To Clean or Not To Clean Your Car! - Alfa Romeo Forum
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To Clean or Not To Clean Your Car!

Hi Folks

I am considering investing in a pressure washer instead of paying our local car washers to clean my car. Does anyone still wash their own car and if not, can you recommend a decent pressure washer for doing the job? I don't want to spend over £300 and I am quite tempted by the following clip which shows a guy cleaning his car without even touching it:-


May well invest in a leaf blower to dry the car. Also, can anyone recommend any decent cleaning products, shampoo, etc...

Any finally, what are people typically spending on getting their new car detailed? I have been quoted around £700 which includes a glass coat - whatever that is.
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Garage up the road has pressure washers and snowfoam lances.
I spend 4-5 Euros a go. 1 Euro to foam up. 2 Euros each to jetwash
with warm water and rinse with softened water.





There's no way you can get all the crud off without touching the car.
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There's no way you can get all the crud off without touching the car.
^this.
You need a lambswool mitt, a decent non-detergent car wash and a couple of buckets. That's all.
Megular's stuff is good.
This is a useful site: Car Care Products | Car Detailing | Car Cleaning Products
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I got a glass coat for mine, depending which one it's a minimum of £700 for a good one, mine was more, it depends on the length of the guarantee with my detailer as he has different products. I clean it myself, which I did earlier today. If you get a cheap car wash you will end up with swirls in your paint which rather negates spending £700 on a coating.

You don't need to spend £300 on a pressure washer just for a car. A pressure washer jet is often too high pressure for a car, it can damage the paint. It's for rinsing soap off and loosening surface dirt ideally with foam. If you use a normal jet on full blast you can spray dirt into the paint.

You may be better getting a cheaper one, but make sure you get the right accessories.

I use a Nilfisk C110 4-5 with extras such as an extension hose, an auto head to reduce the pressure making it easier to Rinse, an underchassis nozzle and a good (not nilfisk) container and nozzle for foaming it. The build quality of Nilfisk seems to be higher than the Karcher I had.

For my staple bits of kit I use Gtechnik mitts, and two buckets with grit guards with Gary Deans Perfect soap. I also use the soap to foam it as well. I use two really thick microfiber cloths to dry it, you use one to just lay it on the car to soak up most of it and another for the final buff. My preference for the first of the towels is a professor plush towel from fleck philosophy and a woolly mammoth from chemical brothers to finish it off. I also have Bilt Hambler wheel cleaner with some wheel brushes.

The microfiber cloths are cleaned with a microfiber cleaning solution and stored in an air tight container.

My general clean is:

1) Clean the wheels
2) Foam it
3) Rinse the foam off
4) Clean it with the 2 bucket method
5) Rinse it
6) Dry it

I'm still a novice at it and am looking at leather cleaners, tyre dressing and glass cleaners. There are forums on Detailing and I tend to see what those folk are using and buy products with good reviews.
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I got a glass coat for mine, depending which one it's a minimum of £700 for a good one, mine was more, it depends on the length of the guarantee with my detailer as he has different products. I clean it myself, which I did earlier today. If you get a cheap car wash you will end up with swirls in your paint which rather negates spending £700 on a coating.

You don't need to spend £300 on a pressure washer just for a car. A pressure washer jet is often too high pressure for a car, it can damage the paint. It's for rinsing soap off and loosening surface dirt ideally with foam. If you use a normal jet on full blast you can spray dirt into the paint.

You may be better getting a cheaper one, but make sure you get the right accessories.

I use a Nilfisk C110 4-5 with extras such as an extension hose, an auto head to reduce the pressure making it easier to Rinse, an underchassis nozzle and a good (not nilfisk) container and nozzle for foaming it. The build quality of Nilfisk seems to be higher than the Karcher I had.

For my staple bits of kit I use Gtechnik mitts, and two buckets with grit guards with Gary Deans Perfect soap. I also use the soap to foam it as well. I use two really thick microfiber cloths to dry it, you use one to just lay it on the car to soak up most of it and another for the final buff. My preference for the first of the towels is a professor plush towel from fleck philosophy and a woolly mammoth from chemical brothers to finish it off. I also have Bilt Hambler wheel cleaner with some wheel brushes.

The microfiber cloths are cleaned with a microfiber cleaning solution and stored in an air tight container.

