When it comes to washing cars, sponges are the devil. As they have a flat surface, small bits of grit have a habit of getting stuck and being rubbed all over your paintwork, which is usually the cause of those awful swirlmarks you often see when the sun’s shining on a car.
What you should be using is a wash mit. As these don’t have a flat surface, they’re much kinder to your paintwork.
In an ideal world, you should really be using two buckets: a wash bucket with the suds in, and another to rinse it in. Otherwise your wash mit will get very dirty very quickly, and - most importantly - full of grit. There are also buckets with grids fixed at the bottom, which you rub the wash mit across each time to ensure it’s grit free.
This will clean your car, but it’ll also strip off any wax that has been previously applied to your car. The reason why that’s an issue leads me on to point number four:
While waxing might seem like extra unnecessary faff, it’s worth the effort. As well as giving your paintwork a satisfying shine, it’ll add an extra protective layer on top of the clearcoat.
It’s surprising how many people just wash the car, rinse it and then leave it to dry of its own accord. Sure, it’ll save you time, but if you haven’t dried it (we’d recommend using a terry towel) it’ll be covered in ugly water marks. This is particularly the case if you’ve washed the car in direct sunlight, which is something you should try to avoid.
Washing a car isn’t just about cleaning the bits you can see. Particularly on older cars, it’s worth spending a little extra time cleaning under the wheel arches. If you don’t, mud can build up. Mud leads to moisture. Moisture leads to rust. Rust leads to you having an unhappy face like the guy you see above.
Unfortunately, not all of us are blessed with a whole lot of free time, so for some, the local hand washing place might be tempting. However, it’s difficult to know exactly what sort of implements will be used on your car, or if the person doing the work will know what they’re doing.
Of course, if you spend a little more you should be able to find an establishment that’ll do the job properly - particularly a detailing firm - but don’t you think your ride deserves a little love from you personally?