Now we don’t want to sound patronising or condescending in any way, but you would be amazed at how many people just don’t get the whole car washing thing. It is as simple or as hard as you wish it to be. Whether it is a quick whip around before a cruise, or a luxurious twin bucket bath for your special someone. There are a few simple rules you must follow.
Rikki about to give the 1965 AC Shelby Cobra a loving bath.
Keep Cool; Your car’s surface must be cool to touch, or, with the exception of our more southerly located brothers and sisters, out of direct sunlight. If your car’s surface is hot, or in direct sunlight, it causes water spots or streaking.
When it’s wet, it’s wet. When it’s not, it’s not. Yes, I am talking car care here folks! If your car is wet and you have no intention of drying it, then keep it as wet as you can. Don’t let it dry naturally. Throw the hose over it as often as possible. When the time comes to dry the car, use the Microfibre chamois or even a large Microfibre towel and dry it as much as you can. First do it in the shade and then move it out into the sunlight, so you can mop up all those sneaky droplets that appear when you move the car. On a last note, for those of you without the time, or a car collection or unregistered cars, please don’t wash your car then put it back in the shed. At least drive it back and forth in your driveway if you must, then leave out in the sun with all of its openable bits akimbo. Your car must be completely dry before going back to its shelter. Water that is allowed to sit in a motionless car will create rust!
Logic. Don’t drop your mitt or chamois - if you do, rinse it thoroughly. If you drop it in dirt, halt all proceedings and wash it either in a machine with some normal suds or in a clean bucket of water with a small amount of the Auto Body Gel. Do not take the risk of scratching the paint. Don’t wear rings, watches or belt buckles. Don’t drink alcohol and attempt to clean your car. It does not work; a friend of a friend told me so!
Friction is bad! Like everything to do with cars, except for braking of course, friction is not your car’s friend. If at any stage you feel your mitt clinging to the car’s surface, or emitting a high-pitched sound (‘singing’), you are experiencing friction. By using a cheap inferior car wash, you can expect it. If you are using the Auto Body Gel at the correct dosage and experience friction, you should do one of two things: either think very seriously about re-waxing your car, or you should start shrieking madly, because you have picked up some sort of contaminant from somewhere, and you are now rubbing it all over your car!
Wind Problems; Coastal dwellers!! Don’t wash your car when it is howling onshore. That’s a wind coming from the ocean, as it is dense with salt air. And salt is not good for your wash process, although some of our competitors seem to think very differently… Country folk!! Don’t wash your car when a lot of dust is in the air, as it will settle on the car’s surface allowing you to scratch it into your car’s finish. Wind also cuts down the drying time of water on the car, so make sure you factor that in when cleaning and rinsing the car down.
Rikki with all the right stuff.
THE RIGHT WASHING TOOLS
You need a good bucket with about 12 litres capacity. We use a bucket known affectionately as BOB, the Bowden’s Own Bucket, with all our care care kits. It is great quality and made in Australia. (BOB also won an Australian design award in 2004.. Yes, a bucket won a design award!!)
The Love Glove, or the Muffy sponge are perfect washing tools.
OUT WITH THE OLD SPONGE, IN WITH THE NEW.
You need a good applicator; like our equally loved Muffy Sponge or Love Glove Wash Mitt. We found that generic sponges, while they hold a lot of water, don’t have much ‘give’ in them. Meaning that if you pick up a tiny stone it won’t recess into the sponge like it would with a mitt and therefore it scratches your paint surface.
Muffy in action, unlike traditional sponges, it has that layer of soft material to protect your paint.
Sponges pores also have great storage facilities for things like tiny hard particles, keeping them entrapped and scratching your paint forever. Likewise we have found the longer hair wash mitts like lambs wool, can also get small damaging particles caught up in their weave over time, another great car scratcher. Its for these reason we put a lot of thought into our two washing tools, to stop thesr things happening.
Our Muffy sponge has a layer of special bright yellow microfibre on the top and bottom, allowing it to have a protective, soft barrier to minimise scratching. Muffy also has open sides, so you can get heaps of suds in and out of the sponge, this also helps stop wash fatigue with the sponge getting heavy as you move around the car. If you ever accidently drop Muffy, you can easily wash it out, the bright yellow material aids you in being able to just check it militantly, and find any foreign contaminants in the material.
inspect and clean Muffy militantly after each wash or if you drop her!
Rinsing clean the Love Glove is easy, with the hose put in the hand pocket.
