Updated: Aug 1, 2019
If you're like me, you love your car, but you love a quick easy car wash even more. After years of weekend washes on my own vehicles, I have developed my own 30 minute wash routine to share with you. I'm not saying this is the right or wrong technique, its just my technique. I'm fairly time poor, and certainly not one to spend hours polishing my car. I feel this technique gets the job done quickly and effectively, and doesn't risk damage to paint work. It is also is economical with the amount of products used!
In the car storage game in a place like Brisbane, washing cars is also a regular service we provide to our customers. Dry dusty winters followed by rainy summers mean that cars are in need of a scrub more often than not !
Here is our step-by-step process:
Step 1: Assemble The Gear + Choose the Location
For this method we use:
High Pressure Washing Unit (Gerni)
Bowdens Own 'Wheely Clean' Wheel Cleaner
Bowdens Own 'Wax Wash' Car Washing Liquid
Bowdens Own 'Boss Gloss' After-wash Treatment
2 x Wash Buckets
Washing Location Tips
Outdoors in Shade - You want to have good light on the paint to be able to see any imperfections, however its important to keep out of direct UV to avoid premature drying
Good Drainage - Just so water isn't pooling around the car - If the water is draining onto grass or into a garden thats a bonus.
Shelter from Wind: This one is less important and a bit harder to come by, but sheltering from the breeze will minimise premature drying
Also try to avoid a car that has been driven recently - a hot bonnet will evaporate water and washing products before you get around to drying it!
Step 2: The Wheels
First phase of washing on the car itself is the wheels - We do this first as it is usually a rather messy job, and involves a lot of high-pressure hosing. You wouldn't want to clean the rest of the car only to then create nasty splash back when cleaning the wheels! For this we use Bowdens Own 'Wheely Clean', which is a specially designed contactless cleaner - simply spray the wheel surface, wait 45 seconds for the product to activate and then spray off the pressure hose. The ingredients react with brake dust and drag down particles of dirt with it! Note: If your wheels are super-dirty, you may require a brushing tool to properly clean them. Spray on the wheely clean, and then brush away, hosing off afterwards.
Step 3: Get it Wet
Give the car a good blast with the pressure hose, starting from the top down, with the aim of sheeting off loose particles of dirt and debris. Don't go to close to the paint with the high-pressure spray, about 0.5-0.75m is usually fine, although perhaps use a bit more distance for older cars with more delicate paint. Take extra care when spraying seals, sunroofs and decals.
Step 4: The Two-Bucket Method
Why two buckets you ask? The labels in the picture above may give it away, but this is purely an exercise of micro-scratching limitation. The 'two-bucket' process involves one bucket with the 'suds' - in this case one cap-full of Bowdens Own 'Wax-Wash', and the other bucket just plain water.
Fill both buckets up as much as possible, and then using a CLEAN microfibre sponge, start by 'sudding up' in the wash bucket, then commence the washing process with a side-to-side motion (not circular). Once you've done a panel, thoroughly rinse the sponge in the rinse bucket (funnily enough), and then simply repeat the process.
How often you rinse will depend on how dirty your car is, but the more the better! At the end of the washing process your rinse bucket should be dirty, and your wash bucket should be relatively clean.
Step 5: Sheet It Off
This step is pretty straight forward - get a normal hose connection running a smooth flow of water, and starting from the roof 'sheet-off' the car. This will drag down the cleaning product and any lingering dirt and debris.
Step 6: Dry n Shine
Immediately after the water sheeting process, prepare your chamois of choice. We use the Bowden's Own 'Big Green Sucker', because it certainly does that it says on the tin. Its a super absorbent microfibre cloth, and can dry an entire car without ever needing to be rung-out. The soft microfibre material means there is no risk of micro-scratching, assuming dirt is properly removed in the steps above.
But why just dry, when you can dry n shine?
In conjunction with the drying process, we use Bowden's Own 'Boss Gloss' - simply spray several times into the cloth before drying, re-applying 3-5 times dependant on how large your vehicle is (we reapplied 3 times on the Porsche). Not only does Boss Gloss formula aid the drying process, it also gives the body an effortless shine. A absolute winner in getting the most out of a 30 minute wash!
Step 7: Book in a Blow Dry
One final step in the whole process is to implement a high powered air blower - this could be a leaf blower or simply an air gun hooked up to a compressor. Run it over the car with particular attention to the nooks and crannies (side mirrors and light assemblies are always guilty culprits). If any water blows out, simply dry it up with your chamios. This will help to remove trapped water which would otherwise remain in place, potentially causing long term damage. It was particularly important for a non-driving car like this that will sit in place for a long period of time!
And thats it - again I emphasise: this is not the 'right way' of washing a car, its just my version. Is this guide even too much of a stretch? Never fear, we offer this exact treatment to our customer cars for only $39 (as at March 2019).
At Autohouse, we strive to be Brisbane's leading car storage service provider. We enjoy sharing useful articles like this because like you, we are passionate about these crazy lumps of metal, and want to share and compare our experiences with yours! Thanks for reading - drive hard (but drive safe).
Lachlan H - Autohouse Storage