Wash & Wax – Paint Care

Car Washing

A good idea before you start wetting and soaping your car, look down. Not at your feet, but at the wheels. Chemical wheel cleaners are often needed for really dirty wheels, but they lose their strength on wet surfaces. Ditto for the tyres so take care of those items first. Be sure to use the correct chemical and make sure the wheels are cool, or you may end up dulling the finish.

Laying suds to sheetmetal is a major opportunity to bond with your ride. Now’s the time to caress every curve, check each gap and groove, and examine all the external parts. It’s important to pay close attention because just slopping on the soap and hosing it off is only half of what you need to do. There are several other things to keep in mind when the bucket’s in hand and your car becoming clean.

Suds & Soap

What kind of soap are you using? Be sure to keep all non-automotive wash soaps far, far away— dishwashing detergents and other sudsing cleaners are formulated to remove grease and wax (which are not too chemically different from automotive wax). Keep in mind that it’s not the amount of suds which matters, but how the detergent cleans. Automotive washing agents such as Mothers® California Gold® Car Wash or California Gold® Wash & Wax are the way to go. The right car wash should be strong enough to clean off all of the dirt, bugs, tar and grime yet not strip the important stuff (like waxes and sealers) from your paint.


A smart way to deal with really heavy dirt, sap, bird droppings and other stuck-on stuff is to pretreat the extra-dirty sections of bodywork. Hit that nasty spot with a spritz of some extra soapy water or Mothers® California Gold® Instant Detailer. Soak the offending area liberally, and allow the solution to penetrate before washing the entire car.

Washing and Rinsing Your Car

  • Stay in shade, it’s a more pleasant place to wash a vehicle.
  • Reducing the risk of water spotting and improving the polishing and waxing performance.
  • Run a slow flooding flow of water over all surfaces go encourage a sheeting action to remove all suds.


Before drying off, run a slow flooding flow of water over all surfaces of the car. This will encourage a sheeting action, pulling more water off the paint as the flow passes.

Another great way to kick up the shine while saving time is by using a spray wax on your car’s freshly washed exterior as you dry it. Mothers® California Gold® Spray Wax and Reflections® Spray Wax offer their own unique benefits, and can be applied to a wet surface. Work around the vehicle one section at a time. Start by spraying the wax onto a clean towel, or directly onto the paint.

Next, spread it around evenly, just as you would with a traditional wax. Let it dry to a dull haze and then buff it to a shine with a fresh towel.

It’s just that easy. This will leave your car shining like new and with an additional layer of protection between regular detailing’s.

Drying Successfully

When drying, start with the glass because a dry towel works best there. Dry the vehicle as soon as you finish washing it, and be sure to use soft clean MLH® Super Absorber microfibre, Leather or Synthetic Chamois.

Microfibre towels are able to hold more water than cotton and use super-small synthetic fibres that won’t scratch your paint. If you can’t dry the entire car quickly enough you’ll probably wind up with water spots. A quick burst of detailing spray like Mothers® California Gold® Instant Detailer on the offending spots followed by a towel will remove all but badly etched water spotting which requires a cleaner or polish and some extended attention.

A valuable step in the drying process involves further washing. It’s difficult to thoroughly clean jamb areas on any vehicle without getting water in the interior. Hit the difficult-access sections after drying the rest of the vehicle. A clean, damp microfibre towel can wipe away most of the offending dust and dirt, and a follow-up with Mothers® California Gold® Instant Detailer will provide an easy clean.