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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I have never learned how to properly clean a car to avoid scratches and other damage, and as such every car I have owned has been scratched in some shape or form. My current car hasn't had a clean in over a year and a half because I'm just too scared of damaging the paintwork.

I had a lime green Corsa, and scratched it during the first clean. My Astra always ended up awash with swirl marks. I'm just so scared to clean a car any more because I don't want to damage it!

How do you recommend I clean my car without damaging the paint and causing swirl marks? What is the two-bucket method? How do I prevent scratching and damage? Can you suggest brands of cleaning equipment/detergents/polishes/etc you recommend?

Thanks everyone!
 

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Haha... For the full nerd experience get over to the detailing world forum!

Seriously the two bucket method (or 2bm for the cool kids) is well recommended. It basically means a bucket with the suddy stuff what you was with, and then a second bucket of clean unsoaped water to rinse with (which you refresh periodically). The idea is you never spread the dirt and grit into the car which you've just washed off. A grit guard is a pretty good idea for bucket one too which stops your sponge (wash mitt is preferred) meeting with the bottom of the bucket.

It's a huge subject and brings out the uber geek, but it's fair to say a decent wax or sealant will protect the paintwork and add a nice gloss. collinite 476 is a decent durable wax for not a lot of cash
 

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Haha... For the full nerd experience get over to the detailing world forum!

Seriously the two bucket method (or 2bm for the cool kids) is well recommended. It basically means a bucket with the suddy stuff what you was with, and then a second bucket of clean unsoaped water to rinse with (which you refresh periodically). The idea is you never spread the dirt and grit into the car which you've just washed off. A grit guard is a pretty good idea for bucket one too which stops your sponge (wash mitt is preferred) meeting with the bottom of the bucket.

It's a huge subject and brings out the uber geek, but it's fair to say a decent wax or sealant will protect the paintwork and add a nice gloss. collinite 476 is a decent durable wax for not a lot of cash


This is pretty decent Tl;Dr.
If you really want to study up head on over to Autogeek.net. You can find loads of useful info, and great products to buy.


Personally I like to use the GritGuard insert (look it up) with the 2 bucket method and a good quality shampoo. I use a specialized foam mit that is meant to pick up that stuck on road grime without scratching.


I dry it off by hand with nice drying microfiber towels that I bought for that sole purpose. I have three I use, one for the roof, one for all the glass, and one for the rest of the car. I then will wash the windows with a good glass cleaner and then follow it up with a coat of RainX.


I then start the body with a polish bonding crème, followed by a decent polish. I personally love Collinite, but I can't get it sent here. I then use a good detailing spray on the inside of the car, I like the Wolfgang line of products. I finish my endeavors with a nice leather conditioning crème (also made by Wolfgang).


At the end of it all I go over my car with a good led flashlight. This helps me see any wax that I haven't removed.


Every 2 months or so I will use a good soft bodied clay on the car. You'd be surprised how much crap your paint picks up on. I like Chemical guys. They haven't different strength clay bars. You don't need much on our paint. Remember to spend money on good quality microfibers and car products. you use less while getting something that will do a better job at preserving the cars wonderful finish for a long.
 
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'I will use a good soft bodied clay on the car.'

Doesn't claybar take some of the paint off?
 

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I should have also included a listing of my products that I have used and prefer for the mini. This is a nice little list and should help you get an idea.


Ordered from Autogeek.net:


Optimum Opti-Mitt ( http://www.autogeek.net/opti-mitt-wash-mitt.html)


Optimum No Rincse Wash & Shine (http://www.autogeek.net/optimum-no-rinse.html)


Safe Scrub Bug & Tar Pad (http://www.autogeek.net/pinsafscrub.html)


Duragloss Total Performance Polish (http://www.autogeek.net/duragloss-total-performance-polish.html)


Duragloss Polish Bonding Agent (http://www.autogeek.net/duragloss-polish-bonding-agent.html)


