The Two Bucket Car Wash
Taking care of your car while taking care of your car.
Not everyone gets their vehicle professionally detailed every time they need a wash. If this is you, you need to learn this method for safe car washing. The two-bucket car wash method is the most reliable and efficient method of washing any vehicle. Most people use one bucket filled with soapy water and one wash mitt or sponge, which makes some kind of sense until you understand this method actually can cause permanent, and costly, damage to your car’s paint.
The reason for this? If you’re using a single bucket to wash and rinse, when you move through the process all that dirt and grit gets transferred from your car to your sponge or wash mitt, and then into your single bucket of soapy water. Now, your “clean” wash bucket is full of contaminates, dirt and grit particles. It doesn’t take long for your “clean” bucket and sponge to become filthy. When this grimy water gets transferred back onto your car’s paint as you wash the next section, watch as your mitt or sponge leaves abrasions, scratches and swirls in its wake.
The second bucket effectively prevents dirt from getting trapped in your wash mitt and contaminating your clean wash bucket. Moving from one panel to the next, once you’re done washing a particular section of your car, thoroughly rinse off your sponge or mitt in one bucket before placing it into your sudsy wash bucket. Make sure you wash in a linear motion instead of a circular pattern to avoid creating noticeable swirls and scratches in the event particles of dirt or grit is stuck to the wash mitt.
To even further minimize scratches and swirls, some people use separate wash mitts, one for above the belt line of the car and one for below. Beneath the cars belt line is usually dirtier than the area above and it, and using separate sponges or mitts will help minimize trapped dirt and grit coming back in contact with your paint. It’s helpful to label one wash mitt on the cuff with a star using a permanent marker to easily identify the purpose of each mitt.
A way to make the two-bucket system even better is to use two grit guards. A grit guard traps the contaminates on the bottom of your bucket, and prevents the dirt and grit from swirling up into the water and away from you wash mitts. Make sure to brush your wash mitt against the grit guard to knock off the dirt and grit that was transferred from your car’s paint, and change your water out when you notice it looking grimy.