Washing Your Car

Last month, we cleaned our wheels and now we move to the next step of washing your car. You'd be surprised at how well you can preserve your car's finish just by washing it properly. On the other hand, improper washing can dull, deteriorate and scratch you car's paint.

First, we need to choose an appropriate car wash shampoo. Most of the over-the-counter soaps to stay away from contain solvents, sodium, or harsh detergents that will erode the wax. Dishwashing and laundry detergents are inappropriate because of their high alkaline content (I still have people insisting that it's ok to wash their car with Dawn every week. My reply to that is "Would you wash your dishes with car wash?). The finest shampoos are biodegradable, pH balanced, and will not strip your car's wax nor dry its vinyl and rubber. Some of the better shampoos also contain natural oils to reduce the possibility of minute scratches by suspending small particles above the surface and water softeners to prevent those dreaded water spots. Even microscopic dust particles take on the characteristics of sandpaper when rubbed across your car. Realizing this, by the way, should dispel the old-timer belief that it is best to wash using only plain water (in the "old days" some hot rodders put a few drops of vegetable oil in the car wash to give it lubricity). A quick way to test the lubricity of a shampoo is to rub a small amount of it between your fingers - it should feel very slippery. When we were formulating our exclusive DyNA Paintwork Shampoo™ , we tested it under the strictest conditions - back then we were offering mobile detailing services and were washing black cars in the high noon August sun. It was then that we perfected the perfect blend of lubricants and water softeners.

Second, we need to choose the correct washing accessories; the choice of which is just as important as selecting the right shampoo. Dust and dirt particles become embedded in synthetic sponges and wash mitts. This grime buildup eventually causes serious surface scratches that are often blamed on other sources. We strongly suggest that you use (in order of preference) only the highest quality natural sea "wool" grade sponge, genuine sheepskin mitt (not the one with polyester - to check if it's genuine sheepskin just turn the mitt inside out and it should be leather) or 100% chenille cotton mitts . When using a natural sponge, use the softer flat side for your paint while the curved side can be used for glass.

Third, we need to employ the correct procedure:

    *      If possible, always wash your car in the shade.
    *      Rinse the surface very thoroughly before shampooing to remove as much dirt off the paint as possible before touching the car (and please don't rush this critical step). If you have a pressure washer it will come in very handy for this purpose (just make sure to not use one with more than 1,250 psi). This step will dramatically decrease the amount of spider webbing your paint will develop from washing as time goes on.
    *      Also always work from the top down.
    *      You are better off using too little soap than too much, which will leave a residue if not rinsed off completely.
    *      Use lots of water and leave the dirtiest parts of the car, the front bumper and behind the wheels, for last.
    *      When washing a panel, load the sponge with shampoo and squeeze it out over the panel. Then gently wash with no downward pressure in straight lines (no "Karate Kid" wax on, wax off motion here).
    *      Remember never to press or try to rub something out when washing your car. When the paint is wet you can't see if you're scratching it in any way until you dry your car and have a heart attack seeing what you've just done. Remember to let the chemical do the work. If the shampoo doesn't remove something, use the proper chemical later, but don't try to make the car wash shampoo do a task it wasn't designed to do.
    *      Use at least two (2) sponges/mitts - one for the tops and another one for the dirtier bottoms. In our shop we actually use three (3) different sponges/mitts. In addition, if you want to go a little nuts, use two (2) pales. Use a DyNA Pro Wash Bucket for the shampoo and a plain bucket filled with clean water. Before reloading your sponge with clean soap, rinse it in the water to prevent contaminating the shampoo with dirt off the car. This step will also decrease the spider webbing on your paint.
    *      Contrary to popular opinion, we do not rinse each portion of the car when after shampooing it. Because if it's hot the water will begin to dry and we run the chance of developing water spots. But if the shampoo is on the paint, its water softening agents will prevent that.

Lastly, we need to dry the car. Make sure you hand-dry your car immediately after washing. Cod-oil-tanned chamois, synthetic chamois or the new DyNA Superior Drying MicroWeave™ Towel (which we prefer) are the best choices. These new MicroWeave™ towels are safe and will not leave streaks like other synthetic or natural chamois. If you own a drying chamois, you may certainly continue to use them but always make sure they are clean. Then use a window towel (we recommend a microSuede specifically made for windows) to finish your windows to prevent streaking and spotting. The secret to getting a "wow" car wash is to go over the paint with the DyNA Liquid Gloss™ or an equivalent instant detailer spray with a cotton microfiber to remove any remaining water marks and to bring out the shine. The Liquid Gloss™ also contains a solution of our DyNA Brilliance™ paint sealant so it will prolong the protection of your paint and is great for in between waxing.
Summary of Steps:

    *      Fill DyNA Pro Wash Bucket half way with clean water.

Fill DyNA Pro Wash Busket half way with water

    *      Add one to two capfuls of DyNA Paintwork Shampoo™ and stir.

Add one to two capfuls of DyNA Paintwork Shampoo
    *      Rinse entire automobile thoroughly with water. 
Important: Thoroughly rinse the entire vehicle
    *      Start washing from the top of the car by loading up the DyNA Natural Sea Sponge or DyNA Sheepskin Wash Mitt with Shampoo and squeezing out over each panel. (For convertible rag tops, use a safe natural horsehair brush).
    *      Gently wash in straight back and forth motion with no downward pressure. 
Back and forth motion with no down ward pressure
    *      Rinse the sponge/mitt in a separate pail of clean water after each panel, load sponge with Shampoo and repeat. Rinse mitt in a separate bucket of water
    *      Rinse thoroughly with cold water and dry with a natural chamois, synthetic chamois or MicroWeave™ drying towel.
    *      For a stunning shine and added protection follow with Liquid Gloss™ spray.

Washing your car should be a pleasurable experience and done at least weekly for a regularly driven car. Now here I go with some preaching. Customers always ask me to share the "one big secret" of how to keep their cars looking pristine. Well, hang on to your fuzzy dice; here it is: Do not take your car to a car wash! I don't care if it's brushless, touchless or uses holy water. Don't do it! Many car washes use odorless ammonia or phosphate-based soaps with very hot recycled wash water. You not only risk swirls, spider webbing, scratches or chips on your car, but also it removes your wax. So, wash it yourself or employ a professional detailer you trust to hand wash it. If however you live in an urban area (such as Manhattan) and don't have a place to wash your car yourself and go to a hand car wash, at least take your own sponge and drying towel for them to use. This way they won't be scratching your car with someone else's dirt.