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Drying Methods

You can dry a vehicle in many different ways including with towels, sheeting water, and a blower. We’ve compiled some resources about different techniques and you can use what works best for your tool set.

Drying Aid

For this method you need an additional small towel – lower pile (less fluff) is preferable – as well as your regular drying towel, and your drying aid of choice. Common drying aids include quick detailer or sealant.

  1. Pre wet your small towel if needed, not needed for all towels.
  2. Spray your sealant in the small towel.
  3. Wipe the car with the small towel. The goal is not to be perfect but a significant reduction in standing water. Refresh the sealant as needed.
  4. Do a final dry with your actual drying towel. You can work in sections.

It saves a lot of time, it allows your drying towel to go much further and it’s very convenient.

Sheeting Water

Using water to dry sounds nuts until you actually do it! It’s cool to watch and leaves a dry surface behind, but it does use a lot of water so be mindful about it. You’ll need a garden hose, and your vehicle needs to be coated for the water to bead off properly. This won’t work on a freshly washed mud truck, for example.

  1. Remove the sprayer from a garden hose so you have slow, flowing water.
  2. After cleaning the vehicle, turn on the water and hold the hose vertically so water is flowing down the body panels.
  3. Move the hose slowly from one end of the panel to another, watching water droplets bead up and roll down.
  4. Repeat across the body panels to leave very little water behind.
  5. Dry any remaining droplets with a towel.

Blower Dryer

Sometimes it’s quicker to bring out the big guns. If you have an electric leaf blower or compressed air, you can dry a vehicle in no time! Gas blowers sometimes spray exhaust, so avoid them if possible.

Do not use a blower if you’ve done a rinseless wash. Rinseless wash needs to be wiped off otherwise it’ll leave spots behind.

  1. Starting at the top of the vehicle, use air to blow as much water down the doors as possible. Blow water out of roof seals and rails.
  2. Blow water from the side mirrors and rear wiper (if the vehicle has one).
  3. Open the doors and blow water down the door jambs.
  4. Blow water down the hood and out of the grille. This may spray a bit since plastic grilles hold a lot of water.
  5. Continue following the water down the vehicle to blow it down to the ground.
  6. Dry any remaining water with a towel.

Additional Resources

  • Detailed Image posted an “Ask a Pro Detailer” blog article that covers the sheeting method using a solid stream of water.
  • Adam’s Polishes produced a video on how to dry using a blower and towel.
  • Larry Kosilla at AMMO created a video about how to dry using a liquid drying aid and towel.
Updated on 5 July 2023

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