My Maintenance Wash Routine


Corner Carver
As some of you have requested, I figured I would do a write-up on the method I’ve been using to perform the maintenance wash on all my vehicles. Maintenance wash meaning this is the method that I use to wash my cars once a week (or more, depending how I feel) in the Spring to fall time as I do not have a Garage at my current house. Winter is Kind of a season I hate due to my cars always being filthy. I tend to avoid automated washes, but that must be just me (the touchless washes kinds have, For Everyone's Information, VERY strong soaps, that usually break down any traditional waxes and is hurting the paint sealants performance if not stripping them altogether. They have to, to remove all that grime without touching your car, think about it.). I Personally do not have any of my cars ceramic coated, but I’ll leave paint protection types, pros and cons to a separate discussion.
I will be leaving a link to a couple of Canadian Detailing Products Web Wholesalers that I’ve used in the past with great luck. They are the primary source to all of my car detailing products arsenal, usually ordering once or twice per winter to prepare for the next car season. If some of you are interested to see that car detailing products collection of mine, let me know and I could create another post if enough people are curious.

***DISCLAIMER: Always wash cars in the shade if you can help it. Washing a car in the sun is far from optimal. Garage is even better if you have access to one of these things.

Wheel Cleaning
I always clean my wheels first. They are usually the dirtiest portion of any cars. My method is not 100% finished, meaning I am still looking for the perfect method as far as which wash tools I am using.
Always work one wheel at a time. I always start by rinsing down the wheel. From there, I am using P&S Brake Buster diluted 10:1 (10 parts water, 1 part liquid) in my IK Sprayers Foam Pro2 to create a rich foam on the wheel.
IK Foam Pro2 - This sprayer is a perfect alternative to create good foam without the use of a pressure washer. (Since I’ve bought a pressure washer gun/hose upgrade kit that came with a better quality foam cannon, I’ll be transitioning next summer to using my current foam cannon for the Brake Buster application.)
P&S Brake Buster is a very good wheels and tires cleaning product that is extremely costs effective to procure (1 gallon of the product costs $29.99, and in my application I am diluting it 10:1, further stretching how much use I get from my gallon). Note that it’s NOT necessary to foam Brake Buster to use it. If you buy the 16Oz bottle, it will come with a traditional trigger sprayer. It can be used straight or diluted as I do.
Spray a generous amount of Brake Buster on the wheel and let it work on the surface for a minute or so. DO NOT LET IT DRY ON THE SURFACE! (Same note of caution to be used with any washing liquids for that matter…). Then Start agitating the solution on the wheel with your favorite wheels and tires brushes, microfiber cloth or dedicated wheel mitt. I personally at this stage have my wheel brushes soaking in a 3.5Gal bucket in soapy water. This bucket is ONLY used for washing the wheels, NEVER to be used for washing the paint (as wheels are extremely dirty and the contaminants pulled out of them WILL scratch the paint).
Once the wheel have been cleaned, rinse away!


I Will start with this disclaimer: I am using a pressure washer. Not everyone have a pressure washer and that’s alright. It simply suits my prefered method better. Note that I will be talking about alternatives to activities being done with the pressure washer when necessary.

Anytime I wash the car, I start with a good rince down. With the pressure washer it allows to remove any most of the big dirt from the surface.

This is the stage where I will attach my foam cannon to my pressure washer and cover the car with suds. Up to now, I’ve been using Adam’s Polishes Car Wash soap, but for the season coming will be transitioning to the P&S Pearl Auto Shampoo. Simply want to try this one as it has a lot of good reviews and it’s very economical to purchase ($28/gal compared to $51/gal for the Adam’s Polishes product). When using the foam cannon, I am diluting my soap 10:1 with water (10 parts water for 1 part soap, if possible I usually use my fridge’s filtered water, hard water tends to kill the foaming action of any car washes soaps) to create the best suds. USE A PURE SOAP!! What I mean by this, not a soap with any gloss enhancers, fillers, waxes, etc. Your Foam Cannon will thank you on the long run and you'll have better foam anyways. These two soaps are such soaps, only, simply soaps. There are also purpose made foam cannon soaps (Adam's Polishes Mega Foam, Turtle Wax Ice Snow Foam, Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam to name only a few) If you want to use a dedicated foam soap.
Simply foam the car and let it run down the surface. The theory behind this is that the soap/foam encapsulate bigger/loose surface contaminants and bring it down with it as it’s run down to the ground. I have to say, it’s a pretty satisfying experience as well.
Then, different people use different method. Some are rinsing off the suds, some are going immediately to the contact wash (mitt/pad wash). I tend to prefer to rinse my car down prior to advancing to the contact wash portion of my process.

