Section III: Washing/Rinsing/Drying
It's usually easiest to wash your car in the shade when your car is cool. You can wash your car in the sun too if you're really fast or have help, but keep in mind as you wash you car: always keep your car wet. Never let water, especially soapy water, dry on your car. Some people like to use a spray nozzle fitting on their hose to help keep the car wet ~ I personally just use the hose itself:
When washing your car, use both buckets. Remember to use your soapy water bucket only to get soap onto your sponge. Do NOT use it to rinse your sponge. That's what your regular water bucket is for. I like to dunk my sponge deep in the soapy water, but only near the top of the rinse water. I figure most of the dirt settles to the bottom of the rinse water, so I rinse my sponge only in the water near the top of the bucket.
Wash from top to bottom. You want to clean the cleanest parts of your car first, saving the dirtiest and muddiest parts of your car for last. Depending on how much shade you have to wash your car in, you might want to wash one side of your car first so it's easier to keep the shaded part of your car wet as you wash the other side. If you've got plenty of shade, just wash from top to bottom.
Some parts of the Legend that require extra attention:
Your bumper. I've got a Type I bumper which is relatively simpler than the Type II bumper, but stuff gets stuck in there either way. Lots of dust and mud can collect in the cracks. Scrub well.
If you've got a spoiler or something, it can be a little tough to wash in between the car and spoiler. Either squeeze your sponge flat or use a microfiber towel.
Body moldings and the lowermost part of your car. I wash all the way down and a bit under the car. Make sure your mudguards are on snugly (or be gentle as you wash them) or else you'll knock 'em right off your car. I've actually done this before
Pay special attention to your hood and front fenders. When people look at your Legend, it's almost certainly the surface that will catch their eye the most. The rest of my car might be pretty dusty but if they see a reflective hood they'll think it's clean.
Time to rinse! A spray just spreads soap and water drops all over your Legend so I recommend removing any spray fittings you might have on your hose and just running the water gently over your car. Your goal is to get the water to sheet off your car.
Funny enough, nothing dries your car better than water:
This might seem like it uses more water but if you're quick, you'll find you might actually be using LESS water than you would with a spray nose fitting (yeah SoCal has a big drought too, just like your southeast states).
Here's a quick video showing you how quickly sheeted water can dry your car:
Depending on how well waxed your car was to begin with, your car might just dry itself with no water spots if you rinsed your car well. I usually have to still dry my car with microfiber towels. Before you do that though, you might want to drive your car around the block or something to shake some of the water of the car (body moldings, door jambs, etc). I'd do that but today that would just get more ash on my car.
Here is my drying duo: two microfiber towels. The yellow one on on the left is a waffle weave microfiber. I didn't think much of these at first but they're incredible. Nothing I've tried dries as well as a waffle weave microfiber.
The orange one on the right I use for things like door jambs, my exhaust, my rims, etc. It's a nice big orange drying towel but it's gotten pretty dirty so I only use it on surfaces that I wouldn't touch my precious waffle weave to.
Make sure to dry your car completely. Many people miss the door jambs:
After I've dried the entire car I also pop the gas cap, trunk, and hood. I'm thorough. Lots of extra water (or untouched dirt!) often collects in these places too:
Now, some tips to keep your car clean between washes.