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How to wash your car in an hour, make it look like a pro, and not go broke...

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Dacia Sandero
So I figured this would be a good first post as I've been doing detailing part time for years and besides track racing and wrenching, its the other thing I enjoy doing with my car most.

This thread is LONG… No hiding that, no TL;DR either… But it’ll pay off I promise… Read on…

I've been detailing part-time for years now, and have learned from Oakes and Scottwax (Look them up on other forums or - the detailing forum) so I'd say I'm pretty well versed in quality work. I hate spending stupid money for detailing stuff tho, so ... In this thread I plan to go thru how you can do a quick reliable car wash that will include, washing the exterior, cleaning the wheel wells, tires/wheels, jambs, etc. As well as a simple interior clean up... All in about an hour. I will also go thru the products I use as a part time detailer and what I recommend to keep it cheap so you can look like you spend big cash on detailing stuff with a clean car, but not break the bank...

You should be able to buy all you need for less than $100 and it should last about a year if done right. Keep in mind the non-hard products are a suggestion only. If you like stuff from other manufacturers - go for it. I use the products personally and have been very happy with the results and would recommend them to anyone. I also know that the price is great for what you get.

Here’s the stuff you'll need at a minimum... And where to get each item relatively cheap...

2 Five Gallon buckets - Homer paint buckets at home depot, they’re like $3 each and work great with the grit guards
2 grit guards – You can buy these a number of places, I got mine from autogeek but I’m sure there’s cheaper – google this one
2 Microfiber (MF) sponges – Get these at wal-mart, they’re usually cheaper than an auto parts store
1 waffle weave MF towel – Walmart here too
2 16x16in MF towels – Costco sells these cheap, Wal-mart too
1 Terry towel – use a non-white one as it’ll get dirty, Walmart or Costco here also
Agitator Brush – Walmart/Costco here too

Car Wash – BUY OPTIMUM NO RINSE (ONR) – Seriously… it’s not expensive, it saves time, and it’s wonderful – A lot of what will be gone over here is based on using this product. You need 2-4 ounces per wash and you can buy a GALLON for $40 – One gallon should last you almost a year with weekly washes - You'll probably need to buy this online
Wheel cleaner - I use diluted Simple Green, it’s safe on wheels and cheap to buy. Dilute 1 part SG to 6 parts water (AT LEAST) - Get it almost anywhere
Interior cleaner – Woolite… Seriously, plain old woolite. Dilute it 1 part W to 6 parts water. Get this almost anywhere as well
Glass Cleaner – Eagle One glass cleaner can be found just about anywhere… ALTERNATELY if you want to spend some money… Glass Science’s Rain Clear is AWESOME as well, but more spendy. Glass science you'll need to probably buy online.
All-purpose cleaner – Megiuar’s Professional Line #34 – Final Inspection. You can buy a gallon for $30 on amazon, it’ll prob last you 2 years. It smells great and is safe on basically every/any surface on your car. ALTERNATELY – You can use diluted ONR as a spray detailer, however of course you’ll go thru that gallon you bought a good bit faster

So I bought all this stuff… What do I do now?
I’ll lay it out for you in steps, keep in mind this is all assuming you have the stuff above…

1- 1 Throw a grit guard in each bucket, fill one bucket with about 4 gallons of warm water and put in your ONR with it (1 oz to every 2 gal, unless your car is dirty then add a little more – don’t have a measuring cup? Use a shot glass). Fill the other bucket with .05 oz of ONR and warm water JUST ABOVE the top of the grit guard. I’ll explain why the different levels in a bit. Throw your sponges in the bucket with more water and take the buckets to your car. Make sure your car is out of direct sunlight, (wash bay at a wash station, your garage, car port, etc - Don't work in the sunlight)

2- If you’re using ONR, you don’t need to wet the car to start and you won’t need to rinse either. Start at the top of your car and wash the roof first. When you are done with a section of the roof, and want to re-dip the sponge, put the sponge in the bucket with the SMALLER amount of water and wipe it off on the grit guard a bit, then wring it out… You don’t need it to get dry but do wring the MAJORITY of the water out. Use your hands while doing this! Using your hands will get the dirt off the sponge and into your dirty water bucket (the one with less water in it). Once you have wrung out most of the water, THEN you can dip it back in the the clean wash bucket (the one with more water in it) for fresh clean water.

3- After you do a section, grab your waffle weave towel, fold it into a hand-sized size and wipe off the MAJORITY of the water. BE GENTLE. You want to easily glide the waffle weave across the surface of the paint to soak up most water, but not all – Don’t use any pressure with your hand on the car. After that you use one of the small MF towels to finish drying, you can use some pressure here, you won’t need much. If you pick up dirt (Which you should be), it should be on the SMALL MF, NOT THE WAFFLE WEAVE. The waffle weave should be mostly clean.

4- Continue washing as in step #2 and then drying as in step #3 section by section of the car from the roof down to the glass, then trunk and hood, then sides of the car, then bumpers. Your dirty water bucket should be filling up as the clean one depletes. When the Sponge is getting very dirty, swap to the new one. KEEP THE DIRTY SPONGE HANDY THO.

5- After you’re done with the majority of the car and its dry, the next step is wheel wells and wheels/tires. Use the dirty sponge to clean your fender-liners, wipe clean with
the terry towel. Spray the wheels and clean them off with the terry, lastly you can dress the tires if you want with tire shine (you don’t need to but if you wish to use it, do so now). Wipe off excess tire shine that gets on your paint with the MF, not the terry. (Terry should never really touch paint, only MF)

6- Open your hood, trunk, and doors, use the #34 with an MF to clean out the door jambs, trunk jamb, engine bay, and DON’T FORGET THE GAS DOOR (everyone does, don’t be that guy you’ll make the baby jesus cry!) – If you don’t plan to do your interior at all… YOU’RE DONE NOW (It should be less than an hour – If you have more time, go on)

7- If you want to do the interior, use a shop vac (or coin-op vac if you want, or no vac at all) to vacuum your mats/floors, etc.

8- Use an MF and #34 by spraying #34 ON THE TOWEL and wiping the surface of your dash, console, etc. This will clean up dust easily and leave a pleasant scent. You can use Woolite for this also if you wish.

9- Use diluted woolite to spot treat any stains in mats/carpet, scrub with agitator brush, then blot with a terry towel, repeat if necessary. Use woolite and terry to clean cloth or leather seating surfaces.

10- Glass cleaning… Pretty self explanatory. If you have both Glass Science and Eagle one… Use Glass Science on the outside glass (as the advantage over Eagle One is its EXCELLENT ability to make water bead and slide off the glass) and Eagle One inside.

11- Have a beer and drool over your clean car

If you have questions about products I suggest or waxing/polishing/compounding etc (I do all that stuff too), please don't hesitate to ask.


Dacia Sandero

And as you said in PM (which would have been fine to post here :) )

This is for a weekly thing in mind, ie doing this every 7-10 days. If its your first wash after heavy mud/soil/etc... ONR either needs to be use more liberally (ie less dilution) or you might need to pre treat the car with some water from a hose with some pressure behind it (pressure washer, hose on "jet" setting, etc).

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