View Full Version : cleaning technique?

08-06-2005, 03:38 AM
hey all.. i wash my cars ever so often, and on my parents cars.. that i wash once in a while.. well.. they have alot of bird shit on their cars... my dad has a black car and my moms is white.. i scrub like hell, but they are still on there. what kind of soap is good to use? i usually use normal laundry detergent and water... i would use regular towels to scrub them.. do you think i should use a dish spounge? thanks all

Luis C
08-06-2005, 04:41 AM
Dont be a cheap ass and buy some car soap geez.
Car soap is desing to remove tar, tree zap, grease and some other things that normally stick to the paint without damaging the paint itself or the clear coat.

Detergent is for people who dont care a dang about their cars

08-06-2005, 07:59 AM
Also, get some decent microfiber towels or if you're going to really detail it, invest in a sheepskin glove.

A regular towel is too coarse and will scratch your clearcoat. A sponge would probably work better, but use a fresh one if you're going to go that route. There are a lot of specialty sponges made for cars as well. A search on google will bring those up.

08-06-2005, 10:42 AM
eh.. heheh im not being a cheap ass!!!! :lolhittin i just didnt know.. hehe...

alrihgt.. so some car soap... sheepskin glove/towel..

how about drying the car? is a regular towel good enough there?

08-06-2005, 11:07 AM
Regular as in polyester-cotton blend, no. Standard polyester threads are hard enough to scratch the paint.

Regular as in 100% cotton terry cloth (preferably with a deep pile), yes. Better, microfibre cloths. Good MF drying towels can be had for as little as $5 and will do the entire car with easy -- and they wring out better than cotton.

Sponges aren't really a great idea because while they hold soap and water well, dirt tends to get trapped on the surface during the wipe, which means you're now rubbing grit across your paint (major reason why not to wash in circles -- less chance of swirl marks).

Wool mits, even synthetic ones, are usually better. The natural ones are preferred because the wool is better at drawing the dirt into the pile. Pair it with a quality car wash (Mothers, Meguiar's are probably the best, but there aren't any bad ones really) and you'll get a good sudsy clean.

DO NOT use dishsoap, or laundry soap. Those detergents are designed to break down grease, which sounds good when referring to road tar, but also makes them great at stripping the oils out of your paint that keep it shiny and rich-looking.

BTW, if you're scrubbing a lot, you're doing something wrong. Prefer a good stream of water (no pressure washer) to scrubbing to remove stubborn grit. Soak it with the soap and water before going after it. Scrubbing is sometimes unavoidable, but avoid it if you can.

Best way to protect the paint from bird droppings? Don't let them sit on the car. Even if it's already baked on, get it off as soon as possible. The acidic reaction will otherwise continue.

Second best protection: polish and wax. These are two separate steps. The polish makes the paint look good. The wax keeps it that way. All polishes should condition the paint, restoring the oils that paint loses over time. A proper abrasive polish will also smooth out the top coat, removing scratches, swirl marks, and other blemishes. It'll also give your paint a more thorough cleaning than just soap and water. For hand application, I recommend Meguiar's ScratchX, which is widely available. It's gentle enough you can't damage your paint with it by hand, but will remove most defects with a couple applications. Follow it up with a good wax -- carnauba, polymer or acrylic really doesn't matter, just get a good quality one. And yes, you get what you pay for. Carnauba's most common. A good polymer is the paste form of Meguiar's NXT Wax (I should mention I'm a Meguiar's fan). Zaino makes great acrylic waxes. Liquid waxes, while easier to apply, contain a lower concentration of whatever protective agent they use than a paste, which is why they usually cost more for the same size -- you'll get more coats out of a 500 mL paste than you would a 500 mL bottle.

Microfibre detailing cloths are the best for removing polishes and waxes. The threads are sharp-edged so they catch on the polish/wax, but are so fine they can't damage the paint.

08-07-2005, 03:44 AM
dude. you're a king. :eek:

anyone else top that?

08-07-2005, 03:49 AM
Well, if you really want to spend some time reading -- check the learning articles at autopia.org. It'll take a few hours to go through them all, but the top ones are a good primer.

08-07-2005, 04:01 PM
Great Post Darren, only thing that I would add to it.. Make sure you follow directions on the polish... make sure your towel is damp when applying or it can make scratches..

One other thing.. if you do have bad scratches already you can you a rubbing compound to buff most of those out as well... FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS.. i cannot stress that enough... Rubbing compound if applied to hard or without a damp cloth can eat down into your paint... it has abbrassive's in it...

When i detailed my tracker it got 5 steps...
Step 1 - Wash at the car wash and Dry with Lint Free Towels
Step 2 - Applied Rubbing Compound and buffed
Step 3 - Applied Polishing Compund and buffed
Step 4 - Waxed and Buffed
Step 5 - Washed again and dried with a wool mit

WHEN I SAY BUFFED ABOVE... I dont mean with an actual buffer i mean with one of the buffing mits they sale at walmart..... Your vehicle comes out VERY SHINY...

