Heijneker

Minimalist, Efficient, Ecological Car Cleaning, The Optimum Way?

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WARNING, LONG AND LIFE-DRAINING POST AHEAD!

I've been brainstorming the following ALOT, and I would like to know the way to clean a car in the fastest (10-15 min), most efficient (Minimal tools) and most ecological (Less hot water, energy used, minimal chemicals) way, using mostly Optimum products, for normal cars. What follows is the procedure I have dreamt up thus far. but first:

What do I class as a normal car:

A car that is in relatively good or average shape. Car has never seen a paint correction, or fancy coating and has been washed every couple of months at the carwash, while being driven almost daily. Thus it hasn't been washed since a couple of months, and it won't be afterwards for a couple of months. Dirt to be expected:

- Lot's of brake dust (Normal people use their brake ALOT lol).

- Bird droppings (Mostly days or weeks old)

- Sand kicked-up behind wheels and along doors.

- Oily film along the side and frontal area.

As this will be mostly a substitute for a Automated Car Wash, minimal Swirling is okay, gloss is important as well as cost (Minimal time). I hope to make a healthy business case out of this. For extremely dirty cars, or a post-winter wash, The Automated Car Wash is preferred.

As a remark, I have no Hands-on experience with ANY of the Optimum Products as of yet, I'm an engineer, so I like to do alot of Desk research first. Thus, after countless hours (Really, 100's), of researching into this product line for my particular application, I will state what I have till now. Field research (Testing the products for myself) will soon commense.

I have chosen this category as I would like the experts and other forum members to chime in with their ideas and criticism, or maybe even know the real Optimum Way, as envisioned by Dr. G. Hopefully, we/I can create the perfect Tutorial for this particular cleanse. The only wrong answer, critique or question is the one that isn't given or answered, so please don't be shy in stating your opinion.

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Let's begin.

1. What Products to use to get it done:

  • Optimum Big Red Sponge. A great re-usable wash media. Yvan an Levi have reported to get nearly a 1000 washes out of it, before retiring it from their business. I think that's a bit extreme, but 400 should be possible surely.
  • Eagle Edgeless 365 or similar.
  • Optimum Body and wheel Brush
  • The Rag Company Jersey Bug scrubber.
  • A big brush, suitable for wheel wells.
  • Tire shine of choice
  • Tire shine applicator pad of choice.
  • Spray bottle.
  • A big bucket for the wash solution (5-Gallon Container, 1-2 Gallon wash Solution)
  • A Power Washer (Don't need a lot of pressure or waterflow here) or a water hose (WHAT??????? Yes.... I'll get to it later. For the pressure washer, a wide spray nozzle (40 deg.) is preferrable, generally the lowest pressure will suffice and is preffered.)
  • Optimum No Rinse Wash and Shine, diluted as per directions with distilled water.
  • Optimum No rinse Wash and Wax, diluted as per directions with distilled water.
  • Bilt Hamber Auto Wheel (So far for "The Optimum Way" , and rinsing clearly went out the door as well, what am I even doing here?? We'll get to it!)
  • Optimum Opti Seal and/or Optimum Car Wax
  • Several Low pile, low GSM Drying Towels? (Whatever Yvan thinks is the way to go, I am uncertain what he thinks is best to use for drying a car.)

 

