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JetBlack330i
09-13-2004, 09:18 PM
I've always used the traditional method of washing my car:
1) rinse car to get loose dirt off
2) apply shampoo with wash mit
3) rinse off shampoo
4) dry car with clean cotton or microfiber towels

Even after I got a power washer, I've stuck to the above 4 steps.
Problem is... that's too many steps and it takes too long.
Yesterday I cut the process down to the following 2 steps:
1) power spray car to get loose dirt off
2) dry car with microfiber towels.

It's half the steps, but it may not save you half the time. The reason is that you need to be more thorough in each of those steps.
First you need to have a power washer. I suspect a garden hose would not do if the car is medium to heavily dirty. You're not simply hosing loose dirt off, you're blasting as much grime off as possible.
Second, you must rinse the microfiber more often. Here's what I did. In a bucket of water, I added in 1/3 to 1/4 of the amount of shampoo I'd use with the wash mit. After drying every panel of the car I rinse the towel.
If the car is really dirty, you may need to repeat entire step 2.
The results was better than the traditional method. That's because the key step is the drying step and I'm putting a lot of focus there in my new process.

I like it so much that I plan to wash my cars this way from now on. :thumbup:

Mr. The Edge
09-13-2004, 09:25 PM
:eek:

BahnBaum
09-14-2004, 04:30 AM
Does April 1st come the day after September 13th?

Alex

alpinewhite325i
09-14-2004, 05:51 AM
For the love of God, please tell me you're joking.

Desertnate
09-14-2004, 06:09 AM
All the grit issues aside, how on earth do you keep wax on your car if you wash it with a power washer? :dunno:

TOGWT
09-14-2004, 06:22 AM
~One man’s opinion / observations~

Wow! For a few seconds there I thought you where serious, using a power washer to wash a vehicle paint surface gives a whole new meaning to ‘liquid sandpaper’…/

~Hope this helps~

Knowledge unshared is experience wasted
justadumbarchitect / so I question everything/ Jon

JetBlack330i
09-14-2004, 10:23 AM
Y'all are over-reacting.
People wash cars with power washers all the time.
What do you think are in the DIY car wash bays?
What do you think dealerships use after they service your car?
Touchless car wash is just another (automated) form of power washer.

:confused:

It sounds like the people who responded here never used one.
FYI, power washers have adjustable pressure.

The power washer step is exactly to get the sand and any abrasive debri off.
What's left is only grime, oil, tar, etc., which I remove with a lightly soaped microfiber towel. I don't see how a wash mit can be any gentler and kindler. :dunno:

Desertnate
09-14-2004, 11:38 AM
Y'all are over-reacting.
People wash cars with power washers all the time.
What do you think are in the DIY car wash bays?
What do you think dealerships use after they service your car?
Touchless car wash is just another (automated) form of power washer.

:confused:

It sounds like the people who responded here never used one.
FYI, power washers have adjustable pressure.

The power washer step is exactly to get the sand and any abrasive debri off.
What's left is only grime, oil, tar, etc., which I remove with a lightly soaped microfiber towel. I don't see how a wash mit can be any gentler and kindler. :dunno:

I have used them...still do during the winter (the DIY type), but only becase I don't want to freez my hoses and spigots and it gets the salt out of the undercarriage better than a hose. I cringe at each trip and applogize to the car afterwords :D

I haven't found them to do all that well. Additionally, I have found my waxing only stands up to one or two of those blastings and the brushes trap dirt that scratches the paint. I don't let the dealer wash my car for this reason.

JetBlack330i
09-14-2004, 05:07 PM
I have used them...still do during the winter (the DIY type), but only becase I don't want to freez my hoses and spigots and it gets the salt out of the undercarriage better than a hose. I cringe at each trip and applogize to the car afterwords :D

I haven't found them to do all that well. Additionally, I have found my waxing only stands up to one or two of those blastings and the brushes trap dirt that scratches the paint. I don't let the dealer wash my car for this reason.
What brushes?
You use brushes at the DIY stalls? :tsk:
You should apologize to your car, profusely.
I use those brushes to clean my wheels only. I feel sorry for the next guy.

