Traditional sponges are no longer the preferred tool of the car care professional and for good reason: the open cell nature of most foam sponges traps grit and dirt at the surface of the pad, allowing the contamination to be repeatedly wiped over the bodywork as the wash progresses. These dirt and grit particles leave scratches and swirls in the bodywork – the larger the grit the worse the swirls. The marring left behind on the paintwork is clearly visible particularly in bright sunlight and the circular pattern leaves no doubt as to when and how they were inflicted.
To avoid this opt for either a wash mitt or a wash pad.
Favoured by the majority as mitts fit over the hand and secures with a cuff over the wrist. Rather than having to grip on to a pad, a mitt allows the user to relax their hand during the wash process, preventing cramping. It also makes it less likely that the mitt will be dropped on the floor during the wash process, thus avoiding contamination.
There are 2 types of mitt: the microfibre and the natural wool, be it lambswool or Merino wool. Being synthetic, the microfibre mitts are the easiest to maintain – most can be machine washed and then put out to dry. Providing the pile is long, microfibre mitts are a great option – the long pile removes dirt from the car’s bodywork and traps it deep inside, making it less likely to incur swirl marks. Natural mitts are very popular too – the natural fibres are very soft (Merino wool mitts particularly) and again, the long fibres remove dirt and trap it deep in the pile. Natural wool mitts however require better care, typically cannot be machine washed and, depending on how long the fibres are, may even need combing out! They are also more inclined to rot and disintegrate if they’re not maintained properly.
Most wash pads are a microfibre overlay with a sponge centre. This means they are easy to grip and easy to look after. They tend to be highly absorbent (although this depends on the quality of the underlying sponge). Again, look for a long pile microfibre covering as this is all important for isolating and the subsequent removal of dirt particles.← Car Care & Detailing Guides