My general clean is:

1) Clean the wheels
2) Foam it
3) Rinse the foam off
4) Clean it with the 2 bucket method
5) Rinse it
6) Dry it

I'm still a novice at it and am looking at leather cleaners, tyre dressing and glass cleaners. There are forums on Detailing and I tend to see what those folk are using and buy products with good reviews.
^This. You won't go far wrong doing the above. You can mitigate the swirling by not rubbing microfibres or mitts in circular motions - do straight up/down or left/right motions. Also wash dirt off from the top of the car downwards.

Peter
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Buy some Swisswax cleaner and some of their polish and enjoy the bonding experience. The hundreds of pounds is a mixture of labour and margin. And you don't know if it's been carried out well, at dealers anyway. Detailers are obviously better but you'll still miss out on the tactile experience of applying the very expensive wax.
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Pressure washer for cars, not a fan. Easier doing a hand job.
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I'm with Stuart. I also use a Nilfisk - they have all brass internals, unlike Karchers etc, which means that they last much longer. Kranzle are probably the best, but much more than the Nilfisk.

I too have a ceramic coating, then 2 layers of Exo 3. This means that I have a super hard coating to reduce marring and swirls that you get from cleaning, plus the super hydrophobic results from the Exo. Other products from the likes of Gyeon, Carpro, SiRamik etc are probably just as good and you'll pay around £800 or so for a single stage polish and the coatings, inside and out. It is key to get the wheels done when off the vehicle, so the barrels can be treated as well.

My regime is then like Stuart's, although I use a 3 bucket method - an extra bucket for the wheels.

I'll post my product list in a while, but I can promise you'll keep your car looking way better for longer if you do it yourself than taking it to a hand car wash.
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Ok, NBBMW - you asked! My wash routine is admittedly a bit anal, but is as follows:

1. Spray wheels with Iron X fall out remover. Use small brush to work into tight areas. Allow to dwell for a few minutes then jet wash off, included wheel arches. If your wheels are treated, they'll now be 90% clean
2. Spay wheels with strong dilute solution of Dooka Wheel Shampoo. This is a PH neutral wheel maintenance shampoo. Allow to dwell, then jet wash off. The wheels are probably now clean. Never use acid.
3. Using Dooka Wheel Shampoo in a 5litre bucket and a lambswool wheel pad, clean inside and outside of spokes and the wheel calipers. Jet wash off. Your wheels will now be ultra clean
4. Apply snow foam. I use Lovely Bubbly after trying loads of other products, with a specialist snow foam bottle with a fitting to suit my Nilfisk. While it is dwelling for 5 mins, I fill my other 2 5litre buckets, which both have grit guards in the bottom. Jet wash off, but ensure you jet wash at 45 degrees to the paint, not 90 degrees.
5. I use Carpro Reset shampoo. 40ml in 5 litres is about right. I use a good wash pad (Dooka) and the object is to swish this over the paint with as little pressure as possible. Again, with the coatings and the shampoo, the wash pad should feel really slick on the surface. Use one bucket for the shampoo and the other to rinse your pad. Jet wash off.
6. I live in a hard water area, so I then rinse with softened water using a Race Glaze cylinder through my jet washer with the pressure attachment removed, so that I can sheet off the water. This leaves the car almost dry.
7. I then dry using Monster drying towels for the paintwork (using zero downward pressure) and small yellow Dodo Juice drying towels for the wheels.
8. I use the damp drying towels for all the door, boot and bonnet shuts etc.
9. Every 3rd wash or so, I treat the tyres with Gyeon Tyre Dressing. This lasts really well.
10. If I have lots of bug splatter, I use Gtechniq Bug Remover and allow to dwell as I'm doing my wheels.
11. When needed, I clean the glass with Dodo Juice Clearly Menthol.
12. Non abrasive Chrome cleaner on the exhaust tips

This takes me about 50 minutes and I've grown to really enjoy it, particularly on a car as sexy as the Giulia. I don't even let the garage valet it when it goes for a service.

Others will use other equally good products, but I've found products such as Dooka and Lovely Bubbly after many years of trying other products. The ceramic coatings, including the hydrophobic work best when they are decontaminated. For eg, I don't have to use my windscreen wipers in the rain over 50 mph and the car stays cleaner for longer and is easier to clean when it does get dirty. Ultimately, what you are trying to do is avoid marring, hologramming and swirl marks in your paint, particularly if you have a dark colour.