Anyways, the power washers at the DIY stalls are not adjustable.
I'm talking about my own power washer, which you can adjust from a mist to a pencil thin beam. I use a pressure that is strong enough, but still not hurt my hand.
I've done it many times, and can assure you that it is not detrimental to your wax. The type of shampoo you use is more of a factor.

So, now that we are clear, does anyone still :tsk: at my method? :rofl:

webguy330i
09-14-2004, 05:32 PM
I have used power washers at the DIY joints that DO hurt your hands. They still don't get enough of the crap off. It's swirl insanity if you try to dry your car off afterwards. =/

You must have one callused hand and a 13,000psi pressure washer. ;)

JetBlack330i
09-14-2004, 05:52 PM
I have used power washers at the DIY joints that DO hurt your hands. They still don't get enough of the crap off. It's swirl insanity if you try to dry your car off afterwards. =/

You must have one callused hand and a 13,000psi pressure washer. ;)
Your DIY joint had a defective washer. They usually under-adjust the pressure, for liability reasons. In any event, you can always use the nozzle farther away from your car.
Mine is 2400 psi, nozzle adjusted to fell hard, but not hurting, on my hand at about 12 inches from the nozzle. I use it at about 14 inches from the car.

Anyways, why is it that a wash mit rubbing on that crap will cause less damage than a towel over that (and I maintain, lesser amount, because of the power washer) crap?

A big misconception is that towels cause swill marks. If the towel is very dirty, it may cause scratches. You can differentiate the two easily. Scratches are random patterned lines (usually following the direction of your towels or mit or whatever caused them), while swirls are very regular circular patterns (like a spiker web). Nobody dries or washes a car following precise regular swirl mark patterns.

Mr. The Edge
09-14-2004, 06:16 PM
let's have an Austin lunch again soon and settle it

:D

BahnBaum
09-14-2004, 06:48 PM
So, now that we are clear, does anyone still :tsk: at my method? :rofl:

Uhhh, yes, that would be me.

No way anyone will convince me that "blasting off as much grime as possible" is as safe for your paint as properly using a clean mit with a grated bucket. But maybe that's just me. And I'm not sure where you actually rinse the car after applying your lightly soaped microfibers, but I prolly missed it.

Hey, in the end to each his own. If it works for you, great. But for now my pressure washer sticks with the deck and siding.

Alex

JetBlack330i
09-14-2004, 07:55 PM
let's have an Austin lunch again soon and settle it

:D
I'm all for it.
Right now, I've got 2 coats of Zaino on.
If weather cooperates, I'll have a coat of Pinnacle Souveran on top before the end of the week.
How about lunch Friday? :thumbup:

JetBlack330i
09-14-2004, 08:06 PM
Uhhh, yes, that would be me.

No way anyone will convince me that "blasting off as much grime as possible" is as safe for your paint as properly using a clean mit with a grated bucket. But maybe that's just me. And I'm not sure where you actually rinse the car after applying your lightly soaped microfibers, but I prolly missed it.

Hey, in the end to each his own. If it works for you, great. But for now my pressure washer sticks with the deck and siding.

Alex
If I have to guess, I'd say here's where you're misunderstanding:
You're putting/reading too much emphasis on the power washer blasting part. It's just to get sand/dust/whathaveyou off the paint. You don't have to blast it to bits.
The bulk of the cleaning work is done by the microfiber towel.
There is no rinsing. That's the beauty of the method, if I say so myself. :angel:
The lightly soaped towel cleans remaining oil/grime as it dries.
When the towel gets saturated with water, instead of simply twisting it dry, I rinse it with the soapy water. Because the soapy solution is very light, it doesn't leave streaks or film on the paint. It's 2 steps in one: washing and drying. :thumbup:

JetBlack330i
09-14-2004, 08:52 PM
So you intentionally leave a soapy film on the car? :eek:
:confused:

Because the soapy solution is very light, it doesn't leave streaks or film on the paint.

xspeedy
09-14-2004, 09:01 PM
I'd say you are better off speed washing the car with a mit and 5-gallon bucket of soapy water. Instead of doing every panel once at a time and rinsing (time consuming), just fly around the car with the mit to at least get most of the stuck on grime off. Doesn't take much longer than the two-step process, but is probably much better for the paint.

