Washing Your Car Safetly

How to look after your paintwork

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Blackroc
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Washing Your Car Safetly

Post by Blackroc » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:30 pm

After a brief chat with Colin, he has kindly agreed to let me put some Sticky threads together to help people make a more informed choice when it comes to buying and using car washing / valeting / detailing products. As part of it - I will put 'HOW TO' guides to getting the best from the products that you own. Their is nothing worse after-all than buying a product, but not using it because it doesn't perform how you thought it would.

I get loads of PMs and regarding how to use a product, or what to buy, so instead of constantly typing and re-iterating the same stuff, its easier to do this and answer peoples comments along the way - then direct new people to these links in the future..

Please feel free to comment on - or add to any of the products I use. There is SO MANY products on the market these days, that its impossible to have used them all. Ill freely recommend any products I've used and would highly suggest for people to buy.

There will be all the different stages covered on different stickies, so I will add them on during the week :P

This is the very first thread - Pre-Wash and Washing your car...

In this thread, I am going to look at the stages of pre-washing and washing that have a big part to play in how your paintwork can look.

Most swirl damage and hollogramming happen at this stage. FACT! Poor wash technique, especially over time can really inflict a serious level of paint damage that can affect its value in the future. You also have to embrace the fact that some swirling is inevitable, but you can influence by how much :wink:

So if you are using washing up liquid, sponges and chamois leathers because its what your Dad used (yup mine did too) then you need to do some shopping soon!!!! We will look at products as we go.

Pre-Wash

Pre-washing is designed to remove all of the loose and rough dirt and grit that sticks to your paint, these of course would stick to your wash mitt and cause the fine scratches that blight so many cars paint. You can of course try and use your hose or pressure washer over the car first as a pre-wash first, but in my experience, you end up simply blasting the dirt and fine grit actually back onto the car, so not removing them at all.

There are two products that I use for Pre-Washing (especially in the winter) - A Citrus Pre-Wash and Snow Foam.

Now Snow Foam is one of those products that looks ace. Its a real crowd pleaser of a product! People come and watch you using it sometimes! Its designed to be sprayed over the car in a thick foam, it then needs to 'dwell' for 10 minutes or so before pressure washing it off. However.....many people have expectations that after this process, their car will be gleaming and will require little to no effort to clean it. Unfortunately, this isn't the case, especially in the winter with all the road salt and grime all over your car. It will however soak off bird poo and caked on mud, and it also gets under-neath loose dirt and grit, and removes it as it runs off the car.

Citrus Pre-washes are different. They are not foamy at all, and are as the title suggests Citrus based, and cut through dirt and grease - making the product stronger at removing dirt and grime on your car. They can also soak off bird poo and dirt, but not as well as snow Foam, so in many cases, is all the pre-wash product you actually need..Indeed there is a current shift amongst Detailers to only use the Citrus route on cars because it achieves a better 'clean'.

I tend to use both products at this time of year though where I can, however, on Mobile Jobs I don't always have access to a water supply, so the cars get a Citrus Pre-Wash only. When I use both, the citrus pre-wash gets put on first, left for 5 minutes, then Snow Foam on top.

Lets look at the products:

Snow Foam:

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Citrus Pre-Wash

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The Citrus Pre-Wash is actually called an APC - All Purpose Cleaner. It can be used in lots of different ways, and I use it in different dilution ratios for different areas of the car.

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The main pump sprayer is filled a quarter of solution to the rest water. I spray this over the whole car, then leave it for 5 minutes. If I'm on a Mobile Job, ill add a little bit of car shampoo too it as well, to aid the washing process. If you do not have a pressure washer or Snow Foam attachment, this is a good way to still pre-wash your car and get very good results. This is it in use:

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After 5 minutes of dwelling, I start on the snow foam..

First of all, fill your Foam Lance bottle about an inch in solution, and top up the rest in WARM water. Cold can be used, but I find I get better results with warm water.

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Make sure your adjuster dial is set all the way to the - function. This dial lets more air in, to create the foam. Some dials work the opposite so just play with the dial until you are happy with your foam.

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And away you go!!!

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You should see dirt and much starting to run off

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Leave it for 10 minutes (less if its hot and sunny) then pressure wash off

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It should look quite clean, up close it will still need some cleaning though.

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Washing and Buckets

Time to get rid of your sponge!!! Sponges allow dirt and muck to sit on the surface, and this again is a major contributer of scratches and swirls. Wash Mitts are better because dirt gets pushed up inside the fibres, leaving clean outer areas to wash with

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Wash Mitts do not need to be expensive. Natural Sheep Wool ones can be found on eBay for £10, synthetic ones (seen here) are much cheaper. Microfibre ones are also fine, you can pick these up for a few pounds at Tesco or Asda. Of course, you can spend up to £25 on one if you feel the need.....I manage perfectly well on the synthetic ones above, and an Autosmart lambswool ones.

Grit Guards, buckets and shmpoo's - You may hear of something called the 'Two Bucket Method' when you wash a car, this refers to one full of your car shampoo, and one full of clean water.

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The idea is to rinse the wash mitt after every time you have washed your car, then put it into your soapy bucket to re-apply to your car. The dirt ends up in the clean water bucket and not in the one you are putting onto your car.

There is nothing wrong with using 'builders' buckets for car washing, although I would recommend a Grit Guard to sit at the bottom of them if this is your choice.

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The bigger ones that you see on any car care website are a touch pricey for me at £15-£20 a go, so I use one of these:

http://www.wickes.co.uk/invt/103976" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Almost the same size as the ones on detailing sites but a fraction of the cost!

When it comes to shampoo's, lubricity of product is what you are after, not how many bubbles it produces! I use Autobrite Banana Gloss, and Auto Finesse Lather - both have great lubricity (how easy the Mitt glides over your paint) and smell great (not essential - but always a bonus!) Both are wax free - so leave a clean paintwork that will not harm any LSP.

