Welcome to our Guides section – Here you will find some very useful information on how to get the most from your Car Couture products. We are constantly adding information so keep trying back or if you have any specific requests then again get in touch using our Contact Page.
But washing a car is easy right?
Washing your car is an essential part of ownership, it doesn’t matter if your car is a show queen, a drag racer a retro classic or even a school run bus, regular washing and care WILL extend the life of the paintwork but not only that it makes you feel better inside when you drive a clean car. You may think that simply using a bucket, sponge and some cheap shampoo will keep it clean but it probably has a more harmful and negative affect on the paintwork than just not bothering at all! Anybody that regularly washes their car will have learnt that its the most important part of the washing process and it sets up the paintwork for various stages of detailing which in turn will result in an amazing shine and long lasting protection between washes. For the average car a weekly wash will be more than enough, however it should be increased where possible in the winter months due to increased road grime and salt on the roads which can cause paint defects and detract from the overall appearance of the car. You should never wash a car if the dirt is still wet from a journey, the paint work is hot, or you are in direct sunlight as this will also damage the paint.
What’s required for a basic wash?
1. Pressure washer (We recommend a Karcher Kseries or a Nilfisk as they’re affordable to most people and very good!)
4. Snow Foam
STEP 1 – RINSE
This is one of the most important steps when washing a vehicle. Ensure great care is taken to to loosen and remove as much dirt as possible by using your pressure washer, all panel gaps, wheel arches and the entire bodywork must be thoroughly washed down to prevent large pieces of dirt and grime sticking to your wash mitt and causing damage to the paint in the next stage.
STEP 2 – PRE WASH
No matter how thorough and vigorous your rinse was, it’s almost entirely impossible to remove all of the dirt built up over a week or more which is why we highly recommend using our Snow Foam in conjunction with our Snow Foam Lance to complete the pre wash process and prevent swirl marks in your paint from the un-removed dirt.
Simply add roughly an inch of the Snow Foam to your lance, top up about two thirds full with warm water as this will also help with consistency and then connect to your pressure washer, warmer water is better is helps with the thickness of the foam, as does the water pressure which is why a pressure washer is much preferred over a simple foam gun attached to a hose pipe.
After just a few minutes the foam will have worked it’s magic and it’s time to rinse it off with the pressure washer ensuring all foam and residue is removed properly.
STEP 3 – WASH
The two bucket wash method is the only method we would ever recommend, it helps prevent contaminants and it absolutely works!
Firstly, ensure you have placed your grit guards into your buckets correctly and that both are clean before you start! Sponges are an absolute NO and only a Microfibre Chenille Mitt or Microfibre Wash & Polish Mitt should ever be used to ensure no trapped dirt is wiped across the vehicles paint finish.
Add 4-5 pumps of our Cherry Shampoo to one of the buckets and dilute accordingly, next fill the bucket with the desired amount of water, using your pressure washer will create suds and activate the shampoo properly.
Next fill your second bucket with nothing but fresh clean water (this is your rinse bucket)
Starting always at the top of the vehicle to prevent moving dirt from the lower portion of the car to the top as the bottom is usually a lot dirtier, load up your Microfibre Chenille Mitt or Microfibre Wash & Polish Mitt with soapy water, applying only light pressure to the vehicles surface wash each panel, avoiding using circular motions with your hands as this can create swirl marks also. After you have completed a section of the vehicle make sure to plunge your chosen Mitt into the rinse bucket and wipe against the grit guard at the bottom, this will remove the dirt from the mitt and allow it to sink to the bottom under the guard preventing contamination. Don’t be afraid to empty and re fill the rinse bucket with fresh water several times, especially on larger vehicles as it will all help to prevent paint damage.
Rinse the car after each section to prevent soap stains and drying until the vehicle is completed.
NOTE – Should you drop your wash mitt accidentally, do not continue to use it, exchange it for another until it can be machine washed or cleaned as per manufacturers instructions.
STEP 4 – DRYING
Once the whole vehicle is cleaned, either remove the end of your lance or use the hose pipe only to create a sheet or steady flow of water and coat the entire car with it, this will actually help to dry the car and remove and excess water, this is known as “Flooding” and helps to dramatically reduce the amount of drying time and effort required to dry the vehicle.
Stretch out the towel as much as possible and using a wiping or blotting method cover as much of the vehicle as possible, pull the towel across the vehicle, attracting as much water to the towel as possible, turn where needed to reveal dry sections of the towel and repeat until satisfied that the vehicle is fully dried.
DO NOT use a chamois leather, its really old technology and they are not very good at what they are supposed to do.
Finally ensure that you wash your drying towel as per manufacturers instructions ready for next time!
