Two buckets and a leaf blower method

Two buckets and a leaf blower method

I am not much of a car washer. My lack of concern about the appearance of the car is well known among my friends and family. Brother said he is going to rat on me to the SPCA (A for automobiles) and people generally agree my cars would cry if they could.

Then Tesla happened. People are talking about getting something called ceramic coating and wrap and what not. I learned there is something called "whirls" (or is it whorls?) that would happen if you hand wash the car incorrectly. So I was a little apprehensive about washing the car myself.

Looked up some youtube videos, got two buckets and soap from Home Depot, I had some wash mitts. I jury rigged a grit baffle. I got an electric leaf blower [*] to dry the car to reduce the amount of rubbing in the drying phase of the wash.

Worked very well. When I blow the air, the water on the car runs like rivulets, they get smaller and smaller. I could see that lots of the water just evaporates. When I ran the microfiber towels to finish the drying those towels remained dry, not much of water left on the car surface!

So looks the simplest way to do it is:
Do it in shade.
Never let soap / suds dry off
Never let beaded water to dry off
Hose down one section, use suds and mitt, back and forth, not circles like the Karate Kid 1 Lesson 1.
Hose off the soap/suds move to the next section.
Keep the washed off sections wet, keep spraying a little water on previously washed sections.
Once the car is washed, go with the leaf blower
Blow air from front to back, car is streamlined and the air flows well.
Drying towels might not even be needed.

What would be nice:
The motor/blower to be left on the ground, and a easier to handle hose alone designed for this specific purpose. It might already exist, I wouldn't know if it does.

Wondering about:
Electric pressure washers, not too strong, just 1200 psi or so, have soap tank attachments, might avoid even the sudsy mitt washing. That would be a totally touch free wash.
I have such a pressure washer, not sure if it is a good idea to use it on Tessie. After all SPCA/PETA might come and get me for that.

[*] Ryobi electric, 155 mph 55$.

efuseakay | July 4, 2018

I have the Portland 1750 psi 1.3 gpm pressure washer from harbor freight and it works great. :)

On sale now for $75.

efuseakay | July 4, 2018

I have the Portland 1750 psi 1.3 gpm pressure washer from harbor freight and it works great. :)

On sale now for $75.

efuseakay | July 4, 2018

Oops. :)

dyefrog | July 4, 2018

I applied the ceramic coating a week after delivery and used a foam cannon at prep. A week later after the CC had "cured", I washed it again with the foam cannon and it was pointless. It just falls away within seconds of spraying the foam on. My point is, I too am not as diligent at washing my car on a weekly or sometimes even monthly basis. That's were the CC is great for people like us. It's like a semi-permanent wax that most dirt, bird droppings, contaminants, just rinse off with the PW. Truly a touchless wash. I too have used the leaf blower to dry and it does minimize the towel drying for a mostly touch free wash.

ravisundaramam | July 4, 2018

How much it costs to do a ceramic coating for a car?

carlk | July 4, 2018

Use this instead of soap and water.

It's much easier and there is no need to use a leaf blower. There will be no water marks or swirls and you should get the shiniest car you've seen. It sounds too good to be true but it actually is. Even professional detailers are using this nowadays.

MalibuRed | July 4, 2018

Another option buy an adapter for your small air compressor used for adding air to tires, for approx 50 u can have an instant long hose and blow the air fast out of the cracks

Magic 8 Ball | July 4, 2018

Air from most compressors has oil in it.

If you are going to use forced air use a device that blows clean air.

sroh | July 4, 2018

Agree with carlk. I won't use any other car wash solution than ONR. No blower needed. I use just one bucket with several microfiber towels. Dunk towels in solution, fold one into fourths, wash one panel, flip towel and wash another panel. Dry off both panels with drying towel. Then repeat with sides 3 and 4 of MF. Once 4 sides have been used, discard and use a new MF. This way, you don't need a rinse bucket and you don't need a grit guard,. You will need several MF towels though.

