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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Please post the technique you use to wash your car that helps you maintain a swirl free finish.
The only things that should be posted in this thread are washing techniques and direct washing questions or the post will be removed.

For those of you who don't like to read and would rather watch a video, here is a great YouTube instructional video done by Mike Phillips when he was with Meguiar's...
Mike Phillips: How To Wash A Car

I'll start.

This is how I wash cars in order to keep the swirls down to a minimum. Substitute your favorite products and you should be good to go. This looks like it is really long, but it isn’t. I wrote sentences for even the simplest tasks. Once you get the technique down, it actually goes very quickly.
5gal Bucket x 2
Meguiar’s NXT Car Wash
Meguiar’s Deep Crystal Car Wash
Wesley’s Bleche Wite
Meguiar’s APC 10:1
Eurow Lamb’s Wool Wash Mitt
Microfiber Wheel Mitt
Medium Bristle Back Scrub Brush
Boar’s Hair Wheel Brush
Wheels Crevice Brush
Meguiar’s Water Magnet
Turtle Wax Bug and Tar Remover
Clear Coat Safe Bug Scrub Pad

It is a good idea to wash your car in the shade so the soap doesn’t dry up and so water spots do not become a problem.
Start with the wheels/wheel wells.
I do this so water does not sit on the car while I am cleaning the wheels. This will help prevent water spots.
Begin by adding two caps of Deep Crystal Wash to one bucket and fill it up half way with water.
Fill the second bucket with water almost to the top.
Spray the tires with Bleche Wite.
Spray the wheel wells with APC.
If the wheels are caked with brake dust, spray them with APC also.
Sprinkle some water on the tires to get the Bleche Wite working.
Scrub the tire with the Back Scrub Brush. (I found a back scrub brush at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It has a long handle, medium bristle strength and a flat head. It is meant for scrubbing your back in the shower, but I find it works perfectly for tires and wheel wells.)
Dip the Back Scrub Brush into the water bucket.
Scrub the wheel well with the Back Scrub Brush.
Dip the Back Scrub Brush into the water bucket.
Dip the Boar’s Hair Brush into the Deep Crystal bucket and scrub the face of the wheel.
Dip the Boar’s Hair Brush into the water bucket.
Dip the Microfiber Wheel Mitt into the Deep Crystal Bucket and wash the parts of the wheel the brush couldn’t get to.
Dip the Micrifiber Wheel Brush into the water bucket.
Dip the Wheel Crevice Brush into the Deep Crystal bucket and wash the tiny areas that nothing else could reach.
Dip the Wheel Crevice Brush into the water Bucket.
If possible, take the Back Scrub Brush and clean the inside portion of the wheel. (With it’s long handle and flat head, this brush is perfect for this situation).
Dip the Back scrub brush into the water bucket.
Hose the tire, wheel and wheel well off.
Move to the next wheel and perform the same task until all are completed.
Rinse the Deep Crystal bucket and the water bucket out. Hose the brushes and Mitts off and set them out to dry.
Now for the body wash.
Fill the first bucket up with NXT following the proper mixing instructions.
Fill the second bucket up with water almost to the top.
Let the Lamb’s Wool Mitt soak and soften in the NXT bucket while you rinse off the car.
Rinse the loose dirt off of the body and windows of the car.
When washing the body with the Mitt, make sure you rub it across the paint in a front to back motion to help eliminate spider web type swirls. Wash each panel and then dip the Mitt into the water bucket to expel loose dirt from the Mitt and the ring out and finally re-dip the Mitt into the NXT bucket before you move to the next.
Wash the panel from front to back starting at the top of the panel. Once the panel has been washed, rinse the panel off with the hose.
It is very important that you never let the Mitt touch anything but the water buckets and the body of the car.
This is the panel order I use…
Rear window.
Rear deck lid. (Top part)
Front Bumper. (If you have bug problems, spray the areas with Bug Remover and let them soak while you are washing the previous panels. When you are ready to do the bumper, Scrub the areas with bugs with the Bug Scrub Pad first, then use the Wool Mitt.)
Front fenders.
Front doors.
Rear doors.
Rear quarter panels.
Rear deck lid. (Back part)
Rear bumper.
I save the rocker panels/side skirts and rear valence until last simply because they generally always have the most dirt on them.
Rinse your buckets out and rinse the Mitt off with the hose.
Once you have completely washed the whole car, remove the nozzle from the hose and turn the water back on. Run free flowing water all over the whole car. This will cause the water to sheet off and this will remove about 80% more water from the body. It makes it easier to dry the car.
Now it is time to dry. I dry the wheels and tires first so it gives the tires time to completely dry so I can apply dressing right after I am done drying the body. I use a chammy to dry tires and wheels since chammys don’t leave lint on the tires. For the body of the car, drying is very important simply because it removes the chance of water spots appearing. The drying towel you use is just as important because it helps keep the surface mar swirl. You don’t have a soapy solution helping lube the towel like you do the wash mitt. Therefore, I generally use the “blot dry” technique. It is also important that you use a quality microfiber waffle weave drying towel. I dry in the same panel order that I used to wash. To dry horizontal surfaces, I lay the towel down on the body and let the towel dry up, and then I pick the towel back up and move to the next area. For the vertical surfaces, I just take the towel and press it up against the body, let it soak the water up and the release. I do this to the whole car.
Once the exterior is dry, I open up the doors and wipe the door/trunk jambs dry and then I am done.
Now you are ready to dress your tires & trim and/or QD.

