Here at Custom PC Guide .net, I enjoy talking about tech stuffs and helping you guys with your research to build a PC; but when it comes to automobile, my tremendously questionable knowledge extends just as far as when you put gas into a tank, your car will run. When you reserve out of the parking lot quickly you’ll always hit a child who happens to play in the blind spot and for every bullet hole sticker you put on the car, you’ll get 20 more horse powers, brah.
Though I did fix a half-broken bolt that holds the tensioner in a Corolla a while back, just so you know I have some unverifiable mechanics credits to brag about here before we begin today article.
Anyway, I realize that those of us who enjoy building a super PC also sometimes love to do works on your car. For instance, few of us have an obsession of keeping our nice and shiny car, well, nice and shiny at all times –which is highly opposed to owning a custom PC. I have seen my friends’ computer buried in layers of dust, weed and is home of an extended cockroach family; but their car is always smooth, pop and cleaner than the baby bottom washed in the clear water at Bahamas beach. And if you are a lady who’s reading this, you may never understand why; but it’s relevant to your bathroom accessories organization.
Anyway, you know what the big deal is? Some of them live in an apartment complex or town house, condo that has ridiculously strict policy of water usage. So ridiculous that it makes teaching 3 wild velociraptors to behave like a trained canine a walk in the park.
Some community straight up does not allow you to wash your dirty car in the parking lot because it ruins their scenic property, even though the trash are already flying off the overdue dumpster since last Monday. That means having a clean car is virtually impossible given the situation. First, you cannot do the two-bucket method that’s well known on every auto forum. Then, you don’t wanna bring your car to an auto wash at a gas station because you’ll end up with 1) more scratches since it clearly hates you or 2) get a quality car wash but that costs like 73 bananas.
So to help my friends not having to wash their car secretly at night in a self-serve car wash service, I did few months of research for this article. Turns out, it’s working so well for me that I actually enjoy washing my own car now. Plus it only takes half an hour to get the entire works done. So let’s jump right into it.
First, I made you a really professional video shoot of what to expect ahead, enjoy! Sorry about the wind noise, though. And the shaky camera. Or the bad angle. And sun glare. Also pixelated… Damn it, just watch the thing and move on.
Also, keep in mind the saying “my shiny car brings all the bae to the parking lot” as a personal motivation. –Lao Tzu, Washington D.C.
- Easy for beginner. Will spark your love in car detailing.
- Needs very little of water.
- Doesn’t cost a lot!
- One 32 oz. spray bottle lasts hundreds washes.
- Only takes 25 to 45 minutes.
- Needs many microfiber cloths (recommend at least 8).
- Needs a shade.
- Needs elbow grease.
- Result will look very nice and pretty but of course, won’t be as drool-worthy as a professional detailing work.
- Depends on the wax you choose, it may last 4-5 rainy days to 2-3 rough months. It may not live as long as Ceramic paint protection, 3M Paint Defender or CQuartz finest –but those run for hundreds dollars more.
I – Things You’ll Need
If you haven’t touched your car for ages, I highly recommend to have it gone through a professional auto detailing service first. Because for once in a while, your car should deserve a complete pain correction and polished to its pristine condition. This washing method is to keep your car under that condition for as long as possible.
However, if you really cannot afford that kind of service, then just do this wash & wax anyway; though it may take you longer than what everyone can usually achieve in thirty minutes. Here are the stuffs we need:
Before I got to Optimum No-Rinse Wash & Shine (32 oz.), I used Meguiar’s Quik Detailer that comes in a 22 oz. spray bottle. It works wonderful, smells good and I absolutely love it.
However, I realized how expensive it would become after a month of usage. So I set out for some more research and decided to switch to Optimum No-Rinse Wash & Shine. I’m glad that I did. With this product, I’d get the same result as the Quik Detailer : pretty looking paint, smells just as nice. The significant difference is in the dollars. Now I can mix 1 oz. of this solution into a 1-gallon bucket, then fill that up with four 32 oz. spray bottles, which I can almost use forever.
So for $18, you literally could get enough solution for 120 counts of 32 oz. spray bottle; while you’d have to spend $960 if it was for 120 bottles of 22 oz. Meguiar’s Quik Detailer. #DidTheMath
Optimum No-Rinse Wash & Wax (Recommended)
This is a newer and alternative option to the regular the Wash & Shine above; in case the other is sold out which happens quite often. This model has Carnauba wax in addition to the original formula.
In real world, it does the same excellent job of loosening dirt and giving you car a beautiful, slick look. However we will eventually apply a better wax anyway, hence you probably don’t have to spend the extra $5 to buy this product. But if you are so rich, by any mean go for it. I’ll use this product in today article because I’m filthy rich and I can afford it… Yup, that’s totally true. Now let me go cry in the corner. Next to my Ferrari 599. Which was given to me on my 5th birthday from ToysRUs. Wait up, does this store still even exist?
|Optimum (NRWW2012Q) No Rinse Wash & Wax - 32 oz.||420 Reviews||$21.99 $21.68|| See Amazon reviews|
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Invisible Glass for Window, Windshield and Mirror Cleaner (Recommended)
The name says it all. Another option is to take a hammer and smash all the glass which gives the very same, full invisibility effect.
|Stoner Invisible Glass Windscreen Cleaner||901 Reviews||$6.99 from $3.99|| See Amazon reviews|
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Meguiar’s Ultimate Quik Wax (Recommended)
One of the great liquid wax in the market. The wax will be applied after your car has been washed and dried, it’ll give a layer of protection on the clear coat. If you have a black car, buy Gold Class Quik Wax instead. That wax really brings the deep shine and crisp reflection out of dark-color car.