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2 Buckets Contact Wash
For the contact wash stage (where you actually rub on the car’s paint with a mitt, pad, or other wash media of sort), I always use a lot of caution. As probably most of you know, the dreaded swirls that we find on our cars are more often than not being installed on the car as we wash/touch them. That’s why they are often called love marks. To try to avoid this happening the most as I can, I am always using the two buckets methods when I wash.

It is as simple as it sounds: Use two buckets while washing the car. One with your clean water and soap, the second one being your Rinse bucket. Also, always have grit guards/dirt guards inserts at the bottom of your buckets when possible, these are trapping all the dirt pulled away from the car from coming back into your washing water.
I dunk my wash pad in the Wash bucket, cleaning only one panel per side of my pad, then rinsing my pad into the Rinse bucket before dunking again in the wash bucket for the next panel. This allows all the dirt picked up by my wash pad to drop into the rinse bucket instead of the Wash water, thus ensuring the water/soap solution stays clean of contaminants through the entire wash process. If you’re interested I used either The Rag Company wash pad or Microfiber Madness Wash pad (depending which one’s clean when I’m washing the car).


I go through the entire car, one panel at a time using this method. Here’s a youtube link to said method ‘’tutorial or how to’’ that better explains that written words can do. Actually, I am using pretty much the same method as him. Pan’s Youtube channel is extremely good if you are interested in any ways to car detailing (he has around 575K subscribers at the time of writing this, this particular video having been viewed 1,560,115 times (!!!!)).

From here, I simply rinse the car down using my pressure washer.

***As some of you Might have picked up while reading all this, my wash method actually is a 3 Buckets method, as I am using a dedicated 3.5Gal bucket for the wheel cleaning stage. I certainly do NOT want to take the chances scratching more the car by introducing the contaminants removed from my wheels onto my paintwork.
The drying portion of my wash method is not yet 100% dialed in. for now, I am drying the car using Dedicated MicroFiber Towels. Saying that, YES, I do use towels invented specifically to dry the cars. I have various ones as I usually run between 2-3 different towels per drying process. I am usually using one of the ‘’The Rag Company’’ drying towels. These towels are thicker, plusher and engineered to trap all the water out from your car’s surface.

I am usually also using some kind of drying aid. It is usually some kind of quick detailer or purpose made product that you spritz a couple of sprays on the car’s panel while drying it and it helps capture the water better and sometimes helps with adding another small layer of protection. Last summer, I was using the Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Wet Wax. Product is very good at being used as a drying aid, and as it’s name implies, it is a spray wax that is to be applied on the car when it’s still wet, thus installing a small layer of shine and protection. This season coming, I’ll be testing P&S Beadmaker, well remowned product in the car detailing industry for it’s amazing water beading properties and extreme paint slickness properties. I cannot wait to see if that’s the right product for me. As all the other P&S products in the family, it is extremely cost effective ($37.95/gallon!).

From here, I am usually washing my windows with my favorite window cleaner (currently Invisible Glass) and dressing my tires with some kind of tire dressing. The tire dressing that I currently use is Chemical Guys Silk Shine (here my gallon I have at home). It can also be used as a dash/interior plastics dressings if you so desire. This is a water based dressing that is dry to the touch when applied. Another favorite of mine for tire dressing is the Chemical Guys VRP. Some Chemical Guys products by the way can be obtained at your local canadian tire, some worth to check, some hit or miss. These two named above are really good.

Well, that’s it in a nutshell for my car washing method! Yes, it does sound long and complicated for nothing, but I am really enjoying my time doing this. Taking my time, it’s usually taking me between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how filthy the car is. During some washes, I’ll go as far as washing the wheel wells liners (almost unattainable on the mustang, really easy to wash on the Crosstrek or Jetta) by using my wheel cleaner and a long handled tire brush.
If I am washing the cars in preparation to correcting the paint or applying new waxes or sealants, my wash method will usually stay the same but the soap will change to special wax stripping soaps. That’s a whole other topic.

Any ways you do it, have fun washing your car! Should anybody have any questions, simply ask away.

If there’s any interest in car detailing in general, I’ll leave a few really good youtube channel for the ones that wants to know more about car detailing and the products in general. Enjoy!

Pan The Organizer (Montreal Based Car Detailer)

Obsessed Garage (Disclaimer, no olds bared no bullS/$t kind of guy, will no suit to everyone. also owner of Obsessed Garage

Rad Garage (Home Detailer, Calgary based)

Ammo NYC

Chicago Auto Pros

The Rag Company
Good write up, thats a lot of work and time invested typing that out, thanks for posting.

My routine is very similar, with a couple of modifications to the routine, everyone has different things they like to do right?

Shout out to Zaino Canada if you like using Zaino products. Theres's even a distributor in Charlottetown !!!

One thing I found to watch with spray on wheel cleaners.... seems obvious, but just make sure you get the wheel cleaner thats applicable to your wheels. Using regular wheel cleaners on aluminum has the potential to eat away at the aluminum pieces, so get the right stuff for your wheels.

