5.2 Two Bucket Method (Wash & Rinse)

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The tried and tested ‘Two Bucket Method’ is an excellent way to minimise the chances of inflicting swirl marks and scratches into the paintwork during the wash process by separating the ‘wash’ water from the ‘rinse’ water. Ideally, a grit guard or scratch shield should be placed in the bottom of the buckets; this allows you to brush your mitt against it, releasing dirt particles which sink to the bottom of the bucket. The guard then helps keep the grit at the bottom of the bucket.


  • 2 x Buckets (Wash / Rinse)
  • 2 x Grit Guards / Scratch Shields (optional but highly recommended)
  • Wash Mitt or Wash Pad
  • Shampoo


  • Step 1 – Place a Grit Guard / Scratch Shield into two standard size buckets
  • Step 2 – Fill Bucket One with lukewarm water and shampoo of choice (check the manufacturers recommendation for the amount to use) – this is now referred to as the Wash Bucket
  • Step 3 – Fill Bucket Two with clean water – this is now referred to as the Rinse Bucket. If you are only using one Grit Guard / Scratch Shield, place it into this bucket
  • Step 4 – Dunk a wash mitt or wash pad into the Wash Bucket, loading it with soapy water
  • Step 5 – Begin washing your car from the top down
  • Step 6 – When you need to, rinse your wash mitt or wash pad in the Rinse Bucket. You will see this water turn a darker shade as it now holds the contaminants you’ve just removed from the surface of your car. If you have a Grit Guard / Scratch Shield in the bucket, rub your wash mitt or wash pad across it to help release particles trapped in the pile
  • Step 7 – Immerse your wash mitt into the Wash Bucket
  • Step 8 – Continue washing your car
  • Step 9 – Rinse your mitt in the Rinse Bucket as required
  • Step 10 – Repeat until your car is clean. You will notice the water in the Wash Bucket stays clean whilst the water in the Rinse Bucket will turn dark and murky. Change the rinse water as often as necessary to prevent contaminating the wash water.

It’s worth noting – wheels, sills and the rear of the vehicle tend to collect the worst of the road grime and it’s a good idea to keep a separate wash mitt specifically for these areas.

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5.2 Two Bucket Method (Wash & Rinse) PDF

Category: 5. Safe Washing (Shampoo)

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