Liquid wax tend not to last as long as paste and other synthetic wax but they are easy to use. You can start with this, get yourself familiar with the works and gradually move up the levels. For example, Meguiar’s Synthetic X-Press Spray Wax then Meguiar’s M21 Synthetic Sealant 2.0.
|Meguiar's G14422 Ultimate Quik Detailer - 22 oz. – Premium Spray Detailer||759 Reviews||$10.59 $9.99|| See Amazon reviews|
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Turtle ICE Liquid Wax
This wax is another great option besides the Meguiar’s. It has ton of rave reviews on Amazon. The process of applying this wax is a little more difficult and takes longer than Meguiar’s; but the excellent result lasts couple of weeks longer. For me, I use Meguiar’s most of the time but if it’s about to be a stormy week, I have Turtle Wax on before shit goes down.
|Turtle Wax T-468R ICE Liquid Wax - 14 oz.||155 Reviews||$17.99 from $17.35|| See Amazon reviews|
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You will need at least 6 every time so this whole pack will allow you to do 4 wash & wax works before you need to dump them into a washing machine.
Don’t use any other kind of rough cloth, they can’t trap dust as efficient and very likely to scratch your paint every where. Worst thing you want to happen.
I can go on a whole day talking about these lovely spray bottles. But I won’t spoil it. You gotta have that memorable first time experience when you lay your hand on every curves of each of these bottles. You will not forget. #FirstLove
I love this thing. If you don’t mind carry something a little larger than regular spray bottle, get this. I use this more often than not during the winter month. It’s the easiest way to get road salt off your car in a hurry. You can also use it to wash off pollen in Spring. Simply mix 1 and a half cap of the ONR Rineless with 1.35 gallon of water and you got yourself a portable car wash device that costs less than a full tank of gas. Watch it in action at the bottom of this page.
|Smith Professional 190229 1-Gallon Sprayer for Applying Weed Killers or Cleaning with Bleach||155 Reviews||$25.16 $24.35|| See Amazon reviews|
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II – The Preps
First, you need to make the magic. The ingredients are:
- Optimum No-Rinse Wash & Wax (or Wash & Shine for a little cheaper)
- 1 gallon of water
- 1-gallon bottle or a bucket. I’d use an old Costco milk or apple juice bottle because they have secured cap.
- At least one 32-oz spray bottle or a pressure sprayer
Fill up 3/4 of the cap of the Optimum No-Rinse Wash & Shine bottle with…Optimum No-Rinse Wash & Shine solution.
Mix with the clean tap water in your 1-gallon bottle/bucket. Help the solution fully diluted. Shake well or do whatever you must, except gargling because it didn’t work.
I may give credit to some of my math classes, but my precise calculation shows that you will be able to divide this one-gallon magic wash into exactly four 32 oz. spray bottles. I happen to have only one 32 oz. spray bottle laying around, so here it is.
The solution probably should last you for 6 months to a year– unless you are really obsessed with washing your car too often that you’d do it 7 days a week. But don’t worry, you still have 31 oz. left to make another 124 bottles to use…Well.
III – The Wash
Park your dirty car in a cool place, preferably under a shade. Not tree shade though. Pollen and bugs will immediately fall on your shiny car because they know. If you are lucky, a cloudy day will be perfect.
Fold your microfiber cloth in half twice, giving you 8 sides to work with. It also gives you a better buff to grip on while you wipe.
Use your 32 oz. spray bottle to wet your car from top to bottom, except the glass. It won’t hurt if the water get on the glass though. This first buffer, similar to the pre-foaming process of a regular wash, helps cool the paint surface, loosen dirt and other road particles on your car if it has not been washed for a long time. If your car is relatively clean, you only need to spray on and wipe off as you go.
Now before you start wiping anything, be sure to spray lightly on your microfiber cloth. Dry cloth absorbs all the water, create a friction on the panel that may cause swirls. People do the same thing to toilet paper after they poop, too. Right ?
Your first complete wipe probably leave the cloth pretty wet. Change it often. You don’t want to hold on to dirty cloth. See, the marring –not worth it.
For the final wipe, find a clean side of your already dampened microfiber cloth. You should be on the third or fourth one by now, if not seventh. Wipe again to clean up any water lines. The whole wash may consume up to 15 minutes to complete.
What about the four wheels? Could you clean them with the spray bottle and another microfiber cloth, too? Sure, you could. The enthusiasts recommend a brush and specific cleaner such as Meguiar’s All Purpose Cleaner for wheels and tires, but let’s just use what we have here for now. You can add these items to your collection later when you level up.
