In this free guide:
- Learn processes that make a real difference in super-fast time.
- See the products you need to step your detail up a notch… or three.
- Master quick and easy techniques that give almost unbelievable results.
Why enhance your detailing?
- A few simple changes (or optional extras) to your regular maintenance routine can add up to a big difference.
- Anyone can protect their vehicle in seconds, learn how to make the most of their wax or master any of these simple processes with no specialist equipment involved.
- Knowing what products will be effective and where will always save you time and money.
All these products help transform a car wash into a detail, in next to no time at all...
Many of us are well versed in the notion of breaking out the buckets at the weekend to clean our pride and joy. But, how can you turn your wash into a detail, and then take it to the next level, without spending a huge amount of extra time and effort? Oh, and without breaking the bank, either.
Well, that’s where we come in with our top ten products to make your life easier, while instantly taking your detail to a whole new level…
Bugs be gone!
You may have heard that pre-washing is only necessary in winter, when there’s excess salt and grime on the road, but the truth is that an effective pre-wash is important at any time of the year. Hot summer weather in particular comes with its own set of problems, not least the increased amount of bug splatter you’ll pick up during everyday driving. If left for extended periods the acidic content will etch into paintwork and vinyl wraps, making correction necessary or causing irreversible damage.
Pre-washing is designed to shift these sort of risky contaminants before you actually touch your car during the contact wash stage, this decreases the chances of dragging debris across the surface, inflicting swirl marks as you go.
The most effective pre-wash can only be had by using a suitable cleaning agent, which is exactly where Citrus Power Bug & Grime Remover comes in. This powerful formula breaks down, loosens and lifts contaminants, allowing them to be safely rinsed away. Citrus Power is supplied ready-to-use, so it’s just a case of spraying onto the affected area, leaving to dwell for a few minutes (remember, in hot weather, never let any product dry on your car) and rinsing with your pressure washer.
If a little more bite is needed, or you’re tackling awkward grilles and trim, Citrus Power can also be agitated with a Detailing Brush or microfibre.
Lose those rusty spots
One of the most common, not to mention harshest, contaminants you’ll find on a hard-used daily driver (or, indeed, track car) is shards of ferrous metal embedded in the paintwork. This kind of contamination is unavoidable and comes chiefly from hot brake dust floating in the air. These are essentially tiny pieces of metal shrapnel that have flown up from the road (or from under your arches) and peppered your paint.
Now, apart from the fact that metal contamination can bring on premature aging and oxidation, in many cases (especially on lighter vehicles) it will commonly present itself as ugly rusty spots which are impossible to eradicate when washing. You’ll find this problem all over the exterior bodywork, with the most concentrated on the front-end, lower sides, wheels and around the arches… basically all the places that have the most contact with scorching hot, airborne brake dust.
Safe removal is a question that comes up time and time again, and the answer is that it can only be achieved by inducing a chemical reaction. Iron Out Contaminant Remover actively targets ferrous particles and dissolves them into the solution, allowing them to be quickly rinsed away without touching the paint surface, ridding the surface while, at the same time, safeguarding from scratching.
As Iron Out reacts it turns blood red, highlighting the contamination to be washed away. It’s also safe to use on the majority exterior surfaces including paintwork, wheels, glass and rubber.
It’s also extremely easy to apply, just spray onto the contaminated areas, allow a little time for the reaction to take place and then rinse away with your pressure washer.
Clay all over
Contra to popular belief, claying isn’t just for your front end… although granted, you may find a greater concentration of contaminants in this area. The truth is that when using clay to pull nasties - including mineral and protein deposits, tree sap, bugs and bird droppings - out of paintwork, you’re basically unclogging the pores to leave behind as smooth a surface as possible. This will not only make any LSPs you apply last longer but allows water to run off without obstruction. It also perfectly prepares the surface for any necessary correction processes. This is why we always clay the whole car, to prepare for whatever the next step may be. In fact, for some, using clay to decontaminate, is exactly where the distinction lies between a valet and a detail.
In any case, when using clay it’s important to utilise Glide Clay Lube, this will allow the clay to glide across surfaces, reducing marring and enhancing the performance of your clay.
Aside from using our traditional Clay Bar, we also have our Clay Pads. Attached to our ergonomic Handi Puck Applicator these reusable pads make the claying process quicker and easier than ever. Just spritz a liberal amount of Glide over the surface and run the Clay Pad back and forth with light to medium pressure. You’ll feel that, as the clay pulls out the contaminants, it will begin to glide more freely, slipping and sliding until the impurities have been lifted way and the surface is a smooth as possible. That’s the thing about using clay, you can actually feel the difference.
Get the most out of your Wax
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – for maximum impact nothing beats the look of a wax. After all, this is why we developed our whole Signature Wax Collection, which give a specific offering to enhance just about every paint type out there.