The Love Glove is another well thought out washing tool with a luxurious soft microfibre in a short nap weave, to stop the risk of those damaging particles getting caught in them, and a unique inner lining to again help draining and reduce washing fatigue.
One feature you will love with the Mitt is how you can stick a hose into the open end of the mitt, turn it on and clean it out as the water streams through the mitt. This is great for when you have finished and in case you somehow drop the mitt. (Yes, I have proved it is possible.)
You can read more about these two and the differences betwen them right here: http://www.bowdensown.com.au/Muffy-Sponge-vs-Love-Glove-wash-mitt
Wheels like an extra special touch with our Wheel Cloth.
BE SAFE ON WHEELS
You need to clean those wheels: Make sure to use an entirely separate cloth or our Microfibre wheel (and lower body) cloth for –obviously - cleaning the wheels. Our cloth has a unique weave that can really get in and clean, but does it SAFELY. Perfect for those polished or painted alloys so prevalent nowadays. It is made in red for a genuine reason - so you do not use it by mistake on anything else except the wheels. Brake dust is quite hard to remove from any cloth and can build up over time, you really do not want to be getting it in any your paint cleaning tools, especially your Love Glove mitt or Muffy. Likewise the same goes for the lower body parts on your car,
Our custom blend car wash, the Auto Body Gel, the best you will ever use.
You need a good car wash shampoo. Our custom blend, The Auto Body Gel, is the perfect combination for cleaning your car’s surface and still retaining your precious wax coat. Most special is that we don't have any salt in its formula. Salt is a popular additive for every other wash, as it increases sudsing, acts as a water softner so suds will happen in even rubbish quality water, and it thickens the product up to the gel like state. We found a better way to make it with no salt, about the only issue being is that if your water is bad quality it will not suds up.. But we hope that anyone who uses our wash will always use good quality water, so this is not an issue! All these years later and we still don't know of anyone else who does makes a slat free wash, just another bonus for using it.
USE GOOD WATER
You need water. D’uh you say, but there are many different types of water. Never use bore or dam water as these are high in nutrients and the salinity content (salt= rust) may be questionable. Even if you have had your bore checked for salinity levels, think twice before you take to your pride and joy with the offending water, salinity levels fluctuate. Certain areas of Australia, like Adelaide for a classic example, have ‘hard’ tap water, this is where, for reasons only the water board really know, the water is high in mineral content. Hard water, like acid rain, is prone to leaving very defined water spots on your paint if it dries. Regardless of your water source, as long as it is not dam or bore, it will do the trick, but if you have the option of using ‘soft’ water, and the best of these is pure rainwater, go with it every time. We have special, double filtered tanks of rainwater just for washing the cars. Considering we live in a semi-rural area, this is not as extravagant as it sounds. They also double as fire fighting supplies and fantastic rogue bush-turkey deterrents.
You need a hose. If you are one of those people who buy those useless hoses that kink as soon as you even contemplate washing the car, you deserve the pain and anguish it delivers. On a return trip back from Sydney we had to wash the old Moffat race car transporter with one of those anemic things. Never again! Get yourself a good quality medium strength hose. Not too tough so it’s inflexible, not so weak that it’s, for lack of a better word, kinky.
Don’t worry about a fitting on the end. If you want to spray, which you most certainly do at the start, jam your finger in front of the hose, propelling the water at a more rapid rate. If you want a gentle, even flow, which you do at the end, remove your finger and let it flow.
Our awesome chamois are a holy grail of care care, ones that really work!
You need a drying tool. We use our new Microfibre Chamois, certainly never the common or garden variety ones you get at the local service station or car accessories store. There are arguments over the pros and cons of using microfibre waffle weave drying towels, synthetic or real chamois. the microfibre towels work great at the start, but the fibres break down quickly, so you lose absorbancy and effectiveness too fast for us to be happy with them. On the chamois, one party says the other strips wax and scratches, the other party says the exact same thing. Like everything to do with car care, we have done our own personal tests and found our new version is by far the best in that if used correctly it neither strips wax nor scratches surfaces... Simply it is just excellent to use and works brilliantly.
Our Little Ripper chamois is a great, easy to use size. But some want bigger...
The Big Bugger chamois, a very popular large size, but some still want something bigger....
