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Old 05-26-2004, 09:41 AM
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RKT BMR RKT BMR is offline
Location: Scotts Valley, CA
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 9,903
Mein Auto: 5/01 production 330Cic
Originally Posted by wingspan
So I clay-bar'd the 3er today for the first time.

I am a newbie to the OCD philosophy, but I'm learning...
Welcome to the club! Note that within six months or so you will need to be on regular meds of some sort...
Originally Posted by wingspan
Emptied bucket. Fill new bucket with one cap of car wash stuff; wash car; dry with water blade, then synthetic chamois.
DISCLAIMER: Keep in mind that car care product preferences are very subjective, and have a healthy dose of pure personal appeal. There are many excellent products on the market, so don't take anyone's individual endorsement as some sort of indication of "the best" out there, even though some will insist as much.

That said, there are some basic principles that apply to all products. In the case of car wash soap, the following rules of thumb apply:
  • Do not use detergent for ordinary washing. It will strip off the wax. In my ignorant days, before I became an OCD car care fanatic as a consequence of getting my bimmer, I used to routinely wash our cars with Dawn (Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota Corolla, Honda CRX, etc.). Didn't know I was taking the wax right off. Explains, though, why they didn't look so nice and glossy after 4 or 5 years. Oxidation.

  • Use a quality car wash soap that is specifically formulated to be gentle to wax, and very slippery. Slipperiness is the most important characteristic of a carwash product. The car gets clean primarily from the mechanical action of wiping the sponge, towel, or brush over the surface. The bucket-o-carwash diluted with water serves mostly the cleaning purpose of loosing the dirt as a solvent (mostly the water). The main purpose of the soap is to provide as friction-free a film on the surface as you drag your cleaning implement of choice over the surface, so that the dirt, dust, and grime you are removing doesn't scratch the clearcoat as your dragging it along.

  • Don't be stingy with the soap. A capful? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! It's hard to use too much, provided you are using a quality soap that won't cut the wax. The more slippery, the better. See above. I'm a big fan of Griots car wash -- it meets the criteria I'm talking about here. I have a gallon bottle of the stuff. I'm quite generous with it, using about 0.25-0.5oz per gallon in a 5gal bucket. This is a bit more than Griots says to use, but I'm biasing against scratching during the washing process. Took me a year plus to use up the 16oz bottle I first bought before I ordered a gallon (thirty bucks).

  • Rinse your washing implement in the wash solution VERY FREQUENTLY. If I don't use all 4+ gallons of solution when I wash my car, I'm a failure.

  • Use warm water for the wash solution. Not hot!! Warm. Helps loosen the dirt.
As you experienced, no matter what you do to wash the car, you can't get everything off the paint. Clay is the only way, short of rubbing hard, which will just scratch it up.
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