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The Two-Bucket Wash Method

Posted by Ashley Schwab on

What method do you use for hand washing your ride? Imagine the many times you have seen people washing their vehicles in a driveway. Usually a person can be seen with a hose, single soapy bucket, and a wash mitt—repeatedly inserting the mitt into the same wash bucket. Essentially you are placing a wash mitt into dirty water and reusing that dirty water and soap combo to wash your vehicle. Not only does this create excess suds and an ineffective wash, but this also increases risk and prevalence of scratching.

The problem with the one bucket setup is that while washing your vehicle, the mitt is collecting grime, dirt, and other particulates. Then, those particulates are transferred into the wash bucket, causing those dirtying the water. As you continue to wash, more and more particulates float in the bucket and remain trapped in your mitt. These particulates transfer onto your vehicle surface leaving little scratches all over the paint.

So what is a better option? 

If you hand wash your ride, consider using the two-bucket wash method. The two-bucket wash method requires two buckets of the same size. I would recommend a 5-gallon bucket because less than this is too small. One bucket contains only water for rinsing and the other bucket contains a soap and water mixture for washing. If you are feeling extra motivated, you could even label one bucket “Rinse” and one “Wash” to differentiate.

To wash, mix the proper ratio of soap to water in the “Wash” bucket. Submerge and saturate the mitt into your “Wash” bucket, and then begin washing your vehicle. When you need to clean your wash mitt, submerge the mitt in the “Rinse” bucket, squeeze the mitt out, and then resubmerge the mitt into the “Wash” bucket. Continue this process after each pass on your car until your car wash is complete. I would wash your vehicle section by section. Cleaning the wash mitt after each section of your car will further minimize paint scratching. Change your bucket water frequently to avoid letting it get too murky. After all washing has been concluded, complete your final rinse as usual.

The two-bucket wash method removes particulates from the mitt and keeps them in your bucket. This will ensure a scratch-free, swirl-free wash. In fact, when you wash your vehicle with the two-bucket wash method, you will notice greater efficiency while also keeping your car paint pristine.

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