“The Two-Bucket Method”

Two buckets. Do you have two buckets?

Let’s take it from the top: your car’s dirty. When you wash it, the dirt comes off. Where’s that dirt go? How does it get off? Sure, some heads to the ground in the pre-wash rinse, but not all. But what are you washing the car with? What’s that soapy sponge or wash mitt doing?

What you’re using to put soap on all that dirt is the same device that’s gently removing: you put that release agent (the soapy water) on the paint and take dirt off the same way. Soap on, dirt off. Every time that sponge comes away from the vehicle, it’s got much less soap in it, and much more dirt.

So, the question: where are you putting that dirt next? Back in the bucket full of soap? Back on the car?

Your automobile’s paint is not a thick layer of armor. In a sense, cars have it backward – the metal is under the paint. Shouldn’t it be the other way? Unless you live in post-apocalypse Chicago, a durable metal shell on your car (or remote-operated .50-cals) is not nearly as appealing as a pretty coat of Lobster Red Metallic, which is why most vehicles have paint on ‘em: it looks better. Thank goodness, the paint-lovin’ goons at TouchUpDirect love your paint too, and we’re here to help.

The two-bucket method doesn’t even require two buckets. A bucket and a plastic office garbage can, a bucket and a pot (don’t tell your wife), or a bucket and a kitty-litter jug with its head cut off. If it can hold clean water and is easily emptied and refilled a few times, it’ll do as Bucket #2.

Point is, when you lift your now-less-soapy wash mitt from the vehicle you’re washing, put an additional step into the process: before you dunk that mitt in the soapy water bucket again, swish and rinse it in the clean water bucket. Yup! This is the Two-Bucket Method, one of TUD Life’s Recommended Good Car Washing Habits. You’re welcome.

You’re right – the clean water bucket won’t stay so for long, but that’s to your garden’s benefit. That’s why the bushes next to the TUD Life driveway look so happy. Dump and fill Bucket #2 a few times. Admit it: you’re picturing the bottom of your soap bucket from the last time you washed your Mustaro – that water wasn’t pretty, was it? That water was what with which you were wiping your W30. Whoops.

Junkyards are full of typewriters and VCRs and buggy whips and one-bucket methods: congrats, you’ve evolved. Don’t feel worse than you should. Plenty of good folks don’t use the two-bucket method. So long as you use it now that you know it, you’ve taken a better technique as your own.

Program Note: you’re always going to find a scratch or two when you wash your truck/car/motorcycle/tractor. Having a TouchUpDirect touch up paint kit on the shelf means you can chase those nicks before they turn into something the neighbors will discuss in hushed tones over crullers and tea. Find your color code and give us a call: we’re not from the government, and we’re here to help.