We make them in three great sizes, the Little Ripper, your more traditional size, then just about double it's size is the Big Bigger size and then finally, the biggest on the planet, the Super Bloody Huge chamois. this massive one is for professionals or the most hardcore enthusiasts who don't like to be slowed down by having to wring out the chamois often, we can do most cars without having to wring it out at all. read more detail about them here: http://www.bowdensown.com.au/best-chamois-sizes-for-your-needs
Our Super Bloody Huge chamois, the biggest in the world, dry most cars without wringing it out!
You need a wash bay. A carport is perfect, but anything out of direct sunlight that has a tap right next to it, is what your ultimate goal should be. If your designated area also has a slight incline, to allow water to run from the car freely and onto the lawn, then NO EXCUSES, you have the ultimate wash bay!! Let’s get washing.
Love Glove, BOB the bucket, Auto Body Gel and Rikki, the perfect washing combination.
LETS GET WET
So now you have the perfect bucket, mitt/ Muffy, wheel cloth, hose, water supply, car wash shampoo and wash bay. You, young grasshopper, are ready to wash!
FIRST STEP, CLEAN THOSE WHEELS
We suggest to do the wheels first, as if you do them after washing the rest of the car, you take the risk of leaving water sitting on your paint and creating water spots as they dry. Even if you do wash and then chamois your car down, you always seem to get water back on your freshly dried paint, as you rinse the wheels down after washing them. It's a hell of a waste of time going back over it a second time, so just do your wheels first.
Wheel and Lower Body Cloth, is made for the dirty jobs.
We have two methods for cleaning wheels, first one is with our Auto Body Gel and the Wheel Cloth, and the second is if you suffer from bad brake dust issues, you will want to be using our epic Wheely Clean cleaner. Lets start with the wash method first. Unless you are washing a Hummer or a Mack truck, half fill your BOB bucket and add a capful of our Auto Body Gel wash to it. Use the Wheel Cloth to give your wheels a good and thorough scrub. Do them one at a time and rinse off with fresh water afterwards. Our second method is with our purpose made wheel cleaner..
GET THEM WHEELY CLEAN
Our Wheely Clean was a 9 year journey to make an effective wheel cleaner that works. It's made for those who suffer from bad brake dust issues, and need a pH balanced, (i.e. non acidic or caustic), biodegradable that is safe for ALL wheels, whilst also cutting down the time down in cleaning the round friends on our cars.
We have made a revolutionary type of cleaner that utilises a chemical reaction with metal oxide/ brake dust that changes it's state to a water-soluble complex, for easy removal with a hose. It will do about 80% of the cleaning job for you on really dusty wheels, close to 99% if used weekly on a daily driver. Also does a great job at removing the normal built up grime you can expect on any wheels. It is pH balanced, no acid or caustic ingredients, so it is safe for all wheels including painted, alloy, anodised, chromed, clear coated, powder coated, aluminum, stainless, billet and the list goes on!!
Wheely Clean doing it's magic, the purple liquid is the brake dust being washed away.
The simple version on using it is that you spray it on, brush it around, let it sit for a couple of minutes and then hose it off with a strong jet of water...It is well worth reading the in depth article on using the Wheely Clean to make the most of this great product in the link here: http://www.bowdensown.com.au/our_best_wheel_cleaner_Wheely_Clean
As for drying the wheels, it's always nice to have a second, older chamois for this job, but just make sure you only use them on the wheels and maybe the door jams of your car. But just make sure you ever don’t soil your good chamois by using it on them. At worst case, use a clean cotton or micofibre rag, or if you don’t live on a dirt road, nothing at all.
Generally, wheels that are easy to clean have a large ‘face’ and water spots are an issue and will benefit from getting dried. Wheels that are hard to clean usually have no large surface areas and therefore don’t benefit greatly from getting dried. Just ask yourself “Will they benefit from drying?” Just be sure you do this job at the very last task of washing, after you chamois dry your entire car, as doing it before will mean they are just going to get wet again from the next part of our article...
IT'S WASH TIME
Your bucket is ¾ full (not you, the bucket!). You have used the correct dosage of shampoo, by using just one capful, adding it to the bucket when the water level is half full, as if you add the wash solution too early, you will get a huge head of suds and very little water! Your aim is to get a nice layer of suds, about 10cm worth, so they just sit above the rim of your bucket. Rinse the lid clean in the wash water as well, so you can be sure to get the full dose.
One cap is all you need and don't forget to rinse it in the bucket as well.
You have thoroughly drenched the car, making sure to have rinsed away as much of the dirt and "heavier" elements off from the car, especially down on the lower areas with a slightly stronger water pressure.
