CHICAGO - Is your car the one in the parking lot with "Wash Me" written into the dirt across the back window? In just 10 minutes you can lose the grime and gain the shine. Dwayne McPeeks, technical expert at AutoGeek.net in Stuart, Fla., offers his professional five must-have tools and must-follow tips to get your car clean in a hurry.
Caryn Rousseau, Associated Press
Bucket: Must have, says McPeeks, who also suggests a plastic filter or grate-like product called the Grit Guard for about $10. He says it sits in the bucket and keeps the dirt on the bottom, and off your cleaning mitt.
Cleaning mitt: This will go directly over your hand like a glove. For the best quality get sheepskin, McPeeks says. Sheepskin ($15-$17) works well because its deep pile gives the dirt a place to go.
Water hose: Another recommendation from McPeeks, the Fire Hose Nozzle for about $20, lets you spin the hose from fine mist to sharp stream.
Car wash shampoo: Most people use dish soap, McPeeks says. "Dish soap dries out the paint finish. It will strip your wax. It dries out all the rubber molding and plastic trim," he says. In other words, a big no-no.
Towel: McPeeks advises microfiber, which is more absorbent, which means time saved.
Fill the bucket: Sounds easy, but most people put the soap in and then fill it with strong hose stream. They get more suds than water. Bad idea, says McPeeks. Instead, fill the bucket half way with water, then add the soap, then finish filling to activate suds.
Rinse the car with water.
Wash: "When it comes to washing, always start at the top and work your way down," McPeeks says. Go in order from roof, to windshield and hood and then to the sides and finally the bottom.
"Save the bottommost parts of the car for last because they're the dirtiest," McPeeks says. That way you don't wash the bottom and then have dirty water from the roof falling over your clean car.
Rinse the soap off: Time-saving tip, use the stream setting on your hose. "It floods the surface with water, gravity takes over. The water sheets off the car and you're left with just a few drops of water," McPeeks said. "A fine spray would leave millions of tiny beads." This makes it quicker for your last step ...