VIDEO: Car washing 101
Your car is one of the biggest financial purchases you make in your lifetime, so it makes sense to look after it. In this video, we learn from the experts how to use the right car care products to keep your car looking it’s best and how to keep that new car feeling alive.
Danielle: We are here at the Bowden’s Car Collection – one of the very best collections of race and road cars in the country.
Now, whilst your collection may not be as rare or extensive, and perhaps it’s just the family SUV or small hatchback your cars are one of the most expensive financial purchases you’ll ever make. In this video, we’ll learn from the experts on how to use the right car care products to keep that new car feeling alive.
Danielle: Wow, what an amazing collection you have here Dan
Dan Bowden: Yeah, we’re very fortunate, we’ve got some amazing cars in this shed.
Danielle: I mean you must have a team you must have a full team looking after every inch of these vehicles?
Dan Bowden: We have a passionate group of detailers that come and help us out to keep these things looking in tip-top condition
Danielle: Now Dan, most of us could only dream about owning a collection like this, but could you give us some tips and tricks on how we can best look after our own vehicles?
Dan Bowden: Absolutely! Love to do it. Let’s get into it.
Car Wash Equipment
One of the single most important things when looking after your car is the washing regiment. Now, when you’re washing you need a system of tools. Get them all out and ready. Now starting off we have two buckets, a wash and a rinse bucket. And in the buckets, we have these things – little barriers that fit onto the bottom of the bucket and what it does is it stops all the dirt that you remove when washing the car from coming back up into your wash tools.
Get a really good quality car wash, you want something that is made for cars. You don’t want anything that is really alkaline or aggressive, we are talking dishwashing soap, even truck washes and things like that. You want something safe, PH balanced, really good quality. It won’t damage rubbers and plastics when using it over the long-term
You want really good washing tools. We love microfibre - when you’re washing with a sponge and you’re running across the surface, any of the dirt that’s in the surface gets entombed in the sponge, that’s how you scratch a car. Using microfibre, it’s got a bit more give in the material, minimizes the chance of any scratches occurring which is just absolutely brilliant.
Now it’s really important that you do your wheels first. The dirtiest part of the car, but get them clean and then do the rest of your car. Use a good acid-free wheel cleaner.
So, we have a separate bucket for the wheels. Add some of your normal cash wash to it, then lather it right up with the pressure washer or with your hose. so, begin, by liberally spraying the wheel cleaner all over your rim. Wheely Clean has a unique chemical reaction with Pherous irons – that’s brake dust. What it does, it actually dissolves it off and away from the surface, really safely so you can easily clean it off later.
Now you leave wheel clean on there for about 30 seconds to a minute, you’ll start to see that purple reaction beginning. While that’s happening, get your other big brush and get in under your guard and give them a really good clean. Then grab your little short brush that you’ve got and get in and actually clean in around the back of the rim, cleaning all those little areas. Now while it is still wet, you get in there with your pressure washer and clean it all off.
Now because this car is really dirty, what we are going to do is a pre-wash. What we use is a Snow Foam and you hook it up a cannon to your pressure washer and it puts a layer of detergent over it and what it effectively does is softens the dirt so you can wash it off. This dramatically reduces the chance of scratching occurring. Now you leave the foam on there for at least 4 or 5 minutes and what it does, it softens all the dirt and now it’s safe to pressure wash off.
It’s a touchless clean and this is how you minimize swirls and scratches.
Now when you begin, you begin at this back quarter of the car. Don’t do the back of the car, leave this last cos it’s the dirtiest part of the car leave the longest dwell time for the detergent on there, so get to it last. So, beginning from the top work your way down to the back.
So, we have done the Snow Foam on the car. Now, that’s got rid of the majority of the dirt and grime. To a lot of people, they will be thinking that’s enough. Simple test, the dirtier part of the car, and if you pull up any dirt like we did there, then that means you have to go back over and give it a second wash.
With the two-bucket system, you add one capful to the bucket and swirl it about, rinse it out in there. Then get your pressure washer and agitate it right up. With our Wax Wash it comes up like a banana milkshake. Now it’s important, don’t get a big head of suds. You want a light little layer, that way you a beautiful thick lubricating mixture of detergent there which is perfect to wash your car with. Now coming onto washing the car. Always start at the top, it’s the least dirtiest part of the car and do it in a side to side motion. The reason you do it side to side, not circular, you don’t miss any sections, if you do, you always get that little crescent shape that you miss when you go circular. Also minimizes the chance of dirt further creating swirls and scratches on your car.
