The safest way is to use the two bucket method. Use two large buckets one filled with water and the other with car wash soaped mixed to instructions. Pre rinse the car using a fan spray that's light enough to loosen the dirt but not too forceful to push the dirt against the paint. Use a sheep skin type mitt to wash the car (not a sponge) and use enough effort to clean the car but don't rub too hard. If you have a stain like a tar use tar remover and not muscle to get the stain out. Rinse the mitt in the clear water first and then get soapy water. When the clear starts getting too dirty, throw it out and refill. Then rinse as before to get the soap off the car. If you have a compressor, blow water out of crevices so you don't have to double dry your car later. Then using a chamois (I use synthetic), dry the car quickly with the left hand and follow up using the softest micro fiber or pure cotton diapers you can find dry the car off. Your car should be clean so don't use this step to further clean your car or you'll scratch it. If you drop the chamois or rag you've picked up contaminants so don't use the rag until you cleaned it.
I wash the wheels first and don't use any of the above because they are chrome and don't scratch easily and the harsh chemicals of wheel cleaner can't be mixed with what you clean paint with.
Since my dealer gives me free washes I have a totally swirled up car. Sometimes you have to learn to let it go, Prozac helps. I'll buff it out during my 4 days off next week and then let them swirl it up again. Hopefully the swirl is in the wax and not in the clearcoat.
The two bucket method works best. One bucket with MILD (simple green) organic soap, the other with rinse water. Use separate wash gloves for each bucket and do one section of the car at a time. Wash, Rinse, move on.
Then dry the car completely with CLEAN soft cotton terry towels, and wax. DO NOT use poly/cotton!
Some people even go as far as using a third bucket with a higher concentration of soap for the lower body panels. That's a little excessive in my view.
Your other alternative is to have your dealer wash it for you(they do that for free, you know).
2002 C230K Coupe - Orion/C4/C5/TeleAid/CD/AMG Spoiler/V60 Kit w/ Bluetooth Puck!
2 MGB Limited Editions for summer fun
The note below is from the ML list I belong to. It really works.
Don Zingale asked about care of black paint (No I'm not the owner of the M
you mention). However, I did have a black porsche928, and after 4 years, I
was able to get every swirl mark disappear - and yet, I drove it through
typical new england winters, and used extremely hard water to wash with.
The trick is to realize this - every time you touch a black car, you are
going to scratch it - so choose how you want it scratched (very zen but
true). In the case of my 928, I only touched the car a certain way - as if
it had a grain that ran from the point on the nose, straight up to the
windshield, straight back along the roof, etc. Along the side, from the
front bumper to the back, I only touched it a front to back linear fashion.
After 4 years, people would come up and be amazed that there were no
swirls, no scratches (of course from time to time, especially when covered
with ski hill parking lot sand and salt, it would get scratched as someone
leaned or rubbed against it - but a few washes later, the new intentional
scratches that came from washing the car had over powered the out of place
I don't take credit for inventing or discovering this - I saw it in a
little California concours manual. Another trick from this little book was
to take a soft bristled paint brush (2" wide) and cut the bristles to only
1/2" long. Then, use this to remove wax around edges of windows, sunroof,
3pointed star, hood emblems, and in the cracks of the body panels (the ones
that can't be opened - like between the bumper skirt and body on the M).
1st rule is tell your dealer never to wash your car ! They use dirty rags in most cases and the porters that wash and drive your car are accidents waiting to happen. Not to mention that they never dry the car completly so all the water is flying off things and out of cracks only to land all over the car and cause water spots. ( I'm **** ! )
I polietly tell my service dept. when ever I am there to make sure they do not give me the free swirl wash. I will wash the car myself during my weekly ritual.
2003 CL55 V8 Kompressor
Parktronic, Bluetooth Puck, Keyless Go, Trunk Closer, Painted Front Side Marker Lenses
MP Designs Sport Steering Wheel, 19" HRE 847R's, Brabus Lowering Module
Ice>Link Plus iPod Photo 40GB Color Integration into Factory COMAND
Use two buckets to wash your car. One with clean water, one with car wash soap. Use three mitts when washing. One for the top parts of the car(everything above the middle of the doors). Use the other for the areas below the middle of the doors. These areas are dirtier, therefore the mitt will be dirtier. You don't want to drag a dirty mitt over your vehicle's paint unless you want scratches and swirls. The third mitt is for your wheels.
Before washing, rinse your car with free flowing water to loosen the dirt. Next, take your mitt for the top parts of the car, dip it into the soapy bucket, glide it over a section (half the hood, half the roof etc) of the paint in back and forth motions as air would flow over the vehicle. Immediately rinse it off with free flowing water. Dip the mitt into the clean water, swish it around a bit to remove the dirt from the fibres, ring it out, dip into soapy bucket, and repeat on next section of car.
All of this should be done in the evening, or in a shaded area. Otherwise you'll get nasty water spots.
Dry the car off with a wizards water bandit or a p21s super absorbing drying towel. Leather chamois are crap. If necessary, follow up with a Fieldcrest charismas to dry. The cheap towels in can tire/pep boys etc are no good.
Don't use lambs wool wash mitts as they will scratch. Use ONLY chenille wash mitts. Don't use harsh wheel cleaners on your rims. USE ONLY CAR WASH SOAP. Your rims are clearcoated just like your paint. Would you use wheel cleaner on your paint? No. So why use it on your clearcoated rims? I use carwash soap on my rims with great success.
Hope this helped.
2002 C240 Classic
Administrator on DetailersClub.com
do not start washing your car untill is has cooled down. If you begin spraying cold water while the brake rotors are still warm, you'll end up with warped rotors sooner or later. Just let it sit for 30-40 minutes before washing it.
SOLD: '02 C230K Coupe (S/C M111)
+ HID / Audio 10 CD / Euro side mirrors / ASP steel pulley / AMG sway bars
NOW: '08 E92 335i SpaceGray/CoralRed/6MT/ZSP/ZPP + Cobb AP tune
So these are the secrets of those shiny, new-looking paint finishes. Very enlightening! I've always been lazy and just go to those high-pressure car washes myself. And it showed on my older cars, but now that I have a couple new cars, I should probably start practicing some of these methods here.