car washing

How to choose a Wash Mitt for your car

Types of Wash Mitt

Specialising in Car Detailing , Project Detail Sydney & Melbourne will be covering a series of articles focussing on decontamination and in this post, we focus on car wash mitts. 

The reasoning behind this particular post stems from the belief that it is critical that for the vast majority of cases, using a typical sponge is terrible for your paintwork!

Therefore, Project Detail uses and highly recommends using wash mitts and having several spare handy. It is important to note that not all wash mitts are the same, in fact there are several types of wash mitts available on the market today. Ranging from microfibre, microfibre noodles and wool.

A good wash mitt is vital when comes washing a car properly by using a 2-bucket wash method. In combination with the buckets, the mitt greatly reduces fine scratches and swirl marks instilled on your paint. In this article Project Detail, we will guide you through the wash mitt.

Swirl marks and scratches caused by improper washing and maintenance.

Swirl marks and scratches caused by improper washing and maintenance.

Sponges = Swirl City

Sponges comes to majority of people's mind whenever a car wash is mentioned. Whether this is due to bikini washes or the person washing their car on the weekend often shown in the media.

Sponges when examined, are actually incredibly bad for washing your car. Contrary to regular belief, the paintwork on your car is very soft and not that durable towards scratching. A sponge by nature does two things when washing your car, the first is holding a large amount of liquid or shampoo in this instance. And the second is being abrasive, having the scrubbing power to remove harsh caked on residue just like a dinner plate.

These factors aren't relevant when washing your car. It is very important to remember a sponge does not physically pick up or remove the dirt. What it will do however is grind the dirt and dust on the surface as you move your mitt around, physically putting in scratches into the paintwork.

Therefore, this is why Project Detail and many professional detailers prefer using a mitt instead. The fundamental difference is the mitt's ability to encapsulate and pickup dirt and debris rather than pushing it around. This allows the grit and dirt to be dispensed safely into a 2 bucket and grit guard system.

Meguiars example of a Microfibre wash towel

Meguiars example of a Microfibre wash towel

Microfibre Wash Mitt

One of the most common wash mitt available on the market. It works great for cars that are going through a wash and decontamination for wax application or paint correction treatment. It picks up dirt and cleans well but for cars with a softer, delicate paintwork. It might cause micro-marring due to the length of the fibres in the wash mitt. 

For microfibre wash mitts, we recommend rinsing in the 2-bucket method as often as possible due to the dirt capacity in them. 

Example of a woolen wash mitt

Example of a woolen wash mitt

Wool/Sheep Skin Wash Mitt

A wool/sheep skin wash mitt is our favourite wash mitts when comes to maintenance wash and details. It's very soft, plush and very delicate on paint. It traps dirt deep into the fibres while cleaning the surface with it's soft hair. 

We however do not recommend people to use wool/sheep skin wash mitt on extra dirty cars. The down side of a wool/sheep skin is longevity, it does not last as long as a microfibre wash mitt. 

Microfibre noodle mitt in action

Microfibre noodle mitt in action

Noodle Microfibre Wash Mitt 

A noodle microfibre wash mitt combines both microfibre and wool/sheep skin wash mitt, providing the best of both worlds. The fibres has the length on a wool/sheep skin wash mitt and the material of a microfibre wash mitt and it works excellent on both a maintenance detail and preparation wash. 

If you can't decide which wash mitt to get, a noodle microfibre wash mitt is the type of wash mitt you will want to go for. 

Variant of a microfibre wash m

Variant of a microfibre wash m

Your detailer will most likely to have 3 types of wash mitt we mentioned for each different types of detail to suit for their customers. But however if you are still deciding which wash mitt to get, we recommend a noodle microfibre wash mitt for all rounders and a wool/sheep skin wash mitt if your car has been detailed previously. 

Now you have your wash mitt, but unsure which shampoo to get? Be sure to check out our previous article on car wash shampoos here. 

We hope this article helped you about choosing the right wash mitt for your car (and not sponge), feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions in regards to car detailing. You could do so by clicking here.

How to Dry Your Car

Drying, as part of our 21-Stage Wash and Decontamination on a brand new XE Jaguar 

The Right Way

We emphasise a lot on our 21-Stage Wash and Decontamination, how swirl marks are caused and washing your car the right way to reduce the chances of instilling swirl marks, minor scratches and general wear and tear. Another major cause for imperfections is the way you dry your car. 

Sadly, majority of the car owners use methods that are simply too aggressive for the paintwork of the car. Typical synthetic chamois or even leather chamois are main culprit, dragging with lots of friction making the surface 'squeaky' clean is actually not a good thing.

We are going to cover several methods you can use to dry your car properly without causing any chance of getting swirl marks and minor scratches on your car. Before that, we'll quickly cover some incorrect techniques.  

Swirl marks caused by using improper car washing techniques over the years 

Synthetic/Leather Chamois "Shammy"

Contrary to popular belief, chamois (leather or synthetic) causes more harm than good. Yes, it does try your car extremely well, absorbing water and leaving no streak marks on your car and windows and it can be squeezed out and reuse it again for the entire car without the need of using multiple cloths.  

