What's your washing procedure?
Last Saturday I took the morning and washed, detailed and quick-waxed Blue. Here's my process.
What are your tips and tricks?
I start in the garage with some insect remover and elbow grease, then pull outside to wash.
I use two buckets, with grit guards, two wash mitts and a non-wax car wash soap (more on my reason later). One bucket for clean soapy water and one for rinse water. After each wipe, dunk your dirty wash mitt in the rinse water bucket and gently swirl it around to dislodge the dirt and grit. Then dunk it in the soapy water and pick up where you left off. I use the mitt on the left for bodywork because it holds lots of soap and water, the weight of which does the actual work. The microfiber mitt on the right is for the exterior of the wheels.
I use the "rain" nozzle setting to wet the entire car, and start washing in sections, beginning at the top. I wash half the roof, then rinse it off and wet the entire car again. Then I wash the other half of the roof, rinsing and wetting as before. Then in order I do hood (in two halves like the roof), front end, front fenders, doors on both sides and finish up with trunklid, rear fenders and rear end.
I always re-wet the entire car using the rain nozzle setting EVERY time I've finished washing and rinsing a section. I find it reduces water spotting if you keep the entire car's surface wet until ready to dry it on your own terms.
I switch to the second mitt and wash the exterior of the wheels and then use older microfibers to wash the inner barrel of the wheels and brake calipers. When done I dry the tires with bar cloths and spray them with tire dressing, wiping any overspray off the wheels.
I use a silicone "water blade" to gently wipe off most of the water and a drying towel called a waffle towel (because of its weave pattern) to get whatever is left behind. A microfiber towel is another good choice. Chamois soak up water, but they don’t pick up any grit that’s left after rinsing. Instead, they just grind those particles into your paint. Waffle towels or microfiber towels, on the other hand, collect the particles. Rinse the towel in clean water to remove the grit. Then wring and keep drying.
Once back in the garage after drying, I use Back to Black on all the black trim and clean the exterior glass with Invisible Glass. The last step used to be using detailing spray to clean up the water spots inevitably left behind. However, I find using the non-wax soap along with constant re-wetting eliminates water spotting. Now since I don't need to use the detailer for water spots, I instead use quick wax. It's the same amount of work , but I get a much better end result.
Below are the various cloths I used today after washing and air-drying. In the upper-right corner you can just see a part of a folding drying rack. I have two of those for drying my microfibers, etc. Each of the types and even colours of cloths have a specific use in my cleaning routine.
Special Note on Microfiber maintenance: No fabric softener. No heat. No bleach. Fabric softener and bleach will eradicate that static charge that makes microfiber towels so good at their job, and heat melts the fibers. So, wash them in cold water with preferably liquid detergent (because powder detergents can leave residue) and air dry or tumble dry on low to no heat.
And the end results... (Note that Blue is 10+ years old, and was my year-round daily driver for 9-1/2 years.)
My DD had to sneak into one picture.