Washing your vehicles...tips and techniques by Poorboy


Staff member
Many people talk about how to polish and wax a vehicle, but maintaining it is just as important, possibly even more so. First you should have the proper tools for the job. As in any job, be it carpentry or detailing, the right equipment makes the job better and easier.

Some of the tools you should have:

2-3 buckets
1-2 grit guards
3-4 chenille microfiber or wool mitts
soft wheel brush
nylon tire brush
quality shampoo (not dish washing soaps)
APC and/or Wheel Cleaner
fireman's nozzle or free flow flooding nozzle
step stool or a scaffold
foam gun (optional)
2-3 Waffle Weave drying towels / or Quality Chamois
2-3 Soft and Plush microfiber towels
Quick Detailer (QD)

1) Rinse down the vehicle, try and do it in the shade or on a cool day.
2) Fill one or two buckets with clean water and grit guard(s).
3) Put soap in another bucket (5 gallon buckets work well) and fill the bucket, but not at full force or all you'll have is a bucket of suds and very little soapy mix.
4) place two mitts in the soapy water and let them soak for a couple minutes.
4a) If you have a foam gun this is the time to foam the vehicle, spray a good foam all over the vehicle and into the wells.
5) take a soapy mitt and your step stool or scaffold and wash the roof. (Remember to rinse the mitt in the clean water and re-dip in the soap as needed, and don't push too much dirt around-dip the mitt frequently.)
6) If the vehicle is cool and you're not in the sun, then move down to the rest of the body using another clean mitt. Put the roof mitt aside in a clean water bucket. If you are in the sun or it is rather warm out then rinse the roof using your fireman's nozzle (flooding setting) or remove your nozzle and let the water just flow out.
7) Wash the hood and the sides of the vehicle, again dipping the mitt often in the clean water and back to the soapy water. Only do the sides down to the molding line, DO NOT DO THE LOWER OR ROCKER PANELS WITH THAT SAME MITT!!!
7a) If you have a foam gun , after rinsing the roof, re-spray the hood and sides.
After washing the hood and sides, rinse them off with your fireman's nozzle or free flowing nozzle, and place that mitt in the clean water bucket with the first mitt.
9) Take a third mitt, designated for the lower parts of the vehicle and the rocker panels and dip it in the soapy mix, you might need to add more water at the time to the bucket. Wash the lower parts, again dipping in the clean bucket more often as this will more than likely be the dirtiest part of the vehicle. Rinse. Remember to keep the mitt for lower panels separate from the other mitts to avoid cross-contamination/dirtying of the upper panel mitts.
10) Spray an APC on the tires and scrub with your tire brush, then rinse. Do one tire at a time. Then either use a dedicated wheel cleaner like Spray & Rinse or if your wheels have been properly polished and sealed, just wash gently with your wheel brush and the remaining soap. Rinse.
Continue for all wheels.


By using the flooding technique (with your fireman's or flood option)
on a waxed or sealed finish, there should be little or no water left to dry off. Use a waffle weave or chamois (real or artificial) to "blot" the remaining water - Do NOT wipe!! After blotting use a QD(one without wax) and a soft microfiber towel to remove any water drops or remaining soap residue on the finish. DO NOT USE the same drying cloth on the hood and body as you do for the lower half of the vehicle. As good as you may think you washed, there is always the possibility of remaining imbedded dirt that may need to be removed with either clay or polish.

Techniques may vary from person to person, but this will give you an understanding of the time and effort needed to maintain a new or really good finish. Yes, it's a bit of work, but what it will save you in repairing your finish will surely pay off in the long run.