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Thread: Car Wash Tips

  1. #1
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
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    Car Wash Tips

    As Melbourne comes to terms with Stage 2 water restrictions, I thought I'd bring up the topic of car washing, something close to every car geek's heart

    What are the various tips & tricks you use to clean the car? What products do you find best to clean the car? How obsessive are you, when you wash the car?

    I'll get the ball rolling with a few of my own.

    Cleaning badges - a paint brush is great, you get to wash out all the muck in the nooks and crannies of the badge that you can't reach properly with a sponge.

    Personal product endorsements

    Kanebo Chamois - forget about leather, fancy schmanzy brands, this is the best chamois I've come across. It's a synthetic Japanese chamois that you can find in your Safeway/Woolworths in the car section, as well as other automotive stores, and it absorbs more water than anything else I've used (much better than those useles Enkafill type things).

    Eagle One tyre shine - when it comes to tyre shine, I've found if you really want a good shine, Eagle One's product is the best in terms of that shine - really jet black (also depends on what type of tyres you use - looked fantastic on the Michelin Vivacy's on our Volvo).

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    Obsessive cleaning.

    I've read some other threads and it's really quite interesting how obsessive some can get. I was reading about this Volvo owner in the USA who buys tonnes of sponges for fear of scratching the car - each time the car is washed, the sponge is thrown out. If the sponge touches the ground, it's thrown out.

    A little obsessive IMHO. With sponges, I just have the paintwork & glass sponge, and then the sponge for wheels/exhaust pipe (ie. very dirty things).

    I'm probably fairly normal when it comes to washing the car. I'll pre spray the car to get rid of any chunks of dirt, then I'll sponge it with soap from the top going to the bottom, doing windows last before the extra dirty components (eg. wheels). Then I'll dry from top to bottom (you're more likely to miss things down at the bottom). I'll wash the outside paintwork, bumpers, mudflaps, underneath door handles, aerial, badges, glass, wiper blades, hatch and door sills, grilles and exhaust pipe end (if it has a chrome one).

    As for my own little obsessive things, I'm probably one of the few who vacuums the underbonnet insulation in the engine bay

    Cheers,

    Justin

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

  2. #2
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    BTW - I think the Kanebo brand (re. chamois) is now Aiko or something like that.

    Has anyone used hair shampoo to wash their car? (there ya go Daniel, you can try wash the C3 with some Garnier Fructis ) I recall reading about someone who used it, saying it was more delicate on the car than other detergents, and the bonus was your car came out smelling nice

    However, for something wacky, this is something I came across on the 307 list.

    On the otherhand one day I saw something worse.....I was at my summer
    house at a small Island named Syros when I saw this old man with a
    old Skoda Target 120 washing it next to the beach. (everything normal
    so far right??) Do you guys know with what? .....He had a
    bucket.....dipped it into the sea.....threw the seawater on the Skoda
    and just gave the car a bath!!!

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

  3. #3
    1000+ Posts n b j's Avatar
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    I wet the car compeletly with water and wash off gunk.

    I give the Alloys a good hard spray with the hose too.

    Then I use detergent and water to create a lovely soapy solution and wash the car witha soft sponge.

    Then I get a different sponge to clean the mags with.

    I then dry the car from top to bottom with a shammy, then give it a final dry off with a towel.

    I then use alloy cleaner with a rag and get all that black brake gunk off the rims and out of every tiny little corner of the mag.

    I then use bumper sheen and let it sit on the bumbpers for a bit (plus door handles, anything black) and then whipe it off ofter a bit with a rag.

    Then I use as a final touch the white foamy stuff that blackens your tyres

    [EDIT: too many typos]

    <small>[ 03 August 2003, 04:18 PM: Message edited by: n b j ]</small>
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  4. #4
    1000+ Posts purrr-geot's Avatar
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    Pug307:
    He had a
    bucket.....dipped it into the sea.....threw the seawater on the Skoda
    and just gave the car a bath!!!
    Well it is a skoda, not worth wasting tap water on.

