Here are five very basic tips for safely washing your pride and joy. While basic, they’re extremely important tips to keep in mind to get swirl free shiny results.
1. Don’t wash in the sun or heat
We all know washing your car in hot temperatures and especially in the sun can lead to water spots that are very hard to remove. If you’re lucky, these water spots will just wipe off with our Forma Detail Spray or wash off with the Car Shampoo. For the unlucky few, water spots will really set in quickly and be extremely hard to remove. These usually require a water spot remover or maybe even polishing.
If you must wash in the sun or during extreme heat, you can try to wash a few panels at a time, then immediately dry after washing. Sure you may get some overspray when rinsing the next set of panels, but at least the entire car isn’t covered in water waiting to be dried. Another option is to simply keep wetting the car regularly and often during the wash process, but this wastes a lot of water and many times won’t even work if the sun’s too strong.
Best thing you can do is plan to wash in the evenings and in shade so as to avoid any potential water spots.
2. Wheels first
When performing a normal 2-bucket rinse wash, washing wheels first is one of the first things on the list of “do-s”. Washing wheels first does two things for us… 1. It allows you to take your time and clean the wheels thoroughly without worrying about leaving water to dry all over the paint. Sure you could rinse down and keep the car wet after washing each wheel, but that would be inconvenient and a waste of water. 2. Washing wheels first gives us a chance to really clean off the dirtiest part and make sure we have no overspray onto the paint later on in the wash process. All the dirt, brake dust and grime that settles on your paint is normally much worse on wheels, especially the front.
3. Wash small sections
Even with quality tools and products like our wash mitt and Car Shampoo, there are improper ways to wash your paint. Simply going over as much of the car as possible until the mitt dries up and you need to get more soap is foolish, especially if the car is fairly dirty. When washing you’re trapping dirt inside the wash mitt and then rinsing it out into the rinse bucket before getting more soap and moving onto a new section to wash. The best thing to do is wash as small of a section as possible. When car is pretty dirty, we normally recommend about half a hood-sized section. If it’s lightly dirty a whole hood should be fine. Incorporating the Forma foam gun is a great idea to safely remove a lot of dirt when the car is filthy.
4. Dry as safely as possible
Many swirl marks come from drying and some are simply because the wash process wasn’t thorough enough. Assuming you thoroughly washed the car and removed all the dirt, drying should be fairly simple. Using quality towels such as our Forma drying towel is key. When wiping there’s always a chance to cause swirls if something gets stuck on the paint or in the towel, so whenever possible, use the blot drying method. Simply place the towel on the paint, let it absorb as much water as possible, then remove and lightly wipe off any excess. Blow drying is by far the safest method and works great when a car has a fresh coat of sealant.
5. Wipe all jambs
This is something that goes undone on many vehicles, whether they’re done by professionals or enthusiasts. Drying and wiping the jambs will result in a much better clean overall and less chance for dirt coming out of the crevices after the wash. Don’t forget to get inside the gas cap door as well as give the engine a quick wipe down.