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Washing your car in the garage with Protectall's Quick & Easy Wash (part 1)

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I wrote this for Autopia, but I think it's very useful for Subaru owners who want to keep their car nice in the snow and ice. Mods, I'm not too good on the thumbnails thing yet.


And before anyone mentions the sloppy mess I made with the water, one of the buckets was leaking and I had to toss it and get another one...


Written as a compendium from searches I made while looking for advice on how to use it; I decided to put it all in one place, for easy reference for those searching.


If you are an Autopian, you are fanatic about not introducing swirls and scratches and tracers into your paint. This was a tremendous leap of faith for me, to treat my car and hard work this way, with the possibility that I would have to break out the buffers and compounds and start a process all over again. It's probably the same for any of you who have read about QEW, but haven't tried it yet, for this fear. I say, fear not.


Quick & Easy Wash (QEW) is from Protect All, a company that makes maintenance products for the camping and RV recreationalists. From the bottle, "Wash anywhere water use is restricted, such as campgrounds, RV parks, gargages, apartment and condominiums...." You get the idea. QEW supposedly leaves no film and won't remove wax. QEW is a blue watery liquid with a clean smell.


How dirty was my car? Not very dirty, especially for winter, but dirty enough that I wouldn't use a quick detailer or a Cal car duster on it, nor wipe my finger on it.


This dirty:





I used two 2gal buckets full of warm water, two lambswool wash mitts, a drying towel and a microfiber finishing towel. I put 2oz of QEW in the wash bucket.


QEW in the bucket:












I also found the creeper stool useful (notice the dirty water in the rinse bucket):



FRA-GEE-LAY... It must be Italian!
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My process was to saturate one mitt, let it drain until it was about as wet as a wash cloth you would use to wash your face, and do the car one panel at a time, wiping in the direction of wind flow. As I finished a panel, I put the mitt in the rinse bucket and let it "bloom" (see the picture/link above), and dried the panel with the grey drying towel first and the blue mf towel second. (You can dry with whatever you usually use.) I then let the first mitt soak while I used the second to do the next panel, and worked around the car in this manner, alternating mitts.



Wet mitt right to dry dirty panel!





Dirty mitt





Just dry the panel after wiping it with QEW.





QEW doesn't bead, it sort of sheets; it has very low surface tension.



QEW on the hood




I started off using the mitts sopping wet, and using as much water as I could as a precaution against scratching, but as I became more confident I started using less and less water. The dirt seems to get "taken up" into the QEW, and then gets wiped away.



Garage floor/water used on the first side





Dirt on car in suspension in QEW





Contrast of cleaned/not cleaned





FRA-GEE-LAY... It must be Italian!
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I think you know that if the stuff wasn't working I wouldn't have gotten this far around the car....


I finished up the passenger side, and then I used QEW on the wheels, too, just to see how strong it was; the wheels cleaned up no problem. Here are the "finish up" shots.



Beauty shot across the hood (No, I don't use the propane heater inside.)





Partial profile showing a wheel





Setting the scene




And, for you who say, "But Tom, I wouldn't even call your car dirty!", here is a before and after of the side of the wifemobile:





My judgement, if your car is as dirty as the Malibu, is to use a slightly stronger solution of QEW, and keep your wash mitts VERY wet. You may want to spray the panels with a QEW solution and let them soak before using the method I have outlined above. The mitts picked up an awful lot of grit from the sedan. Change the rinse water more frequently. But, it STILL WORKS.


In summary: QEW is as effective, IMO, as a regular wash. No matter what you do, washing your car introduces swirls and microscratches, and the best you can hope for is to minimize them. QEW does that. Even now after having done it, it is hard to get my mind around the fact that I just washed my car with one gallon of water, 2oz of QEW, two wash mitts and two small 16"x16" towels. And it took about an hour, including setup, frequent stopping to take pictures, doing the glass, wheels, dressing the tires, doing two panels on the Malibu for good measure, and cleaning up.


QEW is available on line at Camping World , $7.49 for 16oz, less per unit for larger sizes up to a gallon. It may also be available locally at RV supply stores; they didn't have it at RV World in my area, but they could've ordered it (I asked them to).


I have to say it again, it's hard to describe the experience. How long has this been around? How come I never heard of it? Why doesn't everyone who lives in water restricted areas know about it and use it? Do they, and I don't know about it? Whatever, here it is. HIGHLY recommended.






FRA-GEE-LAY... It must be Italian!
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I've been wanting to try this stuff out. Great write-up. I'm sure that I'll order some now. I don't have a hose available at my apartment, and it costs me an arm and a leg doing it at the do-it-yourself places. Thanks!
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I have been using it since 1992 and have never looked back. Whenever I suggest it to anyone, they usually dismiss it out of hand. I've mentioned here and elsewhere and people just can't believe that it works. You should use a synthetic to dry it, soaking it in the QEW as you dry the car. It works better and is simple and quick.



Great write up. You should check out their wax!

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Also, did you do the panels from bottom up?


Hood, top, & decklid first, then above the belt, then below the belt. I use the mitts when they're cleanest where the eyes see first, not wanting to drag particles up from below. But if you rinse your mitts properly, it shouldn't matter. Since I wrote that I got a grit guard for the bucket, and it works great, keeping the larger particles out of the rinse water.


rao, I too was an unbeliever, but I took the step and now I use it all year long. I don't think that it causes any more marring than regular washing would. For my cars, it usually takes about a year before I have to take out the machines and remove swirl buildup, since I started QEW it still takes about a year.


Elaborate please; a synthetic, you mean like a synthetic chamois, an Absorber or clone? I have one, but haven't used it in this situation yet. I can see that working really well, because of the smaller volume of liquid used.





FRA-GEE-LAY... It must be Italian!
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Guest *Jedimaster*

"And, for you who say, "But Tom, I wouldn't even call your car dirty!", here is a before and after of the side of the wifemobile:






Wow- it changed the color of the car! :lol:


I used this stuff when it first came out and it's OK- if I had no other choice, I'd use it. But a bucket of suds and a hose> QEW.

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  • 1 month later...
Did you put any QEW in your rinse water? I've read of some people adding a bit to the rinse to prevent dirt from being suspended in the water...
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You use only 1 bucket (which has the QEW and water mix in it) for washing and rinsing.


I was thinking about trying that. I just picked up a nice bucket with a grit guard in it yesterday, I think I should be alright. Thanks rao. If I find that I'm swirling the paint, I'll move to a two bucket method.

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  • 2 years later...

3 years later.... I'M A BELIEVER!


:) thanks rao!


edit: so when i was drying off my last wheel, this little kid came up to me and said "wow, nice car..."


then stood around watching while i finished the wash - i should have used him to get between the spokes of my wheels :)


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