This debate has been discussed probably more times than we would like to admit. We all know that opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. Yet we still find ourselves drawn into this discussion and feel the need to express our opinions.
The two-bucket method is the most common way for DIYers to wash cars. This technique allows you to remove debris from your paint surface with a clean microfiber mitt every time, which means less work and cleaner results! Yet using this method also has some major drawbacks if not done properly.
Believe it or not there is a science to car detailing. It can be flawed at times, but still has its general principles. There is risk with a two-bucket method. The first and most common is not keeping your wash mitt clean and rinsed often enough, you risk trapping the dirt and grime in your mitt. This can lead to swirl marks and fine micro scratches in your car’s paint and finishes.
The second risk with a two-bucket method and even foam cannon use is using the wrong type of car soap. Most cheap car wash soaps will strip most waxes and damage ceramic coatings. Cheap Shampoos contain harsh chemicals which are cheaper to purchase for most car care product manufacturers. This is the reason they can offer you that 32 oz bottle for under $ 15.
Foam Cannons present other issues for the DIYers detailing their cars, but here is the biggest issue. You know how we guys like to buy the biggest and most powerful toys we can. This might be a good idea if you are buying a car or truck. However, buying a powerful pressure washer to attach your foam cannon to may cause damage to your ride.
In our opinion you never want to exceed 2000 psi with any system when washing your car. Beyond those limits you risk damaging your paints finish and even turning fine micro scratches into pieces of flaked paint. So, I know what you are thinking. What about the fittings that reduce the pressure coming out of my cannon? Well, those things fail more often than you might imagine, especially since most of them are manufactured in China. Have you ever seen one fire out from a pressure washer that didn’t seat correctly? I have seen them blow out a windshield.
Don’t be that guy. If you are going to take the time and effort to detail your ride. Make sure you have the right tools for the job. Buy top quality car soap, wash mitts and avoid those pressure washers with mini car engines in them. Happy Detailing!