However, the main issue about chamois, doesn't matter if its leather or synthetic, is they are very grabby. They grab onto your paintwork and glide across with a strong friction. The chamois itself in addition to any possible dust or dirt particles or anything you missed during the washing stages may also be dragged along the surface causing scratches and marring.

If your detailer uses chamois to dry your car, be sure to ask them these 3 Questions we listed to make sure they are doing the right thing by you and your car. Also request them use clean microfibre towels as a drying aid instead.

Letting it dry naturally 

Water spots caused by letting the car dry naturally after a wash

Water spots caused by letting the car dry naturally after a wash

A lot of car owners tend to let their car dry naturally. That is good to a certain extent because they are avoiding any chances of instilling any imperfections on to the paintwork caused by friction.
However, the one major disadvantage to allowing the water to naturally dry is the risk of leaving water spots on your vehicle. Particularly on the flat panels like the roof, boot and especially the bonnet as the engine heat can accelerate that process.

The only situation where allowing the car to dry naturally without any issues is using filtered water. Typically a 0ppm - 2ppm filter will remove all iron, calcium and other minerals commonly found in our tap water. This means that when the water evaporates, it leaves no minerals behind to form watermarks.  

The only other alternative is to have a high quality paint protection product (Wax/Sealant/Coating) that provides good hydrophobicity and drive a loop on a high speed road so the water runs off the surface.

Microfibre Drying Towels and Air Blow Technique

Pressurised air or a blower makes sure no water is left in crevices.

Replace your synthetic or leather chamois with a microfibre one. Either a proper microfibre drying towel or a waffle weave towel will produce fantastic results. They are able to be used dry, soak up immense amounts of water. Furthermore, they has much less friction as they glide over the surface, this means less chances of scratches and swirl marks. 

Tip - Make sure to have 2-3 towels for personal use. Dropping the towel on the ground or excessively wet towels are less effective.

Another component that most forget is all the water hiding in side mirrors, door handles of in the jambs of doors. After a few minutes or after opening the doors, water pours out and leaves water marks on the car. To avoid this, simply firmly open and close the doors and boot a few times to shake out the water. A much more effective solution is to use a blower or an air compressors to blow the excess water away.

Drying Aids & Spray Waxes

Ferrari F430 Rossa Corsa Red after a maintenance wash

Another additional factor when helping drying your vehicle is to introduce a dedicated drying aid or more commonly found a spray wax. While drying a panel, simply spraying a small amount onto your towel of the surface will make the cloth more slick and glide over the surface easier. Furthermore, the spray wax will actually help absorb more water meaning faster drying and better results.

We have found using this method to decreases the likelihood of swirls and also allows the car to be dried in 20-30% quicker.

We hope that we have provided some tips on drying your car, if you would like to know more or have any questions for us be sure to click here to contact us.

*banner photo credit to AMMO NYC & Larry Kosilla

2 Bucket Method Wash Method

twobucket1

Good Results Comes from preperation

Almost every family in Australia owns a car. In a perfect world, cars won't get dirty and paintwork are flawless without any imperfections. While in reality, cars do get dirty easier than you think from harmful environment factors such as bird and bat poo, industrial fallout or even tree sap.  
The good news is there are ways to keep them less dirty with waxing your car regularly or by using paint protection coating's self-cleaning effects. You can check out our article about paint protection coatings here.

We love our cars and most of us always want a clean car, that is why car washes and car care products exist. Compared to windscreen glass for example, painted surfaces on a car is actually quite soft and they tend to get scratched easily. If your car is covered in dust and your brush it off, chances are you've created fine scratches on the car. Ever wipe your car with something like a tissue? That has also probably scratched the surface.

Without the right washing methods, it won't be long for your car paintwork looks tired and loses its lustre and gloss, leaving behind swirl marks, scratches and a dull finish.

One of the best and easiest ways to keep your car in the best condition in the long run is by using the famous 2-bucket method in conjunction with Grit Guards to wash your car safely, this method is also included in our 21-Stage Wash and Decontamination.

2-Bucket method is a safer way and a major improvement to wash your car while reducing the changes of any swirl marks caused in the process. Project Detail will go through the process with you below.
 

2 Bucket Wash Method

Contents include:

  • 2 Large Buckets
  • Car shampoo of your choice. We suggest using a pH neutral one if possible.
  • 2-3 Microfibre Wash Mitts (We heavily advise against using sponges. Look out for this in another article.)
  • Optional - Grit Guards. Easily found online, if you have these, these are a major bonus.

Process

  1. Start by filling two buckets with as much water as possible. This allows the dirt to be released easier and suspended in the liquid. While having too little water means the dirt and debris is more concentrated. 
     
  2. Pour your shampoo mixture to the right dilution ratio into one bucket only. This becomes your 'wash' bucket.
     
  3. The second bucket is filled with water only, this bucket becomes your rinse bucket.
     
  4. Using a clean microfibre mitt, begin washing the vehicle top to bottom. This allows any loose dirt to pour down and not create any more work in this fashion.
     