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I generally wash a panel at a time, rinsing as I go to avoid water marks - I use either a watering can or the pressure washer to rinse down at this stage. Remember to always start at the top of your car and work down, so as to avoid getting dirty water over clean 8-)

I tend to use the Citrus PW at this point, in a water sprayer bottle to tackle all of the nooks and crannies on the bodywork -

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The key really here is to rinse as you wash, all the way around the car, that way you avoid all water marks from dried on bubbles and dirty water.

So thats washing your car done! :D

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Re: *STICKY* Washing Your Car Safetly

Post by haroon » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:56 pm

Excellent post James! Very detailed, informative, and practical. Look forward to the next instalment ;)

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Re: *STICKY* Washing Your Car Safetly

Post by dan120d » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:50 am

Great post, look forward to the next
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Re: *STICKY* Washing Your Car Safetly

Post by RichCranney » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:41 pm

Another one for my to print. Got to say James, some brilliant info in these posts.

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Re: *STICKY* Washing Your Car Safetly

Post by barneyrubble » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:01 pm

Great Post James.

Just a quick question - do you rinse first before APC (or snowfoam if you're skipping the APC)?

Or does it go on dry?
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Re: *STICKY* Washing Your Car Safetly

Post by Blackroc » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:16 pm

barneyrubble wrote:Great Post James.

Just a quick question - do you rinse first before APC (or snowfoam if you're skipping the APC)?

Or does it go on dry?
I usually apply it a dry car - leave it to dwell for a few minutes, then snowfoam on top. I find the Citrus Pre-wash is less effective applied to a wet car :)

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Re: *STICKY* Washing Your Car Safetly

Post by sonicvanman » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:11 pm

Great write up again :thumbs:

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Re: *STICKY* Washing Your Car Safetly

Post by Tiggstar1 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:54 pm

What a god send you are blackroc, theses sticky threads will make my first detailing experience a lot easier
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Re: *STICKY* Washing Your Car Safetly

Post by Blackroc » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:13 pm

No probs guys - more to come before the weekend :-)

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Re: Washing Your Car Safetly

Post by Cos130 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:23 am

Stupid question but how is the citrus pre wash applied?
I noticed in another thread you used a gardening type spray bottle to apply it with or would you use the same snow foam attachment.

Thanks

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Re: Washing Your Car Safetly

Post by Blackroc » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:33 am

Cos130 wrote:Stupid question but how is the citrus pre wash applied?
I noticed in another thread you used a gardening type spray bottle to apply it with or would you use the same snow foam attachment.

Thanks
In the third picture down, you can see it used in a normal sprayer, and a pump sprayer

The normal sprayer has a high concentration ratio, maybe 60 water to 40 concentrate. I use this for heavily salt covered areas in the winter, and for removing bugs on the front of bonnets in summer.

The pump sprayer is then used to put the mix (usually an inch of concentrate in summer, 2 inches of concentrate in winter) to then spray the entire car with :-)

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Re: Washing Your Car Safetly

Post by Nichols » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:44 am

So do you never chamois your car? I like the double bucket idea :)
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Re: Washing Your Car Safetly

Post by Blackroc » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:48 am

Nichols wrote:So do you never chamois your car? I like the double bucket idea :)
No chamois comes near mine or my customers cars lol! :-(

Microfibre drying towels are far more forgiving, and 90% less likely to inflict scratches or marring on paintwork than a chamois can inflict

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Re: Washing Your Car Safetly

Post by barneyrubble » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:12 am

Blackroc wrote:
Cos130 wrote:Stupid question but how is the citrus pre wash applied?
I noticed in another thread you used a gardening type spray bottle to apply it with or would you use the same snow foam attachment.

Thanks
In the third picture down, you can see it used in a normal sprayer, and a pump sprayer

The normal sprayer has a high concentration ratio, maybe 60 water to 40 concentrate. I use this for heavily salt covered areas in the winter, and for removing bugs on the front of bonnets in summer.

The pump sprayer is then used to put the mix (usually an inch of concentrate in summer, 2 inches of concentrate in winter) to then spray the entire car with :-)
I'm finding it bloody hard at the moment to get this on - let it work - then snowfoam over the top before it bloody dries on me (black car :lol: :lol: ) ending up doing the car in stages on saturday - what a bloody nightmare....
If it's got breasts or wheels - it's going to give you trouble

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Re: Washing Your Car Safetly

Post by Blackroc » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:18 am

barneyrubble wrote:
Blackroc wrote:
Cos130 wrote:Stupid question but how is the citrus pre wash applied?
I noticed in another thread you used a gardening type spray bottle to apply it with or would you use the same snow foam attachment.

Thanks
In the third picture down, you can see it used in a normal sprayer, and a pump sprayer

The normal sprayer has a high concentration ratio, maybe 60 water to 40 concentrate. I use this for heavily salt covered areas in the winter, and for removing bugs on the front of bonnets in summer.

The pump sprayer is then used to put the mix (usually an inch of concentrate in summer, 2 inches of concentrate in winter) to then spray the entire car with :-)
I'm finding it bloody hard at the moment to get this on - let it work - then snowfoam over the top before it bloody dries on me (black car :lol: :lol: ) ending up doing the car in stages on saturday - what a bloody nightmare....
Had similar issues yesterday trying to do a Range Rover in the boiling sun. I found that by spending a good 10-15 minutes pressure washing the entire car a few times with cold water, it cooled the paintwork down enough to stop the Citrus PreWash flash drying, and ditto the snow foam which got put on much sooner than normal after pre washing. Kept re-applying the foam so it had several coats until the bottle was empty - seemed to do the job for me!

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