At KB Detailing & Mobile Valeting, keeping your car’s paintwork swirl free and as shiny as possible is our main goal. That’s why we like to explain our methods and pass on our knowledge; to give our customers a basic understanding of what separates us from your typical “car washes”.
Washing can in fact do your car more bad than good if its not done correctly. I always hear people saying to me “I don’t know how my car has so many scratches and swirl marks, I get it washed once a week at the local car wash.” The problem is that your local car wash very rarely uses the correct methods and is damaging the paintwork each time its “washed”.
At KB Detailing we have a general rule that we get as much dirt off the cars exterior without physically touching it. This minimises the amount off grime significantly before we even think about touching it with a mit.
Our first step is applying a citrus pre wash to the car (unlike car washes we don’t use TFR, our pre-wash is completely acid free and will not harm paintwork/alloys no matter how long it is left on). After that dwells for a few minutes we rinse the whole car down with a pressure washer.
The idea behind applying thick clinging foam to your car before washing is simple and the benefits are obvious. If you apply a generous coating of it to the dirty surfaces via a lance, and let it dwell for several minutes, the cleaning agents attack the dirt and grime. It begins to break the dirt & grime down by binding to it and dissolving. This then runs off the vehicle onto the ground leaving a relatively clean surfaces behind, ready for a careful wash by hand.
The idea of the two bucket wash method is that we use two seperate buckets (obviously). One with just water (for rinsing) and the other diluted with shampoo (for washing). The mit gets dipped into the wash bucket to be lubricated and used to wash a panel of the car, after that its dipped into the rinse bucket to get rid off any grime or dirt its picked up when going over the panel before it gets re-dipped back in the wash bucket for the next panel. This process is repeated multiple times throughout the wash, so that any dirt that gets trapped in the mit is being deposited in the wash bucket, and not stuck in the mit dragging across the paintwork resulting in scratches and swirl marks. After all panels are washed the car is rinsed again.
People often underestimate the drying stage, however this is also a very important part of the process and care should be taken. If the car is not dried correctly it can leave something called “waterspots” which are seen in the paintwork, particularly in darker coloured paints. They can only be removed with a machine polish so its best to avoid them. Also, a lot of detailers/car washes still use chamios leather to dry paint, this is a big NO GO! Because the leather is thin and has no depth too it. If there is any excess microscopic granules of dirt left over and get caught between the paintwork and leather when dragging it across to dry it this creates friction and leaves fine scratches in the paintwork reducing it’s glossy look. A plush microfiber towel should be used for this part and patted on the excess water until the car is completely dry. We also use a hot air blower for the small cracks and crevices that the drying towel cant get into.
Also, we only use lambswool mits and not sponges as they are a lot safer and reduce risk of paintwork damage. We also use 2 mits during the process, one for the top half off the car, and one for the bottom (as this is where most off the dirt clings too). Not to mention grit guards in our buckets and the water changed regularly.