Car Detailing

Car Detailing is a really fun, rewarding hobby, BUT it can be VERY time consuming. However, that would depend on how deep you dive into the rabbit hole, it's similar to ricing your favorite WM Install.

The Car Detailing Industry has millions of products, all slightly different, but very similar. The amount of product options to choose from are overwhelming. This is where this post comes in.

Considering my Chemistry education along with my Formulation Chemistry experience it allows me look the compounds listed in a product's Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and determine the active ingredient(s) along with their functions. However,sometimes there are some ingredients omitted from the SDS due to some "trade secret" agreements, but you can really quickly see what chemicals are the ones doing the "work", thus be able to compare products in a more qualitative way.

Anyway, I have found a really nice minimal list of things you need to get really good results. Even though this list seems long, believe me, it's very short when you look at what is out there.

Basic Steps in Car Detailing:

Paint consists of a primer, a base coat (colour) and the clear coat. The clear coat is the one with the scratches and is the one that makes your paint look glossy.

Alright, you have Three Options here, from a shallow to deep rabbit hole, and yet, it can go deeper:

Option 1: Chemical Decontamination, Wash & Dry, Protect.

If you don't care for polishing your car, and just want it clean protected, I would suggest you simply do Chemical Decontamination with an alkaline cleaner, rinse it off, then wash your car the traditional way, dry it with your drying towels and a paint protection product in the form of a spray wax or wet wax. This is the bare minimum you should to to maintain your car's exterior.

NOTE: Chemical Decontamination you do twice a year before you wash your car.

Option 2: Wash & Dry, Paint Polish + Wax.

Wash your car, dry it with a quick detailer (minimize scratching) and towels, Polish the paint with your 2-in-1 Polish and Wax. Done. You can add Spray Wax over the 2-in-1, but the 2-in-1 Polish and Wax does add protection.

Option 3: Full Monty: Chemical Decontamination, Wash & Dry, Clay Bar, Polish, Protect.

When I started getting into detailing, I did not Clay Bar my paint, and I could feel it afterwards. Clay Bars remove that roughness you feel under your fingertips, it's fine grains of debris/dirt that is sitting on top of your paint. The polish did remove some of the roughness, but not all of it. Clay Bar is well worth it, even though it can be risky. Make sure to watch plenty of How-To vids on YouTube (Channel suggestions listed below). The protection is there to seal in your hard work and protect your paint, what is the point of putting in the hours and not preserving your work. Also remember, your highest risk of getting your paint scratched is when you wash & Dry your car, so be careful with these steps.

Here are the tools you'll need for each step to get your car back to new again.

The steps in Chronological Order:

Step 1 - Paint Prep - Chemical Decontamination:

Step 2 - Wash and Dry

Tire Cleaner (optional - only if you plan to add dressing to your tires)

Step 3 - Paint Prep - Mechanical Decontamination (only if you plan to polish your paint)

Note: I use a Rinseless Wash Shampoo (Optimum No-Rinse or P&S Rinseless Wash) to make my own quick detailer. You could also use this as with your shampoo in the bucket, a wash pre-treatment to minimize scratching, and use it as a drying aid.

Step 4 - Paint Polish

Step 5 - Paint Protection (Second Most Important Step)

Step 6 - Interior & Exterior Plastic And Tire Care (optional)

If you are interested in any of these steps, have a look for instructional videos on YouTube. Channels to look out for are: Apex Detail, Pan The Organizer and Miranda Detailing.

Anyway, if you don't care much but want to keep things really simple, I would suggest you wash your car regularly, and apply the Turtle Wax Seal And Shine as a drying aid. This product will protect your paint against bird poop, rust formation, water marks and make it easier to clean.

"May we forever graze upon The Pasture of Muppets"