What is the "Two Bucket" Car Wash Method?

Dirty lambs wool wash mitt going into clean water bucket


As the name implies; the "Two Bucket" Wash Method is a system of using two buckets to safely wash your car, reducing the risk of introducing swirls and scratches to the bodywork.


The basics of the two bucket method is one bucket with your shampoo wash solution, and one bucket with plain water for rinsing your wash mitt.

When you think about it - during a standard wash you'll be pulling your wash mitt across the vehicle to remove all kinds of grit, grime and contaminants... you wouldn’t want to add that dirt back into the shampoo suds you’re using to clean the car with would you?

What tools do I need?

  • Two Buckets
    Extra points for using different colours/stickers to know which bucket to dunk your mitt in to as you work around the vehicle. A plastering bucket can be a good starting point.
  • Grit Guards
    Basic grit guards are fine, the key is to ensure whichever grit guards you buy fit your buckets well
  • Wash Mitt
    Step away from that sponge! Use a wash mitt with a thick pile to pull dirt away from the paintwork
  • Car Shampoo
    A dedicated car shampoo (e.g. G3 Pro Shampoo) suited to your vehicle’s cleaning needs
  • Water 
    G3 Pro Shampoo can be used in cold or warm water, but always agitate to create a foaming action.

The "Two Bucket" Process

Work on the vehicle from top to bottom, working in small sections, rinsing the wash mitt in your rinse bucket out before reloading with shampoo solution from the wash bucket - nice and simple, whilst keeping grit and grime away from your paintwork.

The two bucket wash method is part of a wider safe-wash process which includes pre-washing with snow foam to remove as much of the surface contaminants as possible before the contact wash stage, with your wash mitt.

1 Black Bucket and 1 White Bucket in front of a black car
Rinsing a lambs wool wash mitt in a dedicated bucket
Putting rinsed lambs wool mitt into soapy bucket

Alternative Methods

There are a number of other wash methods, all with the aim of trying to clean your vehicle as safely and efficiently as possible.

Three Bucket Method
An extension of the two bucket method, using a third bucket dedicated to wheels, for example, coated in grime, metal particles from braking etc. A three bucket wash can keep a lot of dirt safely away from your bodywork and you may opt for a stronger cleaning solution.

One Bucket Method
Rather than rinsing your wash mitt in a separate rinse bucket, you switch to a fresh wash mitt, usually on a per panel basis. The benefit being that you remove the opportunity for grit to be added back into your shampoo solution albeit at the expense of acquiring and cleaning 5-7 wash mitts for each wash.

Recommended Products

G3 PRO SNOW FOAM - Front Photo of 500 ml size SKU on a White Background

G3 Pro Snow Foam is a pH neutral cleaner, safe for all surfaces and paint finishes. It is ideal for touchless cleaning and maintenance washes, before full exterior work.

G3 PRO SHAMPOO - Photo of 500 ml size SKU on a White Background

G3 Pro Shampoo's highly concentrated formula delivers high foaming action - softening and lifting dirt to prevent surface damage whilst leaving a high gloss shine.