Originally Posted by Z K
If that is how you wash your car, it will never be truly clean. Just spraying water won't take off the contaminants and you'll end up with water spots if you don't dry it. If you do dry it, you'll scratch and swirl up the paint.
I think most of us like our cars to be in showroom condition - that is what we mean by "washed".
There is soap as well. You can change what you're spraying your car with. I use a high powered rinse first, then high powered soap wash, then repeat high powered rinse. I imagine the soap being used isn't the highest quality, but it certainly isn't going to be any worse than any other local car wash. I just make sure to wax every few months.
Obviously I dry the car afterwards. I just figured that was a given. I use a few of the waffle towels. Then I clean my wheels, windows, etc. I think using a wash mitt can create all sorts of swirl marks. It isn't just caused by drying.
There is generally space to perform any drying/detailing on the premises of any decent self serve wash. In my area the self serve car wash seems to be the choice of most enthusiasts. Most of the cars being washed there are by guys with their toys. I don't know about you but I don't trust the local car wash and the dudes getting paid $7/hour. They've scuffed my wheels enough times and generally are dragging a huge brush all over the paint.
So yes... my car is "washed" and looks great. Thanks for the tips.