  5. Try not to use excessive force otherwise the friction may push into the paintwork and cause swirls or scratches. Allow the microfibre mitt to glide over the surface and catch all the sediment in it's microfibre fingers.
     
  6. Every panel or adjusting depending on how dirty your car is, rinse the microfibre mitt in your 'rinse' bucket. The dirt will be trapped in this bucket. Wring the mitt clean and dry.
     
  7. Dip your mitt into the 'wash' bucket. Your mitt should be clean and be carrying clean shampoo water onto the vehicle.

     
  8. Repeat the process until your vehicle is washed.
     
  9. If vehicle is excessively dirty, it's ok to change the water for fresh water or even change mitts.
     
  10. After washing and drying your vehicle, be sure to wash the mitts and buckets for next use.
twobucket2

We hope that this article has been useful for you, feel free to share and comment as we believe this will assist in keeping your car swirl free for longer. If you would like to know more about how Project Detail washes their vehicles, be sure to check out our 21 stage wash method by clicking here.

To know more or for any additional questions, click here to contact us.

21 Stage Wash Method

Our Washing is Different

Project Detail believes in providing our customers with a special service, something they won't be able to wont be able to experience for their car at many other places. By using the best products from Europe, USA or Japan and modern techniques we can ensure that even our 'simple' wash will exceed the performance of washing at home, local car wash or even some mobile detailers.

We carry that same belief with car detailing in Sydney & Melbourne and aim to provide the best service possible.

Our washing process is no different and may seem excessive to some but it allows us the car to be cleaned to the highest degree in order to produce the best results in our paint correction or when applying our glass coating. 

A BMW M4 with 'Snow Foam' during our 21 stage wash process.

Our fundamental belief is that being careful enough, swirl marks can be avoided. Famous Detailer Paul Dalton once said there's 3 different of 'energy' to be utilised for easier and more effective washing: Thermal energy, Friction Energy and Chemical Energy. These come from our access to hot water washing up to 90 degrees celsius, the chemicals doing their job and finally the physical washing process itself.

Porsche 911 Wheels -  Before

Porsche 911 Wheels - During Iron Removal

Below is our 21 Stage washing process. Originally, it was never designed this way. We washed vehicles as thoroughly as possible and we realised it took a total of 21 stages for us to complete.

  1. Soak the exterior car in Citrus Pre-wash Solution. Gently begins to break down dirt, contamination and other debris on the car.
  2. Spray a suitable wheel cleaner such as a pH neutral Iron Fallout remover onto the wheels.
  3. Rinse Wheels with pressurised hot water.
  4. Shift Vehicle and soak other half of wheels in the same product, and repeat rinse.
  5. Spray product where necessary and use wheel woolies, wheel brushes and dedicated Wheel cleaning bucket to deep clean wheel barrels and brakes where possible, rinse with hot water.
  6. Spray Appropriate degreaser into Wheel arches, scrub and rinse to clean arches.
  7. Scrub and clean tyre to remove previous tyre product or silicone based products.
  8. Cover vehicle with thick pH neutral snow foam (consistency like shaving cream) and allow to dwell for 3-5 minutes depending on the level of debris.
  9. Rinse Snow Foam and Pre-Wash Solution off car with Pressurised Hot Water.
  10. Begin 2 bucket wash method with grit guards to separate sediment and debris removed from the vehicle. Vehicle is washed with fresh, microfibre wash mitts. We use a pH neutral and wax free shampoo and buckets filled with hot water.
  11. Buckets are emptied and fresh hot water is filled if the car is excessively dirty. Mitts can also be changed depending on the condition.
  12. Every Quarter of the car, the car is rinsed and kept wet not allowing the water to dry and stain the vehicle.
  13. Once vehicle is fully washed, we do a final rinse.
  14. Spray pH iron fallout remover onto painted surface to remove ferrous particles
  15. Spray tar remover to remove road tar and glue residue if present.
  16. Using a proper clay lubricant and a Japanese manufactured fine grade clay bar, carefully clay the surface to remove physical contamination.
  17. Rinse vehicle every quarter in order to prevent lubricant drying on the paintwork.
  18. Using a proper microfibre or waffle weave drying towel, vehicle is dried before the water dries.
  19. Pressurised air or a blower is used to remove water built up around mirrors and other crevices
  20. Check for dried water spots, using an appropriate water spots remover. Remove as necessary.
  21. Prepare vehicle for next step by wiping down with diluted Isopropyl solution to remove any remaining waxes, water marks or finger prints left on the surface.

Although the 21 stages seems like it would take all day, in fact it only takes 1-2 hours to complete. Even to the outsider spending 1-2 hours on a washing seems insane but with the calibre of cars and their devoted owners, it's a must to make sure the car is prepared for the paint correction, wax application or glass coating that comes afterwards.

By using a snow foam as thick like cream allows the dirt to break apart and rinsed away.

To find out more about Project Detail's services, please click here

If Project Detail can help with any washing queries or anything else, please click here to contact us.