    For interior (dashboards ect) what would you all think is the best overall (price,quality,shine,smell ect)?

  5. #5
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    You might be surprised to know that Kanebo Plas Chamois have been around for at least 30 years - my Dad used one all that time ago. And I use one now. They last for ages too - mine is about 18 years old. One thing - wash them out occasionally with detergent in warm water.

    Stuey


    2003 PEUGEOT 206 GTi

  6. #6
    nJm
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    Every time I wash my car I give the wheel arches and general underside a good spray with a really high pressure (warm) water hose. Gets rid of all the mud and dust I pick up from the unsealed roads I love driving on.

    After drying off my pug I'll get out the Eagle One tyre shine and use it on the bumpers, weather strip on bonnet, fan grille, door handels, mirrors, black moulding on C pillar and also the badges on the back.

    Recently I've started to try and clean all the door jabs and other bits of body work you can only see when the doors are open.

    As for the dash, a small amount of armorall on the black plastic bits. I used to use it on the top of the dash but the extra shine would cause excessive reflections in the sun off the windscreen.

    Justin, I've never heard of anyone vacuuming their underbonnet insulation .
    Nick
    1983 Peugeot 505 GR


    "All of its cars from the 1.1 litre 205 through the ugly duckling 309 to the 2.2 litre 505 GTi had a rightness and a righteousness about them that turned every humdrum drive into a journey. Someone, I once wrote, in the bowels of Peugeot understands handling and how a chassis should feel." - Jeremy Clarkson

  7. #7
    pur-john, not pew-john! peujohn's Avatar
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    Recently I've started washing my car in the do-it-yourself bays at servos. I don't use the brush though. First I spray all over with the high-pressure soap... I take along bucket, detergent and sponge, fill the bucket with the high-pressure soap (plus detergent) and then take my time giving it a good handwash, then rinse. This is convenient and environmentally responsible! Should only cost $2.

    John
    John W

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  8. #8
    1000+ Posts cruiserman's Avatar
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    For cleaning the alloys and some of the nook and cranny type places the Enjo glove is great. Had it demoed on my Landcruiser after a very hard 4 weeks in the centre of Australia, Birdsville track, Tanami track etc. I was really amazed at how it brought the car up with no detergents to dull the paint etc. The fibres really get to the bits of trim where dirt, especially the red bulldust hides. BTW I do not sell Enjo products just use a couple.
    Neil
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  9. #9
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    Clever lad John

    That's what I've been doing too. No point in having the spray running all the time, once you've pre-sprayed the car, just fill the bucket and add your own soap, soap the car, then rinse. Only costs a few dollars that way and washing manually with the sponge works best (I don't have much faith in their brushes). Now that we have stage 2 water restrictions, this is practically the only option when washing the car, it's not really realistic to rinse the car with a bucket or watering can.

    I've noticed there's quite a bit of variation between DIY car washes. Some have really diluted soap, some have cold water vs warm water for the high pressure soap, etc. I still find that a home car wash works better, the paintwork is shinier for whatever reason (better water?).

    I also spray out the brakes to clear out any muck that's accumulated there. A mechanic advised me to do this. I don't know whether this is psychological, but after that, the car seems to brake better once the brakes are dry again.

    BTW - does anyone else check the weather forecast before washing a car?

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

  10. #10
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    Vacuuming underbonnet insulation is just nuts :p None of my previous cars have had it, so it's not something I've ever even thought about.

    My number one car washing tip is this:

    Do not buy a black car

    My sister has the hardest time keeping her black Clio clean, meaning it has to be washed extremely frequently to keep it looking its best. It only takes a bit of wind to whip up some dust and the car looks filthy again.

    To top it off, recently she was parked somewhere and got some sort of white "stuff" all over the car. Perfectly even, and very rough to touch, in extremely small fine particles. Mum, dad and my sister spent about 5 hours today getting it off.

    We're really not sure what it was. It sticks like a magnet to the car, if you rub over it with a soft cloth. You could "push" the little white dots around however, if you use a finger nail.

