Here we are going to discuss how to super clean your car or truck.
This article is gonna be jam-packed with car cleaning tips and tricks, and it’s gonna be the ultimate guide to cleaning your car.
And this super clean process works on any car, or truck.
What we’re gonna be doing?
We’re gonna be taking the paint, and we’re gonna be stripping it clean of any contaminants like dirt, or oils, or even that old wax that you might have on the paint.
And then we’ll add our own protective layer of sealant. Which will not only protect the paint surface, but will give it a long lasting deep mirror shine.
Now, I used the super clean process on all my cars, but I’m particularly proud of the paintwork on my 1996 Corvette.
This is completely original paint, and check this out:
This paint looks amazing!
Not only does it have an amazing shine, but this paintwork is sealed and protected so the shine will last a for long time.
I’ve even won trophies at car shows for best paint, using this method.
Now, I don’t need to super clean the Corvette, since I already did it, and now I just maintain it.
So, instead, I’ll be cleaning the very dirty DriftStang.
If you see the water marks dripping down onto the paint, and that’s not just on this panel, that’s on all the panels. And it gives the paint a dull finish.
Not only that, at the hood, you can see from the auction, there’s footprints on the hood, and if we look at the front bumper, well, it’s a mess.
The reflection isn’t that great, and, I mean, just look at it. This thing needs to get cleaned up.
So, this car is the perfect candidate to get super cleaned.
In this article, I’m gonna be focusing on cleaning the paintwork. I’m not gonna really talk about cleaning the wheels, or cleaning the glass.
I wanna inform you this now, so you know this is the real deal, and after reading this article, these are the results you can get by super cleaning your car.
So, let’s get started!
First steps to super clean your paint are really simple.
In First Step:
1. Touchless Wash
2. Touch Wash
3. Clay Bar the Car
4. Dry the Car
5. Paint Correction
6. Seal the Car.
And for each step, I’ll go into detail as we do it.
And here are all the products I’ll be using in this article.
The good thing about these products is they work great, but they’re also really easy to find.
And in this article I’ll be using a power washer, but you don’t have to use a power washer. You can use just a regular hose, but there are benefits to using a power washer.
Now, before we begin you wanna make sure that you don’t have any watches on, or any jewelry, like rings, that could scratch your car’s paint.
Also, make sure you’re wearing soft clothing that doesn’t have any zippers, or buttons, or anything, or even a belt buckle. So that if you rub up against the car, you’re not gonna scratch the paintwork.
If possible, park the car in the shade, and make sure that it’s cool to the touch. And the reason why, is because when you get water and chemicals on your paint, If it’s hot, it’s gonna evaporate and leave water marks.
And finally, never use a brush, paper towels or an old t-shirt to clean your car. Those products don’t provide good scratch protection.
What you’re gonna wanna use is a microfiber towel, which’ll pull dirt away from the surface of your paint.If you’re using a microfiber towel, be sure to always rip off the tag before you begin, because tags could scratch the paintwork.
First Step: The Touchless Wash
Now, the dirtier the car, the more likely you are to scratch it, when you’re cleaning your car with the towel and doing a touch wash, all this dirt acts like grit. So we wanna start off with removing as much dirt without actually physically touching the car.
And to do that, I’m gonna use the power washer.
And with the power washer, you wanna make sure the spray pattern is wide, and not a narrow pattern. Because that could damage your paint.
And even though the spray pattern on the power washer is set to wide, make sure you stay at least a foot away from the paint to prevent damage.
Now, if you don’t have a power washer, you can still use a regular hose and nozzle, and you won’t have to worry about narrow the pattern is, because hose pressure won’t damage the paint.
All right! Now we can rinse the car off.
The idea is to get all the dirt off that we can without touching the car.
So, start from the top, and work your way downwards, because with gravity, dirt is gonna run downwards.
Focus on the dirty areas, but don’t put the nozzle too close to the paint. Any dirt we can’t get now, we’ll get in the next step, so don’t worry.
And after hosing off as much dirt as possible, now what we’re gonna do, is we’re gonna remove our nozzle, and grab our foam cannon.
Now, in our foam cannon, we’re using some water and dish soap.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself: “I thought you said you shouldn’t use dish soap”, in previous articles. And yeah you shouldn`t.
But what we’re doing is, we’re degreasing this whole vehicle.
We’re trying to remove as much dirt, wax, anything that’s on this car we want removed, and so we’re at the bare paint.
And when you’re normally cleaning your car, you don’t wanna use dish soap, you wanna use a car soap. Something that is a high foam formula and also on the back.
It says it won’t strip wax, that’s very important. But we wanna strip the wax in this case, so dish soap is perfect.
