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Not sure this is the best place to post, but I only really hang around this section on focufanatics.com. I figured maybe we can share some tips.

1. Best way I've found to clean windows. Before washing car (you want the sponge/wash mitt/cloth still clean), dip sponge in soapy solution, take out and squeeze as much off as you can. Clean windows inside first. Apply soapy solution, then dry right away with newspapers one window at a time. Do this in the shade. Then wash car. After washing car, dry it, then come later to redry windows. Use newspapers on windows. I've found this works better than the best glass cleaners out there. But every glass cleaner cleans off better with newspapers.

2. Are your headlight lenses not clear anymore? If you don't have already bought a headlight restoration kit (don't ask lol), try toothpaste. Apply like wax, then polish and buff off with clean rags.

Please add your own tips if you like...

3. To avoid getting wet wax onto nooks and crannies and trim, apply wax to large areas first, avoid edges. Once you start buffing, spread to edges (i.e. w/w nozzles, trim) when the wax gets a little less sticky.

4. Always wash in the shade, top to bottom. Use one wash mitt above the belt line, one below. You can even use a third one just for wheels and aread that get more dirty. It'll keep your upper wash mitt cleaner next wash.

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cut V notches into your vacuum nozzle head
it decreases the nozzle from sticking down and increase air speed and picks up much more dirt
 

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Use two buckets one with clean water and one with soapy solution water. Dip in clean water after each section pass.

Use waffle weave towels to try and microfiber towels for all paint related tasks. And don't cross contaminate towels.

Never use a duster. If it has more than a light dusting either waterless/rinseless wash or break out the buckets.



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Don't polish with toothpaste. Use clear plastic polish.... (facepalm - they're almost the same price...)

Don't use newspaper unless it is BLANK newspaper... the ink in newsprint will come off and leave streaks. It's also really wasteful unless you recycle afterwards. Use a high-quality microfiber towel instead.

You don't HAVE to wash in the shade, just make sure to use high grade soap with correct ph balance. You can suds it up and leave it in the sun - it won't hurt anything and it will rinse clean with water.

Don't wash your car with soap that has been blended with wax or any other product. This will make it more difficult to detail in the end because there will be a coating of wax already on your car so any blemishes you had already will need to be stripped before you polish them.

2 bucket system is correct, but you should also have grit-guards in your buckets to trap any particles that may scratch your paint.

Use soft-bristle brushes on alloy wheels. You'll ruin a mit and it's much easier on your hands and back if you use a brush with a handle.

Be sure to use non-greasy products for non-metal materials.

Don't use tire-shine. Clean the tire properly and use a non-greasy conditioner if you want them to be extra black.

Don't use gimmicky products. Just don't do it.

Use can use masking tape over cracks and crevices to prevent unwanted build up while waxing.

If you store your car for the winter, you don't need to worry about it but for those of us in the real world we should wash our cars with plain DISH SOAP (no additives for skin care, etc) to strip old wax and remove any contaminants from road salt/sap/etc. After washing with dish soap you can use detailing clay to remove the little particles and only after that's been done can you polish and wax the painted surfaces. Despite what you may hear, dish soap does not hurt painted surfaces, it only strips the wax.
 

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Well, you just use dish soap once a year after winter so you can get all the grime off and polish the paint for a fresh coat of wax... you shouldn't wash it with dish soap every time, that wastes a lot of wax if you're detailing every time as well. Even carnauba waxes will last about 3 months if you use good soap.
 

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I live in Florida so I only have to wash once a month if that, so applying a coat of wax monthly does not bother me. I became extremely active with car care since my first car (truck really) was given to me by my father, an 03 F-150 that had fading paint everywhere. I did all I could to restore it but nothing cleared the oxidation, finally my parents tired of seeing me struggle with the paint ended up re-painting the truck for me.
 

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1. Best way I've found to clean windows. Before washing car (you want the sponge/wash mitt/cloth still clean), dip sponge in soapy solution, take out and squeeze as much off as you can. Clean windows inside first...
And if you're ultra-serious about spotless, you should know that plenty of water runs down into the window. I mean, if you leave the car wash with your window entirely clear, then roll down the window to sponge a drop off your mirror with a napkin (while waiting for the light to change) you'll get a sad feeling when you roll that window back up. [dunno]
 
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