The 2 Bucket Car Wash System

Two Bucket Method

When washing your car, safety should always be a top priority. You can never be too cautious with your paint finish, as even an unnoticeable flake of debris could potentially damage the surface. While protecting your paint puts you at an added advantage, there is one clear way to improve your car wash: The 2 Bucket System. As you’ll see, one bucket just isn’t enough to ensure your wash is as safe as it should be.


All you really need to give your car a proper car wash with the two bucket system is a quality car wash soap, some wash pads, microfiber drying towels, and two buckets with Grit Guard in each. As for the buckets and Grit Guards, avoid dark colors, as these make cleaning them a pain. Dark colors hide dirt and grime, which is why we recommend white buckets with red inserts to increase visibility of these substances. You should always clean all utensils/tools/accessories after each wash to make sure they’re fresh for the next time you need a wash.

Bucket #1: Wash

In order for the two bucket system to be effective, you must wash your wheels first and rinse out the wash bucket before putting your wash pads in. If you combine your wheel cleaning tools with your wash pads you’re looking at contamination and harm to your paint. Additionally, always make sure you’ve put a Grit Guard at the bottom of the wash bucket to keep separation from dirt and grime that may carry over after rinsing. When lathering the wash pads with soap, it can be helpful to agitate them on the Grit Guard to increase suds and knock out any last particles that may not have been removed in the rinse bucket. If you want to be extremely cautious, you can even add a third bucket for the wheel cleaning accessories to be sure they don’t come near your wash bucket.

TIP: Don’t fill a 5 gallon bucket up all the way. 3-4 gallons is plenty for a wash and will save soap while limiting spillage.

Bucket #2: Rinse

Your rinse bucket is extremely important, as this is where your wash pad gets clean before touching your car again. You never want to clean with dirty mitts, and without a proper rinsing technique, you’re putting your paint in danger. With a Grit Guard at the bottom of the bucket, squeeze and agitate the wash pad against the grated surface to remove dirt, grit, and grime that was lifted from the car while washing. Once dirt settles to the bottom of the bucket, the Grit Guard keeps it there by separating the wash water into four quadrants, so the water cannot be disturbed. Don’t rush the rinse, either. Allowing your wash pad or wash mitt to get as clean as possible before touching the car is an integral part of giving your car the best wash possible.

TIP: If your car is particularly dirty (or just large in size), you can always dump and add new water to your rinse bucket during a wash. Doing so will make sure your mitts are getting thoroughly flushed out before coming back in contact with your paint.

If your washing your car by hand, there’s really no alternative. You could grab yourself a foamer if you want to eliminate the need for a wash bucket, but that has the potential of being too hard core for some people. Adding the 2 bucket system to the proper car wash routine will not only make your car look better, but it won’t be doing damage while doing so. The last thing anyone wants is a hairline scratch that was caused by a dirty mitt. Do yourself (and your car) a favor and adopt the two bucket car wash system before your next car wash.