Washing & Drying

If there is a single maintenance that offers the biggest benefit to your car's appearance, it's keeping your car clean through regular washing. Washing is the process of removing loose dirt and road film on the top of your car's paint surfaces. That means more than just a good hosing.

Washing can be a double-edge sword, though, as even the mildest soaps will remove some of the protection from your paint. Harsh detergents, such as Dawn dishwashing liquid, will completely strip your car of protection.

We recommend Zaino Z-7 Show Car Wash. It's very gentle on paint, plastic and rubber, and it restores some of the Zaino Show Car Polish lost through washing and normal use. Z-7 Show Car Wash provides lubrication to prevent scratching and contains conditioners to maintain the shine.

As well as a good car shampoo, it takes a variety of tools to correctly wash your car. High quality brushes can be used to clean hard-to-reach areas, such as between body panels. Brushes also work well on lower body panels, where road grease and tar collect. Make sure your brushes are paint safe.

You should find a wash tool that is comfortable for you to use, but take a few things into consideration. First, your wash tool should hold a lot of soapy water. The more it holds, the more soapy water you can get on your car. This is important for lubrication. The lubrication created by soapy water is what prevents dirt from scratching the paint. Also, look for a wash tool that cleans easily. If it does not release dirt and grit easily, it’s not safe. Real lamb's wool mitts and cotton chenille covered sponges are good choices.

You will also need good towels. If you grew up in a house like mine, Mom retired the old bath towels to the garage for car and dog duty. What Mom didn't realize is that most bath towels use a backing material that is a polyester and cotton blend. The edges of the towel are stitched with polyester thread, too. Polyester, pound for pound, is stronger than steel. This is great for long-lasting bath towels, but it’s not so good for your car’s paint. Polyester scratches. Use only 100% cotton towels.

Washing Tips

Wash the tires and wheels first. If you wash the car body first, the water will dry and spot your car before you can finish washing the tires and wheels. Do not use the same wash water on your car's paint as you do your tires and wheels. Throw it out and refill your bucket.

Make sure your car is cool. If possible, work in the shade. A hot surface causes the wash and rinse water to evaporate too quickly, increasing the likelihood of water spotting. Start by thoroughly wetting and rinsing the car's finish with a medium spray of water to remove loose grit and surface dirt.

Start washing from the top down and rinse the car often. Frequent rinsing is especially important to prevent streaking and to help remove dirt and grit. Use a final rinse of free-flowing water (nozzle off the hose). This will allow the water to sheet off the car, reducing the amount of water you must dry.

Drying Tips

Before drying, your car should be freshly rinsed and free of visible dirt, grease and oil. Here's how:

Using a clean white 100% cotton made in the USA towel, start at the top of the car and work down, drawing the towel across the surface in a straight line.

Repeat wiping until the surface is mostly dry then finish drying with another clean white 100% cotton made in the USA towel to remove any remaining droplets.

Use a clean white 100% cotton made in the USA towel to dry your tires and wheels.

Open the doors and use your towel to dry the door sills and jambs. Wipe under the door and along the door edge, as well.

Open the trunk and hood and wipe down the jams and seals. On the engine, use your damp towel to remove dust and light oil from the top of the engine and engine compartment surfaces. While the hood is open and you have a towel, check your oil. After working in the engine compartment, put the dirty towel in the wash and don't use it on your car again until you wash it.