13 Important Car Wash Steps For Car Lovers
How you wash your car matters. It will either extend the life of your car’s exterior paint or will utterly ruin the duco. Please, let me share with you the 13 steps to washing a car correctly – it is how the team at Officer Car Detailing would look after your car.
Wheels are the dirtiest part of the car. It is ideal to start washing your car from the wheels by using non-acid wheel cleaner with a soft brush or wheel woollies.
2. Engine Bay
All solutions and chemicals used on wheels can also be used on engine bays. It is vital to take extra care to cover electronic parts such as fuse boxes or other modifications. Electronic components in new engines are designed to be more water resistant than in older engines. If you happen to short-circuit one of these electronic parts, it can be a costly fix.
3. 1st Stage Decontamination
This is the most important part of the entire cleaning process. Some detailers use a clay bar method for decontamination. Click here for our clay bar treatment. Our priority is to use an iron and fallout remover. This process eliminates the spread of brake dust on your car’s paint surface, and if not removed, the iron fallouts can actually grind into the paint and damage the duco. Iron remover turns the iron dust purple and should be rinsed without delay using high-pressure water equipment. Please note, your car must be completely dry before using iron and fallout remover.
4. 1st Foam Wash
Foam wash is a better option than using brushes for washing. The brush method will most likely create deep scratches on your paint finish – I would not recommend a brush or alkaline products for this reason. Using a high-quality foam cannon with a pressure washer is the best way to wash the car. Foam wash helps to loosen the dust, dirt and grime, providing a clean surface to work from.
5. Wash Mitt
I have found that wash mitts and noddle mitts will extend the life of your car’s paint. Using wash mitts by hand allows you to reach every corner of your car. Please make sure that your wash mitt is kept clean and dust free at all times. A dirty mitt can leave behind swirl marks and scratches on your car.
6. 2nd Foam Wash
The wash mitt will have loosened all the dirt particles, however, avoid rinsing your car straight away with water. The second layer of foam is required to revive the now dry first foam wash. To reactivate the foam, use the foam cannon one more time and then rinse off immediately.
7. Air Dry
After washing your car you should drive your car for short distance to get rid of excessive water from cracks and other areas. Another way for air-drying your car is to use a leaf blower. You can also use compressed air or different types of air blowers. I would avoid chamois because chamois attract dirt. Even chamois that appear to be clean can still hold dirt, which will then end up scratching your car by creating swirl marks.
8. Spray And Wipe Dry Method
I recommend using a clean microfiber cloth and waterless solution to dry the car. Please avoid waterless wash method on a dry or filthy vehicle. These washes are not safe to use when there is excessive dirt and mud on your car. The Spray and Wipe Dry Method will help in the removal of light dirt from cracks and where the foam cannon and wash mitts have missed.
9. 2nd Stage Decontamination
Your car is now ready for a clay bar or poly shave treatment. Using a clay bar lubricant is highly recommended. Make sure that when using the poly shave method, the Dual Action polisher speed is set no higher than speed one. A quick setting can create swirl marks by grinding the dirt into the paint. This procedure requires a good deal of patience and expertise, and many people stumble at this stage. To avoid a costly repaint, it is best to leave this process to the experts.
10. Tyre And Wheel Dressing
This is the best time to apply tyre dressing and wax on wheels with a foam pad and microfiber towel. A layer of wax brings out the shine and can help to extend the life of the wheels.
11. Waxes and Sealants
The use of waxes and sealants is the next step after the full decontamination of the car’s exterior is complete. Missing any of the above steps will result in the wax and/or sealants not sticking or adhering to the car’s paint finish. Much like sticky tape – we all know that sticky tape will not stick to a dusty surface, which is the same for waxes and sealants. This step is crucial to preserve and protect your car’s long-term appearance.
12. Exterior Windows
The exterior windows should be polished with a clean microfiber foam pad and/or microfiber cloth. Apply a good quality window polish, which has water-repelling properties, section by section. Avoid applying window polish to more than one windowpane at a time; otherwise, it will be hard to remove.
13. Final Inspection
The last step! Complete a final inspection of the car and if any sections are not to your satisfaction, simply use a clean microfiber cloth to buff the area.