What is a Grit Guard , and Why You Should be Using One!

What is a Grit Guard , and Why You Should be Using One!

With the interest in Car Detailing seemingly growing over the last number of years, you hear more and more people talking about Grit Guards ( or Grit Guard Inserts as they are commonly called ) and the importance of their use when it comes to washing your car.

I will put my hand up straight away and confess that I didn’t always use a grit guard when washing my own car, or even know what people were talking about when they brought it up in conversation!

To save me future embarrassment I started to do my own research on these invaluable items, and the more I learned about how a grit guard works, and its importance for washing your car safely, the worse I felt for not using one much earlier into my detailing journey.

Anyone who knows me, or has read any of my blog posts in the past will know that I am an advocate for washing your car in the safest manner possible – so as not to damage or mark the paintwork. It just so turns out, the Grit Guard is one of the most important detailing items you need to accomplish this.

Without further ado, let us look at these magical little inventions and discuss why they are so invaluable.

what is a grit guard

What is a Grit Guard

Believe it or not, Grit Guard is the name of the Company that actually started manufacturing these Grit Guard Inserts several years ago. Without getting overly technical, a Grit Guard is Basically a plastic grate with fins extending below it, which is placed into the bottom of your car wash bucket which helps to separate and trap sediments in the bottom of the bucket.

The Whole Purpose Of Grit Guards is to help you wash your car more safely and reduce the risk you have of scratching or marring the paintwork.

If you have read my post on Safe Wash Mitts, You will know that one of the primary causes of scratches and swirls in the paintwork, is due to sediment and dirt being in contact with your paint while you are washing your car.

And where does the Majority of this sediment and dirt get picked up from? Yup – the bottom of your wash bucket! 

The first time you re-wet your wash mitt in your wash bucket, some of the abrasive particles will come off the mitt into the water. Subsequent dips in the bucket will re-contaminate your mitt. These contaminants will then rub against your paint and produce swirls. I have seen it time and time again, even in my own car.

This will eventually lead to you having to Polish your car to remove these defects from the paint.

Do Grit Guards Work?

Long Story Short, Grit Guard Inserts Absolutely Do Work. I have been using them for the last number of years and I have found that it really does minimize the risk of inflicting paint defects as you clean your car. Especially someone like me, who likes to clean their car fairly often. So the less damage I do, the better!

While no one tool, in particular, can guarantee that you won’t damage your paint while working on it, they will guarantee a higher chance of not harming your paint when used with a safe wash mitt, and a two bucket method. One that I particularly like at the Moment is Gtechniqs Safe Microfiber Wash Mitt

what is a grit guard

How Do Grit Guards Work

Grit Guards work in several different ways to help you protect your paintwork.

1.) Leaves Space between your wash mitt and the bottom of the wash bucket

The bottom of your wash bucket is where the heaviest and most dangerous sediment particles settle in the water. You REALLY don’t want to reintroduce these sediments to your wash mitt by accidentally dragging it across the bottom of the bucket.

You are basically picking up dirt particles and rubbing them across your paintwork. This is sure to damage the paint – I can promise you.

Grit Guard inserts leave sufficient space between your mitt and the bottom of the bucket, so it prevents you from picking up this sediment accidentally. People are doing this every day of the week and destroying their paintwork, without knowing it.

If you are really conscious about it or regularly have a very dirty car, it is possible to use two grit guards in the same bucket. The addition of a second Grit Guard Insert also provides more clearance between the clean water at the top and the dirty water at the bottom to lessen the likelihood that a stray grain of sand will find its way to the top

2.) Reduces the Movement of the Water in the Bucket

Due to the grit guards design, it will stop water swirling around the bucket so easily. It is very effective for reducing the current in the water that is caused by dipping your wash mitt in and out of the water. This will further reduce the risk of any dirt particles being anywhere apart from the very bottom of the bucket.

3.) Acts as a Washboard for your Mitt

The Grit Guard can also provide a rough surface for you to agitate or rake your wash mitt against to dislodge any dirt. The dislodged dirt particles will then fall to the bottom of the bucket, and be prevented from being picked up again due to how the Grit Guard works.

What is a grit guard

How Much Does A Grit Guard Cost?

Grit Guards are one of the cheapest investments you can make for your detailing artillery. I call it an investment because it will actually save you money in the long run. After all, you won’t need to buy polishes or invest time in fixing your paint defects if you prevent them from happening in the first place.

The Grit Guard is something that you’ll get to use over and over for years, and you should never really have to replace it. Usually, Grit Guards go for about less than $10…so it’s not going to really break the bank.

Where to Buy a Grit Guard

Amazon Carry a large amount of Grit Guard Inserts for the cheapest prices. You can go with any of the below options if you want to get started using the Grit Guard in your Wash Routine. These should all fit a standard 12 Inch Diameter wash Bucket. Follow the links below for more info.


The Original Grit Guard Insert


what is a grit guard

Grit Guard The Insert with Washboard Combo Pack

What is a grit guard

Adam’s Grit Guard Wash Bucket with Lid

what is a grit guard

Do I Really Need a Grit Guard, are They Worth it?

In my opinion, grit guards are worth their weight in gold. For such a simple and cost-effective tool, they really are invaluable considering the safety net they give you when you are washing your car. I wish I started using one sooner, as it would have saved me hours of work down the road when I had to try to improve my cars finish.

VW Scirocco Detailing

I have heard of people making their “own” grit guards at home or taking “Extra Care” when using a wash bucket without a guard, but to be honest I would just rather pay out the 10 bucks for peace of mind. Since I have started using one, I don’t think I will ever look back.

Grit guards really improve the safety when washing your car, especially when used with the Two Bucket Method ( but I will save that for another post! )

If you have already used grit guards in your own wash routine, I would love to hear your opinions on whether they are worth it or not.

Have another trick for preventing paint defects while washing? Let me know! I am always learning too and like picking up new tips and tricks.

Until next time

Happy Detailing!


About the Author – Darren O Hara

Darren is the founder of the DriveDetailed blog and is a keen detailing enthusiast living in the rainy south of Ireland. When he is not cleaning his car he is always researching ways he can improve his techniques and enjoys testing out out new products.

Darren currently drives an Audi TTRS and is a big fan of performance cars.

You can follow Darren on Instagram @darrenoharacork

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