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How To Properly Wash Your Car (Video)


Source: YouTube

It is often overlooked that properly washing and drying your vehicle is the single most important step in any detailing process. This is due to the fact that most imperfections (swirls, scratches, water spots, etc.) are added to your paint during the washing and drying phase. With the proper tools, products and techniques, you can easily minimize adding imperfections to your paint. James goes over the proper wash process for washing and drying your vehicle!

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Video Transcription

Hey, James with Detailed Image. Today we’re going over the proper wash process. So your first step is to do a heavy, heavy rinse. You want to blast off as much dirt and grime as you possibly can in a touchless manner. Next, you want to grab your all-purpose cleaner. You want to spray it panel by panel, letting it dwell for 1-2 minutes. What this is going to do is loosen up that dirt and grime and make the wash process that much safer. After the all-purpose cleaner has dwelled, it’s time to rinse it away. Now, it’s the fun part. You are going to grab your foam cannon and you are going to spray an insane amount of car shampoo all over your car and what this is going to add is lubricity. Lubricity is the key to the two bucket method, it’s going to allow that mitt to glide over the paint, release the dirt and wash it away. You want to work in small sections, light pressure and in straight lines and once you release the dirt from the panel, you are going into your rinse bucket, releasing it on that grit guard and going into the soap bucket and moving on. Once the wash is fully complete, it’s time for the final rinse. Now it’s dry time. We are going to do a two-step process. We are going to grab our blower and get off 98% percent of the water and then we’re going to touch it up with our microfiber towels. We are going to grab our quick detailer, glide over the paint, just giving it a little bit more pop, a little bit more glow and then we’re onto the drive.

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8 comments on How To Properly Wash Your Car (Video)

  1. Brian B says:

    Great job. This should be called “car washing 101”. I’m also impressed with the quality of the video, particularly with the driving scenes.

  2. Pedro Gonzalez says:

    Hi, what can I use to on step 2? You said rinse and use a solution like multipurpose ? Like what? That’s before foam cannon, can you say what can I use? Please

    • Reece @ DI says:

      Pedro – You want to use an all purpose cleaner. In this video, James uses the P21S Total Auto Wash which is a great citrus based cleaner aimed at targeting heavier contamination like grime, tar, bird bombs, etc. Some other great options are the Meguiar’s D101, CarPro Tar X, Optimum Power Clean, etc. For more all purpose cleaners and degreasers check out or degreaser page here: https://www.detailedimage.com/Degreaser-C3/

    • james melfi says:

      Hey Pedro,

      Reece is absolutely right, in the video I used P21S Auto Wash to loosen up the dirt prior to a 2×2 bucket wash process. This is a step that I only use if necessary. What I’ll do is determine the dirtiness level and if required an all purpose cleaner pre-treatment can greatly reduce the risks of marring the finish during the wash process. In many cases I’ll just pre treat the rocker panels or front bumper, areas that have the most contamination. Hope this helps and happy detailing!

  3. howard moftich says:

    Nice video!

    Doesn’t something ‘heavy’ like PowerClean or TarX strip off the LSP and any other wax/sealant layers?
    How about regular or double strength ONR in a sprayer for lighter work?

    • Reece @ DI says:

      An APC will impact a wax/sealant in some way. If it is freshly applied it will hurt it, but it may not remove it completely. If it is later in the life cycle, it may remove it all together. However, with that said, some contamination may not be removed with a regular car shampoo and you will need the added power of an APC to remove it from the paint. If you do end up using an APC and have protection on the paint, be prepared to have to reapply it if needed. For the ONR, this is simply a shampoo (cleaning power wise) and even at a higher dilution ratio you may not receive the extra cleaning power needed to take down any tar.

  4. Excellent content, Love the videos, good job my friend.

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