Hold on! What about my wheels?
One part of the vehicle that tends to be overlooked in the majority of cases is the wheels, sure you clean them… but are they really clean? Here we will give you the best method for ensuring your wheels are always spotless! The wheels and tyres are probably the most important part of your vehicle, they are all that keep you to the road, they receive constant abuse from road grime, salt, grease and anything else you might come into contact with so its essential they are looked after properly as they need the most work by far. When detailing your car its important to start with the wheels, they are by far the dirtiest part of the car so by cleaning them first you have very little chance of cross contaminating with the paintwork, again helping prevent any damage to the paint. It’s pretty important to keep the wheels clean so regular washing is essential, where possible remove the wheels and clean them inside out a few times a year. An inherent problem with wheels is brake dust! it’s one of those necessary evil’s but if its left it can cause major damage to the wheels finish, especially chrome finishes so its important that regular washing and protection is given to them even in the winter months, sure it might be cold and windy outside but believe us you will be thankful you wrapped up warm and spent a little time cleaning off the dirt come summer when your wheels are awesome still!
What’s required to wash my Wheels & Tyres?
1. A dedicated wheel wash bucket.
2. A selection of wheel brushes
4. A Tyre Dressing Applicator Sponge
5. Wheel Decontaminate / Iron Remover
7. Tyre Dressing
STEP 1 – DECONTAMINATING
Before starting please ensure that your wheels are cool so if you’ve just come back in after a journey we suggest you wait a little while. Only ever work on 1 wheel at a time from start to finish and start by using your pressure washer rinse the wheel and loosen any built up grim thoroughly, inside the wheels arches, around the tyres etc. If the wheels are heavily soiled then you should use the Wheel Decontaminate / Iron Remover, apply liberally to the entire wheels surface and you should start to notice any of the built up metal filings and brake dust turning purple which is a reaction to the chemical. This helps to identify the most affected areas and the powerful cleaning agents will lift and remove the problem so that you can simply rinse and then repeat if required. For heavily pitted areas we recommend agitating the wheel with an appropriate wheel brush. If the wheels are not heavily soiled you may wish to skip this step and move directly onto step 2.
STEP 2 – WHEEL CLEANING
Spray our Wheel Cleaner liberally and directly onto the wheels surface, ensuring to cover the inside and the outer face of the wheel and leave for a few minutes but do not allow to dry on! Using your desired wheel brush give the wheels and the tyres a good clean and then rinse thoroughly with your pressure washer. For heavily soiled areas you may wish to repeat the process and agitate with a wheel brush or Wash Mitt ensuring all contaminants are removed. Our Wheel Cleaner is completely safe to use on all types of wheels and is fully PH Neutral. Lastly dry the wheels with a large microfiber drying towel in anticipation for the next stage.
STEP 3 – WASHING YOUR WHEELS
Now that your wheel has had its major treatment its time to really wash them! Using our highly concentrated Cherry Shampoo in your wheel wash bucket load up your Wash Mitt and proceed to wash the wheel thoroughly inside and out and all the hard-to-reach places, feel free to use a wheel brush where needed. Then simply rinse off the wheel using your pressure washer ensuring all soap suds are removed.
STEP 4 – WASHING YOUR TYRES
Washing the tyres may seem like a pointless exercise but if you are planning on using Tyre Dressing its essential to make sure any old tyre dressing and built up dirt on the rubber is removed prior. Spray the tyres with our Wheel Cleaner and then clean using a wheel brush. Rinse with your pressure washer and then repeat the process using our Cherry Shampoo and wheel brush. Finally dry off the entire wheel and tyre with a drying towel and sit back and admire your amazingly clean wheels!
STEP 5 – PROTECTING YOUR WHEELS
This step is a sure fire way of giving your freshly cleaned wheels the help they need by protecting and sealing them which will help them to fight against road grime and brake dust build up, think of the wax and sealant as a self sacrificing product, it takes all of the punishment so that the wheels can remain immaculate underneath. It’s extra important for people with chromed or bare alloy finishes to ensure wax and protection is applied to the wheels. Using one of our Applicator Pads or a lint free cloth apply some wax to the wheels surface allowing to dry to a haze, and then simply buff off. A little goes along way however building up several layers of wax will add to overall affect and protection of the wheels and will save you valuable time in the future. NOTE – our wheel waxes and sealants are coming soon
My car’s all clean now, but how do I make it really shine!?