Now, let’s hook up our foam cannon and you guys are gonna love this if you clean your own car. Just pull the trigger, and the foam cannon sprays a thick layer of foam onto the car.
Make sure you cover the entire car, and think of this step as like, washing dirty dishes. We want the car to soak in the soap.
And as that soap drips downwards, it’s gonna loosen up all that dirt and grease, and it’s gonna pull it down off the car.
So, after the car soaks, rinse it off, and you can see the paint is starting to look better. We haven’t even touched the car with the towel.
Now, that was using a foam cannon, which connects to the power washer.
But I went out and I bought a foam gun that connects to a hose. So I could show you the difference, just in case you don’t have a power washer.
So, although it doesn’t work nearly as well. it’s still a good way to get some soap onto the car, if you don’t have a power washer.
Second Step: Touch wash.
Now we are onto the next step, which is doing our touch wash.
For the touch wash, we want to use two buckets.
The top tip is always clean out your buckets, and remove the dust and grit that might’ve settled in the buckets, while they were being stored in the garage.
Another tip is to use a grit guard, which slides into the bottom of the bucket, and traps dirt at the bottom where your towel can’t get to.
Now, we’re using two buckets, because the left bucket with the grit guard in it is our rinse bucket. The right bucket with the soap in it is our clean bucket.
Now, both buckets filled up.
We move on to our next topic, and that is towels. Any time you touch your car, you wanna use something that won’t scratch the paint.
I highly recommend a microfiber washing mitt.
These washing mitts have tons of little fibers that pull the dirt away from the paint, and trap it deep into the fibers. So it’s less likely to rub against the paint and scratch it, especially compared to regular towels.
So that’s exactly what I’ll be using.
And you can never use too much soap, which both washes and lubricates. So I’m gonna cover the car, and let’s do our touch wash.
Always start cleaning the top of the car and move downwards, and clean in a straight back and forth motion.
You don’t wanna make circular motions because if you do scratch the car by mistake. Circular scratches can be seen at different angles, and they’re a lot harder to remove than straight scratches.
After cleaning a panel on a dirty car, your wash mitt’s probably dirty.
So rinse off your wash mitt in a rinse bucket. Agitating the wash mitt against the grit guard, to try to rub off any dirt.
Then, dump the wash mitt in the soap and start making your way around the car.
I like to split the car in half cleaning the top part first, where there’s usually less dirt.
Clean the doors and the side of the car, then move to the hood. Again: keep the paint lubricated with soap and clean in straight lines.
And don’t forget to rinse your wash mitt as it gets dirty.
Next, move to the rear bumper. Don’t forget to get into the tight areas, like in between the spoiler and the trunk.
Another place people tend to forget about is behind the gas cap door. And it’s typically real dirty in there, so don’t forget about that either.
With the top half cleaned, now we can move to the bottom half. I can’t tell you how many times I see a clean car.
Only to open the door to get inside and the door jams are dirty.
If you’re putting all this effort into cleaning your car, you should clean it completely. So don’t forget the door jams.
And as you start cleaning the bottom of the car, one of the biggest tips is be careful of your towel touching the ground.
You don’t want it to touch the ground, because then it’ll pick up all types of dirt, rocks and debris. When you bring your towel back up for you to clean the paint, you’re gonna be pushing that stuff into the paint causing scratches.
And that’s definitely not what you want.
After touch washing the entire car from top to bottom, rinse off all the soap. Now we can move onto the next step.
Third Step: Use Clay Bar
So the car’s the pretty clean, but it’s not perfect yet.
We want to remove the contaminants from the top layer of the paint, so we’re gonna use this clay bar. And it’s really easy to use.
Now, before you begin clay barring the car, how do you know if your car needs to be clay bar’d or not?
One of the most common ways is to rub your hand against the paint and if it feels gritty and not smooth, you have contaminants embedded in your paint. So you should clay bar.
If it feels smooth then I’d check another body panel to make sure. In that case if everything’s smooth, you don’t need to clay bar your car!
But in this case, the paint is rough so I’m gonna show you how to clay bar. With clay bar, you need something to lubricate the surface that you’re rubbing against.
So I’m gonna be using soapy water.
Typically, clay bar kits come with a detailing spray. But those sprays are usually oily, and we just did so much work decontaminating our paint and removing the oils.
That we don’t wanna use a detailing spray.
All right, so let me show you how to clay bar.
First, pick a panel that you’re gonna work on, then spray down the panel with your soapy water lubricant. Grab your clay and spread it out, so it’s wider and flatten it out against the body panel.
