Wash/Wax Preferences

I have finally gotten to where I think I need to be with a good wash routine. Wash, dry with silicone car drying blade, then towel. Twice a year I use NuFinish liquid. About monthly I use Turtle Wax Ice Spray Wax. Seems to do pretty well. I have pretty much called it quits with tire dressings, just a scrub brush now. The silicone drying blade may seem stupid, but I got tired of having to soak up so much water with the towels. With the blade I can do the whole truck with almost just one towel. I used a clay bar for the first time earlier this year. I wasn’t majorly impressed. Any of you all do your own washing/waxing?


I used to do NuFinish twice a year and pretty much nothing else, kept 8-years old finish almost new… other than sand pits here and there.
Bought this thing a year ago:
I bought it after using black plastic sealer from the same company, which worked quite well to compare to other things I tried, so I decided to check if paying more would get a better result.
Well, it is better, but not by the factor of the cost inflation.
I will be back to cheap NuFinish once this fancy stuff is all spent.

Not into it very often, found the biggest problem rusting from the inside of the bottoms of the door panels, so pay attention to that, after 16 years and 200k on the car not sure if rust or mechanical failure will be the demise.

For washing during good weather I just use Megiars car wash, then the silicone squeegee and the chamois to dry it. In the winter I’m forced to use the drive through car wash when it is still open above zero.

I’m over a month behind this year but twice a year I do the polish and wax on the cars. I use the clay bar first. Sorry if you didn’t have good results but if you compare the finish before and after it will be super smooth. Even on a brand new car it makes a difference. Then I machine polish with Meguires swirl remover, the machine glaze with Meguires #3, then hand wax. Looks great. I also then go over the headlights and plastics. Do this and the car will look great for years.

Yeah I noticed again I have rust on the pinch weld areas. Five years ago I went over them but they’ve gone south again. I’ll need to get at it again before winter.

I’ve found a leaf blower is very effective to remove excess water. Especially if the water beads up from a good wax job
Also gets water out of the side mirrors and all the small spots in the grill and wheels.

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Good call on the mirrors…sucks to have a good job done then have the mirrors drain out on the just dried body panel.

How do you fix the pinch weld rust? Sand/paint?

Well I’m gonna grind it, wire brush it, and use Por 15 on it again and repaint. Gotta take the molding off though and do the rockers too so it’ll be sometime later. Then I think I’d better think about a new one sometime. I’ve had two cars where the jack goes through the pinch welds and that’s the end of it mostly for me. Maybe another 5-10 years for that.

Yeah, I’ve always washed and waxed my own cars. I don’t use any soap and hot water and sponges for washing unless it is really needed. For the most part for washing I just hose the my vehicles off with plain water once a week.

For waxing I tried the Nu Finish product last year. It definitely causes the water to bead, and that beading holds up for nearly an entire year. Similar robust beading from wax rarely lasts more than 6 months. The problem w/Nu Finish is that it doesn’t protect the paint quite as nicely as wax from minor scratches, like you’d get if you brushed the car against some bushes. So I’ve reverted to wax, twice a year. A friend of mine w/a new car decided the same thing after trying Nu Finish. Good beading, but not enough protection from minor scratches. I’m currently using the big-seller wax, Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell paste wax product. It’s an easy on, easy off paste wax.

I use a controversial (from comments here) method of waxing. I apply the wax according to the directions, but don’t buff it off. I just leave it as I applied it for a week or so, then next time I rinse the car I’ll wipe the wax off then. My theory is the extra time allows the wax to stick to the finish better. The ony evidence I can offer to support my washing/waxing theory is that both my 47 year old truck and 27 year old Corolla still have pretty good finishes.

When applying wax I make sure to apply an extra thick layer along the bottom edge of the body, rocker panels, lower fender & wheel well edges, etc. Those parts of the car aren’t even visible for the most part, but the wax helps prevent rust for forming in those rust prone areas.

That’s about all I do finish-wise, other than trying to avoid parking in the full sun when possible.

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The cars almost always get hand washed, silicone blade, synthetic chamois or microfiber toweled off. Sometimes I get the air hose from my compressor and blow out the crevices. Once a year they get clayed, polished and waxed. I like Meguires products. I use Zymol wax - because it smells like coconuts and my wife likes it. Turtle Wax Ice Spray in-between, but it doesn’t snow, or even get cold where I live.

Occasionally the cars get run through either the drive-thru wash or manual high pressure spray-wash (Love-Bug season!).

My truck sits out, is 15 years old, has rust and is a pain to hand wash so it goes through the drive-thru 2-3 times a year.

I’m 74 and started washing my Father’s cars at 10. He put a hot water faucet and drains in the garage so that I could wash his cars in the winter. Dupont powdered car wash, Westley’s Bleache White, and the dreaded Blue Coral, which was hard to buff . Now I use a synthetic clay bar, and Nu Finish once. The synthetic clay bar is a plastic handle with a woven pad which works like a clay bar, but no kneading, and if you drop it, just wash it off. Does 10 cars or so.

I now live in SW Florida and seldom wash. I just wipe down with Lucas Slick Mist, or Turtle Wax Ice spray wax. The Turtle Wax is super easy to wipe off.

