21670 Red Rum Drive, Suite 149 | Ashburn, VA 20147 (behind building 21660)
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Proper Car Washing Technique

Welcome to the all new Automotive Quality Solutions website. Here at AQS, we are car people – we love cars. Part of the reason we work so hard to protect and maintain cars is so that we can continue to appreciate their beauty for years to come. We’re putting together a special segment of our new website dedicated to imparting as much knowledge of the auto detailing and restoration process as possible. We want you to have a thorough understanding of how to take care of you car and an appreciation of what is involved in high quality detail and restoration work. We know that you love your car – let’s keep it looking beautiful!

Frequent and proper washing of your vehicle is essential to preserving the shine of its factory finish. Unfortunately, it is this same act of car washing that can impart the heaviest amount of damage to a car’s paint finish. Most swirl marks, scratches and scuffs are a result of the car wash process. Dirt, grit, and road grime are scrubbed against the finish surface – acting like sand paper. Over time these micro scratches begin to reduce the gloss of the clear coat by reflecting light – causing light to scatter in different directions – and giving the painted surface a dull haze.

Photograph of various car wash tools including three 5 gallon buckets, wheel and spoke brushes, horse hair brushes, and a grit guard.

We recommend the Three Bucket Method for car washing. One bucket for washing wheels, a second bucket for the soap solution, and a third bucket containing a clean water rinse – used to rinse the wash mitt before it is dipped back into the soap solution bucket.

Here, we’ll outline a quick home car washing process that will minimize this microscopic scratching and help you maintain your cars finish for years to come.

  1. Prior to washing, take a quick walk around the vehicle to inspect for heavily soiled areas.
  2. Move the vehicle to a shady area out of direct sunlight. A hot surface will dry any cleaning solutions – leading to water spots.
  3. Begin by washing wheels and wheel wells first – use a separate bucket and tools for wheels.  We recommend using a pH neutral cleaner designed for tires and wheels.  Acid based cleaners can etch metal rims if left on for too long.  Rinse as much grime off with water before adding cleaner.  Once the cleaner sets, gently scrub tires and wheels with soft brushes (we use horse hair brushes).
  4. Pre-rinse the entire car with clean water. This will help to float much of the dirt and grime away. Use a spray or fan pattern on the hose nozzle – there is no need for high pressure.
  5. Begin washing at the high points of the vehicle and work down. We recommend a two bucket system – use one bucket for your soap solution – wash a small area, then rinse your mitt in clean water before returning to the soap bucket for more soap solution. This helps to keep dirt and grime out of your wash mitt and away from the car surface.  We also recommend using a grit guard in your rinse bucket (available in most auto parts stores) – this allows the grit to settle at the bottom of the rinse bucket so that it doesn’t get picked up by the mitt again.
  6. Allow the soap to carry as much dirt away as possible and use a very light touch with the wash mitt. Move the mitt in straight lines.
  7. Once the entire car is complete, rinse with clean water from top to bottom. Again, no need for high pressure.
  8. Use a clean soft automotive squeegee to remove any standing water from windows. Dry the paint with a damp, high quality  microfiber towel. A damp towel will help to lubricate the drying process and still be able to remove water. If accessible, use compressed air, or a leaf blower to blow water away from mirrors, door handles, taillights, etc.
  9. Wipe down door jambs with the damp microfiber towel.
  10. At this point you can add a water-based tire gel or any other finishing products to your car for that extra shine.
  11. Stand back, put your hands on your hips, and admire!
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21670 Red Rum Drive, Suite 149
(behind building 21660)Ashburn, VA 20147

Phone: 571-291-9401

Fax: 703-858-3487

Email: info@automotivequalitysolutions.com

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