    Prepsol didn't get it off, or make it any easier to budge. Neither did turps. In the end, it was methylated spirits which took it straight off. Combined with a wash with very hot soapy water afterwards, and a polish, it looks a million dollars again

    The question remains though - what the hell was it??

    Any ideas?
    Derek.

  11. #11
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    Were they painting road lines in the area?

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

  12. #12
    Local Tyrant gibgib's Avatar
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    Owning a dark coloured car I can say to you all not use a sponge when cleaning your lighter (or darker) paint as it traps the dirt particles & causes swirl marks.
    After much experimentation, a pure lambs wool mit with inner sponge doesn't cause swirl marks.

  13. #13
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    I use a new Chux dish cloth (actually 2) every time I wash the car and I use plenty of Polyglaze Wash'n'Wax.

    Dave
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  14. #14
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    Pug307:
    Were they painting road lines in the area?
    Well we don't know PUG307 - it could have happened any time in the last week or two. It was just amazing at how perfectly even the white spots were over the entire car. If you didn't know what it had looked like, it could have passed for an amazingly brilliant metallic sheen through the metallic black paint. The only thing that truely gave it away was that the windows were covered in it as well. It was so odd that you could push the dots around with your finger, but not with a cloth.

    gibgib, I'll pass on the note about the lambs wool mitt. Note to self - good birthday present

    Derek

  15. #15
    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    i use the car wash in town here but also fill a bucket and use my own sponge ot wash the car down
    i also jack the car up every time i wash the car and take off each wheel at a time and wash up under the guards and the inside of each wheel
    nothing worse that having a clean car and seeing brake dust inside the wheels
    the spare comes out and gets a wash as well and when drying the car i take the tail lights out to get all the water out from behind them
    boot polish on the tyres as it lasts a lot longer than any brand of tyre black or tyre shine on the market even though it may not be as shiny
    kiwi brand is about the best once again inside as well and the spare
    you'd be suprised at how hard it makes it for dirt to stick to your spare once you have boot polish on it
    while in the car wash i give the engine a quick degrease including underneath (take the engine cover off from under the car before heading to the car wash)
    while each side of the car is up on the jack i degrease all the way under the car as well
    normally takes me a good couple of hours even at the local car wash to do this
    best to do it when they are at their quietest other wise they can get a little narky

    we have had level 2 water restrictions here for the last 10-12months so i am pretty used to the car wash routine

    once i get the car home and put the engine cover back on again i go over the dash with a slightly damp cloth with baby oil to rid any dust and keep shine

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  16. #16
    Fellow Frogger! Jez 405's Avatar
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    gibgib:
    Owning a dark coloured car I can say to you all not use a sponge when cleaning your lighter (or darker) paint as it traps the dirt particles & causes swirl marks.
    After much experimentation, a pure lambs wool mit with inner sponge doesn't cause swirl marks.
    I use a microfibre cloth with inner sponge and only rub in straight lines - longitudinally, rather than circles. That way, if you do get a pesky particle under your cloth, circular swirls are much more visible than straight scratches.
    I use the sponge only on tyres, bumpers (grey plastic) and sills.

    I find window cleaner (Eagle One) really good on alloy wheels - much less corrosive and pleasant smelling than wheelcleaners although it's not as effective. Fine if you clean them regularly though.
    1987 Peugeot 205 GTI S1
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  17. #17
    Fellow Frogger! two-oh-philic's Avatar
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    I'd like to add that the best tyre things are the silicon ones, you wipe on not the spray white foam. I think it's just called silicone oil and used for faxes.
    205 GTi (S2 ) rolled

    '96 306XR "Sex" Black

  18. #18
    Fellow Frogger!
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    A trick a detailer showed me once is to use
    "Windex" on krap looking paintwork, brings it up a treat.. Not sure how safe it is on the paintwork.
    Windex is also great to use on Mag wheels, if you wash your car every week like i do.
    Not as harsh as autosol. (Works better if you use autosol, every 3 months, to remove oxidization.)

