Detailing Your Car washing . cleaning (stage 1)

Washing & Drying

Safe regular washing & maintaining is the key to a show car finish

You will need a:

• Hose with a strong jet or use a hot or cold presser washer, ( Whenever possible we would recommend using a presser washer.).

• A ‘snow foam’ lance, plus snow foam detergent. (optional, but it does help to clean more loose dirt off than just using the presser washer would.

• A sash brush to clean grill badges, fuel caps and door shuts.

• A minimum of 2 buckets. 1 with a grit guard fitted.

• A wheel brush or sponge

• Wheel woollies or a spoke brush to clean the inside of the wheel and help clean between the tight spaces of the wheel spokes.

• A wash mitt, either microfiber or sheepskin.

• Drying towels, these must be microfiber (a real or synthetic chamois leather may mar or scratch the surface) you should use a different towel for door shuts & wheels

Detailing chemicals you will need:

• Snow foam or TRF (Traffic Film Remover)in a spray.

• Fine car shampoo with high lubricating formula.

• Wheel cleaner, - non-acid based. (unless really, really bad)

• Detailing spray to use as a drying aid.

How do I use them?

Cover the car with a thick blanket of foam

Apply the snow foam in an up and down motion, covering the whole car. Try to reach up into the wheel arches and underside as much as possible. Leave for no longer than 5 mins, ensuring that you don’t let it dry onto the surface of the car.

If using TFR apply only to the lower parts of the car, do not allow it to sit and then remove as soon as possible.

Start by using a hose or presser washer. Always wash from the top of the vehicle, working your way down. Don’t forget to pay close attention to rubber seals, (where mould may grow & trapped dirt can sit), door shuts (especially where wheel arches join) and under the car to remove dirt and salt residues.

You may need to use an all-purpose cleaner to ensure grills, badges, fuel caps and doors shuts are properly cleaned, rinse the cleaner off well. If heavily soiled, use a degreaser as this will help to remove dirt that normal washing doesn’t.


Iron x in action

When cleaning wheels, spray the wheels with your preferred cleaning product, carefully following the manufacturers instructions. Fill a bucket of water with your favourite high-quality car shampoo. Dip the brush or sponge into the bucket & clean the wheel, taking care not to miss any parts like, inside the lug nut and between the spokes. To get the best results clean the inside & the back face of the wheel as normal, using a wheel woollie or similar brush, then rinse well and for best results drive the car forward slightly, to identify any hidden parts of the wheel that you might have missed.


Work methodically over the car ensuring you miss no bits

Washing the body work: Use the 2 bucket method. Fill 2 buckets with fresh water, (check to ensure the buckets are clean) place the grit guard in one of the buckets then add fine grade car shampoo to the bucket without the grit guard. Follow the manufacturers instructions for the correct dilution ratios, then place the wash mitt inside the bucket with the shampoo. Start shampooing from the top of the vehicle & work your way down. You may want to have two wash mitts, one for the top of the car and the other for the bottom. We would recommend using a brush or sponge for sils & plastic trims. Remember to keep rinsing back in the clean water, rubbing the mitt against the grit guard to remove any grit/dirt particles from it. Repeat the process over the complete vehicle, rinse well with clean water when finished.

*If for any reason you drop the mitt or drying towels on the floor, dispose of them, do not use them again as you create more problems, with potential scratches *


Now you are ready to dry the vehicle. For best results use a detailing spray to help prevent marring the surface. Spray a light mist over the paintwork and glass. Using a microfiber or waffle weave towel, there are two methods for drying. Firstly there is the simple wipe, but this may cause marring to the surface, we recommend the second technique which is to pat it dry. As you are not wiping the towel across the surface the possibility of marring is significantly reduced.

Tip: when using the, ‘wipe method’ always start at the top of the vehicle and work down, wiping in one direction only to minimise the risk of marring.

Tip: Before starting to dry off your vehicle, take the end of your hose off. Start from the top and let the clean water run, flooding over the surface of the car.- let the water run off the surface, leaving you less water to dry off. If you have access to a compressed air or a car dryer, use this to blow off any remaining water, then towel dry any remaining droplets.

