Today I’ve mostly been washing the car

As the title suggests, a morning ‘washing’ the car… which implies it’s a pretty big car (it is) and that I took my time (I did). But the results are worth it!

There’s washing the car, and then there’s my version of a detailing

Actually, that’s not quite true because today I’ve barely done half the job!  With the clouds coming in (despite forecast to the contrary) I’ve stopped a long way short of my planned cleaning regime today!!!

So what have I done?

Started off with a fairly dirty car (which I forgot to photograph, again!)…

Stage 1 – Snowfoam

For this I use Auto Finesse’s Avalanche.

Fill the bottle with a mix of the snow foam itself, and warm water. Then apply liberally to the car via a combination of a snow foam lance and pressure washer.  I’m not entirely sure what sort of ratio – I use about 200ml to 800ml of water – other people are using to do this but I get a fairly decent coverage and then leave it to ‘dwell’ for about 5 minutes or so.

I do have a problem with my pressure washer or, more specifically, with the hose and tap which can make this stage a little tricky to achieve. The hose connector keeps trying to pop off the tap (grrr, new tap needed) and the hose attempts to kink at every opportunity.  I could’ve laid it out perfectly straight and flat, yet 5 minutes later there will be a kink somewhere!

As mentioned above, leave to ‘dwell’ for a good 5 minutes.

What’s the point?  Well, the idea is that the snow foam lifts most of the typical road contaminants from the paint surface thus making it much easier to wash the paintwork. By doing this you’re also removing much of the actual dirt before you go anywhere near the paint reducing the change of damaging the paint itself!

Stage 2 – Rinse

Yep, now rinse off the snow foam… with my tank of a car this takes as long as getting the snow foam on in the first place! There are so many channels and other nooks and crannies that, just when you think it’s all gone you find more! Normally takes me two complete trips round the car!

Stage 3 – Two-bucket wash

Huh? Two buckets?

Yep, one bucket has Auto Finesse Lather added as well as plenty of clean, fresh, water. The other has plenty of clean, fresh, water.  I then take my wash mitt and dunk it into the lather filled bucket…

What’s that, you’re using a sponge? Please consign it to the bin! You’ve got one of those car washing brushes – bin it and then never go near a car again!

In case you didn’t know, a wash mitt is a (frequently micro-fibre) washing mitt – you stick your hand in it and use the soft fibres to agitate and muck off the car, gently!

This is where the two buckets come in… bucket 1 has that lather-mix in, and bucket 2 is for rinsing your wash mitt so you don’t transfer dirt back onto the car – or into the lather.  You wash soapy mix onto the car, and then rinse the mitt in bucket 2 before going back to the 1st bucket for more lather.  Make sense?  Yeah, thought so!

Once you’ve washed the whole car it’s time for another rinse… and you really do need to get all that lather off the car!

Stage 4 – Dry

Yep, time to get the drying cloths out!  For this I use some great big, thick, long-haired, micro fibre cloths – again from Auto Finesse.  My car being as big as it is, I still need at least two of them – and they weigh about three-times as much wet as they do dry!

Is that all?

Today’s wash was slightly different… before I even started, the Auto Finesse products were out – because though above it says ‘Stage 1 Snowfoam’ I actually applied wheel cleaner first!

Auto Finesse’s Imperial seems to do, on my wheels at least, what the product supplied with the car doesn’t – which is return them to a near showroom finish without any hard work!  When I’m going to use it, I always start with an application liberally across the wheels.  Seems silly to clean the car (well, snow foam it) and then go at the wheels later – and then have to clean wheel cleaner off the body work!

Are we finished yet?

Today also saw me use a ‘new’ product – well, new to me at least.

Aqua Coat is an ‘Hydrophobic rinse aid’ designed to help water bead on the paintwork.  The formula is sprayed onto wet paint, windows etc and then rinsed off, apparently leaving a coating of Silicon Dioxide.

Once rinsed I then went through my usual drying process – though the effects were already visible in the amount of beading that had already occurred (not the greatest photo…).

Will be interesting to see what it looks like after some rain.

I’d normally also use a spray-on polish-like product called Glisten, but with dark clouds moving in I decided not to start something that, maybe, wouldn’t get finished. The same applies to my idea of actually putting some proper wax onto the car.  The latter could really benefit from finding a nice big (warm) garage to work in – but I don’t have that luxury. I do know it’ll take a couple of hours at least!

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