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Carrying Out a Safe Wash

You might have heard the term "Safe Wash" before but wondered what it meant, and how you could use this technique when washing your car. In the following blog, I will explain what Safe Wash means, the different options you have, what equipment you need, and how to carry a Safe Wash out.


What is meant by "Safe Wash"?


A safe wash is a technique used to clean your vehicles paintwork without introducing fine scratches (referred to as Micro Marring) by inadvertently dragging dirt or other contamination across the surface while washing. There are 3 different methods of conducting a safe wash:

  1. Two Bucket Method

  2. Multi-Wash Mitt Method

  3. One Bucket Foam Lance Method


1. Two Bucket Method


The Two bucket Method - as the name suggests - uses two buckets. The first bucket contains your diluted vehicle soap. This is referred to as the Wash bucket. The second contains water, and is called the Rinse bucket. The following equipment is required to conduct this:

  • 2 x 25Ltr Buckets

  • 2 x Grit Guards

  • Wash Mitt

  • Soft Bristled Brush






The process is as follows: Soak your mitt was in the wash bucket and then start to clean the vehicle from the top, working down. Top-to-bottom washes are always best because the majority of the dirt will be on the lower parts of your vehicle. Once you have cleaned a panel, or the mitt has picked up any dirt, swap to use the other side. Next, put the mitt into the rinse bucket, scrubbing it on the grit guard or between your hands to remove all the dirt. Once clean, it is squeezed out to remove any dirty water before it is dipped back into the wash bucket where the process starts again. By the time you have finished washing your vehicle, the wash bucket water will be clean, the water in the rinse bucket will be dirty, and all of the dirt particles will be below the Grit Guard - providing you have carefully followed the steps above!

The main disadvantage of this process is that it is not very time efficient because you are constantly moving around the vehicle to clean the panel that you cleaned on the other side to ensure you clean from the top down.


2. Multi-Wash Mitt Method


As the name suggests, this method of safe wash uses multiple wash mitts! You divide your vehicle into sections subject to the number of mitts being used. For example, in the picture below each side of the vehicle is split into thirds giving six, sections in total. At the start of the wash all of your wash mitts are in a bucket filled with your desired shampoo and water. Take out your mitt and wash the section from top to bottom. Then put the used mitt to one side. Moving onto the next section, starting again with a fresh wash mitt. The equipment required for this method is as follows:


  • 1 x 25 Ltr Bucket

  • 4 - 6 Wash Mitts

  • Soft Detailing Brush








Due to the fact you are not reintroducing the dirty wash mitt back into the bucket there is no need for a Grit Guard. This method of washing your vehicle is very efficient as you only need to move around the vehicle once.


3. One Bucket Foam Lance Method


This method of safe wash uses your pressure washer and foam cannon to cover the vehicle with a coating of thin foam. You also need a bucket with shampoo and water. With this method you are relying on the grit guard at the bottom of your wash bucket to trap and hold all the dirt that comes off the vehicle. Once you have covered the vehicle with foam, you work around the vehicle with your wash mitt, cleaning the vehicle then cleaning off the mitt in the bucket. Whilst it would seem like a quick an easy method of washing your vehicle, there is the need for more equipment and some specialist chemicals. The equipment required for this method is:


  • Pressure Washer

  • Snow Foam Cannon

  • 25 Ltr Bucket

  • Grit Guard

  • Wash Mitt

  • Soft Detailing Brush



There are two down sides to this method:

  1. If you are cleaning your vehicle on a sunny day, there is a good chance you are not going to get around it all before the foam dries on the paintwork!

  2. It is only suitable for cleaning lightly soiled vehicles due to the fact you only use the one bucket. This means there is a greater chance of not getting the wash mitt fully clean, which has the possibility of scratching your paintwork.


My Recommendation: Don't Forget a Soft Detailing Brush!


You might have noticed I recommend you use a soft detailing brush for all of the above techniques. You use the soft detailing brush to clean all of those little gaps that your wash mitt can't reach such as grills, around badges, window gaps, and trims. Your Safe Wash would be incomplete without it!

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