Ceramic coating will cost hundreds of dollars ($600-900?) if you take it to a detailer. But it's pretty easy to do yourself. Around $50 for CarPro Cquartz UK 3.0, including applicator. It won't last as long as a professional coating, but at that price, you can re-apply when you start to feel it's wearing off.

breezin | July 4, 2018

I did my own Carpro Cquartz from amazon... wasn't the UK version. But did 2 coats and it is working just great. For the price I'd be happy to do it once a year if that is what is required. Guess we will see how it deals with the winter.

I got the 50ml kit and still have a ton left even after 2 coats.

ravisundaramam | July 4, 2018

Wondering why the car companies do not apply this ceramic coating at the factory? It would cost them much less right? Wholesale prices ...

Magic 8 Ball | July 4, 2018

Typically you would not want to put anything on fresh paint.

Most paints must "breath" for a while until they are fully cured.

M3Dreamin’ | July 4, 2018

@deeprave74 thanks for the tip. Picked up the pressure washer from harbor freight.

efuseakay | July 4, 2018

Right on, M3Dreaming! If you want to use an Amazon foam cannon with it, you can get the Ryohi wand attachment with the standard size adapter.

Ryobi RY14122 Pressure Washer Replacement Spray Wand # 308494075

I’ve got this setup with a 1.1mm orifice (Search “foam cannon 1.1mm orifice on YouTube) and it foams up very well.

jordanrichard | July 4, 2018

Douwe, I could be wrong but I think that “paint must breath for a while” aka cure, is from the old days when cars were painted in lacquer. Paint with a lot of chemicals in it had to “off gas”. Modern paint especially in Tesla’s plant, has no or very little VOCs. Many people here had their car ceramic coated or wrapped what would have been within 1 week from the car actually being built.

Ravisundarama, I too have thought the same thing about why if it was so simply as applying a coating to add real increased protection why they didn’t do it at the factory or during pre-delivery prep.

Magic 8 Ball | July 4, 2018


You could be correct. Last time I sprayed a care was in Acrylic enamel (Centari) that had catalysts. Even tho' that stuff was also lower VOC, for the time, they recommended no wax for about a month. It would be nice to see some actual spec sheets on what they recommend for the new stuff.

Gregg Ray | July 4, 2018

$12, 5 minutes, bye bye.....

chuck | July 4, 2018

The really fast method is the Six Glove Method.

Use a pressure washer with a wide fan setting to rinse off the whole car.

Use a "foam cannon" attachment for the pressure washer to suds up the whole car.

Use a microfiber mitt to wipe down (long, linear wipes as you describe, no circles) the hood and front quarter of the car.

Use a second microfiber mitt (the first one having been discarded in a dry bucket so it doesn't get on the ground) to wipe down the driver's side windshield, driver's side front half of the roof, and the driver's door.

Use a third microfiber mitt (the second joining the first in that clean, dry bucket) to wipe down the driver's side half of the back half of the roof and the back passenger door.

Use a fourth mitt on the back window, trunck, and hindquarter.

Use a fifth mitt on the back passenger door and roof area above it.

Use a sixth mitt on the front passenger door and remaining roof.

Rinse the whole car with the pressure washer now back to the clean water wide-fan spray.

Dry with big microfiber towels.

No two buckets. No wash water and rinse water. No rinsing out and wringing out and re-sudsing the mitt. None of that.

You need six mitts, yes. But because you're only using them for 1/6th of the car each, they last six times as long.

Coastal Cruiser. | July 4, 2018

The "Six Glove" method?

The description sounds suspiciously similar to the "Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique". Hope no one uses this wash technique on a human. I might stop at 4 mitts regardless.

ravisundaramam | July 4, 2018

@Gregg Ray: "$12, 5 minutes, bye bye...."

Wow! You are splurging on the three color foam royal spa treatment with tornado dry!

mfong | July 4, 2018

I use the pressure washer to rinse the car. Foam cannon attachment to snow foam it and wait 5 minutes before rinsing. Then foam it again and use microfiber mitt with one bucket of water to lightly scrub car. Rinse and use leaf blower to dry. It works well for me, but my arm does get a little tired from the blow drying.

Ross1 | July 5, 2018

Advice: Wash it once a year if it needs it or not.

From Formula 1 engine designer. It changed my life.