Now you should dry the door shuts using a different microfibre drying towel to the one that you used on the bodywork. Wipe or pat the surfaces until dry.

Tip do not remove the white grease off the hinges, as it will really mess up your towel and won’t protect the hinges as it is designed too.

By using either a compressed air dryer or a car dryer to blow off any remaining water, the chance of having residue water marks are significantly reduced, and much easier.

Ensure you remove every last drop of water

Glass Cleaning & Polishing

Why Does Glass Smear?

• Dirty cloth/towel, or the towel is not dry enough.

• Heavy build up of dirt on the glass, which is not fully removed.

• Poor quality glass cleaner.

• Cleaning the glass in direct sunlight.

So how can I stop this from happening?

Use a good quality glass cleaner and we recommend using the two towel technique(detailed below) to ensure a streak free finish.

Spray the glass cleaner directly onto the glass surface or a clean towel. Wipe thoroughly, winding down the window to ensure you clean the whole window, then use the 2 cloth method to wipe over the entire window. ( Two cloth method – is where you use one cloth to clean and one to dry ).Take care to ensure you remove all residue to ensure a streak free finish.

This method should be used on both exterior glass and interior glass and mirrors.

Modern convertibles are now glass 

Tips for Exterior Glass Cleaning.

Dead bugs on windows and screens can be extremely difficult to remove. One technique we find that works well and is really effective is to use clay( this can easily be incorporated into your regular car washing schedule.) As you are using a clay you will need some sort of lubricant, in most cases, if you are using a lubricant shampoo this will be fine, otherwise, a ‘quick detailer’ will be a good alternative. Wash the car as normal, apply some of the lubricating shampoo, or ‘quick detailer' to the glass, use the clay to help remove any bugs, rinse and dry the glass as normal.

Claying the glass is a good idea, as it removes any contaminants, which will help to ensure the glass looks even cleaner.

Polishing is another method that can be used on both interior and exterior glass. Polishing the glass is a good idea when the glass is very soiled. It helps to clean much deeper into the glass than any spray cleaner, resulting in a near perfect appearance.

Waffle weave microfiber towels are a perfect choice for cleaning glass. It is important that these are kept separate from other towels to minimize them becoming contaminated with waxes/other products which will result in a smearing on the glass.

Using absorbent paper or blue roll isn’t recommended as it can leave lint behind, resulting in an extremely unprofessional finish.

Should you find anything we have missed, or you have any questions please get in contact with us

Your car should be nice and clean now. we hope you found this guide helpful.

View More Of Our Detailing Guides

We have listed some frequently asked questions to help you further:

Q. Is there any brand of presser washer you recommend?

A. Yes, We feel that ‘Karcher’ is the best brand currently on the market. If you are washing your car frequently and are considering purchasing a professional presser washer, feel free to drop us an email, we can recommend the perfect one for you.

Q. I use a hot water presser washer to clean with, what is the maximum temperature should I go to?

A. The maximum really should be no more than 60c. However, 45c is probably ideal.

With engines, between 60c - 90c is really the optimum temperature range, especially as modern engines are full of plastic parts, and higher heats may damage some of the components.

Q. What is snow foam?

A. It is a slow reacting cleaning foam, it has safer formula than TFR (traffic film remover) and it is usually wax safe. TFR’s are designed for quick removal of dirt off heavily soiled cars, they are always stronger and will usually remove the wax covering. Which one you choose is up to you, consider how you like to wash your car and may be what car or vehicle you are cleaning.

Q If I do not have a foam lance, can I use a low presser sprayer?

A, Yes, visually, It will not look as good on the application, as there is no foam and it will take a little longer, but if you only want to spray the under & lower side of the car it may suit you better. However, it is the best compromise.

Q Which size sash brush should I use?

A. It is totally up to you but for door shuts, engines and badges, sizes 10 to 24 should be fine, the smaller ones are better for interiors.

Q. What can I use to clean my door shuts if there is a heavy build up dirt & grease?

A. Use a degreaser like, ‘Meguiars super degreaser’ and for best results use a 4:1 ratio dilution.

Created By
Tom Robinson


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