There is a whole world of reading and research if you want to get into wax vs coatings!

Bet you wished you never asked!
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There is a whole world of reading and research if you want to get into wax vs coatings!

Bet you wished you never asked!
Thanks for the extensive notes mate. I have seen a number of YouTube clips showing this hands free method. In-fact the car detailer i am looking to use suggested this could well be possible but very much depends how dirty the car actually gets before being cleaned. I certainly do not want to wax the car especially if i can pay someone to do the job far better then me...
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I just applied some sonax polymer netshield. It's much easier and cleaner to work with than wax. The shine is better with carnuba wax, but the netshield should last for much longer. It also makes the plastic and rubber details look like new. Still remains to see how it holds up, especially on salty winter roads.
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If you look after it, the ceramic coating will do several years. You can repair micro scratches in ceramic with products such as Car Pro Essence Plus. Hydrophobic coatings such as Exo3 should do 18 months to 2 years. The best waxes will do 6 months at best.

You can often get a 'warmer' shine from carnuba wax, but if you pick your coatings carefully, you can almost match the gloss level you'd get from good carnuba wax.

Pick an experienced detailer that uses several of the ceramic coating manufacturers and let him choose which coating to use for the best results.
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The Swisswax was beading pretty well after 7 months but I redid it anyway. A pot of the stuff costs the same as an hours labour at main dealer, so it's a bargain.
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The Swisswax was beading pretty well after 7 months but I redid it anyway. A pot of the stuff costs the same as an hours labour at main dealer, so it's a bargain.
It looks shiny in your avatar pic, Cue
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If you look after it, the ceramic coating will do several years.
I had Autoglym Lifeshine on my new Giulia, some kind of ceramic coating apparently, it was sold to me as "the best available", and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Since I've never kept a car longer than three years, that should do for me. I'd only had the car a couple of days when I drove to the yacht club to meet a friend for lunch. It was a nice day so we sat outside. Shortly after we sat down, a massive Sunseeker motor yacht drove onto the boat lift, and once out of the water, it's props and underneath were blasted with high pressure sea water to remove weed. The overspray went every everything in the car park, including all over my lovely new Alfa, leaving a trendy matt coating. I mentioned it to my salesman at Westover, and he assured me that just water from my garden hose would restore the pristine finish, no rubbing required. It rained all day today, so I'll do it tomorrow, and we shall see, so watch this space...
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May well invest in a leaf blower to dry the car. Also, can anyone recommend any decent cleaning products, shampoo, etc...

Any finally, what are people typically spending on getting their new car detailed? I have been quoted around £700 which includes a glass coat - whatever that is.
Metro Blaster is designed for the job, warm air and filtered to prevent motor particles or grease being sprayed on the car

https://www.metrovacworld.com/catalog/Auto

https://www.carcareproducts.com.au/p...aster_sidekick


glass coat? no, ceramic coat is way better, its a paint protection with very minimal scratch protection but it leaves your car virtually waterproof and much easier to clean
i used Opticoat and it is considered the market leader at this time ... research it and see if you want it, but it needs to be maintained in so far as you have to take it back to the detailers every year to have it enhanced and prolonged
Opti-Coat Pro Coatings | Opti-Coat LLC

stay away from glass (silicone based), its ceramic all the way these days

the Opticoat Pro+ cost me the equivalent 395 of your British Pounds, but typically it costs about 500-550 squids (i got a good deal because he was keen to do the Giulia)

Last edited by Papa Gallo; 29-07-17 at 21:38.
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many say the ceramic coatings advantages and protections can be duplicated with good old fashioned regular wash and wax ... the difference is you have to keep waxing, this is done once and forget ( but you have to keep washing)
personally even though i used the Opticoat, i think you can get your car shinier for longer after a good regular wax, but this product is for people who might miss a winter or a few months or so
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many say the ceramic coatings advantages and protections can be duplicated with good old fashioned regular wash and wax ... the difference is you have to keep waxing, this is done once and forget ( but you have to keep washing)
personally even though i used the Opticoat, i think you can get your car shinier for longer after a good regular wax, but this product is for people who might miss a winter or a few months or so
I also got the opticoat, $895 Aussie and it came up beautiful, well worth the investment
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Whats all this 2 bucket stuff? If youve got a hose to run a pressure washer why not just hose the car off with a spray attachment?????