Just like everything we’ve done so far don’t go in circles, instead glide the clay back and forth in straight lines. You wanna press down with medium to light pressure, and you’re gonna be working by feel.
As you work your way around the panel, you’re gonna feel the areas that are rough and there’ll be more resistance. Clay those areas until it feels nice and smooth.
And even though we just cleaned the car, check out all the embedded contaminants we just removed.
And when your clay gets visibly dirty, just like this, knead it and fold it over to bury the contaminants and uncover a clean surface. And that’s all there is to it!
As you clay the car, remember to rinse down the paint to keep it wet, so the paint doesn’t dry and leave water marks.
So if we take a closer look at a random part on this bumper, you can see there’s black specks embedded into the paint. And overall, it just looks dull due to the contamination in the paint.
So here’s a magnified view of what happens when you clay bar the paint.
With a little rubbing back and forth just a few times, watch the clay remove the contaminants. And check out this before-and-after. And what a difference.
Now, this was on one small zoomed in section of the paint. So, just wait and see how good this paint’s gonna look, when I clay the whole car.
After claying the whole car, I suggest giving it a quick soapy wipe down. To remove any contaminants that we might have loosened up and then rinse all the soap off.
Now, before we move on to the next step, since we’re done with the rinse and soap buckets. I wanna show you guys why I use a grit guard, with the water removed, take a look inside the bucket.
Check out all that dirt that the grit guard trapped. That’s definitely not what you wanna get on your towel and rub into your paint.
All right, we’re almost there!
That was the clay bar step, and check out this paint work. The shine is coming back, that red is getting real deep ’cause we pulled out all those contaminants from the paint.
And what I mean “pulled out all those contaminants”, check this out – this clay bar is shot.
Just to give you an idea, here’s the clay bar that we used here’s a brand new clay bar.
This clay bar, if you’re wondering, is toast. I wouldn’t use it anymore, just throw it out. You don’t wanna be rubbing this into your paint, ’cause you’re just gonna cause scratches.
So let’s move on to the next step.
Fourth Step: Dry The Car
So, the next step is to dry the car. And drying the car is in preparation for our paint correction.
Cause you wanna be able where there’s any scratches on the car, and it’s easier to see scratches on a dry car than a wet car.
I’m gonna be using a microfiber towel, and this is a specific drying microfiber towel with deep fibers. Which will trap dirt but also absorb a lot of water.
Now, I don’t suggest using a drying shammy, or a silicone squeegee to dry your car.
If there’s any dirt left over on the car surface, both products are gonna push the dirt into the paint and cause scratches.
So, drying your car is straight forward: Start from the top and work your way down, drying in straight back and forth motions, with no circles. Don’t press too hard on the towel, let the towel do all the work for you.
And those are some quick and easy tips to use while drying your car, and with this car completely dried.
We can move on to our next step.
Fifth Step: Paint Correction
So, with paint correction, we’re gonna fix any damage to the clear coat.
What you wanna do is, you wanna grab your bottle of soapy water and start inspecting the paint. And what you’re looking for are any light scratches.
And to figure out if these scratches are fixable grab some of that soapy water spray it down, and then wipe it. If those scratches disappear, that means they’re clear coat scratches and we can easily fix them.
And after you inspect the car and know where all the clear coat damage is, you can start your paint correction.
I’m gonna show you this right here.
First, get the surface wet with soapy water.
Then, wet sand the scratch with 3000 grit sand paper to knock down the deep scratches. Then wet sand with 5000 grit to smooth the scratches out.
Then you gonna follow with some polish and buff that polish into the paint which is gonna permanently remove the very fine scratches.
And then clean out the area with some soapy water to remove any oils that might have been in the polish.
And check that out!
That scratch is permanently gone, and if you want more information on how to do this, check our more articles.
So, now we’re gonna apply this paint correction process to fix any clear coat scratches around the car.
But let’s just say you have swirl marks, or really fine scratches or discolored paint or something. What you wanna do, is you wanna use a polish.
What polish is: it’s a scratch remover. It is a very, very fine grit.
It’s like sand paper, except even finer and what it does??
It is removes the top layer of clear coat, an extremely thin layer of clear coat. But it still removes it and uncovers that fresh new layer of clear coat.
Now, whenever you apply polish, I like to use a white applicator.
And I’m using white, because if you polish too much and go too deep into the clear coat. Then you’ll be going to the base coat and you’ll know because you’ll see red on your white applicator.
So, put some of the polish on your foam applicator, and you wanna lightly just massage it into the paint.
Now, you notice I’m going in circular motions.
Polish is the one time you wanna go in a circular motion, ’cause you need to attack the scratches and faded paint in all different directions, not just one direction.