2. What to do? (Also read the tips in section 3 before you begin)

  1. Firstly, we want to pre-soak the areas with caked on dirt (Bug splatter, Bird droppings, Kicked-up sand) using the preferred Wash solution . Think about your college days, no dish washer and no time (or drive) to do the dishes. Stacking up for a couple of days, the dirt cakes on. You can  either scrub for a while (not suitable for car paint) or dunk it in water and let it soak for some time (You can't quite dunk your car, so soaking will have to do.)
  2. Spray the Bilt Hamber Auto Wheel generously onto the soiled wheels. Make sure to cover all of the wheel, except for plastic parts. Leave to dwell for several minutes (Bilt Hamber states the product is best to be avoided on plastic surfaces, however, in my opinion this is unavoidable. I think the product hasn't been thoroughly tested (Because they don't have to, costs alot of money and the product sells fine as is) on plastic surfaces (Painted or unpainted) and thus they can't garantuee it's safe. I have a suspision it is safe on wheels but we will never know. DO NOT LET THIS PRODUCT DRY OUT).
  3. Using the Jersey Bug Scrubber, scrub the dead bug splatter from the frontal area of the car. (Pretty self explanatory, don't go too crazy, I thinks there is alot of chance of swirling here, if that bothers you. You might consider using Optimum Power Clean as a Pre-soak, though staining could be induced by this product.)
  4. Using the Optimum Body and Wheel Brush, scrub the grills (and emblems) present on the car. Could also be used on the bug splatters. (If you dare, however if you trust Optimum, this brush will not cause any scratches. I believe them fully. The dirt in the brush may cause scratches, in my unvalidated opinion.)
  5. Using the Big Red Sponge and the preferred Wash Solution, Wash the car, starting at the roof. Glass windows in doors that can be lowered should be avoided. The Eagle Edgeless 365 or similar towel should be used on areas you maybe can't reach with the sponge. Wash the car in sections, varying from the whole car, half a panel or a complete panel to a 10 x 10 section, depending on the weather. The solution shouldn't dry on the paint, but if it does, no biggie, Just re-wet, this causes extra work though. 
  6. After the Wheel Cleaner has been sitting for 5 minutes (If possible with regards to heat and humidity) rinse off thoroughly.  This will likely happen during step 4, resume that step afterwards.(Keep your distance during this step, as you want to avoid bombarding the brake system. So if possible, wash the wheel at the opposing end of the brake caliper, turning the wheel to rinse all the rim real estate.
  7. Cleaned sections must be sprayed with Optimum Car Wax and/or Optimum Opti-seal, amount as per directions. Placedry low-pile towel onto sprayed area and wipe the cleaned section.
  8. Using a low pile-towel, damp from the preferred wash solution, wipe and clean the glass areas you haven't cleaned yet. (Cleaning the windows this way avoids water getting past the window seals. Nothing bugs me more that having clean glass that gets stained from lowering/rasing. Clean glass is extremely important for happy clients
  9. Using a DRY low pile-towel to dry the glass area.
  10. Clean the wheel wells to your liking, using your brush of choice. 
  11. Using an Eagle Edgeless 365 or similar towel, slightly soaked with the preferred wash solution. Wipe all of the door jams.
  12. Dry the door jambs.
  13. Apply Tire Shine of choice to the tires, according to the directions of the product.

 

3. Now what do we see?

A Clean and well protected car!

 

4. Got some More......... Tips?

I sure do, glad you asked.

  1. You can use Optimum Power Clean as a pre-spray, if you think it's necessary. It's an alkaline cleaner which means it's inherently more effective on organic matter. (Optimum officials, am I right on this??) There is some evidence that Power Clean doesn't need to be rinsed off after use, if followef by Optimum No Rinse and given right circumstances. HOWEVER, the general concencus seems to be that it needs to be rinsed off
  2. Bilt hamber seems to be the most effective cleaner on the market. This could possibly be substituted for Optimum Ferrex, but I am doubtfull that works as well, to be honest. No disrespect to Optimum, but power to Bilt Hamber on that aspect!
  3. Bilt Hamber Auto Wheel could be replaced by The wash solution and some elbow grease. Your brake system will thank you for it! However, from time to time, Auto wheel or Ferrex needs to be used, to make the imbedded particles water soluable and remove them.
  4. After step 8, use Optimum Opti-seal for a Rain-X effect. It won't match it of course, applied in this manner.
  5. Now, for added efficiency, one could keep the wash solution of a previous wash, and use this for door jambs and wheel wells, before commensing with step 5.
  6. I don't really like cleaning tires, I don't think there is a need for it.

5. Why do it like this? Sadly, the rhiming part stops here.

As an engineer (With a love for a clean car) I don't like to make uneducated guesses and or go with the feeling "don't worry about it, it'll be fine". I have done my best to really dig deep with everything regarding these products. However, you will still find alot of "Gut feeling" troughout this procedure.

Nowadays, even normal cars are driving spaceships, with billions of dollars of R&D and Years of testing by a enormous group of very, very, VERY smart people. Cars nowadays basically have to be bulletproof (Or so I like to think), because they endure the most extreme climates. Cars are driven trough rainstorms, while having hundreds of electrical components, connections and sensors out in the open. These are sealed as much as possible, but still water should be avoided at all cost. Also, to avoid erosion, one should really try to minimize the contact the metal of the car has with water. Water is a great inducer of rust.  All the stuff you pick up on the road (Except for salt, which is worse than water) isn't likely to be corrosive. Motor oil isn't, Gearbox oil isn't, Cooling liquid isn't, Brake fluid isn't. Maybe A/C fluid is, but I don't think so. Gasoline could be corrosive, i'm uncertain. It's preferable to introduce as little water as possible to the car.

Also, I really don't think the Automated Car Washes is 'A one size fits all' solution. It's designed to make the most filthy of white (White cars don't get dirtier of course, it's just easier to spot.) cars look good again. Chemicals used could be described as 'Extreme', at least on the pH-scale. I think swirling is a non-issue for 99% of the people, so that's not the problem. The energy usage, amount of water and chemicals is, to me.

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That's the procedure I have dreamt up thus far.

The product of months and countless hours of researching, brainstorming and envisioning. HOWEVER, I really think that most of it is still able to be improved or even changed completely. 