Optimum Opti Cleaner & Protectant (http://www.autogeek.net/optimum-opti-clean-cleaner.html)


Super Soft Deluxe Green Microfiber towels (http://www.autogeek.net/green-rolled-edge-towels-3.html)


Large Black Nitrile Gloves (http://www.autogeek.net/nitrile-gloves.html)


Wolfgang LEather Care Conditioner (http://www.autogeek.net/wolfgang-leather-conditioner-sample.html)


Meguiars Foam applicator Pads (http://www.autogeek.net/meguiars-foam-applicators.html)


SONAX Wheel Cleaner Full Effect (http://www.autogeek.net/sonax-wheel-cleaner.html)


Mothers Wheel Brush (http://www.autogeek.net/mothers-interior-upholstery-brush.html)


Shine & Buff Waterless Wash Towel (http://www.autogeek.net/sb-wwt1616-3.html)


Wolfgang Instant Detail Spritz (http://www.autogeek.net/free-samples.html)


Ordered from Amazon:


Chemical Guys Claybar & Lube (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002MAMBDU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)


The Grit Guard Insert (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000N3W8J0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1)


And the car looks like this....


 

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Donna did a brilliant guide if you can find the thread ,step by step.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wow, guys, thank you for the awesome response. I do need walking through the 2bm though, because I still don't see how it could be effective.

My thoughts on how you do it is:
1. Dip clean mitt in soapy water and wipe some dirt off of the car, only wiping once.
2. Rinse mitt in second, rinsing, bucket, making sure all dirt has been rinsed off.
3. Repeat from 1.

Is that correct?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I only wanted to know how to wash it without scratching it... that whole guide only raises more fears lol! o_O
 

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I like to use a Home Pressure Washer with 2000 to 3000 psi. So far so good and of course a good Sponge a little Soap and plenty of clean Water.

 

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Wow, guys, thank you for the awesome response. I do need walking through the 2bm though, because I still don't see how it could be effective.

My thoughts on how you do it is:
1. Dip clean mitt in soapy water and wipe some dirt off of the car, only wiping once.
2. Rinse mitt in second, rinsing, bucket, making sure all dirt has been rinsed off.
3. Repeat from 1.

Is that correct?
Yes, using the I grit guard in the second bucket to rub your mitt against to remove the dirt.

I only wanted to know how to wash it without scratching it... that whole guide only raises more fears lol! o_O
Thats the problem with detailing, the more you read the more scared you are to touch it!
 

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sponges are flat so dirt n grit only stay on the surface and its that, that introduces scratches to your paintwork. Sponges are a big no no.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I agree. Be careful. A powerwasher isn't something I would wash any car with, unless you have a foamer or sud attatchment
After seeing that one unlucky owner managed to strip half their bumper of it's paint, I'm a little weary of using a pressure washer. I was considering investing in one, too.
 

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The grit guard helps to prevent the sediment on the bottom of the bucket from getting mixed up again. It keeps the water from swirling around. The two bucket method ensures that after you rinse your mitt, that any dirt particles fall into the rinse water and not into your soap water.
 
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Make sure to rinse the car down first with clean water to knock off any loose dirt and grit. Then start at the top of the car with plenty of suds in your mitt. You can wash down to the bottom, but once you've washed at the bottom of the car, then rinse your mitt. You don't want to go from the bottom up because it is much dirtier on the bottom.

Wait until the whole car has been washed to do the wheels and tires as they will be the worst. The 2 bucket method works very well. Rinse the mitt out high in the bucket, or use a grit guard.

Look on the detailing forums for good suggestions on polish and wax, but learn the difference between the two. Polish makes the car look pretty, wax protects. You can get away with only using wax, but not with only using polish. You need the protection of wax.

Oh, and if you have a dark colored car, you will almost certainly get swirl marks. There are some people who are super anal about car cleaning and can avoid them, but the vast majority of us will end up with swirl marks eventually. Just learn to live with them. You can only see them when you get close to the car. Or, buy a white car next time like I did. No more swirl marks!
 
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