Would you say the synthetic clay bar is as good as regular clay? I was looking at those.

Also, about turtle wax ice spray…I washed car on Sunday and put that stuff on it. Today I got tar on my car. I was freakin pissed. Bought tar remover. Didn’t even need it. No joke, got it off with a dry paper towel. Here’s to keeping a good wax on.

I just used a clay bar on my S10 for the first time, I never used one in my life before. I noticed a lot of bumps that weren’t coming off after waxing lately so I splurged $18 on the clay. It did take all the bumps off the paint, much smoother to the touch. Other than that, there wasn’t any visual improvement over just doing the paste wax.

True. Clay bars are simply super fine sandpaper. They work pretty well at removing over spray, what your credit card won’t scrape off. I found they (or the paste type) works well on stained windshields.

My current car gets washed/waxed by hand. The former were mostly pressure washed, never waxed. Hand washing, alone, took half a day for the pair and never got all the crevices.

I typically handwash my cars. I typically do a prewash with non-ph balanced soap in the foam cannon (I like Chemical Guys Citrus Wash & Gloss for this). Once that’s on the car I’ll use a ph-balanced soap in the wash bucket usually ( CG Glossworkz or Adam’s). Recently I’ve been using a single bucket /multiple wash mitt method, where I have 5 or 6 wash mitts in the solution, and once you use one mitt, you put it in a empty bucket and don’t use it again until you run it through the washing machine. This is a superior method to the two-bucket method as you never reuse the wash mitt during a single wash, thus further reducing the risk of swirl marks. However, the two bucket method is still perfectly fine.

The wheels get their own dedicated wash mitt. I also have a Daytona wheel brush that works well, for the wheels I’ll use Sonax Full Effect. For the tires I use Purple Power cleaner diluted to about 3 parts water 1 part cleaner. It’s also effective with very dirty wheels.

I dry the car with an cordless electric leaf blower and microfiber drying towel. I would definitely not recommend a drying blade, too much opportunity for scratches should the blade catch a small piece of debris or dislodge some stuck on dirt.

Afterwards I’ll go over the car with a spray retailer, they are all somewhat different, My favorite overall is Lucas Slick Mist, but Meg’s Utimate QD is very good and easy to use. CG V07 is okay, but it has very quick flash point and typically requires a little buffing. Griot’s Best In Show and Speed Shine are both good, with BIS having more gloss/“pop” than Speed Shine, but it requires some buffing as well.

For tire shine, I use Chemical Guys tire &trim gel, it’s oil based which not a lot of people like, . I’ve never found a water-based tire shine that would last more than a few days. Oil based tire shine products last much longer, but you definitely want to give your tires a good scrubbing before reapplying it.

As far as wax/sealants go. I’m a big fan of Blackfire Diamond, it lasts around 6 months, for polish, I’ve never had to use anything more aggressive than Megs 205. My cars typically get full-on details twice a year. Every other month I’ll bolster the existing wax with coat of butter wax, which is much faster an easier to apply and remove than typical waxes/sealant (but is more durable than spray-on waxes).

My Mustang and F-150 were recently detailed. Note the pictures were taken on different days, it was much sunnier out when the Mustang was done, so it “pops” much more.


Thanks, FoDaddy. I’ll look into those products. Do you have preferences in the tools you use for the job… such as the mitts and foam cannon?

Very nice. You do the details or take it to a pro? I have had mine done pro once. My typical is Wash/Dry w/Blade/Towel/Ice Spray Wax. Twice a year I NuFinish. I claybarred once last year, Ill probably do it again this year just to have said I did it. If anyone else has experience with the synthetic claybar let me know. I’ve been curious. You have electric pressure washer to power your cannon? This is after the clay/NuFinish last year.

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It depends, sometimes I do it, sometimes I have an outfit that I trust do it. Typically I do the late fall “pre-winter” detail, and I’ll have them do the spring time one, though it depends heavily on the scheduling. I like to wait until the pollen dies down, and that’s precisely the time of year that the pros are busiest so it doesn’t always work out.

I have a gas powered pressure washer, it’s a Kärcher with a Honda engine, I want to say 3600 or 4000 psi. It’s overkill for what I need. I also have a foam gun for those times I don’t feel like wheeling out the pressure washer. It’s not as effective, but it’s far more convenient.

In the pics, both vehicles had been washed, clayed, polished, and then sealed. The cloud cover really tempered the truck’s pop. You really can’t tell from the pictures, but it actually came out better than the Mustang did. Just shows you how much good lighting helps.

The wash mitts are just microfiber wash mitts that they sell on amazon for around $5. They seem to be a commodity product, as best I can tell they are the same product sold under different brand names. The foam cannon I have is an MTM PF22, I was able to score it for around $60. But a decent foam cannon can be had for less, even the cheap chineseium ones are fine as long as you replace their orifice with la larger one (particularly if you’re using an electric pressure washer). I have a gas powered Kärcher pressure washer. When it comes to producing tons of foam, gas pressure washes tend to do better, you want at least a 2.5 GPM flow rate, with 3+ GPM being preferred. You can get by with less, but foaming performance won’t be maximized. Mixing the soap with warm/hot water also helps a little.