How to Wash a Car Without Water Spots
February 13, 2014
You already know that your precious four-wheeled friend needs regular maintenance and detailing to keep it looking brand-new and without water spots. But did you know that while washing your car is the best way to get rid of dirt, drying is what gives your car a mirror-like finish?
Swirls, spider webs, water spots, streaks, and scratches are all caused by one thing: poor drying technique. Your professional detailer has had years of experience drying vehicles with different types of finishes and he now knows how to do this part of the job blindfolded. However, as an amateur DIY detailer your car will benefit a lot from proper washing and drying in between your scheduled detailing appointments
Dry Your Car Like the Pros – No Water Spots
Apart from good technique, two other things are necessary for you to prevent water spots from marring the beauty of your freshly-washed car: top calibre wash mitts and a good car shampoo or soap. If you are willing to shell out a few extra bucks, you can also buy a leaf blower or anything that can pump out compressed air. This will blow excess water from underneath the cracks and crevices of your car, allowing you to work without water dripping from unseen parts every now and then. Some professionals advise that you should touch the vehicle as less as possible to leave zero water spots after drying.
A good car shampoo or soap will not leave behind any residue on your vehicle after it has been thoroughly washed off. It all depends on the chemical formulation of your soap or shampoo. If you notice that a particular brand still produces water spots even after you’ve switched techniques, it’s time to change to a different brand.
Finally, your wash mitt will seal the fate of your car’s finish. Some detailers prefer a microfiber waffle weave towel for the actual drying, but you can also take your pick from chamois or absorbers. The important thing here is that the cloth can absorb a lot of water without you applying pressure to the surface of your vehicle. The higher the absorption capacity of your wash cloth, the better it will be for the job.
The secret to having little to no water spots on a freshly-washed car is to not touch the paintjob when you don’t have to. So even if you have a good quality wash mitt ready for action, don’t attack the car right away. Use your leaf blower to chase out water trapped inside your car’s cracks and crevices. Afterwards, you only need to blot—not wipe or rub—the areas on your car that don’t seem to be drying as fast as the others. You can also simply drag the towel or wash cloth across these wet areas, again keeping as little pressure on the towel as possible.
When drying your vehicle, you want to pick a spot that’s well-ventilated but also out of the sun’s reach. Harmful UV rays can wreak havoc on the paintwork after a wash, especially if you’re not going to apply wax yet. Plus, the sun will encourage different parts of your car to dry at different rates, increasing the risk of water spots further.