The Two Bucket Method

  • Written by: Amanda Myers

If you have purchased a car wash shampoo or soap, you might have noticed on the label at the back of the bottle that says "Two bucket method". Many car care companies highly recommend the two bucket method because it helps you clean your car safely and efficiently. Meguiar's and Chemical Guys for example always show and emphasize the two bucket method in their instructional videos.

It is easy to understand the concept of the two bucket method. Obviously, the method requires two buckets, but what for? Although the method is easy to understand, not a lot of people are actually using this method. This article will explain why this method is important and the difference when you use one bucket vs two buckets when car washing.

Two Bucket Method

The primary purpose of the two bucket method is to prevent the dirt on the sponge, wash mitt, towel or brush from leaving scratches and swirls on your car. When you wash your car with a mitt, for example, the wash mitt absorbs the dirt from your car. The two bucket method allows you to wash your dirty mitt in a plain water bucket before you dip it back in a soapy water bucket. This keeps your soapy water bucket clean and your wash mitt free from dirt when you rub it on your car surface preventing the wash mitt from leaving scratches or swirls on your car.

What you need:

  1. Two buckets
  2. Car wash soap or shampoo
  3. Wash mitt, sponge, towel, rag or brush
  4. Microfiber drying towel

Two Bucket Method Instructions:

  1. Make sure the car is cool and in the shade.
  2. Rinse the car with water.
  3. Prepare two buckets. One bucket with soapy water and another bucket for rinsing water, thus the two bucket method. Use a car wash shampoo or soap to create a soapy water bucket.
  4. Dip a clean mitt in the soapy water bucket.
  5. Wash a section of your car with the soapy mitt in a straight line and from top to bottom.
  6. After cleaning an area of your car or if the wash mitt has become a bit dirty, dip the dirty mitt in the plain water bucket and wring it out on the ground so that your rinsing water bucket won't get too dirty.
  7. Dip the clean mitt in the soapy water bucket and repeat steps 5-7 until finished washing the car.
  8. Rinse the car with flowing water and wipe off with a microfiber drying towel.

Two Bucket Method plus Grit Guard

Grit guard

Aside from the two bucket method, using a grit guard is also highly recommended. You can purchase a car bucket that comes with a grit guard or you can purchase it separately.

What is the grit guard for?

The grit guard looks like a straining tool. You can rub your mitt against it to remove dirt and then it helps settle or trap the dirt at the bottom of the water bucket to keep the dirt from re-attaching to your mitt. Essentially, the grit guard keeps your soapy water bucket and mitt clean preventing the dirt from sticking on your mitt, preventing it from transferring the dirt back on your car and leave scratches on your paint.

We highly recommend "microfiber" wash mitts and drying towels. Most car care companies sell microfiber products because it cleans effectively and safely. Microfiber wash mitt uses its adhesive power to absorb dirt and carry it away from your car surface preventing the dirt from creating scratches and swirls on your car surface. You can easily remove the accumulated dirt from a microfiber wash mitt by washing it in hot water.

We also recommend using a separate brush for your wheels to avoid carrying excessive dirt from your wheels over to the less dirty part of your car. Also, brake dusts from your wheels are hard to remove and very damaging. You don't want these harsh elements to get in contact with your car paint.

Main Advantages of the Two Bucket Method:

  • Keeps your wash mitt clean.
  • Keeps your soapy water clean and soapy.
  • Saves car wash shampoo, soap, and water.
  • Prevents the dirt from sticking on your wash mitt.
  • Prevent a dirty wash mitt from scratching your car surface.

So, there you go. Those are the important things that you need to know about the two bucket method. I've also explained a little about using microfiber wash mitts and grit guards that usually goes along with the two bucket method in helping you wash your car safely and efficiently. Enjoy your car wash!