I do the foam cannon/power wash rinse routine before hand washing, as stated, its a great way to get rid of the big stuff, and I hit it again with the foam cannon before hand washing as well. When hand washing I use the soap bucket, but I also like to have a running hose leading the mitt at all times to try and wash away any contaminants and flush the mitt, with frequent dipping of the wash mitt into the soap bucket equipped with a grit guard.

For drying, as much as it sounds redneck, I like to use my leaf blower. Its fantastic at getting those water hold up spots like mirrors, lug nuts or trim. Plus , the leaf blower reduces the amount of contact you have with the paint, and thus the risk of scratching, even with frequent drying rag changes. At this point, if you're drying whats left on the car (very little), you can also use a detail spray with your drying rags to give that extra little bit of lubrication and shine while drying.

Tire shine also works well on plastic wheel well liners, give them a blast with the foam cannon and power wash, then a spray with tire shine , and they'll look awesome. Only you and other car guys will likely notice, most of the population have no idea, they're too busy trying to figure out how to get Stalkerbook on the infotainment system.

Good idea for a thread, there's always things to learn when it comes to cleaning / detailing tips.

Completely, random thought, but does anyone remember the old Mr Clean Auto Dry system, that was the bomb. You could wash the car using fresh soap and fresh water for every panel, and then use the filtered water function to rinse it off. I'm still pouty they did away with that product line, and its probably been 20 years since it disappeared.
Hey, the lwaf blower is not redneck it is the way i want to do it, just didn’t put my hands on one ;). That’s one of the reasons my drying process is not optimal.
Good point on the wheel cleaner and it is exactly why i use that particular one. Safe on all types of wheels AND can be diluted on a foaming process. As with all wheels cleaners it does ask that you try in an inconspicuous area anyway. It has been safe on all types i tried to date but experiences may differ :).
Wow awesome write up Max. Lots of time invested in that. Some very good information there. Definitely a great thread topic.

I like to use the foam canon to pre soak the vehicle, rinse off and then foam it up again then use a Wash mit along with a bucket of soap and water. Works awesome I fin. I then use the leaf blower as well to limit the amount of time I contact the car. I then finish it off
With a quick detailer or the Turtle Wax spray wax Max got me on last year.
Great write up, I will have to try a few of those things.

I always do a big rinse, ( don't have foam cannon )
Guess I need to invest :) normal 2 bucket wash, I also do rims seperate, but I do last.
I also take wheels off once or twice a summer, easier to better detail on inside of wheels
and clean up brakes and callipers.

I use chamois to try and they get washed each timem they are used, I use 4 to dry care.
I use micro fibre on wheels and rest of detail, but I only every use once on car
then they go to different use pile if any good left in them.
Great write up! Looks like you and I have both built our wash routines based on the same great resources you linked to. I use pretty much the same method and product line. I also spend my time over the winter buying up refill product and a few new things. I'll add a few of the products I have tried for consideration below.

Leaf Blower - great tool especially for maintenance washes where your car already has some coating on it. The water flies right off especially in the hard to reach crevices. I picked up a Worx unit from Amazon on sale last winter that has plenty of power. Also get ear protection.

Drying Towel - I also use a large 1200gsm drying towel for picking up the last few drops or doing a car thats not coated. It can do a whole car in minutes. No need to wring it out. I don't recall the brand right now but will look it up if anyone is interested.

Tire Dressing - another alternative I use is CarPro Perl. You can dilute to the finish you desire. I like a more satin to matte finish on my tires. It lasts a long time on the tires and doesn't pick up much dirt like some stickier products.

P&S Product Line - one of the best!
- Brake Buster has you mention is a must and fantastic on wheels. I have used it on many types of wheels and it's been safe on them all.
- Beadmaker - been using this for two years now and absolutely love it. A little goes a long way and it's easy to put on. Smells great and the finish is smooth and shiny. I use it weekly. I've also been using the same Turtle Wax ceramic product you mention on my wifes SUV. Its great also but I think you'll make the switch to Beadmaker once you start using it.
- I know this is a thread about exterior washes but don't forget some P&S Xpress Interior cleaner and Carpet Bomber to maintain your interior.

Engine Bay
- This is not usually a maintenance car wash item but I love detailing engines. I use a diluted All Purpose cleaner and detailing brush. Quick rinse and then spray everything with a diluted Meguiars Hyper Dressing. Once sprayed, let it dry for the day on its own. Come back and wipe up any residual if there is any. Engine bay looks new. I'll post a pic or too of my fav engine transformations.

Once all this COVID crap has moved on would love to meet up and talk car detailing sometime if your interested.


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Hey thanks Max, like others say great write up and much appreciated as I know you have time invested in writing it up.)