Polishing & Waxing is probably the most well known and true & tested way of achieving an excellent shine on your car and creating the beading affect we all crave on our cars, but did you know that the majority of people who use polish & wax are likely using it incorrectly, not using the correct type of product or even causing irreversible damage to the paintwork. How you might ask? well the answer is simple really, lack of proper preparation of the cars paintwork, and using products that don’t suit our climate. The products that you use is a very personal choice, its not unlike the deodorant you use, the type of hair products you buy etc, whichever you feel most comfortable using is what we suggest you use. With that being said we’ve spent years developing what we believe is the best polish and wax on the market for the price and it leaves others completely in the dark. We purposely designed it to be a liquid type product rather than a hard wax because we feel it applies easier, is easier for everybody to use and there is no chance of it drying like a paste or hard wax can do. Our Stage 2 Polish and Carnauba Wax are also specifically designed not to leave white marks or a powdery residue often found with many mainstream polish and waxes.
What’s required to Polish & Wax?
1. Your chosen polish, such as our Stage 2 Polish
2. Your chosen wax, such as our Carnauba Wax
3. Machine Polisher or our Applicator Pads if you wish to do it by hand
4. A selection of Microfiber cloths
STEP 1 – POLISHING
By using our other guides you will achieved the perfect base to firstly apply our polish, now depending on the paint works condition you may wish to use either a polish with a course cutting agent, or a more fine polish such as our Stage 2 Polish or you may wish to start with a more course polish and finish with a finer polish to actively improve the paints clear coat and remove those deep scratches and swirls. Apply your chosen polish either with a machine polisher or with one of our Applicator Pads and proceed to polish the vehicle a small portion at a time, we recommend roughly 1 meter square to ensure you don’t miss any as it can become overwhelming trying to polish an entire large panel in one go. Once the polish has started to dry to haze, begin to buff off using a lint free cloth which will reveal a brilliant shine, then repeat this process over the entire vehicle, again you can repeat this if you wish to use several grades of polish. Once happy with the results we recommend going over the entire vehicle with our Instant Detailing Spray and buffing off with a fresh cloth as we find it helps to remove any small amounts of residue not picked up by your buffing cloth alone and will help to reduce contamination in the waxing process.
STEP 2 – WAXING
By now you’ve probably spent the majority of an entire day detailing your car from top to bottom, but the good news is this the last piece of the puzzle and if you keep on top of the car after this you will have an immaculate car for time to come.
Firstly apply a small amount of our Carnauba Wax to the area you are working on, do this in the same way as the polish, roughly 1 meter square at a time, once dried to a haze buff away with a fresh cloth to a shine. Repeat the process over the entire car, remember you can apply as many coats of this as you wish as it all helps to protect against scratches and dirt on the paintwork.
All of our products are designed to work in harmony with each other and our Carnauba Wax is no exception. Once applied you can simply use regular maintenance washes on the car and the wax will allow you to remove any dirt very easily indeed.
Wow! What a difference, I think it’s time to clean my windows now too!
Clean Windows are about the best thing since sliced bread when it comes to driving, I’m sure you have at some point been driving along, dirty windows, and all of a sudden the sun is in your view and you literally can’t see a thing! Well not only is it insanely dangerous but it’s so so easy to prevent, sure washer fluid helps but it doesn’t make the glass as clean as it should be. Cleaning the glass is probably the most satisfying yet easiest part of detailing a car, some people really struggle with marks, smudges and streaks whilst using glass cleaner and it’s simply down to poor choice of products so here we will tell you exactly how to achieve sparkling glass with very little effort. As good as water is, it’s all around us, it has so many amazing features and applications and is the building block to almost everything on earth, it’s absolutely the worst thing ever for glass!.. Bear with us here! Dried on water leaves water spots which contain dust, minerals, and fallout from the sky which in turn creates terrible looking glass and can permanently damage the finish.
What’s required to clean my glass?
1. Our Glass Cleaner
2. Glass Sealant / Rain Repellent
4. Our Applicator Pads
STEP 1 – CLEANING THE GLASS
We recommend starting with the hardest to reach part first, the inside windscreen, this is probably the most overlooked part of the car as people usually find it awkward to do or find it leaves too many marks. A key thing to do is to spray our Glass Cleaner directly onto the Glass Cloth to avoid spraying the dashboard . Once completed move onto the rest of the interior windows, then the outside drivers and passenger sides, leaving the rear window and then the outside windscreen until last. Depending on the type of vehicle you own it may have a surround to the the window, most cars do, it tends to only be convertibles, coup’es and other sports type cars that don’t. If your car does then its advised to lower the windows slightly to allow cleaning of the top part of the glass, then raise back up and complete on the lower part of the glass. Our Glass Cleaner is specifically designed to provide a non-streak finish and has rapidly evaporating design which makes it one of the best and easiest glass cleaners to use on the market. Accidents happen so don’t be afraid if you accidentally spray the paintwork or interior plastics as it won’t harm at all, just make sure you wipe off with a fresh cloth and it will be fine. Another important element of cleaning the glass is also the mirrors and the wiper blades, Mirrors seem an obvious thing so make sure you pay special attention to them as they are a huge safety element to the car, without them you will never be aware of people over taking you. Wiper blades can be cleaned by simply spraying our Glass Cleaner directly onto the cloth, lifting the wipers up and running the cloth along the blade removing all of the dirt, not only will this help to reduce dirt being transferred onto the glass but it will also increase the life of the wiper blades too.