11,491 Posts
Re: DIY - Swirl-less Washing Techniques (67Customs)

My Version
Car washing
This is important as improper washing and drying methods is the major cause of scratching and swirling in the cars clear coat.
1. Hose the car down really well first and rinse it of before you wash
2. Washing: Wash your car when it is cool and in the shade. Air drying is the main cause of water spots, and the heat from the sun and the paint surface only amplifies the effect. Invest in a sheepskin mitt and car wash soap. Others will say different but as long as its not an el’cheapo bargain brand most car wash soaps are ok. Wash a panel .. rinse a panel. Its better to wash gently with more strokes than to rub hard and cause marring in the clear coat layer.
3. Final Rinsing: For rinsing, remove whatever nozzle you usually use from your hose, and rinse the car with the open end of the hose, with a low water pressure. You don't need a jet of water pummeling your car now that it's clean. Just let the water "fall" onto the surface, and you'll see the difference! Definitely helps with the drying process as it will pull the water off.

4. Drying: The plush MF drying towel and the Waffle Weave are both popular for drying. I use just the Waffle Weave MF. Before you dry take the nozzle off the hose and with a gentle stream of water run it over the car, it will sheet 90% of the water off for you. I hold the first towel by the corners and pull it over the flat surfaces and it pulls most the water off then I use the MF towel to finish off the body. NEVER use the same Towel to dry the wheels/door edges as you will possibly fill them with crud and scratch the car in the next drying. Same reason to use a seperate wash mitt to wash the wheels. Get a cheapie mitt from WalMart for that.
Couple of tips you might find handy
a) I use the kitchen sponges that are yellow with the green scouring pad back to apply tire dressing. Spray the dressing on the foam side and apply to the tire .. no more overspray on your clean wheels or up on your paint. These are like $1 for 12 at your local dollar discount and at this price disposable when they get dirty.
b) Use Westleys Bleche Wite to clean your tires before applying your favorite dressing. Once you spray this on your tire you will crap when you see the brown crud run down. As with car waxing a well prepared black tire will look better when dressed up. If you have non-cleared alloy wheels protect them from the spray. This step is done immediately prior to the car washing step.
c) To apply your black trim dressing like Back To Black etc try using a foam paint applicator ( Foam wedge shaped brush on a plastic or wooden handle) to put the dressing on. This allows you to get in those hard to reach places and also great for doing straight edges on the rubber around the windows. Just make sure you wipe off the excess so the coat is uniform.

267 Posts
Re: DIY - Swirl-less Washing Techniques (Jesstzn)

I was routed to this thread through another and I'd like to comment. http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=4462847
With regards to the technique listed above, they're great and I like to share by adding some my own step as well.
Like some of us, the area I live around throws dirt and sand on the car regularly. After initial rinsing, sometimes I'm left with caked on dirt/sand. I worry that the first wipe would cause it to scratch the clear coat (particles rubbing by the capturing of the washing mitt at the point of contact, kinda inevitable).
The scenario is handled by using a paint brush with synthetic bristles to gently brush away the stubborn particles. The paintbrush dipped into a bucket of overly soapy water is very effective. To find a good brush, test the bristles on the surface of a new blank CD to see how gentle it is. No sign of scratching is a good candidate. The idea is that the soapy brush will capture and sweep away the particles. Any surface contact is at the tip of the "gentle" brush. With the small surface area, particles cannot rest easily at the contact point.
I use downward strokes for all cleaning.
After the final rinsing, I know a small layer of soap exists on the car, always. Some are more noticeable by rubbing the panel to check for slippage, or finding a rainbow streak from light reflection. Hard water, or minerals in tap water is the usual cause of water spots, but this has the same effects. Anyways, added physical activity can completely lift away this layer, or a long chemical activity (keep that water flowing). I accomplish this by going over the car with a thoroughly rinsed wet washing mitt accompanied by a hose.

12,706 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: DIY - Swirl-less Washing Techniques (DeMarco)

If you have found a brush that will not scratch your paint and it works well for you, then I am glad you have found something that will ease your mind and function well.
I haven't found a brush that will not induce swirls into my paint, so I have never recommended using one.
Quote, originally posted by DeMarco »
The idea is that the soapy brush will capture and sweep away the particles. Any surface contact is at the tip of the "gentle" brush. With the small surface area, particles cannot rest easily at the contact point.

This is the same idea behind using a sheepskin mitt as opposed to other types of mitts. It allows the dirt to fall into it and avoid rubbing the dirt particles inbetween the wash mitt and the paint.
I live on a dirt road and I often have dirt/sand particles left on the paint after the initial rinse. I have never had scratching/swirling issues from using a sheepskin mitt. I just make sure to spray the panel right before I wash it.
However, if the brush is working for you, then I would keep on using it. http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
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