JetBlack330i
09-14-2004, 09:05 PM
Enough soap to be have a noticible cleaning effect, but so little that it vanishes entirely when the moisture evaporates. :confused:


You can't have it both ways. :dunno:
Why not? Have you tried it?
What cleans is the microfiber towel, not the soap.
The soapy solution is only to clean the towel and prevent the oil/grime to stick to the towel.
And my shampoo (Zymol) at that concentration doesn't leave a film. I would know if it did. My car is JetFockingBlack. :bigpimp:

xspeedy
09-14-2004, 09:08 PM
Why not? Have you tried it?
What cleans is the microfiber towel, not the soap.
The soapy solution is only to clean the towel and prevent the oil/grime to stick to the towel.
And my shampoo (Zymol) at that concentration doesn't leave a film. I would know if it did. My car is JetFockingBlack. :bigpimp:


My microfiber towel doesn't release dirt very well. I think it is well designed to grab onto dirt and not let it go. I can't imagine a quick swirl in soapy water cleaning it much. Especially when it is filthy from wiping down a still soiled vehicle.

JetBlack330i
09-14-2004, 09:16 PM
My microfiber towel doesn't release dirt very well. I think it is well designed to grab onto dirt and not let it go. I can't imagine a quick swirl in soapy water cleaning it much. Especially when it is filthy from wiping down a still soiled vehicle.
Werd. My microfiber towel releases dirt very well. It's designed to hold water, many times it's weight, but when rinsed I find it cleans itself much better than cotton towels.
The amount of soap you need to use obviously would depend on how dirty your car is. In the worst case, you use so much soap that it reverts to the regular shampoo step (in my first post). You'd then have to redo step 2, but with pure water for rinsing the towel. That's just step 4 in the regular method.
My method is no worse. It can be significantly better, if the car is not too dirty. Note that by dirt I mean oil and grime, not mud, which is easily removed by the power washer.

Mr. The Edge
09-14-2004, 09:21 PM
What's left is only grime, oil, tar, etc., which I remove with a lightly soaped microfiber towel. I don't see how a wash mit can be any gentler and kindler. :dunno:

maybe I misunderstood post #1

you said there are only 2 steps.

Spray dirt off with power washer and dry car.

Mr. The Edge
09-14-2004, 09:35 PM
He drys the car with a slightly soapy towel. (I think)

Still 2 steps, no?

how do you dry a car with a soapy towel?

BahnBaum
09-15-2004, 03:38 AM
It would be interesting to post this method over at autopia.org and see the reaction.

Alex

JetBlack330i
09-15-2004, 05:19 AM
how do you dry a car with a soapy towel?

In a bucket of water, I added in 1/3 to 1/4 of the amount of shampoo I'd use with the wash mit. After drying every panel of the car I rinse the towel. :dunno:
I use very little shampoo to begin with. After rinsing and twisting dry the towel, there's practically no soap left in the towel. Just enough so that new dirt doesn't permanently stick to it. Next rinse takes it all off.
Basically, I'm drying the car with a very clean towel, and that's what's cleaning the car.

JetBlack330i
09-15-2004, 09:19 AM
If you're getting dirt on the towel while "drying" that means that while you're pushing the towel around on the car, you've got the potential for serious sandpaper effect.

Either you
1) Sprayed it hard enough to get absolutely ALL dirt off every inch of the car, or
2) You're rubbing a damp towel on a dirty car without large quantities of water and soap to provide lubrication to prevent scratching.
rumratt,
Think outside the triangle... it's a revolutionary new method.
There is no sand. That's gone with step one.
There is no pure drying step. It's a wash and dry combined. I gotta be dragging around something.
What I'm dragging arround is oil/grime/tar. The same thing you do with a wash mit.
There is plenty of lubrication. Remember: the car is wet. I'm drying it.
I fold the towel often, so I don't drag the dirt as much. The wash mit only has 2 sides. It causes more harm.
All I can tell you is to go try it.
If you don't want to, then look at the facts. I don't have the theory to explain it to you.
a) at the end of the wash, my car was clean, very clean. I would have notice it if it wasn't (keyword again: JetFockingBlack). I have had my car for 3 years now and always washed it the conventional way. I have plenty of reference.
b) It took me less time than with the conventional 4-step method. Granted, car wasn't filthy, but last wash was over 1 month ago.
c) my microfiber towel ended up cleaner than when I started (I reused it from a previous wash). So much for dragging dirt arround...
d) I like it so much that I will do this again. Goes to my point that this takes less effort.
e) I found no scratches after the wash.
f) I applied Zaino and it looks terrific.
:thumbup:

