Washing to Win - The Kleanmitt's Shining Moment May 17 2016

This is the next step in Concours prep after working on the wheels.  Our Kleanmitts were made for this job.  Whether you clay during the wash process or after, the time you save will surely impress you.  Let's get started.

We're going to work on the vehicle body in sections.

You will clean:

    • Roof
    • Windows
    • Everything above the belt line
    • Everything below the belt line, including front and rear bumpers

      The "belt line" is the protective door strip on your car.  If your car doesn't have a door strip, define it using the body lines.  The section below the belt line is often the filthiest, and we don't want to drag that dirt over the panels.


      • Klaren Kleanmitt
      • Automotive Soap
      • Detailing brushes, or a paint brush with soft bristles
      • A wash bucket
      Bonus: A second bucket for rinsing.  Grit guards for each.


      Make sure your buckets are clean before you fill them (no dirt in the bottom or on the sides).  Fill one with soap and water.  If you have another, fill it with water only. We do this to avoid reintroducing dirt by contaminating the soapy water.   If you don't have a second bucket, hose your mitt periodically to clean it.

      If you're using a Kleanmitt or Pocket Clay, you have a choice to make: clay while washing, or clay after washing.  Neither method is wrong.

      If you clay during the wash: clean a section, rinse the filthy suds away, and clay using more soapy water as your lubricant. Claying after washing the whole car may take longer.  It feels a lot like cleaning your car twice, but if your wash was thorough, we can guarantee that you won't grind filth into your paint.  To each his own.

      Rinse the vehicle from the top down.  Always work from the top down, so you don't scratch the paint.

      Step 1: Wash the roof of the car.  If you have an SUV, there are often slots in the panel where dirt loves to accumulate.  Guide your Kleanmitt, using your fingers to trace the grooves and remove all the grime you can.  If your car has roof rails, clean around and beneath them, too.  If you're obsessive, feel welcome to remove the roof rails.

      Rinse the car.

      Step 2: Wash the hood, trunk, and windows of your car.  Trace the crevices and seams along windows and panels.  Microfiber will reach into tight corners in ways that a sponge cannot. Clean around your side mirrors.  Lift the wiper blades.  Use your mitt around, beneath, and on your wiper arms too.

      Step 3: Work your way around the vehicle as you wash above the belt line.  When you're finished, rinse the vehicle.  Rinsing your tools and the car frequently takes more time, but minimizes the likelihood of creating scratches and swirls in the paint.  Find the balance that works well for you.

      Step 4: It's time to wash the grimiest parts of your car.  If you're keen about not scratching the paint, rinse your Kleanmitt between passes.  It will be loaded.  This will be harder for people without direct access to a hose, which is why I recommended a rinse bucket, but spraying your Kleanmitt with the hose is the most effective way to release dirt. Wiping your paint with a dirty rag, towel, mitt, or sponge is like wiping it with sand paper, and I promise that the effects are just as damaging.

      Use your brushes for tighter areas where the Kleanmitt won't fit.  Dip them into the wash water, or pour a little soap on the bristles.  It makes cleaning emblems, grilles, fog lights, and that little space above the license plate much easier.  Threat them just like the mitt.  If it's loaded, rinse it off.  Fan out and massage the bristles if you need to, so they let go of the grime. 

      When you're finished, rinse the whole car and give it a once-over.  Did you miss a spot?  You washed under the rocker panels, right?  How about the fold around the wheel arches? Look around the license plate, around the gas cap, and under door handles too.  Attention to detail is the key to a stunning finish.

      Dry the car quickly and completely.  Standing water that's left behind can leave deposits, or etch little circles in your paint.  The latter can't be removed with clay!  We like using an electric leaf blower or compressed air for marr-free drying, but a clean microfiber towel is the next best thing.

      Quick Tips:

      Avoid water spots by washing your car in the early morning or late afternoon out of direct sunlight.

      Always wash your car from top to bottom.

      Rinse frequently, and keep the paint wet until you're finished.

      Dry from the top down, similar to the way you washed the car.

      If you're using a towel to dry the car and it's picking up dirt, STOP IMMEDIATELY.  Reassess the paint and check for areas you missed during the wash.

      Have fun!