Learning to properly wash a car

I’m always amazed when I do a little research on something and find a whole world I never knew existed.   Recently I purchased a new car, and like most people I want to keep it looking new as long as possible.   So, I asked around for the best car detailer and was referred to a place Hands On Detail.   I figured it was best to get some good wax on the car right away for the best overall protection.  

I dropped my car off and picked it up a day later.   It looked great.   They explained to me they used a clay and synthetic wax to protect the car.   I was very happy with the work they did.   But when I asked what I should do on a normal washing schedule, they didn’t offer much advice.   They did say to not go through automatic car washes because they scratch your pain, and I agreed with that.   They also said not to use the brush at the self-serve car washes for the same reason.   That made sense.   But that was it.   I asked for a product recommendation, but he didn’t have one.   That was a bit alarming.   It would make a lot more sense for him to sell me something there.

So, I went online and purchased what I thought was the best car wash/wax products.   I had seen a lot of detailers mention on signage that they use Zymol products.   These are on the pricey side, so I check eBay.   Sure enough I found a great Zymol set for $60.   The set included a wash, wax, leather cleaner and conditioner, an applicator, and a “detailer† spray.   About 10 days after my car was professionally detailed, it was starting to get a bit dirty, so I took it over to the self serve car wash and sprayed it down.   I then hand washed the car with the Zymol was, and waxed it with the Zymol wax.   I also sprayed the wheels and tires with a couple Meguiar’s products I bought at a local store, along with the wash mitt, bucket and microfiber towels.

The car came out pretty good.   Not quite as great as when the pro’s did it, but good.   I did have a problem getting all the wax off from tight spots, but mostly pretty good.

But I went online to see if I was truly using the best stuff.   That’s when I cam across a lot of sites and posting forums about properly washing your car.   I could not believe the amount of time, energy and money some people put into it.   But I guess people who really love to show off their cars of course want them to look their best.   So, after some thurough research, here is what I found.

1.  Ã‚     Zymol is well respected, but I guess there are a few varieties of it.   I may very well have the cheap stuff, since I paid so little for it.   The people on these boards say that the cheap stuff might as well be Turtle Wax.

2.  Ã‚     There is a lot of debate about the best products to use.   The top three seem to be Zaino, Griot’s and Mothers.   Brands like Zymol, Klasse and P21S are also very well respected.

3.  Ã‚     Microfiber towls are a must.   They are just much softer for the paint surface and less likely to scratch like something containing polyester.

4.  Ã‚     Use 2 buckets when you wash.   Put soap in one and the other just water.   Before dipping in the soap bucket, rinse of in the clean water bucket each time.

5.  Ã‚     Use two wash mitts, one for the car and one for the wheels and tires.   Also, wash from the top down so as to not pick up the grime from the bottom and rake it across your paint.

6.  Ã‚     There is a product called the California Water Blade.   It’s basically a squeegee with a soft silicone edge.   It cuts the drying time of the car down by half because you just swipe the water off.

7.  Ã‚     Spray the wheels and tires with their respective cleaners before you start washing the rest of the car.   It gives them a chance to work on the grime, and you need to wash the overspray off your paint.

8.  Ã‚     You may have heard about “clay† for the car.   This is special clay that looks like silly putty.   You first have to spray your car with a special lubricant and then hydroplane the clay on your car.   The clay picks up microscopic contaminants that cold be hurting your paint.   This should be used sparingly because it does wear on the paint if you do it too often.   Twice per year seems to be the conservative side.

After doing a lot of research, these appear to be the top two methods mentioned on how to properly wash and wax your car, and with which products.

Method 1 – Use Zaino products.   You can get these at www.zainostore.com.   From what I read, this is the best stuff you can get.   The downside is that it’s a pain in the ass to do properly.   You start off by first committing the big sin of washing your car, using dish soap.   They suggest using traditional blue Dawn dish soap.   This will strip the wax off your car.   You then should use the detailing clay and get all the contaminants off the car.   Then you have their sealant and was, and then their spray on enhancer which shines it up.

Method 2 – Start with a good quality car wash from Griot’s or any other of the above name brands.   Use a clay, and then use Klasse All-in-One Polish.   This is an arclylic polish that that helps seal in the paint.   Then you want to use a high quality Carnauba wax like P21s.   This will add to the shine, and offer additional protection.   Then use a detailer spray like Griot’s Speed Shine.   This really brightens up the whole thing.

I didn’t use the Klasse or P21s yet.   I just use the Zymol wash right now.   But I did buy another highly recommended product for maintenance, Griot’s Spray-on Wax.   This just spray on and wipes off and gives great protection when you wash your car in between detailings.   I also got Griot’s Speed Shine, which seems to also work really well.

The Griot’s stuff did make a huge difference over my Zymol wax.   The car really shines and has a deep wet looking gloss to it now.   I’m going to try the P21s wax next time I really give it   a good washing next month.   I’ll take some pictures then.

[tags]car wax, auto wax, car wash, zaino, zymol, griots, klasse, mothers, p21s[/tags]

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