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Why the wash stage is the most important

We stand by this firmly; the wash is the most crucial part of any detail, big or small, it lays the foundation for everything that comes after. Whether you're setting up for a big decon and correction detail or just washing away the remains of a weeks worth of commuting on a previously detailed car, we believe everything else is irrelevant if you can't get the wash stage right. Here's why:

  • Most commonly seen paint defects and swirls are inflicted at the wash stage.
  • Most protection and sealant drop back is due to poor wash procedure.
  • Most trim tarnishing is caused by using the wrong product at an incorrect dilution ratio.

Choose your weapons wisely

Choose your products accordingly to the task at hand, you don't need a sledgehammer to put up a picture frame, and a commonly recurring mistake we see is people reaching for the product that gets the job done quickest that sets them off on the wrong foot instantly on wheels.
Iron Out, is undoubtedly a great product for deep cleaning your wheels - but should only be used on the odd occasion. You don't, and shouldn't need to use Iron Out on every wash, we tell customers to see it more so like a decon for your wheels, deep clean them once, right using iron out, seal them up, then maintain them. The overuse of heavy-hitting products can lead to the premature degradation of appearance in surrounding uncoated/painted components.
The tip: Use Iron Out for one-off (quarterly) deep cleans.
Use Imperial for regular maintenance cleans.

Ask your self what sort of detail is this

Pre detail wash:
Pre-wash: Dynamite 1:5 - 1:7 for grubbier areas, bugs, road grime etc
Snow Foam - Avalanche 1:8
Lather: 2-4 caps per bucket


Maintenance wash:
Pre-wash: Citrus Power for bugs and road grime
Snow Foam: Avalanche 1:8


Shampoo - Heres why you have a choice and one that needs to take in to account your preference, most "true" detailers want a shampoo that simply cleans, because ( and rightly so) they want the protection and water behaviour from the sealant or wax to be on top rather than something else that is water-based to add a short-lasting visual effect. Others maybe those who have some form of protection that's perhaps coming close to the end of its life cycle, and have been putting off that "big detail" for a little longer, or feel there wax/sealant isn't performing how they would like, may reach for something with a rinse/gloss additive. You pick which suits your needs best, there's no right or wrong here, its what you prefer and what fits your needs.

The two bucket wash is mandatory

Always start with upward-facing panels of your vehicle before working down to grubbier areas such as lower doors and back ends of the vehicle. We advise washing between 1/4 and 1/2 of a panel of a standard size vehicle at a time (obviously adjust this to the size of the vehicle your working on.


The two bucket wash is mandatory on every wash. Rinsing away any contamination from your wash mitt in one bucket, before taking fresh wash solution to the vehicle from the second bucket ensures your always washing your vehicle with fresh and clean shampoo solution from start to finish.

Now its time to dry

On a car that's about to undergo a decon and polish, there is no need to go crazy at this point, a good quality drying towel and ensuring that all rinse water is cleared up will suffice here before you progress on to the following stages of your detail.

Tips for maintaining a previously detailed car


For those maintaining a vehicle, there are some tips that work well to make light work of this stage and keep swirls at bay:

  • Open end hose rinse to remove the majority of standing water
  • Spritz over each panel with a quick detailer of your choice before drying

Now get out there and enjoy it...

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