View Full Version : Accumulator`s Non-Marring Wash Technique

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03-29-2004, 08:38 PM
A few people have asked me about my non-marring “extreme wash regimenâ€. I’ve altered it a bit recently (losing the problematic siphon-feed), so here’s the current version. I’ve used this on a few vehicles and it will NOT mar the finish in any way *IF* the paint is protected with something that’s pretty slick and the vehicle is washed frequently enough that the dirt isn’t allowed to really build up. If you have to “scrub†the dirt off, nothing will prevent marring.

Note that the real problem is that when washing, you have to move (abrasive) dirt over the surface of the vehicle. This can cause marring. Some dirt can “migrate†deep into the knap of a mitt away from the finish, but some will not.

This is admittedly a rather extreme method of washing a vehicle, and it’s not something I do on anything except my S8 and XJS. It’s just too much work.

This is a condensed version, omitting work on wheels/wheelwells/undercarriage, the use of BHBs in nooks and crannies, and drying technique (blot with WW MFs). It merely covers the basic washing of the exterior. It’s can be tweaked to individual preference, but this is how I do it. Please post questions if anything isn’t clear or if you wonder why I do something the way I do.

Supplies: two hoses (one for each side of vehicle), rubber coated nozzles and easy to use (with one hand) shutoffs for each hose, five buckets (two wash, two rinse – one set for each side of vehicle, and one for used mitts), several chenille wash mitts (the more the better), and some Griot’s Car Wash. Optional: MF mitts, additional (long) hose with a shower-foam gun attached (filled with an eyeballed mix of Griot’s wash solution and set on “full strength mixâ€).

The separate systems for each side of the vehicle make this labor-intensive method easier and a little quicker, but are not absolutely necessary.

Mix the wash solution to your preferred strength. In the buckets or in the shower-foam gun, I just do it by eye, but I make it plenty strong. Try to NOT make a bunch of foamy suds- make solution, not foam. Fill your rinse buckets with clear water.

Begin by rinsing the entire vehicle thoroughly. Try to rinse off as much dirt as possible. Start washing at the top of the vehicle as follows:

With the water shut off (this is why you need the easy to use shutoffs), put the nozzle INSIDE a clean wash mitt. Dunk the mitt into the wash solution, trying to get as much solution as possible in the mitt. Hold the soapy mitt over the finish with the knap of the mitt barely touching the finish. Turn the water on just slightly. You want the water to lubricate the surface and rinse away loosened dirt, but you do NOT want so much water that you overly dilute the wash solution in the mitt. Sweep the soapy mitt over the finish, barely touching it. Don’t do too large an area. Put the mitt in your rinse bucket and turn the water on full blast to rinse it out. Turn off the water. Repeat until you’ve cleaned the panel. Remove the nozzle from the mitt and rinse the panel. Inspect. Repeat as needed. If at any time you notice ANY contamination in the mitt that doesn’t rinse out; toss the dirty mitt in the “mitt bucket†and switch to a clean mitt. Optional: rewash the presumably clean surface using a MF mitt and rinse.

Always endeavor to just barely touch the surface. This takes a little practice, especially on the vertical panels. Don’t start to “cheat†by covering bigger and bigger areas as you go or by using a mitt once it’s visibly contaminated. Add more Car Wash to the wash bucket if you notice it’s getting diluted. Periodically, rinse the entire vehicle, keeping it wet so you don’t get water spots, and dump and refill the rinse buckets

Optional (highly recommended if the vehicle is especially dirty): put the nozzle of the shower-foam gun inside the mitt for the first passes, blasting foamy wash solution through the mitt. Watch that you don’t rub the mitt against the finish with the rigid nozzle of the shower-foam gun (this is another technique that takes a while to master). Then rinse and rewash using the “regular†method explained above.

tom p.
03-29-2004, 09:12 PM
Nice job.

I understand you are serious about protecting the car`s finish. I note that you have elected (cotton) chenille wash mitts where others seem to favor the lambswool style mitts.

What are you reasons for the chenille over the lambswool?


Bill D
03-29-2004, 09:32 PM

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! :bow :bow :bow

03-29-2004, 09:51 PM

Seeing as though I cannot use a hose at all ( $250 fine and there are lots of squealers arond me ), what would you recommend then? Do you have a similar or equivilent process but utilising QEW? Your above method is great but unfortunately due to water restrictions is a no go for me.....