I really hope you've read it all, but that is alot to ask for anybody but myself, and thus my graditude would be inmeasurable. 

Greetings from Holland,

Rik

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Rik, thank you for a very thorough tutorial (kind of thing I use as reference when answering newbie questions).  I will "copy and paste" some bullet points, so thanks for the copy infringement...

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in an effort to be a minimalist, would it scratch the car to just use two microfiber towels as the wash media?

 

i was thinking 1 for the wheels and 1 for the paint

i was planning on washing with a more drenched application of the MF towel and drying with  wrung out application of the MF towel

thoughts? thanks!

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On 1/24/2020 at 8:27 AM, Heijneker said:

 

  1. Firstly, we want to pre-soak the areas with caked on dirt (Bug splatter, Bird droppings, Kicked-up sand) using the preferred Wash solution . Think about your college days, no dish washer and no time (or drive) to do the dishes. Stacking up for a couple of days, the dirt cakes on. You can  either scrub for a while (not suitable for car paint) or dunk it in water and let it soak for some time (You can't quite dunk your car, so soaking will have to do.)

 

I have found this to be insufficient (a little background on my car: I don't use coatings, I typically just use spray-on or WOWA sealants) when dealing with bug splatter and bird droppings. I've tried long soaks with ONR, ONRWW, Opti Clean.

I've found the most efficient thing to use is Powerclean diluted 1:3 in a foamer.

One swipe from the BRS is all I typically need to dislodge everything.

Then I'll rinse off the Powerclean and proceed with my ONR wash

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7 hours ago, darrvao777 said:

in an effort to be a minimalist, would it scratch the car to just use two microfiber towels as the wash media?

 

i was thinking 1 for the wheels and 1 for the paint

i was planning on washing with a more drenched application of the MF towel and drying with  wrung out application of the MF towel

thoughts? thanks!

I used to think this was the way to go as well. Realistically it would depend on amount of soiling and how much swirling/marring matters. I have a feeling it would be safe enough, with frequent dunks lik Ron stated. It's the ultimate KISS-way, that's for sure!

I'm curious about using a wrung out towel for drying as well. I think it would be difficult to get a stteak-free finish, especially noticeable on glass.

29 minutes ago, darrvao777 said:

 

I have found this to be insufficient (a little background on my car: I don't use coatings, I typically just use spray-on or WOWA sealants) when dealing with bug splatter and bird droppings. I've tried long soaks with ONR, ONRWW, Opti Clean.

I've found the most efficient thing to use is Powerclean diluted 1:3 in a foamer.

One swipe from the BRS is all I typically need to dislodge everything.

Then I'll rinse off the Powerclean and proceed with my ONR wash

Thanks for the feedback! Shame to hear about the necessity for Optimum Power Clean, but great that it it works so well. How about a soaked (ONR or regular water) towel, spread over the bugs to soak them? Any experience with that?

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Just now, Heijneker said:

I used to think this was the way to go as well. Realistically it would depend on amount of soiling and how much swirling/marring matters. I have a feeling it would be safe enough, with frequent dunks lik Ron stated. It's the ultimate KISS-way, that's for sure!

I'm curious about using a wrung out towel for drying as well. I think it would be difficult to get a stteak-free finish, especially noticeable on glass.

Thanks for the feedback! Shame to hear about the necessity for Optimum Power Clean, but great that it it works so well. How about a soaked (ONR or regular water) towel, spread over the bugs to soak them? Any experience with that?

The wrung out towel works great on paint, I agree it can be streaky on glass but I typically just go over the glass a few more times.

I have kept separate glass towels in the past but that seemed to be more work in terms of sorting towels afterwards.

I know others have had success with eliminating bugs by drenching them with a wet towel (ONR or water). I have a giant iK foamer filled at all times with diluted Powerclean so I find that to be so easy. The combo of Powerclean foam and the BRS seems to mow everything down even without soaking. (I rarely have to use the jersey bug sponge)

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On 1/27/2020 at 6:52 PM, Ron@Optimum said:

Rik, thank you for a very thorough tutorial (kind of thing I use as reference when answering newbie questions).  I will "copy and paste" some bullet points, so thanks for the copy infringement...

Haha no worries, please use when you see fit! I felt like writing this up, might as well share and get some feedback. Already have some changes/additions in mind, also about my 'Philosophy' behind it all haha.

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2 minutes ago, darrvao777 said:

The wrung out towel works great on paint, I agree it can be streaky on glass but I typically just go over the glass a few more times.

I have kept separate glass towels in the past but that seemed to be more work in terms of sorting towels afterwards.

