CHOOSING A CAR WASH: What is the best product to use as a car wash? The correct answer is use what you like the best. There are major problems with many "household" products that some people use as a carwash. Dish detergents (Dawn Liquid, etc.) may be used, but realize that these products are designed to remove animal or vegetable fat from fired ceramic. They look at your nice coat of wax with the same hungry eyes, are hard on the paint and will strip out the emollient oils from the paint. If you enjoy re-waxing weekly, significantly ageing your paint then dish detergent is for you. Wax retailers love people who use Dawn Liquid (I send the Dawn Company Christmas Cards every year).
If you prefer to have your wax last a lot longer, you may consider using a product that is specifically designed for automotive use. Quality car washes/shampoos (same thing - most cars do not have hair) are usually pH controlled, contain gloss enhancers and some even have small amounts of water-soluble wax. Use only enough car wash to break the electrostatic/ionic bond between the dirt and your car. Start with a clean, large bucket (preferably plastic - if you kick the metal bucket, Mr. Paint Chip rears his ugly head); add a small amount of the car wash and fill with cool or warm water. Avoid hot water, as it will soften the wax. Read the directions on the car wash bottle and try reducing the recommended amount by half. If this amount does a satisfactory job, then try reducing this amount by another 25%. Keep reducing the amount of car wash until you are not happy with the results. Go back one step and you have found the minimum amount of car wash that works for your situation. I use about a half a cap full in 5 gallons of water.
My personal favorite car washes are P21S Bodywork Conditioning Shampoo, 500 ml and Sonax Gloss Shampoo. Rule of thumb #1: The more car wash, the more wax you
remove. Try to avoid powder car washes, as the un-dissolved granules may lodge under your wash mitt or sponge and scratch the paint surface.
WASHING TOOLS. Rule of thumb # 2. use the least aggressive tool to wash your car. You may use a wash mitt, wash pad, sponge or brush to wash your car. (A wash mitt is designed to be worn on or held in your hand and a wash pad is a soft material covering sewn over a sponge that you hold in your hand). I prefer a wash mitt or wash pad, as the grit tends to work up into the long, soft fibers and not scratch the paint. When I dip the mitt or wash pad into the wash bucket, I give it a swirl to release the grit. If you use a mitt, every so often hold the top open, allowing the inside to fill with water, then lift straight up and as the water runs out, it "back flushes" the trapped dirt out of the mitt. There are four basic types of wash mitts: lambs wool. synthetic wool. 100% cotton chenille and Microfiber. Wash pads are available in two flavors, 100% cotton chenille and microfiber. Each has an advantage and the choice is a matter of personal preference. Lambs wool is the absolute softest, but you cannot wash lambs wool in the washing machine as the detergent will destroy the leather lining. To clean a dirty lambs wool mitt, you may wash by hand in Woolite. Synthetic wool is not quite as soft as lambs wool, but may be washed in a washing machine. Cotton chenille is a long "mop" looking type of pile that is also machine washable. Microfiber is approximately the same softness as the synthetic wool and may be washed in the washing machine with Micro-Restore Microfiber Detergent. The purist will use three wash mitts, one for the top half of the car (the cleanest) and one for below the trim line and one for wheels and wheel wells(brake dust will scratch your paint somewhat like mice wearing ice skates).