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Old 11-28-2016, 10:26 PM
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Default How I Clean Cars

I thought I would make a thread with a step by step of how i clean cars professionally. I have accumulated over 100 years of experience over the past 5 years from professionals ive worked with. One thing ive learned is that prepping your car is the most important in detailing the exterior. This isnt just a quick wash, this is what I do to paying customers cars that have mostly been neglected. If you keep up with your car it may not be necessary to follow every step.

To start off I split the car in half. This way you dont need to worry about product drying on you and damaging the paint. It also makes cleaning the car imo more manageable.

Your going to start on the drivers side, from the front fender to the rear bumper. Then finish on the passenger side covering the front bumper to the rear quarter.

1. Remove anything loose from all jambs and under the hood like leaves or clumps of dirt. Rinse the side your working on to cool down the surface and remove any loose dirt.

2. Starting in the front drivers side, spray all purpose cleaner on the fender, wheel wells, tires, lower doors, rear bumper, and jambs.

3. Now that your at the rear of the car take out your detailing brush and brush the jambs to loosen dirt working your way towards the front getting the tires on your way. If your car is particularly bad you can choose to spray APC in the cracks where needed while working your way forward and hit them with your brush. Keep your bottle hanging on your back pocket so you dont need to run around.

NOTE: I dont generally spray APC in the cracks at the beginning of the step because if the APC hits your windows and dries it can leave permanent damage. Save that for last right before rinsing. Keep the APC on the bumpers rear deck lid and mid-lower part of the doors away from glass and be careful while spraying the jambs. Absolutely do not get APC or acid on any polished aluminum. It was cause permanent damage.

4. After brushing your APC has had time to penetrate the dirt on the exterior, now rinse thoroughly starting with the jambs going from the front working your way back and then back towards the front rinsing the wheels lowers etc. Make sure to rinse off all the grit released from the jambs. Now the heavy grit is gone.

5. Now pull out your wheel cleaner. I personally use a product such as iron x, so i spray the chrome, side panels, and wheels. If your using traditional wheel cleaner skip spraying the panels and chrome.

6. Brush the two wheels using various tools to loosen the brake dust. I personally use a wheel woolie and a lug nut brush. Also hit your wheel wells during this step.

7. After brushing your wheels the iron x has had a chance to work on the paint and chrome. Rinse thoroughly from the top down. With iron x youve now removed harmful contaminants in the paint and brake dust from the wheels.

8. Repeat on the passenger side covering the front bumper to the quarter. Make sure to rinse the front bumper thoroughly especially to remove any bugs. We will remove the residue left behind later.

Notice we havnt touch the surfaces with a mit yet. Now that the car has been prepped for washing, doing a thorough rinse over the whole car making sure all the chemicals and grit are off. Now we have a car free of heavy dirt and contaminants. This ensures that when we finally touch the paint with a mit we are greatly reducing any chance of picking up dirt and causing scratches.

9. Spray bug wash if necessary on the front bumper, both mirrors, and windshield.

10. Begin washing
- start at the driver mirror agitating the bug wash
- then the driver side windshield
- move to the driver side hood and then the front bumper
- now on to the passenger side hood
- work your way up the passenger side windshield
- now working back hit the roof to the rear deck lid
- now hit the rear bumper to the deck lid up the back window
- then to the quarter, roof, down to the windows/doors and work foward the fender

11. You've now hit all the horizontal surfaces and driver side. Rinse thoroughly from the top down and repeat on the passenger side. Also note that we started at the front agitating the bug wash, and while we went around and washed the side it had time to sit and continue to work releasing bug residue.

12. Rinse thoroughly again and reverse or drive foward to rotate the wheels 180 degrees.

13. Hit the wheels once more on the drivers side and rinse.

14. And the wheels again on the passenger side.

15. And finally dry your car. I also include my jambs and wipe off any water i got inside the car from spraying the jambs.

Another tip, during your washing phase, make sure to stick your mit in each crack and crevice and scrub the emblems thoroughly to insure you get out any haze.

As for claying, i no longer use a clay bar so its not in my washing segment. I have switched to nanoskin and i highly recommend it. Its much less damaging and works a lot quicker. After my car has dried i mist clay lube working one half a car at a time wipe off the lube before repeating on the other side. After claying if i plan to buff or polish i wipe the car down with a prep solvent to remove any remaining wax.

And thats it. It seems like a lot but if you do it a few times it becomes easy. Although the traditional methods may only be half the steps, i guarantee youll save time from running back and forth, and itll come out better.

Last edited by Video; 11-29-2016 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 11-29-2016, 11:18 AM
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Thats a good write up. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11-29-2016, 11:33 AM
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No problem! Unfortunately there's so many tid bits of info its hard to write it all down. I might make a video.

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Old 11-29-2016, 04:27 PM
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lol i know the feeling. you could start a youtube channel and start doing how to videos for tips and tricks
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Old 11-30-2016, 07:54 PM
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Also a slightly different variant would be to APC both sides, then acid wheels both sides. This just means your going to move back and forth more often but follows the same concept. Ill post a step by step of a less intensive method of washing a car

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