For tire dressing, you can use Meguiar’s Endurance Tire Gel or AMMO Mud Tire Gel. I have used both of them before and either one really holds your tires in a deep black and clean condition longer than other products.
*Update 3/12/16 : this is the result with Meguiar’s Endurance Tire Gel.
III – The Glass
Now get the mirror cleaner and a new cloth to take care of all the glass. Use your microfiber cloth to prevent the spray get onto other panels. This shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes.
IV – The Wax
Once all the labor works are all done, here comes the fun part. I have recommended several kinds of wax above, just pick your poison because they are all proven good. Some may last longer than the others.
In this article I’ll go with the one that’s easy to apply, simple to work with the most for when you don’t have time or a garage to perform a more detail work. If you’ve the experience & a right place, go with wax paste or synthetic wax. Here is a list of most recommended wax :
- Meguiar’s Black Wax Paste G6207 –for dark car.
- Nu Finish –for other colors.
- Meguiar’s Synthetic X-Press Spray Wax –similar to the Quik Wax we are going to use but in a 1-gallon bottle.
- Meguiar’s M21 Synthetic Sealant 2.0 –one of the very best and lasts longest but not the spray on and wipe off type. You’ll need to wait a while for the wax to cure before wipe it down.
- Collinite Liquid Insulator Wax 845 –the sifu of all wax.
First, spray a thin layer on a small area of the panel you’ll be working on.
Unlike the washing process, you don’t need to put a lot of wax on your car. Only so much of them will stick on. So be modest on each spray.
Start with the clean side of the microfiber cloth and spread the wax out nicely.
Flip to the other side of the cloth and wipe it clean off.
Repeat the same process to the the rest of the car. Ignore all kind of birds. I guarantee you they can sense your deep fear and will come shit on your car.
This whole wash and wax should take anywhere between 25 to 45 minutes. It doesn’t consume a lot of water and the result is just as nice as the two-bucket method.
However, you have to be extremely careful with the wash and don’t hold on to an old microfiber cloth for too long because it will definitely leave marring and swirl lines on the clear coat. If you are forever alone and have to marry someone, at least don’t let it be a dirty microfiber cloth. Again, change it often.
This tear-jerking condition will last approximately 10 minutes. Because the moment you’re driving off the lot, one of the the greatest apocalyptic shitstorms in the history will immediately occur in your zip code. Right above your car. Every time. But if that 10 minutes bring you some cute chicks, it’s all worth it. Amirite ?
Now jokes aside, this is what the old VW looks like a week after today wash.
V – Footnotes
I bought this one at a local Microcenter store for $29.99. Impressive little guy. 75mph wind. Totally blows my dog’s excess hair away. Connect this to a longer power cord and you have a super convenient, nifty tool to blow dry the car in no time. I love it even more during the fall season, where you can actually use this leaf blower to blow leaves off the hood and trunk drainage.
What else can you do with an air blower like that? Something similar to THIS (NSFW).
Restoring smooth paint and deep color
If the tough seasons probably left your car paint in a rough and bumpy condition, I highly recommend you to check out videos about the clay bar. For the last couple decades, clay bars have been used in the auto industry as a secret only known to the professionals and other marvel superheroes. They use clay bar to remove those imperfections on the clear coat of the paints and facial acnes. In the recent years, people starting to shift from claybar to nanoskin sponge because they essentially work the same way but the nanoskin is easier to use and last 4 times longer than claybar. If you accidentally drop the claybar, it has to go to the garbage bin. If you do so with the nanoskin sponge, simple wash it off and you are ready to work again.
In short, you should learn about clay bar but buy nanoskin sponge to do the actual work.
The process is simple. You start with washing and drying the car just like step 1. After that, spray a heavy layer of Optimum No-Rinse Wash & Wax in each working section at the time. Use the nanoskin sponge to scrub gently on the surface. Finally, finish it off with the wax in step 4.
Here is an example of paint that has not been washed over a year and got winter salt/spring dirt/summer acid or squirt water spot embedded into the clear coat. Claybar and wax were applied on left side. Right side is untreated for comparison.
Economical way to wash off winter road salt
One thing many of car owners hate the most about winter is road salt. It makes your car ugly and more prone to rust.
You could spend $8 at the car wash every day or hand-wash it for hours on end and the car will look exactly the same nasty once you drove it off the lot. I’m sure it is even tougher for those of us who in the drought area or have limited access to water such as apartment complex; so using a pressure spray to wash of the salt might be a really convenient solution for you. It’ll only take about 10-15 minutes and consume 1.35 gallon of water or less.
Now perhaps you have a bigger budget to spare, consider the cordless pressure washer by Sun Joe.
It runs off 40V 5Ah Lithium-ion battery and has a reservation bucket to hold 5-gallon of water. It’ll come in really handy to blast away road grimes and debris when you don’t have a lot of time on hand. You can also attach a regular garden hose for water supply if 5-gallon isn’t enough for the wash. Though it’s not as strong as gas-powered pressure washer, this little guy is a blast to play with for everyday, light duty tasks.
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