THE 2 BUCKET WASH METHOD PROCEDURE

Probably the most known method for washing a car (other than those horrible automatic tunnel washes) is the 2 bucket wash method. For years it has been known as the safest method to wash your car. There are many variations of the 2 bucket wash method, but for this article we not be using a foam gun/cannon or going over wheel cleaning. The wheels should be cleaned before performing the 2 bucket wash. 

 

What You Will Need

  • Two 5 gallon buckets
  • Two Grit Guards
  • Car soap of your choosing
  • Two wash mitts
  • Spray wax or quick detailer
  • Drying towel

Optional

  • Foam gun/cannon to pre-soak with foam
  • Pressure Washer
  • Compressed air or leaf blower to dry

1. Fill The Buckets

Insert a grit guard into one of your buckets with about 3/4 full of water . This will be your rinse bucket. Add about 1 gallon of water to another bucket for your soap. Read the dilution instructions on your soap to see how much to add. Mix the soap in with the water by hand using the cap and then place your other grit guard into the bucket.

2. Rinse The Car

You want to get as much of the surface dirt off as possible. If you have a pressure washer, you can use a 90° angle tip and keep distance from the paint. Start from the top and work your way towards the bottom. Don’t forget the area below the body panels and you can even spray the undercarriage. 

3. Get Your Soap Ready

Spray your hose directly into your soap bucket. This will activate the suds and get it ready to use.

4. Wash The Top Half

Grab your first wash mitt, this will only be used for the top half of the car. Anything above the door handles for the most part.

Start from the top and do one panel at a time. Between each panel rinse your wash mitt out and rub it against the grit guard in your rinse bucket. This will release the dirt so you don’t spread it onto the other panels of your car.

5. Rinse the top half

Now you want to rinse all of the soap off your car before it starts to dry. Again you want to rinse top to bottom so all of the dirt get rinsed off your car.

6. Wash The Bottom Half

Grab your 2nd wash mitt. This is for the dirtier bottom areas of your car. I normally choose a different color wash mitt for this one to easily tell the difference.

Again wash one panel at a time, frequently rinsing the dirt off the wash mitt into your rinse bucket so you avoid scratching your car.

7. Final Rinse

Rinse off any remaining soap from your car. Get in all the little nooks and crannies. This step is important because any soap left behind that dries will be a pain to remove.

8. Safely Dry With Spray Wax

You want to use some sort of spray wax or quick detailer when you are drying your car. Water has a very high surface tension which means you actually need a bit of pressure on the paint to remove the water. Using a spray wax as you dry will help give lubrication to the paint and avoid scratching.

Try not to rub the drying towel around the paint too much. Instead, place the towel down and pat dry the paint instead. The majority of scratches are done during the drying phase because of the lack of lubrication.

9. Some Things To Do After

Washing is normally just the first step to many other procedures. You can add your favorite wax or sealant on top, or start claying your car to get rid of iron contamination.  

Wash your daily driver at least once every 2 weeks to keep it clean and avoid buildup.

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