I know others have had success with eliminating bugs by drenching them with a wet towel (ONR or water). I have a giant iK foamer filled at all times with diluted Powerclean so I find that to be so easy. The combo of Powerclean foam and the BRS seems to mow everything down even without soaking. (I rarely have to use the jersey bug sponge)

Nice to hear it works great! I have often heard from reputable sources that drying towels need to be damp in order to absorb the water, so maybe it's even a necessity!

I know that with my own MF Towels, ranging from 150 GSM 70/30, to. 500 GSM 80/20, and different kind of weaves indeed have trouble absorbing water when dry.  Say I would let water run on them, a lot of that water will just run off on top, with only small damp patches forming.

I can't recall really having a problem with drying with a dry towel. Maybe something to do with pressure?

A damp towel from ONR sure should be safer than a dry towel, I agree!

Love to hear the PowerClean + BRS works great as well, sounds like a killer combo! There's a pretty recent video over on Hawker Pro Detailing Youtube Channel, washing a white Tesla Model S. The way the BRS literally cuts trough the dirt looks absolutely amazing.

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That is true that the drying towel has to be wet (damp doesn't do it if it is an older one) before it again knows how to really attract water. I use The Rag Company old Minxes (16x16) for drying.

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3 hours ago, No Soap said:

That is true that the drying towel has to be wet (damp doesn't do it if it is an older one) before it again knows how to really attract water. I use The Rag Company old Minxes (16x16) for drying.

Does that mean we don't have to worry about ONR drying on the surface? Because Yvan has stated alot, that if it dries, "just re-wet.". Or should that really be done with a soaked wash media?

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On 1/24/2020 at 8:27 AM, Heijneker said:

Spray the Bilt Hamber Auto Wheel generously onto the soiled wheels. Make sure to cover all of the wheel, except for plastic parts. Leave to dwell for several minutes (Bilt Hamber states the product is best to be avoided on plastic surfaces, however, in my opinion this is unavoidable. I think the product hasn't been thoroughly tested (Because they don't have to, costs alot of money and the product sells fine as is) on plastic surfaces (Painted or unpainted) and thus they can't garantuee it's safe. I have a suspision it is safe on wheels but we will never know. DO NOT LET THIS PRODUCT DRY OUT).

in the interest of consolidation, i have found that power clean works great on both wheels and tires

it works via traditional spray as well as foam

i dilute 1:4 but it works anywhere from undiluted to even 1:10 (i wash my wheels weekly so 1:10 is probably too weak for a heavily neglected wheel)

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On 1/24/2020 at 8:27 AM, Heijneker said:

You can use Optimum Power Clean as a pre-spray, if you think it's necessary. It's an alkaline cleaner which means it's inherently more effective on organic matter. (Optimum officials, am I right on this??) There is some evidence that Power Clean doesn't need to be rinsed off after use, if followef by Optimum No Rinse and given right circumstances. HOWEVER, the general concencus seems to be that it needs to be rinsed off

i like to use power clean in messier areas as my pre spray 

(eg front and rear bumpers, rocker panels, wheel wells, etc)

i used to foam it but now use a ik sprayer 1:4 dilution 

i have not encountered any staining issues

i rinse off with ONR

eg

spray front bumper with power clean 1:4

let sit for 1 min

run the BRS over this area to get rid of bugs, sap, bird droppings, etc

spray with ONR 1:16 as my rinse

proceed with regular onr wash 1:256 using BRS as the wash media

applying drying aid of choice (i like beadmaker)

dry with wrung out edgeless 365 sitting in ONR bucket

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15 minutes ago, darrvao777 said:

in the interest of consolidation, i have found that power clean works great on both wheels and tires

it works via traditional spray as well as foam

i dilute 1:4 but it works anywhere from undiluted to even 1:10 (i wash my wheels weekly so 1:10 is probably too weak for a heavily neglected wheel)

Thanks for your info. PowerClean for tires seems to be a very effective way to clean them. For wheels it's most likely alot more effective as ONR, no matter the dilution.

Do you rinse the wheels afterwards, if so; using a sprayer with ONR or with running water?

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16 minutes ago, darrvao777 said:

i like to use power clean in messier areas as my pre spray 

(eg front and rear bumpers, rocker panels, wheel wells, etc)

i used to foam it but now use a ik sprayer 1:4 dilution 

i have not encountered any staining issues

i rinse off with ONR

eg

spray front bumper with power clean 1:4

let sit for 1 min

run the BRS over this area to get rid of bugs, sap, bird droppings, etc

spray with ONR 1:16 as my rinse

proceed with regular onr wash 1:256 using BRS as the wash media

applying drying aid of choice (i like beadmaker)

dry with wrung out edgeless 365 sitting in ONR bucket

If this indeed doesn't cause any staining, with proper usage and in the right climate, this sounds like an amazingly capable and fast way to clean cars. Way to go!

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