I use a bucket of water with a decent shampoo in and one of these:

Trade Quality Telescopic Wash Brush

Washing from the roof down and rinsing as I go, a mit on the areas arounf the mirrors etc and then dry off with a micro fibre cloth.

Dont need to make it complicated and you wouldnt if you had three cars to wash like I do!
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For some reason I've resisted both the two buckets and this alternative Swissvax UK Bucket, Grit Guard, Lid and Dolly
I must get a grit guard .
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Each to their own TD - whatever works for you.

The whole point is to avoid swirl marks in your paint. Having 2 buckets allows you to rinse off after contact with the car to get any grit off the pad/mitt before going back to your shampoo bucket then back onto the car. The grit guards at the bottom of the bucket allow the grit to collect at the bottom without decontaminating your mitt. It sounds like a lot of faff, but it works.

I use 3 buckets because I do the wheels first and don't want water full of brake dust going anywhere near my paint.

I also clean 3 cars. Our metallic black 90k mile 7 year old XC60 has no swirl marks or fine scratches from cleaning, whereas, I bet if you look closely in the sun or under a lamp at your paintwork, you'll have swirl marks.

Alfa paint is on the soft side of medium, so is prone to light scratching from washing, whereas the German paints are as hard as hell.
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I use 3 buckets because I do the wheels first and don't want water full of brake dust going anywhere near my paint.
Yep, most of the YouTube clips seems to suggest 3 buckets is the right approach with grit filters in each. This is getting expensive :-(
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I use 3 buckets because I do the wheels first and don't want water full of brake dust going anywhere near my paint.

Alfa paint is on the soft side of medium, so is prone to light scratching from washing, whereas the German paints are as hard as hell.
You have to be very careful with a power washer, they can do damage. I bought mine after the first attempt at cleaning the 20-spokers on my 159, thought it would make the job easier, but all it did was start to remove the paint off the wheels. I didn't admit this to the dealer, and got them rerurbed under warranty (twice), the only real "problem" the car had. Wonder if Alfa wheels are still vulnerable to flaking paint in this way? You're right about the softness of Alfa paint, but it can depend on the colour, Alfa red was always notorious for collecting stone chips etc. My 159 was Grigio Stromboli and didn't have a single stone chip after 3 years. The new Giulia is Imola Titanium which appears very similar, so I hope that fares as well. The real problem though is water-based paints, forced on us by EU directives, the old solvent-based paints were much more durable.
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Alfa paint may be soft but that makes it easy to cut and polish scratches out of.?detailers prefer soft paint to hard.

I gave up on the two bucket approach with grit guard years ago. If you use a tall bucket and fill it to the top the grip sinks to the bottom and stays there as long as you discard the last third of the bucket. The sponges float on top a long way away from the heavy stuff which collects on the bottom. Each to their own on this...

I agree pressure washers are a problem. I don't use them any longer since they can make your lights mist up and they can definitely take paint off alloy wheels...

Interestingly I'm finding the rear QV 5 hole weeks are developing a lot of fine gravel rash marks in the soles where they curve at the rim. If I wear my reading glasses I can see there are quite a few of them. Car is 2000 miles but to be fair most of its driving has been fast B & C roads which are pretty dirty with fine gravel down here...


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So I had a pressure washer for Christmas, and don't want to disappoint son by not using it. But my Alfa does have red paint, so I'm careful to rinse at the shallowest possible angle. But it does make a lovely foam to rinse off. In reality I only use the pressure washer once every 3 or so washes, when there's quite a lot of muck on the flanks, and damp weather means the muck is soft, and then only for the pre-wash to shift the worst of it.

Otherwise I use a 2 litre garden spray to wet the car with a 10% snow-foam mix, then do the wheels (with the hose ready on mist setting to stop the car drying). Wheel cleaners don't work for me, so it's bowl of cheapo wash/wash to brush/sponge the wheels. Then hose off the wheels and pre-wash, with pressure washer if it was foam. Then 2 buckets, with blue mitt for the top half, then yellow mitt for below that. Mostly pat dry with 2 big towels, but sometimes Aqua Wax, and 3 or 4 times a year AG SR Polish and EG Protection. Always seems to take the best part of an hour.

Oh yes, and Chipex, Chipex, Chipex. Boy, is that paint soft?!

Last edited by ChrisH77; 30-07-17 at 23:03.
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