How To: Safe Wash Down Process

February 28, 2018

What: Safe Wash Down Process
Vehicle: VW Tiguan R-Line
Curator: Chris @ United Car Care
Difficulty: 4/10
Time Frame: 2 Hours

Washing down your vehicle is a fairly straightforward task, however it is important to learn the correct method in order to prevent scratching or swirling the paintwork of your car. We want to stray away from bad process as much as possible to preserve the purity of the top coat of the paint and maintain a showroom shine. This will be a loose break-down on how to safely wash and decontaminate your vehicle.


Essential Products:


ValetPRO Dragon's Breath - Fast and effective Iron Filing Remover (breaks down brake dust and removes grime from the wheels)
ValetPRO Classic All-Purpose Cleaner - Cleans tyres & other exterior rubbers & plastics
ValetPRO Ultra Soft Chemical Resistant Wheel Brush - Used to agitate the wheel cleaner on the wheel face/lugnuts
Gyeon Q2M Wheel Brush Medium - To scrub the barrels & brake calipers


Gyeon Foam - Creates a thick wall of foam which clings to the vehicle's surface and safely takes off excess dirt. 
PA Italy Snow Foam Lance - Required to spray the foam


UCC Rinse/Wash Buckets - You will need two heavy duty buckets for the two-bucket method
Grit Guards - Highly recommended to remove contamination from the wash mitt/ brushes
Gyeon Smoothie Mitt - Soft microfibre mitt which is gentle on paint surfaces
Gyeon Bathe or ValetPRO Concentrated Car Wash - Wax free car shampoo to clean thoroughly and safely
ValetPRO Boars Hair Brush - Soft brush used to detail badges and hard to reach areas
Gyeon Wetcoat - Spray & rinse hydrophobic top coat. Adds protection and shine on all exterior surfaces


Rapid Dry or Gyeon Silk Dry - Soft, plush, absorbent towel to dry the vehicle quickly and effectively


To wash down the vehicle always start with the wheels and tyres. By starting with these you not only avoid dirty splashes of wheel grime onto clean paintwork but by not rinsing the paintwork first, you will minimise the chance of causing water spots if the paintwork were to dry while you are busy scrubbing the wheels and tyres.

1) Washing the Wheels:

Make sure the wheels are cool to the touch first. Rinse with plain water and spray liberally with Dragon's Breath. Wait for two to four minutes while the product turns purple (this is the reaction with the iron particles in brake dust). For heavily caked areas, use a wheel brush to agitate the dirt. To clean the inside of the barrels, use a long wheel brush to reach.


While waiting for the Dragon's Breath, take the Classic All-Purpose Cleaner and spray around the tyres. Take a separate brush and in a circular motion foam the product around the whole tyre. Never forget to clean the tyres during a wash as they accumulate a lot of dirt and clean tyres will allow strong bonding of tyre protectants. The product can also be used to scrub and clean the underguards and plastics.


Now taking the pressure washer, hold near to the wheel/tyre and rinse off all the product until clean. If the wheels have dried up before you had a chance to rinse off, you can simply spray on more product to reactivate it.




2) Pre-wash:


This is a crucial step in decontamination. Snow foam helps to pull off the bulk of unnecessary dirt before the wash mitt touches the paintwork. This gives you a cleaner area to work with and reduces the chances of moving around dirt on the paint when washing which could cause swirls & scratches.


Dilute Gyeon Foam 1:10 with water in the snow foam lance and attach to the pressure washer nozzle. Spray the snow foam over the car, adjusting the spray as desired and amount of product being filtered through. You want to get a thick enough foam that clings and provides even coverage. You do not want it too thick or it will drip off before breaking down the grime. Too much or too little means that the product will not be effective, so experiment a little and find a good middle ground.



Allow the product to run off and remove any excess dirt and grit. This will take a few minutes, DO NOT allow the product to dry as it will cause streaking and waterspots. When most of the foam has dripped off rinse the entire car with the pressure washer again working from the bottom panels upwards; and then performing a final rinse down (this is to ensure the longest reaction time). The car is now ready to be washed.




