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What is the "Two Bucket" Wash Method?

A simple car wash is the easiest and most effective way to maintain your vehicle’s appearance. However, most of you are washing your car wrong! Granted, there are a hundred ways you can wash your car these days, there are also a myriad of ways you can be doing it wrong. If cared for properly, a vehicle’s painted surface can easily last 1-2 years before requiring a full-blown polishing procedure.

What the heck is this "two bucket" method that everyone talks about? Well, it's pretty simple – use two wash buckets! It is essential that you use two buckets when washing your car.

Just think for a moment how most people wash a car (assuming they are not already using the two-bucket method). Most likely they get a single bucket, put soap in it, fill it with water, get a wash mit, spray their car down, and start washing – repeatedly putting the rag into the wash bucket, rinsing it out and getting more suds. Using a single bucket implies putting a rag into dirty water and using that dirty water/soap mixture to wash…slowly but surely imparting scratches in the paint.

An easy and effective fix to this is simply to use two buckets. One bucket for water only (a rinse bucket) and the other bucket for a soap/water mixture (a clean wash bucket). 5-gallon buckets are highly recommended for this method as two-gallon buckets are simply too small. Go ahead, get two buckets, label them ‘Rinse’ and ‘Wash’ with a marker and you are good to go for the rest of eternity.


If you're gonna start using the two-bucket method, you should also invest in a grit guard. A grit guard is an insert that is placed into the bottom of your wash and rinse buckets that aids in extracting dirt particles from your wash mitt. They allow the dirt to sink to the bottom of the bucket and provide a clean, scratch-free wash mitt every time you go back to the bucket for water.

A washboard works in conjunction with the grit guard and provides a vertical surface to agitate your wash mitt against (note that a grit guard is needed in order to utilize the washboard).