Certain areas of detailing should only be undertaken by experts however, there is nothing wrong with adopting the areas of maintenance which require little or no expert training. I strongly advise not undertaking wet sanding/flatting, compound correction unlkess you know what you are doing! Basic car maintenance 1. Pre-Rinse car with water 2. APC areas (badges/door/bonnet/boot shuts, badges and wheels etc. 3. Foam – coating the car encapsulating dirt 4. Wash – ideally adopting a 2 bucket method with grit guards and a lambs wool mit 5. Rinse 6. Clay – deep clean your paint removing all contaminants 7. Dry 8. Polish – restore, enhance and finish your paint for the perfect shine Restore – restore dull, faded, swirled and neglected paint with various compounds Enhance – remove lighter swirls enhancing gloss Finish – ultrafine finishing polishes and glazes for show car finish 9. Protect – protect and seal your paint with various synthetic sealants and natural carnauba waxes Sealant – protection in the form of long lasting acrylic polymers Wax – pure carnauba offering best protection and concours finish 10. Maintain – restoring gloss and finish in between wax/sealant applications Pre-rinse This loosens up dirt and wets the paintwork ready for washing. Using a hose- pipe, direct a gentle spray of water at the paintwork at a shallow angle. If you blast the paintwork with high pressure at ninety degrees to the paintwork, you'll force grit into the paint and cause scratches. Just a gentle spray of water to wet the paintwork is all that is required. APC areas To me this means areas to concentrate on prior to the foaming process or areas which can generally be cleaned with an APC (All purpose Cleaner) When washing your wheels using a wheel brush, the shampoo solution (or wheel cleaner solution) can spray up onto paintwork, and if you’ve just cleaned the paintwork, you'll end up needing to clean it again to remove the dirty spray from wheels which is why it is advisable to do at this stage. Don't forget to open all doors and boot/bonnet and clean the shuts and the insides of the door with APC - these areas can pick up a lot of dirt and it adds something a little extra to open the door and see the shuts as clean as the rest of the car. I also clean badges, grills and petrol cap area at this stage. I personally adopt a citrus wash stage before moving onto snow foam but i have ocd. Foam Snow foam is designed to create a thick blanket of foam when used through a foaming device/lance. It is designed to be safe on all paint types and able to be left to dwell encapsulating dirt without stripping any previously applied wax or polish. Once left to dwell the foam should be rinsed off. I personally prefer to foam my car twice before moving on to the wash process. Wash This is the major stage of the washing process, and the time when most scratches can be inflicted if care is not taken. This removes fresh surface contamination from paintwork such as dust, grit, mud, road film etc... Add the correct amount of car wash solution (according to the dilution ratio on the bottle) to your bucket and fill with water to produces suds and lubricated wash solution: The two bucket method as advised by the pros uses two buckets, not one. In the first bucket, you have your car wash solution as normal. In the second bucket you have clean fresh water. First off you soak your mitt in the wash solution and begin washing the car (ideally even strokes in the same direction). Then, before dunking the wash mitt back into the wash solution, you rinse it out in the second bucket of fresh water - this rinses out the dirt and grit particles from this mitt so that they cannot come into contact with your paint, reducing the number of swirls inflicted. A grit-guard is also a very worthwhile investment and sits at the bottom of the bucket (I have two, one in the rinsing bucket and one in the wash solution bucket). When dunking your mitt into the fresh water bucket, rub it across the grit guard to increase the amount of grit particles which are removed from the mitt. Also, it keeps them trapped at the bottom of the bucket so even less chance of the mitt picking them back up and them reaching your paintwork to inflict scratches.