xspeedy
09-15-2004, 10:45 AM
If the car isn't really filthy with road grime, I can see this working. Think of it like quick detailing -- spray stuff and towel.

If you go to the pressure wash place and do a reasonably good job washing a not so filthy car (taking ten minutes or so), then you are left with a pretty clean finish. Most people stop at this point. The only thing left on the paint is a very thin haze of superfine "dirt". This film is then wiped clean from the finish with a damp microfiber towel that is rinsed often. The fact that the towel is microfiber means that it will wet clean and leave behind a dry finish simultaneously. A very damp microfiber will still absorb more water.

TOGWT
09-16-2004, 11:07 AM
Quote: There is plenty of lubrication. Remember: the car is wet. I'm drying it.

~One mans opinion / observations~

At one time Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin et al propagated the use of plain cold water as the only approved method of washing their vehicles. When the paint surfaces were inspected (by detailers, the owners did not wash the vehicle and probably would not know the difference) it was found to have surface scratching and marring from fine dust dirt being dragged over the surface.

Then along comes a good quality car wash that provides a slightly alkaline pH-7.1 and balanced blend of active biodegradable ingredients, to provide lubrication to prevent scratching, to lift and encapsulate dirt, road grime and oils. With conditioners to maintain the shine without stripping the paint of essential oils (the way detergents do) and dispersing them in the rinsing process, warm water (not hot) will improve the cleaning abilities of wash concentrates.

But then its your paint and your free to do with it whatever you want too, as for me I’ll wash mine with two buckets, a boars hair brush, a good car wash concentrate and dry it with a Microfiber waffle weave towel

IMO a pressure washer is a great tool to clean wheel wells and the vehicle undercarriage

~Hope this helps~

Knowledge unshared is experience wasted
justadumbarchitect / so I question everything/ Jon

JetBlack330i
09-16-2004, 09:28 PM
If what you say about water scratching paint is true, you're not immune from it just because you use your good quality, slightly alkaline shampoo. At some point, you rinse that shampoo off and leave pure water on the the paint. When you dry it, you'd be scratching your paint, no?
My method would have a slight advantage, since my towel would have a very slight amount of that good quality shampoo, which lubricates and prevents scratches, while yours has only pure water. :dunno:

CascadeTelcom
09-16-2004, 11:50 PM
If what you say about water scratching paint is true, you're not immune from it just because you use your good quality, slightly alkaline shampoo. At some point, you rinse that shampoo off and leave pure water on the the paint. When you dry it, you'd be scratching your paint, no?
My method would have a slight advantage, since my towel would have a very slight amount of that good quality shampoo, which lubricates and prevents scratches, while yours has only pure water. :dunno:

I have used a Karcher Power Washer on my BMWs and antique autos for over 10 years and have incurred no problems with scratching paint or removing wax. I use the two step proceedure during the Summer and resort to washing the entire vehicle during the Winter because of the dirt and grime. I wash the wheels with the power washer several times a week to remove the brake dust and hit my cloth tops about every second wash. It keeps the cloth top clean and does not remove the RaggTopp protectant. The power washer was one of my best purchases and has saved hundreds of hours of work with great results and no adverse wear to my paint, clearcoat or cloth tops. :thumbup:

xspeedy
09-17-2004, 08:15 AM
But, water is an abrasive. After several washes, one could expect that there would be less paint on the car. The amount of removal would be based on the amount of pressure put against the paint (holding the wand closer, or using more pressure...)

People that think that pressure washing is totally touchless are mistaken.