03-29-2004, 10:37 PM
Great writeup ..

One thing I do with all the hosed I have, rubber only , is I remove the metal threaded fitting on the nozzle end and replace it with a plastic one ... more times than enough in the past I have clipped the paint with the threads when rinsing .. the plastic minimizes this possibility. Also I the reason I use rubber only as the composite hoses have a cold memory and have a tendency to flip up on the side of the car.

03-29-2004, 10:47 PM
And to think people think i`m crazy when I wash my car :)

03-29-2004, 11:48 PM
Sweet man...I wish I had the time for a setup like that.....have you tried Patrick`s MF wash mitt? They are small and cheap(2.50$), but structured more like a lambswool mitt, with shorter nap. I like using them and haven`t had any probs so far with them.

03-29-2004, 11:49 PM
Very concise. Well written.

03-29-2004, 11:50 PM
Thanks for the write-up, Accumulator. I`ve heard you talk about parts of this before, but it`s helpful to have it all in one place.

I second what you say about having bucket- and hose-setups on each side of the car. That really does save a lot of running-around hassle. :up

But I never thought about washing with the nozzle inside the mitt. Gotta try that if the weather ever gets decent in the barren Midwest. :(

03-30-2004, 07:16 AM
Polishing out the occasional scratch sounds easier!

Just kidding:D

03-30-2004, 07:29 AM
Very interesting! It must be nice owning both an S8 AND an XJS!!


03-30-2004, 07:34 AM
wow, that was is a well thought out way to wash :D

03-30-2004, 08:55 AM
Great write-up, well thought out.

What are you reasons for the chenille over the lambswool?

I`m going to assume because they are `water tight` on the inside (the lamb is very grateful for this, otherwise his insides would be waterlogged LOL)

03-30-2004, 12:02 PM
I`ll try to answer the Qs as best I can.

The chenille vs. wool issue is just personal preference. I used to use wool and I plan to try it again (not necessarily with this method), but as TOGWT suspected, the chenille allows better water flow from the inside out. Other reasons include the ease of maintaining the chenille ones (just toss them in the washer and dryer) and the simple fact that I have a bunch of them (I can go through a LOT of mitts during each wash). Heh heh, this is extreme enough without five or seven lambswool mitts getting handwashed and hung up to dry :D

MF mitts- I like them VERY much except for the way some kinds of dirt seem to really stick to them. They just don`t rinse clean enough for me. Note the optional step of rewashing with a MF mitt- I don`t mind using them once I`ve cleared any major contamination from the surface. As to the length of knap, that`s just another personal preference issue. *I* like having long knap that better allows me to just barely contact the surface of the paint.

6cyl`s_of_fury- I haven`t tried QEW yet, though Lynn and I have discussed how it might be a good idea for the rust-prone Jag. Heh heh, if I ever DO try it, I`ll probably come up with some extreme version of how to use THAT too. I sympathize with your situation; I`m truly spoiled by comparison. I go through a *LOT* of water (high volume, boosted pressure, etc.). You wouldn`t believe my water bill :o

Jesstzn- That`s a good point, and one I sorta glossed over. I`ve gone both ways, and settled on brass disconnects due to their durability. I have plastic shutoffs right before them, and that was the area where I used to hit the wheelwell lips (the part of the hose just past my hand). I stay well back when rinsing the "regular" panels, and when I work in the wheelwells, etc. (up close) I attach plastic hose ends to the disconnects. Not as safe as your approach, but I`m pretty careful and I`ve gotten used to how I have to do it.

But yeah, most people might be better off with all plastic fittings. Too bad they don`t hold up (I go through 6-8 plastic shutoffs each year). Gotta watch they don`t launch the nozzle when they go bad!

Gonzo- Heh heh, very funny :D Nah, it`s not easier on an Audi ;) and I`m running out of paint on the Jag. But on the beaters (or even Accumulatorette`s A8), yeah, it *IS* easier; remember, on those I even use BHBs!

percynjpn- Yeah, they`re a sweet pair of cars. They`re pretty special, in different ways, and true "keepers".

andriver- Yeah, concise for a long-winded guy like me ;)

Bill D
03-30-2004, 12:29 PM
Originally posted by Accumulator

andriver- Yeah, concise for a long-winded guy like me ;)

When it comes to something as important as properly washing a car, be as long winded as you`d like ;) :)