The basic premise of the two bucket wash method consists of your standard 10/15 litre bucket filled with water and your favourite car wash detergent, but then adds a second bucket filled with just plain water which acts as a ‘dirt trap’ for the contamination and debris that are removed during the wash process
A grit guard is placed in the bottom of each bucket to form a Grit Guard Wash System, and a micro-fiber wash mitt is generally used in place of a traditional foam sponge. This can also be replicated with a merino wool wash mitt, short pile wool or microfibre. The main thing to keep in mind is the more ‘pile’ or density that it has the less chance it has in inflicting any damages. Think of it as a towel you would use at home, you wouldn’t dry yourself with a thin tea-towel whereas the thick bath towel is a much more appealing idea.
How Does It Work?
Much like you would wash your car with a single bucket and sponge, you begin by dunking the wash mitt into the first bucket filled with your car wash detergent solution, and then proceed to washing the first panel of the car. In general it’s best to start with the roof and then work your way around and down the vehicle washing one panel at a time.
The real difference with the two bucket method, is that after you wash a panel of the car, you then rinse your wash mitt in the second bucket filled with plain water, running the mitt along the surface of the grit guard to release the dirt you’ve accumulated on the wash mitt. Then after squeezing out the remaining water from the mitt, once again dunk it back into your first bucket filled with your car wash detergent solution, and proceed to washing the next panel of the car.
So in essence, the real difference between the two bucket method and the older single bucket method is that after you wash each panel of the car, you then rinse and squeeze your mitt out, before proceeding to the next panel.
car wash hack - double up on your wash mitts, use one for the top section including tops of doors etc and a secondary mitt for the dirtiest panels! Like the rear bumper, side skirts, wheel well edges
Why Use the Two Bucket Wash Method?
Every car enthusiast knows the heartache of pulling your vehicle into the sun and seeing the paint covered in swirls and scratches. The two bucket car wash method is all about providing a safer car washing experience, that largely reduces the swirl marks caused by improper or out dated car wash methods.
It’s important to understand that the vast majority of swirls or spider web pattern scratches are inflicted on car paint due to dirt being pushed around on the surface of the paint during the washing stage of a vehicle.
So when you reduce or eliminate that dirt from your car wash process by using this two bucket method, you avoid those swirls marks and keep your paint looking and behaving it’s best.
What Else is Important To Know?
As well as releasing the dirt from your wash mitt, grit guards also trap that dirt beneath them and keep it at the bottom of the bucket, not allowing it to recirculate back onto your wash mitt.
Unlike most traditional foam sponges that push dirt along the surface of the car paint, microfibre wash mitts collect dirt within their fibres away from the surface of the paint, so it’s not making direct contact with the paint and inducing swirl marks.
When your car paint is hot, it also becomes softer allowing swirls and scratches to be inflicted far more easily. So always try and wash your vehicle in a cool shaded area, or first thing in the morning or late in the evening when the sun is at its lowest points.
If your car is washed regularly, the vast majority of dirt will be looser settling dust. So always be sure to give the vehicle a good thorough rinse down with your hose or pressure washer to remove as much dirt as possible before you begin the hand wash stage.
Dirt, pressure and circular motions equal swirls. So never press down with force on the paint with your wash mitt, just allow the mitt to glide along the paint with no added pressure, using straight back and forth motions.