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How To Properly Wash and Dry Your Car - Redline Finish

How To Properly Wash and Dry Your Car

Washing and drying sure seems simple. We have all done it time and time again but there are some tips and tricks that will help you maximize the results of your car washing. Here we will go through the ones we feel are the most beneficial.

The Right Tools For The Job

  • Foam Cannon - Requires the use of a pressure washer and generates a ton of foam.

  • Foam Gun - Is connected to a garden house and generates a nice amount of foam.

  • Bucket - The classic, soap and water mixed the old fashion way.

Which option is best? A combination of a foam cannon/gun to foam your vehicle then using the 2 bucket wash method to safely remove the dirt and grime.

What To Look For In A Car Wash Soap

  • Lubrication -  Car wash soaps that have great lubricating characteristics helps reduce the chances of scratching your paint finish. A nice glide/low friction here is the goal.
  • PH Balance - A neutral PH balanced car wash soap is ideal.
  • Soap Suds - Soap suds will help aid in lifting away the dirt from the vehicle.
A quick note, stay away from dish soap as it is very aggressive and will strip away any wax you have on your paint finish, plus it will damage the paint over time.

Wash Mitts and Pads

This seems straight forward, however you would be amazed at the number of people we see using a terry cotton wash cloth or a foam sponge. The terry cotton wash cloth will scratch the paint surface as it does not have the same properties as microfiber and will rub the dirt/grit back into your paint finish.

As for a foam sponge, sure it may feel soft but they do not have a nap to lift the dirt and grime. Whether you choose a wash mitt or a wash pad is up to you but choose a high quality microfiber wash mitt or pad like The "BOSS" Ultimate Microfiber Wash Mitt or The BOSS Ultimate Microfiber Wash Pad.

Wheel Brushes and Wheel Mitt

Having a good set of wheel brushes like The Duo Ultimate Microfiber Wheel Brush Set and a dedicated wheel mitt like The ACE Ultimate Wheel Wash Mitt will save you a lot of time when washing your wheels. We prefer microfiber wheel brushes so they wash your wheels effectively but do not scratch them like plastic bristle wheel brushes can. While wheel brushes are for getting into the wheel barrel a dedicated microfiber wheel wash mitt will easily clean the face of your wheels.


  • Start the process by rinsing the wheels followed by your chosen wheel cleaner or simply a separate bucket with water and car soap. Using your wheel brushes and wheel wash mitt, wash each wheel to remove the road grime, dirt, and brake dust. Once completed, spray off the wheels and rinse the entire vehicle starting from the top down. Complete this step before washing the paints surface.

  • Start the wash process from the top don't want to start near the bottom only to have the dirt and grime brought back down the surface when you go above the section you just finished!
  • As noted above, good lubrication is key to help prevent scratching the paint surface. As a result, we recommend spraying or dunking your microfiber wash mitt or wash pad with the water and car wash soap solution. That way both the mitt and paint surface make a nice slippery glide while you wash paint surface.
  • Wash a panel at a time, especially in warmer weather as you don't want the soap to dry on the paint surface (always wash in a cool dry place).
  • Even if you use a foam gun or cannon, we strongly recommend the two bucket wash method. One bucket with the car wash soap and water solution and the other bucket with clean water you can dunk your wash mitt or pad into and ring it out to keep it and your soap and water solution clean. This process helps eliminate the chances of scratching the paint surface.


The most frustrating thing someone can run into when drying their vehicle is scratching the paint surface and streaking. How do you prevent this?
Use a high quality microfiber drying towel like The "One" Ultimate Drying TowelUsing a high quality microfiber drying towel will save you time and frustration when drying.

  • Start the drying process working from the top down
  • Work a panel at a time
  • Let the microfiber drying towel do the work

Pro Tip: Applying a light mist of detail spray or drying aid before you dry your vehicle will provide a little lubrication for a nice glide while drying and add gloss to the paint finish in one easy step.

We hope this article on washing and drying adds value to you and your detailing experience. 




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