Lockton are lucky enough to have a colleague who is obsessed with washing his cars and he's offered to share some of his tips and tricks to help you keep your car looking its best.
The lockdown is giving a lot of people time to do jobs on their cars which they've put off. It's also giving clean freaks like me a chance to go thoroughly overboard and clean bits which few people will ever see. I thought I'd give you a few handy tips.
It's simple, right? Bucket, sponge, fairy liquid, job done.
If you're reading this, then you already know that it isn't that simple but it's also not that complicated either – washing your car should be something you enjoy doing (I definitely do) and you can make it as simple or complex as you want.
Firstly, allow yourself a few hours. If you haven't got time to wash the car, wait until you do. Like everything in life, a rushed job is rarely a good one.
What about the right kit?
I've made a lot of good friends over the last 20 years who sell a mind blowing array of car cleaning stuff online but you can buy the basics at your local well-known car parts shop (no advertising but their shops have orange signs)
Use the 2-bucket washing method – trust me, it just works. One for shampoo, one for water. There's lots of videos going into great detail out there but you wash a section at a time, rinsing your mitt in the water bucket as you go. Keeps the mitt free from stuff which could scratch the paint.
Ditch the nasty old sponge you've had forever and treat yourself to a decent wash mitt. Your car will thank you.
Buy a decent shampoo – there are too many to choose from but stick with a brand you recognise if you don't already have a favourite.
Pre-wash. Snow foam. It's simple – both work equally as effectively. For foam you'll need a fancy lance attachment for your pressure washer. For a pre-wash product, a pump sprayer is best. Either way, here's the order and process.
- Rinse entire car with plain water
- Apply foam or pre-wash and leave to dwell – 10 minutes minimum or whatever is instructed
- Rinse again
- Wash – 2-bucket method
When I wash, I always work top to bottom. Roof, glass, bonnet, halfway down sides, front, tailgate. There isn't a deep and meaningful rationale to this but I start with the panels which generally get least dirty and finish with the bits that do. If any stubborn dirt has survived the pre wash step then wash smaller areas and rinse your mitt more frequently.
Try not to let shampoo dry on the car before rinsing – this is why it's not a great idea to wash your car on a hot day in direct sunshine. You'll get soap marks, water spots and probably get a bit cross at the same time.
I'll add a disclaimer here as the photos for this article were taken on a warm day in direct sunlight – it isn't a great idea but I wanted to make sure that you had some pretty pictures to look at. The subject car also remains in almost daily use during lockdown so was in need of a wash.
Use gentle pressure when washing – if you're using a decent shampoo, diluted properly, it will do the hard work for you. Don't scrub away at dirt as all you'll do is rub into your paint and cause damage.
Work in straight lines. Again, not a dark art but circular motions are more likely to create circular scratches referred to generally as “swirl marks” – apologies, I got slightly geeky with that term.
When drying, invest in a good drying towel. Nothing wrong with an old fashioned chamois leather but trust me, the latest microfiber drying towels are bordering on astonishing – I can dry an entire car safely in minutes and without needing to wring the towel out.
Lay the towel flat and gently drag it across the panel. This should remove almost all standing water with minimal friction and resulting damage.
Stand back, admire your hard work and naturally take a load of photos to post on your Instagram page not forgetting of course to tag your favourite insurance broker!