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How to really wash a car...


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There's a lot of confusion about how to properly detail a cars paint, what pads, microfibres and towels to use etc. I hope to try and make it clear in a simple howto.


What you need in action groups and order of use.


1 x 3, dry, hours


1 x wheel cleaner

1 x horse hair brush


1 x good quality shampoo, meguires NXT or PB's

1 x wool washmitt

3 x drying towels


1 x claybar

1 x detail mist to lube

1 x cotton towel to wipe down


1 x paint cleaner

1 x soft applicator

1 x cotton towel to wipe off


1 x polish

1 x soft applicator

1 x cotton towel to wipe off


1 x poorboys sealant

1 x damp microfibre to apply

1 x cotton towel to wipe off


1 x nattys wax

1 x round applicator to apply

1 x microfibre to wipe off


1 x camera to take photos


Basic how to:


Hose the wheels, spray with wheel cleaner, agitate with your brush and rinse. Do this 4 times.


Fill 2 buckets with warm water, one with suds in. Wash the car with your wool wash mitt taking water from the soapy bucket and rinsing the mitt in the clear bucket before collecting more water. Rinse car and spend 15 minutes drying PROPERLY with waffle drying towels.


Now, split the car into 4 sections. Bonnet and front wings, NS door and roof, OS door and roof, rear.


For each section follow in turn:


Clay the surface making sure to keep the paint extremely moist with the spray. The first pass with the clay you should feel a slight roughness as it glides across the paint, the second will feel like glass. Once you've finished the 'section' wipe down with towel.


Rub / PC the paint cleaner into a small area at a time taking care to use some light pressure over areas you've identified as bad. Once you've finished the 'section' towel off the residue.


As above with the polish. By now your car will be looking extremely clean with a lovely deep shine. I didn't think it would get any better. However...


Now comes the poorboys EX. This was the first time i used it and to be honest, didn't think it would do much. It's extremely easy to use, you just spread a generous amount on with a damp microfibre, leave to dry for an hour then buff off with a towel but my god the result is amazing. The deepest shine i've ever seen and the paint feels like glass.


The last step is to put on a hardened coat. Nattys wax (i used the blue version as my car is black) simply smells divine, it's like bubble gum and to be fair, made me want to eat it. As my entire car was buffed I just applied it to the whole car using a round applicator in small circles and left it to dry for a bit. Now, this stuff dries hard, i mean really hard, harder than any wax i've used before. With hindsight it's probably better to allow a little less time for it to dry and wipe it off fairly quickly as when i came to removing mine, it was a nightmare.


To give you an idea of just how hard this wax is, I dug out my PC polisher, stuck it on 6 with a buffing towel on it and went at it. The wax didn't budge. I literally had to slowly, and VERY firmly rub it all off section by section with a microfibre leaving my arms somewhat sore. Easily the longest bit of the job and as always, I found the finish was actually slightly better before the wax but i don't mind trading a little depth for longevity and protection. This stuff is going to protect for sure! Perhaps a few lighter layers would have been smarter...



What I used to polish:


(from left to right: Meguires quick detailer + clay + zymol towel, mequires paint cleaner + zymol applicator + PB chubby towel, meguires polish + as before, Poorboys sealant EX + zymol microfibre + chubby towel, nattys blue wax + zymol wax pad + zymol microfibre)


Before taking the final coat of wax off:



The result:





I'll do the mr2 sometime, i swear...



So, if i was to do this from scratch i would order:


3 x waffle drying towels

2 x microfibres

5 x chubby towels

1 x wax applicator


1 x clay bar kit

1 x SSR2 (paint cleaner)

1 x SSR1 (polisher)

1 x EX

1 x nattys wax

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What a waste of time and effort on a black car :thumbsup_anim: ......10 mins down my local Poish drive through is enough for me and £6 :)


Black looks nice when first cleaned but a 10 min drive through the rain and its back to square 1...i know! :)

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Very true scorps, especially with a solid black like mine (ie non metallic) but the sealant and wax i put on should last the winter and make future washes 40 minute jobs.


Also, there's no bond like the bond of washing your car for hours :thumbsup_anim:

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I gave up polishing/buffing/waxing and treating the cars i've had in black,im not dissing the end results coz black when done right looks the nuts and its finding the time to keep on top.


Your a braver man than me this time of the year :)


Looking good though :thumbsup_anim:

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do the £6 russian job too, but i go for the £12 inside and out jobby, wash, dry, hover, windows, dash.


then back to my gaff for a good going over with the good old maxwax, armour all the black bits (including tyre walls) job done! i maxwax the outside of the windows too, then im scared to use it because its black

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Whatever the color i would attack the car in the same fashion regardless of the impending weather, and feel proud of the job afterwards :) ... I used to spend hours cleaning/ polishing the Hog every week, nowadays i don't have the spare time but i do miss the life's distraction making the best possible job of something so simple in truth.

Jon is that shine rendered on your computer.... It's almost chrome :thumbsup_anim:

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Well summed up Tony, it's a wonderfully relaxing distraction with a result you can be proud of!


If you think that's good have a look at the finish on my civic when i used my random orbit polisher (I didn't today as i didn't have any clean pads). Before i started the paint was covered in swirl marks that were awful in daylight....





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Good for the mind indeed especially polishing a bike.... all those sharp catchy pointy bits stabbing you, still good fun though :) whereas.......... The slooooow satisfying smooooooth glide over a lady like the 350z is another world. I must visit it one day?.... Anyway jon i found this image from your early days, hope you don't mind :thumbsup_anim:



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Jon, I wish I had your patience! Your cars look great, something to take pride in.


I have to say, Scorps piccy has give me an idea how to beat the future road charges and London congestion charge...


...someone bring me a riding hat :thumbsup_anim: :)

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@pete , i know what you mean about black cars, i washed mine last sunday, by 11am on monday it looked filthy again :thumbsup_anim:


@jon, is your garage not very long, or is it an illusion :) ,oh and the car looks wonderfull, if you have a spare three hours and are at a loss, i have one for you to practice on :)

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