surface.

cleaing the windows is an art imo, I prefer ammonia and unprinted news paper or that awesome brown paper you get in the bathroom do dry your hands on, spray cleaner on glass and wad your paper up into a ball, scrub, and before it dries completely flip your ball over to a DRY side to do the final wipe. Rubbing alcohol also is a decent window cleaner. If your windows are tinted DO NOT use ammonia it will destroy the adhesive used for the tint.

you may also apply sparingly the interior shine if you so choose. Spray the product on a CLEAN foam applicator pad, or if you do not have on, on a small cotton/terry cloth, and wipe the dash/interior with it. DO NOT get it on the glass, it is a pain in the ass to remove from glass. This product may also be used on exterior trim pieces to shine them up as well, tire shine will also work on exterior trim pieces.

As always if some one notices something I missed or has a better way of doing so, please add to the thread
 

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Never use the same bucket to wash a car, always use the two bucket method, pick up clean soap from the wash bucket, and rinse it in the other bucket. This separates contaminants from your wash water almost completely. Only use about 1oz. car soap/gal of water per wash. Use a premium wash like meguiars or mothers because they have a higher lubricity than cheap car soaps. Use a leaf blower to dry the car in order to avoid scratching the paint or inducing swirls into it.
 

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Keep your suds up! Avoid applying pressure to the panels while washing. I use lots of soap when I wash, I want the foam to be thick to reduce the possibility of inducing new swirls in the finish.

Adam's Polishes has good how-to's on this stuff.
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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One thing I like to do is rinse out the towel/sponge/cloth with fresh running water after making a wash pass before I head to the soap bucket, especially if I got a lot of dirt off with the last pass. This helps minimize the amount of dirt introduced into the washing solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Love the two bucket idea :D
 

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Love the two bucket idea :D
After working as a profesional detailer for half a year you pick things up lol. Also as per Mgino's statement (+1) I can't stress that enough PRESSURE IS EVERYTHING! You're not trying to tear the paint off the car and sand it down, just wipe gently to pull the dirt off the surface. Harder deposits are to be removed with clay bar and compound. :)
 

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This isn't even close to how I do it:

Step 1. Drive around 50 miles after the check gauges light comes on

Step 2. Coast into gas station on fumes

Step 3. fill up with 93 + car wash and go through car wash :tongue:

J/K, I'll have to try the two bucket thing. I've never had issues with one but what the hey. I'll get around to it next time I have the patience to hand wash... 2014 or so lol
 

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You have distinct seasons were, here in Cali the climate is homeostatic for the most part. If I were to distinguish the seasons here it would pretty much go like so: mid July to mid October (Summer) with September being the hottest month. October through February (Fall). March to late May (Spring). And May to July (Fall) again.
 

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i just washed my car and my truck (dodge ram pickup), ill get some pics for you guys... turtle wash soap really brings out the shine.

btw, i wash my car in the driveway, then i rinse it and immidiately pull it into the garage where i rinse it again... then i dry it with a big cloth. and do the rest. After, i just grab a my leafblower and blow all the water out of the garage (which also leaves the garage floor clean)
 

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Never use a brush - it will scratch and cause swirls. If you use a mitt please make sure it's microfiber.

Adam's Polishes (www.adamspolishes.com) has the best instructional videos on how to wash and then dry your car.

Wash: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ-Myuj4llE

Dry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2NDnaOvHSY

Full run-down of car detailing instructional videos:
http://www.adamspolishes.com/t-videos.aspx

Topics covered:

Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 01 - Introduction & Tour
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 02 - Cleaning Wheels & Tires
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 03 - Cleaning the Engine Bay
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 04 - 2-Bucket Car Washing & Convertible Top Cleaning
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 05 - Drying After The Car Wash
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 06 - Drying with the Blaster Sidekick
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 07 - Metal Polishing
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 08 - Dressing Tires and Exterior Trim
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 09 - Interior Cleaning and Detailing
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 10 - Cleaning Carpets
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 11 - Waterless Car Wash
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 12 - Applying Adam's Quick Sealant
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 13 - Day 2 Filming Intro at Purifoy Chevrolet
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 14 - Removing Stubborn Bug Guts
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 15 - Drying with the Master Blaster Car Dryer
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 16 - Hand Glazing and Waxing
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 17 - Maintaining the shine with Detail Spray
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 18 - Engine Bay Dressing
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 19 - Cleaning and Sealing Exterior Glass
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 20 - Cleaning Detailing Accessories


I use ONLY Adam's Polishes products on my Mark VIII and the 16 year old paint shines bright and deep. Please take the time to view these videos and dive into the Adam's website AND forum, and then you'll turn into a detailing fanatic! I sure did.
 

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1,647 Posts
Never use a brush - it will scratch and cause swirls. If you use a mitt please make sure it's microfiber.

Adam's Polishes (www.adamspolishes.com) has the best instructional videos on how to wash and then dry your car.

Wash: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ-Myuj4llE

Dry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2NDnaOvHSY

Full run-down of car detailing instructional videos:
http://www.adamspolishes.com/t-videos.aspx

Topics covered:

Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 01 - Introduction & Tour
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 02 - Cleaning Wheels & Tires
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 03 - Cleaning the Engine Bay
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 04 - 2-Bucket Car Washing & Convertible Top Cleaning
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 05 - Drying After The Car Wash
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 06 - Drying with the Blaster Sidekick
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 07 - Metal Polishing
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 08 - Dressing Tires and Exterior Trim
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 09 - Interior Cleaning and Detailing
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 10 - Cleaning Carpets
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 11 - Waterless Car Wash
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 12 - Applying Adam's Quick Sealant
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 13 - Day 2 Filming Intro at Purifoy Chevrolet
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 14 - Removing Stubborn Bug Guts
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 15 - Drying with the Master Blaster Car Dryer
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 16 - Hand Glazing and Waxing
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 17 - Maintaining the shine with Detail Spray
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 18 - Engine Bay Dressing
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 19 - Cleaning and Sealing Exterior Glass
Adam’s Detailing Video - Vol. 8 - Chapter 20 - Cleaning Detailing Accessories


I use ONLY Adam's Polishes products on my Mark VIII and the 16 year old paint shines bright and deep. Please take the time to view these videos and dive into the Adam's website AND forum, and then you'll turn into a detailing fanatic! I sure did.
I hate to bust the bubble here, but only a few of adam's products are actually worth a damn. The VRT seems to do okay, and hold up well without being greasy, but all their other products are overpriced and overhyped. I would say it's good stuff for entry level, but then again so are meguiar's products. If you really want good stuff you're better off with ROBO's products or your local chemical company. I use Re-Clean products and I can use a two step method with my porter cable 7424xp and make a car look brand spanking new with no effort.
 

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WOT Junkie and avid corn burner
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I hate to bust the bubble here, but only a few of adam's products are actually worth a damn. The VRT seems to do okay, and hold up well without being greasy, but all their other products are overpriced and overhyped. I would say it's good stuff for entry level, but then again so are meguiar's products. If you really want good stuff you're better off with ROBO's products or your local chemical company. I use Re-Clean products and I can use a two step method with my porter cable 7424xp and make a car look brand spanking new with no effort.
When did you get a porter cable?
 
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