STEP 2 – POLISHING
Polishing your glass may seem like a pointless thing to do, but its what sets apart clean glass from sparkling glass! We highly recommend using our Stage 2 Polish due to its fine ingredients it will help to remove any clouding on the glass and ingrained dirt. Use our Stage 2 polish on your glass just like you would with any other body panel on the car, you can use it by hand with on our Applicator Pads or even with a machine polisher if that’s your preferred method as our polish is designed to be used either way. Continue to polish until it starts to dry to a haze, at which point take a clean microfiber cloth and buff off removing all residue which will leave an immaculate finish and add protective layers to the glass.
STEP 3 – PROTECTION
Sealing your glass is by far the best way to prevent damage to the glass caused by dirt and other road grimes, Rain repellent works as a hydrophobic coating to literally repel water from the glass, meaning your wiper blades sweep much more smoothly and extend their life also. This coating should last up to 6 months depending on weather conditions, use of wiper blades etc however we do recommend topping up the coating every 3-4 months to be safe especially in the winter months.
I have a big show coming up, should I do my engine bay too?
It’s a well known fact that the majority of people unless owning a dedicated show car do very little in the way of taking care of their engine bay, which is silly given that the first place potential buyers look when buying a car is under the bonnet! With this in mind its a very important part of the cleaning schedule and will give you great benefits such as making life much easier when it comes to repairs and maintenance as you won’t have to fight through layers of grease, oil and grime to get at what you are doing. Furthermore a potential buyer will see a lovely clean engine bay and automatically think you’ve taken excellent care of your car, Bonus! Some reservations you may have are that you are fearful of the cars electrics and components becoming water damaged and rightly so! However we will cover this and hopefully make you wonder why you were ever scared to do this before.
What’s required to clean my Engine Bay?
2. Various clothes, towels and throwaway rags
3. A selection of detailing brushes
4. Engine bay de-greaser
5. Our Detailing Spray
6. Sealant, Wax or Metal Polish where required
STEP 1 – PROTECTING YOUR COMPONENTS
It’s very likely if you are new to engine bay detailing that you will have a huge build up of dirt in the engine bay so its essential that you give it a deep clean, but first you need to protect the vital electronics and other components that shouldn’t come into contact with water. Remember never to detail an engine bay if the engine is hot! Some of the items that will need to be covered are as follows if applicable to your vehicle. Air Intake (if exposed) HID (headlight) Ballasts (if fitted) Alarm Siren Coil Packs Electronic Control Unit (ECU) Electrical plugs and connectors Alternator Oil Dipstick Some of these may not apply and many vehicles vary, for example some vehicles may have their ECU inside the car, older cars especially wont have anywhere near the amount of electronics a more modern car does. We recommend using plastic food bags, cling film and masking tape to cover up the above components ensuring no water can get into the engine as this can cause engine damage.
STEP 2 – DE-GREASING
Spray the engine bay with a hose pipe only, a pressure washer is not recommended for engine bay use as it can cause damage to essential parts. Spray De-greaser all over the engine bay liberally, allow to soak for a few minutes and agitate with your chosen brushes where required making sure you get into every little hard-to-reach place, using a stiff thin brush may be beneficial at this point. You may need to repeat the process a few times if it’s not been done in quite a while.
STEP 3 – RINSING & DRYING
Using your hose rinse off the De-greaser and dirt, using your throwaway rags and cloths where needed to ensure all the dirt is removed fully. Use microfiber cloths to dry the engine bay rather than leave it to dry itself as there will be water spots left.
STEP 4 – DETAILING & PROTECTING
The final stage of the process is to use your detailing products to really make it shine! detailing spray is excellent for removing any dust or marks and brings up plastics and paintwork lovely, you may also wish to use a plastic restoring product and a metal polish on all your nuts and bolts or any nice pipework or strut braces etc your car may have. At this stage waxing and sealing is also a good idea especially on metal and chrome work as it allows you to easily remove future water spots and dirt next time around and leaves an amazing shine.