3) Washing Stage:


When washing the exterior it is recommended to do so in the shade and not in direct sunlight to prevent spotting and streaking. Prepare the Wash and Rinse buckets, placing the Grit Guards in each. Fill the Wash bucket with water first then add the shampoo. To activate the suds you can place the pressure washer into the solution and spray gently. Ensure you use plenty of water so the dirt can spread out while washing.
For this demo we are using ValetPRO Concentrated Car Wash. This product contains no waxes and so is great to use prior to a WetCoat application. With all car washes, only use the recommended amount of product to ensure it stays within the intended pH levels.


When washing the body of the car you always want to work your way from top to bottom, working on a maximum of 1-2 panels at a time before rinsing and moving on (known as the two-bucket method). Start from the roof of the vehicle and move on to the lower panels as you go. This way not only do you prolong the time before your wash water is contaminated but the product naturally drips downwards and leaves the heavily soiled areas last - reducing the risk of dirt being dragged along the panels. When washing always make sure the wash mitt has plenty of the solution in it and allow it to gently glide over the surface. The product should do its job , there is no need to apply too much pressure. Work your way down in a 'snake' motion or straight lines to lift and carry the dirt away - avoid circular motions. Flip over the mitt half way through the panel, checking that you're not dragging around grit that could scratch the paint. Always overlap slightly to ensure you clean all areas thoroughly.

Squeeze out the wash mitt, move back to the Wash Bucket and rub again on the Grit Guard at the bottom and swish around in the solution to re-activate the suds. Move onto the next panel and repeat with the Rinse Bucket to Wash Bucket method for every panel. You should also keep in mind to rinse off constantly as you go to avoid the solution drying up and causing streaks.

Trim, vents, badges and other hard to reach areas can be cleaned with a soft Boars Hair Brush. You can dip the brush into a wash bucket or use with the ValetPRO All-Purpose Cleaner. Once the entire body has been cleaned, rinse again thoroughly. Soap can collect behind trim, inside small crevices and between body lines.



4) Post-wash Sealant:

While the car is still wet we can apply Gyeon WetCoat to add a hydrophobic layer of protection to the car. Spray sparingly onto one panel at a time, making sure you rinse straight away or the product may streak. The product is activated and spread with water pressure. For this we recommend using a pressure washer or high pressure hose and thoroughly rinsing across the entire panel to ensure even coverage. Make sure you rinse thoroughly and there is no product left. You will see the water starting to bead on the car as the hydrophobic silica dioxide is activated. 


WetCoat can be used on every part of the exterior, not just the paint! This includes wheels, glass and trims.


5) Drying Stage:


To aid in the drying process, we do what is called sheeting. Using a gentle stream of low pressure water we want to pool the water droplets together and run then off the paintwork. This makes drying the car much faster and easier. Is it always best to start at the roof and hold the hose on a low angle parallel to the vehicle.


Let the water gently flow downwards and remove the water droplets.


… and voila! There is much less water left on the surface to dry. This works especially well if the car has already been coated or waxed before as the hydrophobic water repellancy is greater.

Now to dry the vehicle:


Using a designated drying towel (e.g. Gyeon Silk Dryer, Rapid Dry Towel) gently work your way from the top down, starting with the roof and finishing with the lower parts of the vehicle. Keep the movements limited and don't use too much pressure - just lightly dab the towel and gently move along the area you are drying, taking care to not let the towel touch the ground.


Pro Tip: Never wash your drying towel with warm or hot water. Heat melts the fibers and stops your drying towel from absorbing!


Pro Tip: For hard to reach areas our MetroVac Sidekick is the perfect complement to your wash process.


6) Finishing:

Once your vehicle is clean, finish it off with your preferred tyre or trim dressing (such as Gyeon Tire). Now you can sit back and enjoy the shine!

Until next time!


Did you enjoy & learn from this article? Let us know your thoughts and any further questions you may have regarding Safe Wash Down Process or any other detailing related questions. sales@unitedcarcare.co.nz or 0800 463 478.

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