If your interested in going the extra mile to wash your car and keep it swirl free, please read. If you don't care, then read anyways
If you live in an apartment, read the bottom. You can wash your car yourself
Basically, anything you touch your car with leaves the potential to instill swirls(scratches) into your paints finish. Most people just wash their car without any thought to this at all. When I go out to work on a customers car, I always try and talk them into washing as carefully as possible to avoid having to call me back out again to remove more swirls from their paint. As much as I like the money, I'd rather you take care of your paints finish and avoid calling me back out again.
Washing with the 2 bucket method helps to reduce your chances of scratching your paints finish. And adding a "Grit Gaurd" protects you even more. A Grit Gaurd will keep all of the dirt and damaging particals at the bottom of your bucket, preventing it from mixing in with the water and contaminating your wash mitt. The cleaner your mitt is, the less chance you'll intill swirls or scratches into your paint!
Here's the tools you'll need...
2- 3 or 5 gallon buckets. I buy mine from Lowes for about $3 each
2- Grit Gaurd's. You can get them from most detailing supply stores for about $9 each. They look like this...
Fill both buckets with clean water, and drop the Grit Gaurds down in them.
In 1 bucket, do not add anything to the water(rinse water), in the other bucket, add you wash solution(most dilution ratio's for soap are 1oz per gallon of water).
I like to use a lambs wool washing mitt. They seem to trap more dirt into them. But, if you don't use that, try and find something with thick fibers.
When you start to wash your car, place the mitt in the clean rinse water, then wring it out completely, then drop it into the soapy water, get it good and soapy and start washing your car. You shouldn't make more than 2-3 passes with the mitt on any section. Put the mitt back in the rinse water and get all of that dirt out of the mitt, wring it out and put it back in the soapy water, then back on the car.
The more you keep that mitt on your car without rinsing it out, the more chance you'll scratch your car. If you think about it, the mitt is collecting all of the dirt off your car. You want to rinse it out as often as possible to get that dirt out of there. Dirt will scratch and swirl your paints finish.
After your finished washing, take your nozzel of choice off the hose, and let a steady stream of water flow over your car. This doesn't do anything to help with scratches or swirls, but it does make it easier to dry. It makes the water just sheet off the vehicle.
To dry, I like to use 2 microfiber water magnets. It has kind of a microfiber weave to it, and absorbs a ton of water. I make a pass with the first one, then pick up any remaining water dropplets with the second one. Dries the car completely dry!
This is a good system, and I've been very happy with the results. It may take a few minutes longer to complete, but the end result will pay for itself. If you live in an apartment or anywhere that you don't have access to a hose to wash your car, there is a product called QEW(Quick Easy Wash) from a company called Protect All. It's a no rinse car wash, and it is VERY safe to use! Basically you take all of the steps that are above,the 2 bucket method(you can fill the buckets up in your apartment sink), but instead of using your hose to rise the soap off the car, you dry it with your microfiber towel. I use this product quite a bit, and I have never had any negative effects from using it. If you want more info about how to use it, send me a PM and I'll go over it with you.
A couple of tips about your mitt's and microfiber towels...
Always wash your mitt and towels after you use them. I use regular Tide, the kind that doesn't have anything like Downy or anything like that added to it. Toss them in the washer. When their finished, let your wash mitt air dry, do not put it in the dryer. The microfiber towels however, seem to do better in the dryer rather than air drying them, but do not add any kind of fabric softener sheets. If you get fabric softener on your drying towels, they will not pick up water very good at all.