Rinsing down those lower, dirty parts of the Cobra with full pressure from our rogue bush turkey deterrent.
FROM THE TOP
Your Love Glove/ Muffy is clean and immersed in the bucket. Holding as much water/suds content as available, you start at the top of the car, commonly known as the roof, going from panel to panel working your way down. At the completion of washing each panel, you rinse and while you’re at it, to deter water drying on the car, you keep the rest of the car wet too. The reason you start at the top is to minimise contamination of the bucket. The lower the panel is on the car, the more it collects road grime. The more road grime you get in the bucket, the more hazardous it becomes to wash with.
When using Muffy, squeeze her while immersed in the wash bucket, to fill her full of suds.
Big flat panels is where the Muffy sponge excels at quick cleaning.
The Love Glove is ideal for those hard to access areas, like around grills and bumpers, going where Muffy cannot!
Last off, clean those lower, more dirty panels with the wheel and lower body cloth.
You have now washed and rinsed every panel on the car starting from the top and working your way down. A great tip for rinsing the car, is to let a gentle stream of water cover the car; It catches all of the water beads and lessens the amount of water that sits on the cars surface, allowing you to dry the car faster. It also acts as a good final rinse.
Best tip: Use a gentle stream, not a spray when rinsing. Cuts down on your chamois drying time.
Now it’s drying time. Make sure the car has no visible road grime, dirt or oil. Grab the chamois and again start at the top of the car and work your way down, frequently wringing out your chamois. On the large flat panels (roof, boot and bonnet) hold the chamois like you would to throw a blanket across a large bed, throw it out and then pull it gently back towards you. This minimises time, nothing else, so if you are comfortable with how you already use a chamois, do with this advice as you wish.
Another great tip, with our chamois dry, do the glass first. You get no streaks!
Always hold the top and lower part of the chamois when doing the sides, to stop it ever touching the ground.
THOUGHT YOU HAD HEARD IT ALL?
For the real fussy ducks out there, with brand new cars, with paint extra susceptible to light scratches, or the people who have original coats on their ageing cars, you will want to use the “Two-Bucket Method”. There is no real gimmick, you just minimise the chances of washing your car with contaminated water/ wash.
Two bucket technique, cuts down on the potential of anything scratching your paint dramatically.
You get two 12 litre buckets; one is ¾ full of water with car shampoo mixed in, the other is ¾ full of pure water (If possible, use two different colour buckets, or mark one with a bit of tape around the top, or put your wheel cloth on its top edge, so you do not mix them up later in the wash) Start washing the car in the prescribed manner above. Once you have finished a panel, submerge the mitt/ Muffy into the pure water bucket and rinse it by shaking it vigorously, before placing it back into the wash suds bucket. Gather as much water and suds as your mitt can carry, then reapply to the next panel. Repeat this process, washing every panel on the car. Doing it this way means you are never putting dirty water onto your car.
To stop mixing up your wash and rinse buckets, place the wheel cloth on the edge of the rinse bucket.
That’s the mysterious two-bucket method! It does make good practice; we use it on certain cars as a rule. It dramatically minimises your chances of accidentally picking up some potentially scratching debris from one part of the car and rubbing it all over the rest.
TEN MINUTES OF JOY
You’re done!! Does your baby gleam? Don’t you feel better now? To make you and your precious machine feel even better why not take him / her for a drive, at least ten minutes long. This will help get rid of any water left in cracks or recesses most cars seem to have. When you get back just go around with the chamois to again clean up the last bits of water.
The fun bit, heading for great post wash drive, to dry both her and the car right out.
Note that glowing shine, even on 36 year old paint our gear works a treat.
Please don't ever put your car away straight after washing it, as leaving water sitting around in the cars inaccesible areas is a huge no-no. This only invites every car’s biggest enemy to take hold, that of course is rust.
Yes, I think it is love, as any true car freak could understand.
YES WE ARE CAR FREAKS
And that is how we wash our cars at the Bowden household. All of these methods and tips have been pooled together by 3 generations of car freaks. As every motoring enthusiast has different needs for their different cars and locations around our large continent, none of this should be taken as pure gospel. If any of what has been written goes against your regular methods, then think about it, weigh up both of the options and go with the one that is best for your car.
All the products in this article are available on our website here, or through our network of stockists in Australia. Take a good look at our kits and packs as they save you quite a bit of money as well.
If you have any questions about car care please give us a call on (07) 5445 6065 or email email@example.com
Love your car,