CascadeTelcom
09-17-2004, 12:24 PM
But, water is an abrasive. After several washes, one could expect that there would be less paint on the car. The amount of removal would be based on the amount of pressure put against the paint (holding the wand closer, or using more pressure...)

People that think tha pressure washing is totally touchless are mistaken.

My electric Karcher is rated at approximately 1500 PSI and I use the vario wand, not the rotating spray wand, which is recommended for autos, boats and siding. The vario has an adjustment feature that allows the operator to choose the desired pressure. I'm sure the vario doesn't come close to the amount of paint, clearcoat removed by hand or machine polishing.
I always have my painter check paint thickness with his Ultra Sonic paint thickness guage before bidding on antique vehicles. I will have him take a reading next time I am in the area and see how pressure washing and polishing have effected paint thickness on my 2002 330CIC.

JetBlack330i
09-17-2004, 04:31 PM
I have much more soapy water for a lubricant than you do when I'm dragging that oil/grime/tar around. That's the key difference.

But oil/grime/tar doesn't scratch the paint. Sand does. My sand is taken care of by the power washer. Your garden hose doesn't do it.

Boile
08-28-2005, 07:52 PM
This is the car equivalent of a "sponge bath".
It's clear that it does clean, and it sounds like that in the car application, it's simpler and faster (unlike with people, where sponge baths can take longer than a shower).
But I suspect that, just like the real sponge bath on people, it works well only if the car is not too dirty.

icemanjs4
08-29-2005, 12:58 AM
So here's the flaw in your system that i'm seeing. The best tool for cleaning your car is a thick sheepskin mit. I've read in several places that Microfiber towels, no matter how thick, don't do a good job. The idea behind the sheepskin, is that the dirt from you car gets pulled deep into the mit, and away from the surface. This is also where thick suds come into play with the soap. The suds help float the dirt away from the car and deep into the mit. This minimizes the amount of scratching form rubbing dirt around on your car.

The exact opposite would be using a thin towel with just water. In this case, you'd literally be pushing the dirt around, grinding it against your paint. Just having a little soap on your towel doesn't effectively float the dirt away, and in fact, if your car is coming away completely dry, most likely at some point, dry dirt is getting rubbed directly against your paint.

Just try to envision what happens with each stroke. Starts out soapy (a little) and lifts off the dirt, as you glide past, the water gets sucked up by the MF towel, but whatever dirt remains is getting pushed by the towel. EEEK. Now if you're not using much pressure - and you've pressure washed the big dirt, it's hard to say if you'd see any immediate scratches - but over time? sounds like a ticking time bomb to me.

NaTuReB0Y
08-29-2005, 01:07 AM
I got a better method: Have someone else do the washing! :thumbup:

Guest84
08-29-2005, 07:19 AM
I got a better method: Have someone else do the washing! :thumbup:My wife already practices this and she says its very successful....:( :confused:

SmoothCruise
08-29-2005, 11:14 AM
In my opinion, here's the best way to save time washing:

1. Use a very durable wax like Collinite. (I use Collinite 476, and Collinite insulator wax as a booster.)

2. Use a california duster, and dust a few times a week.


From step 2, and the fact that you dust often, your car should look fairly clean, without having to wash it. Dusting your car takes less than 3 minutes.

Don't press down on the duster. Just use it's natural weight. The wax and the brush will attract the dirt. You may have to press just slightly on the sides of the car. Shake the brush before using it, and after every swipe. Note, that's every swipe, not every panel. So you might swipe 2-3 times per panel.

You'll get less scratches from dusting, than from washing with a mit. Plus using Zaino or Collinite will also reduce any chances of scratching. Hence step 1.

That should save you plenty of time, and money. In addition, you'll also save on wax, because you aren't blasting the wax away, or soaping it away.

CascadeTelcom
08-29-2005, 04:46 PM
My wife agrees. She gets other half to do the washing in this house with the pressure washer. We haven't had any time bombs in our garage lately

jetstream23
08-29-2005, 04:51 PM
It would be interesting to post this method over at autopia.org and see the reaction.

Alex


Yeah, the site might crash !