Now once you have used all your suds up, move back to the rinse bucket. Dunk your tool in the rinse bucket, thrash it all about and get all the dirt out you removed off the car, then you go back into the wash water bucket. This way you’re never getting your wash water dirty, another step to minimizing scratches and swirls on your car.
Now this bottom eighth of the car you attack and get to it last, the reason being it’s the dirtiest part of the car. What you want to do is Wash Suds, and in one swipe go across it. Turn to the other side, one swipe go across it, back into your rinse bucket. Give it a good thrash about and then move onto the next section. Be sure to use heaps of suds on this part.
Now before you rinse the car off, it’s a time to look at the bugs, there are a few bug spots that are left on the car. And the way to remove them is to get a good bug cleaner, spray it on, get a damp microfibre… and it's gone.
Now when it comes to rinsing the car off, remove the end of the hose or get a cool little contraption like this and actually sheet and flood the panels and the reason you do this is that all the water hangs together and it comes off in one big element. And it cuts down the drying time dramatically.
Drying and Protection
Now the car’s rinsed off.the next step we do is get one of these 18-volt blowers. Brilliant things they punch out heaps of air, have these soft little rubber tips so they can’t damage your paint. Basically, you get them in, run them all over your car, round your mirrors and anywhere where the water can hide, and quickly dry the car down.
Now when it comes to this stage of drying, the chamois is dead. Get one of these big, luxurious drying towels, use a detailing spray, spray it into the actual cloth to lubricate it, it also helps absorb more moisture into the towel. Then apply it to the car in big sweeping motions when you use the towel, and any trailing water that is left, because the detailing spray dries better, it will evaporate off and leave no streaks.
Now the car is all dry.
A quick way to add really good protection and a shine is to get a synthetic sealant like our Fully Slick spray and our beautiful plush drop bear towels. You never spray directly onto the car, put it onto the towel, you get a better even surface coverage and it’s a hell of a lot easier to use as well. Now while it’s there it evaporates away, get a second towel and quickly buff it off.
Such a quick and easy job, and that allows a beautiful layer of protection that is easily going to last through the next couple of washes
Finishing touches - Windows
One of the things you want to do when you are detailing is do your glass last!
It’s a pretty easy one, get our Naked Glass and a Big Softie towel, just spray a couple of sprays, back and forth up and down, go from the low pile side then turn it to the high pile side, the dry side, and buff off anything that’s left. It’s safe for tinted windows with no Ammonia in it, and do exactly the same on the inside, but on the next application of the product only use one spray…. up and down, back and forth…turn to the high pile side and this is how you get perfect, streak-free windows and glass.
Finishing touches - Tyre Dressing:
Now, the very last thing we do is your tyres
Get your tyre sheen, you spray the tyre sheen directly into an applicator, we use a little foam applicator here and then apply it to the tyre. Hold your finger on the inside of the foam applicator. Go back a few times to make sure it gets in all the grooves and that of the tyre.
And, what it does is cleans the tyre up and brings its back to looking as brand-new sheen as a tyre should.
When you have finished with your tyres, to complete it all take the car for a drive. The reason being, the air on the road will actually help dry and remove the water from the recesses.
Danielle: WOW. What a difference!
Dan: Fantastic. The best thing is now, the next time you go to clean your car, it's going to be a hell of a lot easier, but when you do this regularly, it's going to keep and preserve the value of your car.
Danielle: As we said earlier, our cars are one of the biggest purchases most of us ever make – so protecting the condition and value of our investment with the right car care products and a little extra effort, just makes sense.
Whether you’re a car washing novice, or a car fanatic, we’ve covered all the steps.
- Choosing the right equipment. Don’t let the wrong products ruin your paintwork!
- Wheel washing. Making sure you know how to look after the dirtiest part of your car.
- Pre-wash & Wash. While it may seem like doubling up, that pre-wash is an essential step to a great finish.
- Drying and protection. After taking the time to wash your car, it’s important to make the effort last with some final steps.
- Windows and tyres. A few final touches and your car is looking it's very best.
Car washing equipment you’ll need
- 3 x buckets – 1 for washing, 1 for rinsing and 1 for the wheels
- Long and short handled brushes for wheels and wheel-guard cleaning
- Quality microfiber washing mits
- Quality microfiber drying and buffing towels
- Small portable air-blower (re-chargeable battery type)
- Electric pressure-washer unit
- Garden hose (with cut-off tap) for rinsing
Cleaning and detailing car products
- Wheel cleaner spray (loosens dirt and brake dust)
- Pre-wash soap
- Quality car wash liquid detergent (non-alkaline)
- Bug and insect remover spray
- Protective detailing spray
- Glass cleaner spray
- Tyre dressing spray and sponge applicator
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