Clean without scratching
Although washing your car sounds simple enough, most of the scratches on your paint are created during improper washing. These 10 tools will help you minimize scratching, clean deeper, and spend less time on your Sunday wash.
The bug sponge is a secret weapon of car washing that rarely comes out unless absolutely necessary. This sponge is designed to remove stuck contaminants such as bugs and tar stains without damaging the paint. Keep it in the bottom of your wash bucket and only use it when needed.
Everybody loves waffles
Number nine is the waffle-weave glass towel. These specialized microfiber towels are designed specifically for glass. They absorb and clean due to their low pile, or fibers. Notice the difference in fiber length between glass towels and paint towels. Glass towels should not be used on the paint.
Number eight is the clay bar. The trick is to clay your paint during the wash process to utilize the water and soap lubrication already present on your paint. However, do not automatically use it with every wash. Only clay your paint when it feels rough to the touch.
Number seven is the Merino, or lambswool wash mitts. These types of wash mitts are used to agitate and lift dirt from the surface of your paint, which minimizes scratching that may occur from grinding the particles into your clear coat. Sponges, towels, and brushes push the dirt across your paint and leave scratches as a result.
Car washing blows
At number six, we have compressed air, or an electric blower. After properly drying your paint with microfibers towels and drying agents, there always seems to be water hidden in your mirrors, lights, door jams, wiper blinds, door handles, lug nut holes, and so on, that drip out and ruin your freshly clean car. Compressed air will push the remaining water out so it can be scooped up with a microfiber towel and not drip down the side of your door or up onto your windshield. If you don't have access to a compressor, there are electric blowers that create similar pressure to force the water out of tight spots for far less cost.
Wheel woolies – know them, love them
Number five is the wheel woolie. The wheel woolie allows you to clean the back of the rim with ease. The handle is plastic so there's no fear of scratching the wheel as it passes through the spokes. They come in various sizes for large or tight areas such as the caliper or on the exhaust tip.
Number four, the rinse bucket. The extra rinse bucket is an extremely easy and affective technique used to remove dirt from your wash mitt. This bucket only contains water and no soap. After washing the paint, your mitt is gonna be full of dirt. Dunk the dirty mitt into the clean water to remove the grit before re-dunking in your soap bucket and wiping the paint again. This will help minimize the washing swirls that may occur.
Man the cannon
Number three, the foam cannon. This is a device that attaches to your hose or pressure washer. By filling the cartridge with soap, the cannon mixes air, water, and the soap to create incredible suds that coat the paint and gently carry away the heavy dirt without scratching the surface prior to hand-washing.
Stay vigilant for grit
Number two is the grit guard and washboard. The grit guard is a plastic device that fits on the bottom of your wash and rinse buckets. The holes are designed to allow dirt to pass through and get trapped on the bottom, minimizing the chance of getting reintroduced to the paint. Likewise, the fins on the bottom trap the dirt from traveling back upwards as you dunk your mitt. The washboards attach to the grit guards giving the detailer an area to scrub their mitt clean after each section of washing.
At number one is the microfiber towel. Microfiber towels come in various sizes, pile height, or density, referred to as GSM, or grams per square meter. Window towels are typically in the range of 200 to 250 GSM while paint and interior should not exceed 350 to 400 GSM. Every detailer should have at least three types of towels in various colors to designate specific usage.
For example, red 350 GSM towels are only used for the paint, while green is only used for interior plastics, blue for the door jams, and so on. This will help avoid cross contamination and potential scratching. Likewise, proper microfiber towels are critical to drying your paint safely and without installing love marks. Ironically, microfiber itself is used in almost every aspect of the car detail, from washing, drying, scrubbing, and even compounding and polishing your paint. There is no doubt that the microfiber towel has changed the way we detail our cars forever.
These 10 tools are essential to safe and scratch-free cleaning. If you found this article helpful, please share it.