How to wash your vehicle after your Detail Package from 5 Star Reflections
The "Rinseless" Car Wash
This method for washing your vehicle is the one I personally use for keeping my black car clean after commuting 25 miles one way to and from work each day. It does a fantastic job, but is also very inexpensive and eco-friendly. It only takes me 20 minutes to wash my entire car (including the wheels) and only uses 2 gallons of water to complete 5+ washes! Another bonus is the ability to wash the car IN THE GARAGE because there are no puddles of water. You can also wash your car in the winter as you dry the car before the liquid freezes.
Items you will need:
1. Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine (ONR). This car care product can't be found in auto parts stores, but is one of the most versatile and easy-to-use car care products I have come across. It is sold on Amazon or other online vendors and is very inexpensive considering it is a concentrate. The 8oz bottle typically costs $10, but the 32oz bottle is only $5 more on most sites. There is also a ONR Wash & Wax (green vs. blue) combo version that has wax mixed in you can use as well.
10/1/2013 update: Turtle Wax has released a product similar to ONR - it can be found at Wal-mart & auto parts stores. It is not as concentrated as ONR so it will be more expensive in the long run, but easier to obtain.
2. 2 Gallons of Distilled Water - You can pick this up at any grocery store for under $1 per gallon. You can use tap water, but I HIGHLY recommend distilled water because it will not leave water spots like tap water does. Also, make sure you save the jugs! You will be re-using them later.
3. Microfiber Towels - You will need at least 20 towels. Microfiber should be the only cloth/mitt/towel that touches the paint on your car as it won't scratch or swirl your paint like other fabrics will. I recommend going to Costco or Sams Club as they both have economy packs for $15 that work great for this wash method. Make sure you wash (separately from other laundry) them (no fabric softeners) and dry them (low heat) to remove any lint that may have come with the packaging. Keep them as car wash cloths only. Don't use them for other tasks around the house. It will contaminate them with other chemicals or particles and damage your paint.
The following items can be picked up at your local Dollar Store for - you guessed it...$1 :
4. A clean bucket (make sure it holds more than 2 gallons) dedicated to just washing your car. If you can get one with a pour spout on the rim, do so.
5. Clean plastic funnel (Tip - don't use one from your wife's kitchen or you will be in trouble - spend the $1 on a new one!)
6. A measuring cup that measures ounces (oz) (same advice as above on taking one from the kitchen!)
7. A clean empty 32 oz plastic spray bottle (Dollar Store bottles are fine, but Lowes has them for the same price and they are higher quality)
After reading this list, you are probably wondering about spending $30 for car wash supplies. Good news - these supplies will allow you to wash your vehicle every week for a year and the only thing you will need to buy is a gallon or two of distilled water every few months!
Step 1. Measure 1 oz of ONR and add it to your bucket.
Step 2. Add 2 gallons of distilled water to the bucket. Be sure to save your jugs and lids for later!
Step 3. Fill your plastic spray bottle with the diluted ONR solution using the funnel.
Step 4. Take 10 of your clean microfiber cloths and submerge them into the bucket of solution.
Step 5. Take 10 dry microfiber cloths and fold them in half and then half again (quarters). This gives you 8 clean sides of each cloth to work with as you dry your car panels.
Step 6. Take your spray bottle and mist/spray 1 panel** of your vehicle. Start from the top of your vehicle and work your way down to encourage dirt to flow down and off your car.
**A panel consists of a roughly 3 foot by 3 foot area of your vehicle. For example, the front panel above the front tire, the door panel below the window, the rear panel above the rear tire, 1/2 of the hood, 1/2 of the roof, 1/2 of the trunk, 1/2 of the lower bumper area on the rear of your car, 1/2 of the front bumper/grille area, windows, windshield, etc.
**Do not work on your tires/wheels - yet. Wash the car First and clean the wheels LAST.
Step 7. Take 1 soaked microfiber towel and wring it to where the towel is wet, but not dripping. Make sure to wring it out over the bucket to catch the cleaning solution back in the bucket. Fold the wet towel into quarters (8 clean sides) just like you did the drying towel.
Tip - Once you remove a clean, wet towel from the bucket - NEVER put it back in the bucket for any reason until it has been laundered and ready for the next time you wash the car.
Tip - Do not put a wash cloth or drying cloth on the ground. They will pick up sand and particles that will scratch your car. If you drop a rag - grab a new one!
Doing this will ensure that you are not putting any dirt or contaminants back into your clean bucket of solution and clean towels.
Step 8. Wipe the pre-soaked panel with the wet folded towel in long, straight, horizontal strokes (NO CIRCLES) applying light pressure to the panel of your vehicle. Work from the top of the panel down until you have wiped the entire panel.
Tip - Inspect your towel after every stroke, if you have picked up dirt & grime on that portion of the towel, refold the towel to a clean portion before you wipe the car again. Once you have used up all 8 sides of the towel, put it in the laundry hamper and grab a new one from the bucket of cleaning solution.
Tip - Do Not Wipe In A Circular Motion. If by chance you do have contaminants in your cloth and it scratches your clear coat, long straight strokes are easier to polish out than circular ones. Circular motion creates swirls in your paint.
Step 9. Take the clean, dry and folded microfiber towel and using the same long horizontal strokes, dry the section you have just washed. The surface should be slightly tacky at first, but will buff to a nice shine.
**Make sure you switch sides of the towel to clean sections just like you do when washing.
Step 10. Repeat Steps 6 to 9 for each panel of your entire car until it is clean.
Step 11. Repeat the same process for your wheels/rims, but do not touch your vehicle's painted surfaces with the same cloths you use for the wheels as brake dust is made up of metal particles.
Step 12. When your car is finished, take any remaining unused wash cloths left in the bucket and wring them out over the bucket to save the cleaning solution. Put all of your dirty towels in the laundry hamper to be cleaned.
Step 13. Take your funnel and refill the spray bottle with some of the remaining cleaning solution from the bucket. Save your spray bottle for spot cleaning or for the next time you wash your vehicle.
Step 14. Take your remaining cleaning solution and pour it back into the empty gallon jugs from the distilled water. Cap the jugs and save the solution for your next wash. Make sure you label them.
Step 15. Wash and dry your microfiber towels SEPARATELY from any other laundry. Use hot water, detergent, but no fabric softeners as it will damage the microfibers. Dry them on low heat so you will not melt the fibers. Store them for next time you need to wash your car.