Setting up your buckets, tools and wash mitts before the wash is essential, because the most common mistake is to first rinse the paint, and let standing water sit as you gather your products and fill the buckets; the standing water will have extra time to dry and could lead to damaging water spots. First, you’ll need to five gallon buckets each with a grit guard on the bottom.
Grit guards allow the dirt to remain on the bottom of the bucket as you dump and rinse your wash mitt repeatedly. Add three squirts of paint soap to your bucket, one on the bottom, one on the inside of the mitt, one on the outside of the mitt. Then fill the bucket 3/4 full with water. Fill the second bucket 3/4 full with water as this will be your rinse bucket. Once the buckets are ready to go, now you can raise the paint focusing on the lower 1/3 of the vehicle as it will have the highest concentration of dirt. Power washers can be helpful here, but a standard hose will work as well.
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Immediately after the heavy pre-rinse, work the wash mitt from top to bottom in straight lines. Dunk the mitt after five or six swipes depending on the area of the car you’re washing and the level of dirt present. Adjust your dunking frequency accordingly. Be sure to run your hands through the wash mitt when you dunk it in the clean water to knock off the dirt before dunking it in the soap again. Please note that if the bottom rocker panel is extremely dirty, it’s sometimes best to use a different or designated wash mitt for that specific area to avoid contaminating a new or clean wash mitt with excess grit.
Once the wash is completed, thoroughly rinse the paint again from top to bottom. Also take note that depending on the wash environment, washing then, rinsing one or two panels at a time might be necessary in order to avoid soap drying stains. Likewise, washing in the shade, early morning or late afternoon is best to minimize this potential concern.
Finally, remove the standing water with a damp microfiber towel and drying agent. Do not use water-blades, shammies or beach towels. These tools don’t pick up any leftover remaining dirt missed during the wash process and subsequently grind the particles into the paint causing fine scratching.