    The other trick, is to apply any dash silicones, (Armourall type products) to a cloth, then wipe your dash, don't spray it on the dash directly, cause some products can give a "Run mark" like affect..I use Mothers dash cleaner...

    I used a polish on a car once, and it made the boot section, (The first and only section i did)
    go horrible, and powdery, i had to get it resprayed..

    The best car wash stuff i have used (IMHO) is
    the Chemtech range... CT20, RL18.

    Cheers
    Adrian.. (Not suer how i'm going to go with water restrictions, i can't sell dirty cars can i??, imagine how long it would take, to send 10 cars, twice a week to car lovers?? hmmmm.....
    Peugeot
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  19. #19
    Too many posts! JohnW's Avatar
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    My approach to saving water when washing the car is to do it very rarely.

    This works really well and saves a lot of time too. It also minimises scratching the paintwork.

    It's hard to find a time in summer when the paint doesn't get hot while washing, so that's a bad season for washing. Winter is better, but it rains reasonably often anyway.

    Our Peugeot service man usually gives the 306 a quick going over every 6 months, which makes this approach even better.

    JohnW
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  20. #20
    XTC
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    peujohn:
    Recently I've started washing my car in the do-it-yourself bays at servos. I don't use the brush though. First I spray all over with the high-pressure soap... I take along bucket, detergent and sponge, fill the bucket with the high-pressure soap (plus detergent) and then take my time giving it a good handwash, then rinse. This is convenient and environmentally responsible! Should only cost $2.
    And pisses the operators off no end .. I've had a few physically threaten me when doing this .. there are now lots of large signs around saying "NO BUCKET WASHES ALLOWED" - "ONLY USE SUPPLIED DETERGENTS" ...

    I'm not sure what the rule is here, I guess they own the business and if you don't like their rules, go somewhere else.

    - XTC206 -
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  21. #21
    1000+ Posts purrr-geot's Avatar
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    DeKa:
    My number one car washing tip is this:
    Do not buy a black car
    Number two tip don't buy a white car and white rims, i have to clean my rims at least twice a week other wise it looks like i've got black rims at the front and white at the back. However the rims and the car colour do match up quite well dance .

  22. #22
    Fellow Frogger! Reno's Avatar
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    i am another lambswool user... i find them much better then sponges.

    wheels: i use a sponge. and toothbrush for calipers.

    exhausts: i use a chrome polish.

  23. #23
    1000+ Posts silverexec's Avatar
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    Before stage 2 restrictions came along, I used to wash and rinse each part of the car separately, to stop the detergent drying on the car and causing streaks before I could rinse it off. So I'd start by wetting the whole car to get the dust off. I'd then soap the roof and rinse it off, followed by soaping and rinsing the bonnet, front guards, then the driver's side doors, boot and rear guards, then the other doors. Wheels were last.

    Everything is then chamoised (shammied?) dry, and any wax or other dressings for bumpers etc. put on.

    Now that the restrictions are in, I think I'll find myself using the automatic car washes more often, much easier and faster. (Cue a heap of stories about how bad these are for cars...)

    Cheers,
    Richard
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  24. #24
    nJm
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    I don't use them because I'm worried they will bend the radio antenna (which can't be fully retracted).
    Nick
    1983 Peugeot 505 GR


    "All of its cars from the 1.1 litre 205 through the ugly duckling 309 to the 2.2 litre 505 GTi had a rightness and a righteousness about them that turned every humdrum drive into a journey. Someone, I once wrote, in the bowels of Peugeot understands handling and how a chassis should feel." - Jeremy Clarkson

  25. #25
    1000+ Posts bowie's Avatar
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    i personaly use This Truck wash of all things.. the name of teh product avoids me currently.. comes in like a 1L odd bottle and is heavily concentrated..

    i find it lathers well.. and makes the water bead incredably well.. i geus it woudl be on the "srtonger" side of detergents.. but i havnet had any problems with paint fadeing of flaking.. or anything as of yet.. "shrugs"

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