08-10-2005, 11:18 PM
if im feelen lazy ill bust out the power washer and enhiliate the bird shit

08-11-2005, 04:14 AM
i just bought armor all car soap -- it was really cheap, 12 microfiber towels - vroom, vroom applicator pads, and DU pont showroom finish teflon ultra car wax... all coming out to.. about 20 bucks. at my local target...

lemme knwo waht you think

08-11-2005, 08:30 AM
Armour All -- eh....um....just don't use that brand on rubber/vinyl please....

08-12-2005, 02:41 AM
its ok.. i dont have any vinyls on my car.. and rubber? not on my tires?

would it be alright on my paint/rims...?

08-13-2005, 11:27 AM
No -- your entire interior is covered in vinyl, your weatherstripping is rubber, and I'd include your tires. Avoid the Armor All protectants -- they are among the worst formulas available.

Your wheels should either be polished if they are bare metal (polished aluminum or chrome) or waxed if they are painted (even just a clearcoat).

BTW, be careful with those cheap microfibre cloths. If they have stiching around the edges, cut them off. Personally, I wouldn't use any microfibres that I could buy at a dozen for $20 -- the quality won't be there. Read this for a full explanation: http://www.guidetodetailing.com/articles.php?articleId=44

You're still missing a step -- polish -- even if you aren't going for a full detail.

08-14-2005, 06:51 AM
eh.. no need yet.. im just cleaning my moms car.. i dont even think im gonna wax it.

08-14-2005, 09:43 AM
Wax it -- every car deserves to at least keep the paint in good condition. Besides, it's cheaper than repainting, and improves resale value.

08-15-2005, 04:11 AM
yup.. i just washed my moms car.. i took your advice.. i waxed the front end.. fenders/hood/bumper... thats all though. i got tired and plus its dark..

well.. waht kind of towel would i use to wipe down the car with soap? today i just used a microfiber towel.. but that didnt work well.. cuase i was catching bird shit in the towel.. hten rubbing hte damn car with it.. har! well..

08-15-2005, 07:20 AM
Wool wash mit -- natural is better than synthetic. Microfibre doesn't make good wash materials because the knap isn't deep enough to pull grit away from the surface. Makes great drying cloths and polishing cloths, however.

08-17-2005, 01:10 AM
ok.. after reading that article you sent me, i found out my stuff is all crap..

when i get some money, i may get some quality stuff.

08-23-2005, 09:05 AM
if im feelen lazy ill bust out the power washer and enhiliate the bird shit


I do the same thing. As long as it's under 2000psi it should be fine for the car.
Just be careful around trim, badging, ect.

No scraping. :D

09-09-2005, 09:46 PM
My Wash n' Wax Method

The first thing that I do is clean my wheels and tires. I don't polish them, I simply clean them and dry them. I always wait to polish rims and gel tires until everything else is done.

The next thing that I do is wash my car.

Twice a year I will go over the car with a Clay Bar to remove everything that I can and give the clearcoat a good polish and wax.

Inbetween Clay Bar Sessions once a month I will clean the car and wax it I also wax my windows.

Unless it gets dirty I will simply only have to dust or rinse the car off and apply a light coat of liquid spray wax. I will rain-x inbetween waxes.

I use a soft brissle tooth brush after waxing to remove excess from those hard to reach places that wax likes to build up.

While newspaper works great for removing film and etc it has always seemed to leave fine scratches on my windows, maybe somone has a tip for that?

I use clear plastic polish for my tail lights and I use a black polish/restorer on my window trim, keeps it looking beautiful and feeling natural.

Most of what Galcobar has mentioned but a little extra and that's kind of my cycle for anyone who cares.

09-10-2005, 08:34 PM
For the windows, try using coffee filters to clean them with. It has no chemicals whatsoever cause obviously people make coffee with em. May be a lil pricy but its better than seeing streaks.

Also I like to use stoners window cleaners. IMO its one of the best out there.

09-10-2005, 09:42 PM
Invisible Glass -- great stuff, just not on a windy day.

09-10-2005, 10:29 PM
You hit it right on the head. Kinda pricy but like everything else was n wax related what isnt.

09-10-2005, 11:28 PM
What do you mean just not on a windy day?

I use the Stoners also... I think that I'm just going wash them with that and terry cloths and try the microfiber cloths for detailing the glass finish on the insides. I'll let you guys know how that goes.

09-11-2005, 01:13 AM
It's an aerosol spray, which means it comes out fine enough for the wind to catch it and spread it over your car instead of the windshield.

09-12-2005, 05:48 AM
Ohhh, I get it. I do all of my detailing in the garage so there is no problem there. Only do the washing outside. It gets too hot here to do that stuff outside.

09-19-2005, 06:50 PM
I've got pictures of my detailed car in my gallery if you'd like to witness the fruits of my labor. hahaha This is 3 weeks after initial wax with a wash once a week and spray on wax touch-up. Paint is smooth as silk (possibly smoother) to the touch.

09-19-2005, 06:57 PM
Hey Bornil this may sound Crazy, But if you want a streak free winsheild USE NEWSPAPER instead of paper towels or cloth...

09-19-2005, 09:23 PM
You know it leaves hairline scratches/swirls on my windows. Thanks though, I've been using terry cloth for immidiate cleaning and then an edgless microfiber cloth for removing ANYTHNIG else. Works GREAT. A lot of people say the newspaper thing but it just didn't work for me, streak free, but it scrated my glass.