Also notice, I’m focusing over here, because this is where I wanna do the paint correction,
but I’m also gonna feather it out past my work area, so that we don’t have a harsh contrast between the old and freshly polished paint.
Now that we massaged all the polish into the paint, you wanna get your foam applicator. You’re gonna press moderately hard and you’re gonna do tiny little circles and just buff that paint good.
After it’s all buffed, then come in with your microfiber towel in straight lines, back and forth.
Another thing I should mention, any areas that you do the paint correction on and use the polish. Polish sometimes has oils in it, so you wanna just wipe down the area with some soapy water to remove those oils.
Because we’ve been working so hard to remove any grease from the surface of this paint.
So our sealant could stick on our last step.
Beautiful, now check that out. That looks awesome!
And not only does it look good right here, but if we check back here where we kinda feathered it. You can’t see a transition between the older paint and the paint we polished.
And that’s how you properly polish your paint. It’s really simple, but I wanna be clear about something that a lot of people have misconceptions about.
You don’t wanna polish your paint as part of a routine.
This isn’t like cleaning your car or waxing your car. Polishing your paint removes that clear coat.
So you only wanna polish your paint when you’re doing paint correction, when there’s a problem with your paint.
So, hopefully that clears some stuff up about polish. If you have any question, feel free to comment below.
Sixth Step: Seal The Paint
All right! We’re on our last step, and this paint is really gonna pop after this step.
So, we cleaned the car, we degreased the paint, we clay bar’d the paint to remove any contaminants. We fixed all the little scratches and dull spots on this paintwork.
Now we wanna seal this paint.
I like to buff off the wax or sealant with a black towel, because black shows the white sealant very easily. And then you’ll know when you need to flip over your towel and start using a new side.
And then, finally, grab a nice, soft buffing towel which we’re gonna use to make sure you remove any residual wax.
So, now you wanna pick a place to start.
In this case, I’m gonna start at this front quarter panel, and you’re gonna do two panels at a time.
So, let me show how to apply the sealant to the panel.
You wanna get your sealant on the applicator pad, and you wanna add a thin layer of sealant in a back and forth motion.
Basically, you want it thick enough, so that the paint dulls and you can’t see a reflection anymore, just like that.
Now, every wax or sealant is different, so you wanna check the back for the instructions. See if it says how long it should take to dry and when you should buff it off.
In this case, it’s about 5 to 10 minutes for that sealant to absorb into the paint and then we can remove it.
Now, as this sealant dries, I’m gonna go work on the next body panel.
When you’re applying your wax or sealant to an area, where there’s black trim. You wanna make sure that you don’t get the wax or sealant on the back trim because that’ll turn white, and also dries onto here, so it makes it really difficult to get off.
So, after you pass an area where there’s trim, I like to get my microfiber towel, and just buff it off, so that I know for sure. I don’t get any white residue on the trim.
And I always work up to the body lines so I know where I need to stop. And once I finished the body panel, it’s been about 5 minutes, so I can start buffing off the front panel.
And once I finish buffing it off with my black microfiber towel. I’m gonna go with my finishing towel, and the idea here is you just go over once to remove any residual wax or sealant.
And now, check that out, look at that shine!
So, I just finished this front panel, that gives me about the right amount of time to now start buffing the second panel.
And you just make your way around the car, until the whole car is completely sealed.
And once you finish buffing the whole side of the car, you just wanna quickly inspect and look for anything that you might have missed. Because as that wax dries or as that sealant dries, it will show up a lot more than when you first started buffing it off.
After you wipe off your wax or sealant, sometimes, around the badges you can get a buildup of wax in the crevices of the badges.
That’s where one of these detailing brushes comes in handy. And lightly brush away any of that dried up wax.
And that’s all it takes to make those badges look nice.
And one last example, or any body parts like this vent right here, we go to remove the wax. But it’s hard to get into this really tight space with the microfiber towel.
So that’s where you just get your brush, and you brush it out, and check that out!
I cannot believe how great this car came out.
You remember the paintwork over by the GT badge?
Well, check it out now!
Look at this reflection. It’s a deep, cherry red. It’s glossy.
Now, this is something you can be proud to drive around.
I cannot wait to go for a ride, look at this car!
Once the paint has been super cleaned like this, you won’t have to do this again, unless if you don’t maintain the paint.
And to maintain the paint, all you have to do is clean the car using soaps that don’t strip wax, and make sure you clean the car so dirt doesn’t build up.
Not only does it look amazing, but it protects the paint, and it just transforms the look of the car.
So, hopefully this article was helpful.