I'm kinda anxious now to try that foam canon. The two bucket thing is often my way to go as well but sometimes I use a long handle brush (very soft) instead of a mit as I found that I tend to go back and forth with it instead of in circles (often catch myself doing it, bad habit) with the mit. I also found that the brush doesn't catch as much grime in it as the mit was and I can rinse it off with the hose like Trevor does.

Funny as with all the stuff that I use now and stuff that I used in the past through the years, I have never heard of P&S ? Must look it up...........

You guys in the Moncton area do have a nice little shop there where the guy sells Auto Magic stuff which is quite good, I really like his tire dress up product (purple one) and he carries a variety of cleaning brushes and items.

So what's the next write up ?? lol Interesting this stuff you know !! lol
I'm kinda anxious now to try that foam canon. The two bucket thing is often my way to go as well but sometimes I use a long handle brush (very soft) instead of a mit as I found that I tend to go back and forth with it instead of in circles (often catch myself doing it, bad habit) with the mit.

So what's the next write up ?? lol Interesting this stuff you know !! lol
You'll see, foam cannon is quite awesome! If only for being fun to use and get the suds on the car dripping. You should try a wash pad instead of a mitt, maybe it'll help your old habits to die. I know I do prefer to run the wash pad. I always remove and replace my hand in it, never comfortable.


Just received an order of four of these bad boys, now with cleaning them on the regular between a couple washes, I will probably get a good 2-5 years out of these!

And as for other content, if enough are interested seeing misc. detailing products, I could go through the collection potentially.
Thanks for the Info.
Never heard of that place before so I'll probably check it out more when I have a few minutes, may just order a few of them pads too ??

I had not heard before doing my research. I was very specific on trying to find the The Rag Company pads, and in Canada they were the ones I could get it from. for four pads shipped it came down to +/- $61, so really not bad at all. They have good service and I'll probably use them again if I find what I look for there. My main landing site currently is, mainly because of inventory of what I'm looking for, I also used and in the past with perfect results. More canadian detailing outlets the better.
I've been ordering through for many years and really like their products but must say that one time I received a bad bottle of wax
(Klasse, was just like water) and they really were no help service wise. Only once did I ever have issues though but no help on their side whatsoever. It is still my favorite wax and I ordered many times after that with no problems. is my go to place for supplies. I find the prices on par if not better than most other sites and you get free shipping on orders over $100. I've spoken with Chris the owner and he's a great guy. I usually purchase when there is sale going on like Christmas or Spring sale. Whatever pops up.

I'm getting ready to make another order once the next sale pops up. If anyone local (Greater Moncton) wants to order anything, I can add it to my order and we can save on shipping. Just message me.
So you guys din’t shop at Canadian Tire, Hey? ?
For my motor oil, I do! :LOL:

In all seriousness, there are some products at Canadian Tire that are worthwhile (ex.: they started carrying some chemical guys soaps and the Silk shine dressings, plus they have a good lineup of the Autoglym line), but the products I've found and adopted over the years are really a league above. It's not everyone's cup of tea to order detailing supplies online, when you actually have a Canadian Tire at 5 minutes from home, but I do enjoy detailing my car that little bit (huge bit) more with the better products.
And I would say, for example the car soap I picked up for this season, $28/gallons for a good quality soap (this one has no gloss enhancers or waxes, just a good, bare soap), it's very economical. Most of my products seeing the more use are being bought in gallon sizes, again economical on the long run (and I go through a LOT even for my own cars :) ).
Just did a quick exercise here: I paid $28 for a gallon, which is 128 fluid Ounces. Canadian Tire sells Meguiars Gold Class car wash soap for $18.99 for 1.89L, which is 34 Ounces. 128/34=3.75. You will buy 3.75 times (so4 times the bottle at Canadian tire, for a a total of $75.96 WITHOUT taxes.

Reminder to everyone, post is not meant to discriminate the products you are using, more about teaching/telling the story behind my madness (eh, method lol :LOL:). If you Like brand XYZ soap and are happy with products found at your local store, nothing wrong with that when using them right! :)

Side Note: Canadian Tire does have the MR Pink Shampoo/Car Soap from Chemical Guys in select stores. Give it a try. Crazy good you'll see!
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You buy your oil at CT :oops:

You got to learn to buy on sale at CT
I paid $8.99 a jug for gold wash :)

Of course anything at CT needs to be bought in sales, but the day you want to wash and you have no soap of your soap left? is it on sale? probably not. non sale for non sale was the point of my comparison, if not anyone could cheat the comparison on black friday LOL :p

(FYI, gold wash 34 Oz @ $9.99 ---- 128/34 = 3.74 9.99*3.74= Still $37.36. CT sales are deceptive, their products are always overpriced, they are competitive on sale ;) )