Detailing is an addiction
You can send safely a car up to 3 times for a full on detail. The trick is to NOT send the car that often for a full on detail, since you have a limited amount of clearcoat on your car (around 25% primer, 25% paint, 50% clearcoat in total),reason why I told you to invest in good washing material and to have the proper washing technique.
Always use two buckets when washing your car. One with just water and one with water and shampoo. Buy some Grit Guards
, one for each bucket, to avoid the dirt from your washing mitt to be floating around the water. Invest in a good washing mitt, I like to use the ones from Sonüs
. Buy a good car shampoo.
Bad washing techniques and tools is what makes swirls!
Some washing tips:
1) Wash your wheels first, since you don't want the dirt from it to go get stuck on just washed car paint. Try to use Acid Free wheel cleaner (like P21S, Autobrite, etc) to save your wheel lacquer. After getting your wheels really really clean, try to seal them with special sealants made for wheels. This will make them look great and protect the wheel from brake dust, not letting it stick to the lacquer. It will also enable you to wash your wheels with normal car shampoo, therefore avoiding agressive wheel cleaners.
2)Rinse your car properly before washing to remove has much dirt as possible.
3)Use the correct amount of shampoo dilution and make sure the shampoo is good quality, lubricity matters a lot, so does cleaning power of course.
4)When washing use the bucket with water and shampoo to wash the car, inserting the mitt like a spoon. Use the bucket with water only to wash your mitt from any dirt that you got on it, to avoid bringing it back to the car when you wash it. Do this often. You want your mitt clean and you want to actually wash your car without inducing swirls. I wash my mitt after doing a panel, and twice on the doors, since the bottom of the side panels always have a lot of road grime.
5) Rinse the car properly. After rinsing try to let a free flow of water from your water hose run on the car, since it will actually reduce around 50% of your drying work. The less you touch the paint, the least is the probability to induce swirls. When drying be sure to use proper high quality microfibers. Sonüs, Aquatouch, Poorboys, you got lot of selection. If car has a soft paint you can "pat dry", by gently patting the MF towel on the water drops.
This sort of washing should keep your car safe from inducing lots of swirls. Of course, we could expand this tip list with claying, using a free flow of RO water to avoid water spots after washing the car, etc.