The thing about waxes though, is that you can always make them look even better by preparing surfaces with Rejuvenate Paintwork Cleanser. This glazed-based abrasive not only deep-cleans paint layers, removing oxidisation and light defects, but it’s been specifically designed to enhance the performance and appearance of waxes. Not only that, but it helps you to get the maximum possible durability, too.
If you’ve ever wondered how show cars prepare for that ultimate deep gloss before applying their wax – now you know.
Add ceramic protection at the wash stage
If the effort of waxing is not what you’re after for your daily driver, that’s okay too. In this case ceramic coating will be ideal protection to shield your paintwork from the grit and grime because, above all, you don’t want to leave your paintwork unprotected. It sometimes feels like ceramic coatings are the reserve of brand-new cars and the detailing elite though, but this type of hardy protection doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, or even time consuming.
Ceramic coatings are chiefly made up of Silica (Si02), the main ingredient in glass. This substance chemically bonds to surfaces on a molecular level to create an extremely hard, glass-like layer of protection. This ultra-durable layer is not only impermeable to water (which is why you see it simply running off or beading) but it actively stops grime from sticking, protecting your paintwork and keeping your vehicle looking better for longer.
Using Aqua Coat Hydrophobic Rinse Aid is a quick and easy way to apply a layer of Si02 protection that’s durable for up to 3-months. It works on all painted surfaces, glass and trim, and is applied immediately after you wash your car, while it’s still wet. Just spray a fine mist over the whole vehicle, rinse off and dry as normal. It doesn’t get any easier than that, does it?
Avoid the dreaded water spots
Perhaps our simplest top tip is to always dry your pride and joy after washing. This isn’t just for looks, it’s because your wash water may be clean, but it won’t be pure like filtered water or rainwater. In fact, tap water contains minerals that will always leave deposits if left to dry naturally, especially in hard water areas. The best-case scenario here is that you’ll have to wipe down the whole vehicle with a product like our Finale Quick Detailer to remove the marks, and the worst case could mean a whole load of polishing later on.
Using our Silk Drying Towel is the quick, easy and scratch-free way to mop up water during your wash. The key here is absorption - rather than trying to push moisture off of the vehicle, the soft, microfibre literally sucks water off of the surface, leaving behind nothing but swirl-free paintwork.
Finish your windows like a pro
One thing’s for certain, nothing lets down an impeccable detail like smeary, streaky windows. But, the irony is that so many people make the mistake of leaving their glass to fester when - with the correct product - getting a sparkling finish is so easy.
Crystal Glass Cleaner is a powerful, solvent-based formula that effortlessly cuts through grime, fingerprints and greasy films inside and out, but it’s also gentle enough for use on tinted or polycarbonate windows.
A quick spritz and wipe on the outside - and spraying directly onto a microfibre cloth for the inside - is not only the perfect finishing touch to any detail, but you can use Crystal at any time between washes to remove light soiling and enhance your all-round vision. For the very finest results, try Crystal in conjunction with our new Superior Waffle, the ultimate Glass Cleaning Towel.
Nourish and protect your tyres
When you think about it, the only parts of your car that actually touch the ground are the rubber bits on each corner. With that in mind it stands to reason that these will need protection just like everything else, a notion that’s all-to-often forgotten after washing and protecting the rest of the car.
Utilising Satin Tyre Crème not only makes your rubber look great at the end of your detail, but the easily absorbed, water-based formula actually nourishes deep down beyond the surface. This conditions your tyres from within, helping to prevent cracking, browning and UV fading. It also creates a physical barrier from the elements.
The other thing about Satin is that it’s the only ‘layer-able’, progressive-finish product of its kind. This means that you can actually choose the look that you fancy. A single coating will give a clean, natural matte look, whereas applying multiple layers will build up a wet-look gloss.
Alternatively, if it’s the ultimate dripping wet show-car shine you’re after, our Gloss Tyre Dressing is a quick and simple ‘spray and walk away’ formula.
But don’t forget to clean your rubber first!
When dressing tyres, it’s important that they’re as clean as possible, this not only avoids grime interfering with the finish of your dressing, but provides the perfect surface for your product of choice to cling to in the first place. There’s also the added benefit that your dressing will always last longer if the rubber is properly prepared.
On the bright side, fully cleansing your tyres couldn’t be easier. Just after you’ve completed cleaning your wheels, a few spritzes of Tread Tyre Cleaner and a good going over with our Rubber Scrubber Tyre Brush will have them perfect in no time. Spray, scrub and rinse away. That’s it!
Finish the parts that others cannot reach
One of our most versatile products in our range is the, almost magical, Dressle All Purpose Dressing. This is what we’d call a true kitbag essential because this water-based formula makes finishing to an amazing standard easier than ever before.
Whether it’s giving your dash and interior trim a deep, rich finish (just spray and wipe) or bringing exterior plastic trim back to life Dressle is the ideal product to get the job done fast. Some of the best uses though, are for getting to the area where other dressings will fall short – areas like engine bays and inner wheel arches. What makes Dressle a top product is that – once these areas have been cleaned – you can simply spritz liberally over the whole area and leave it at that. Dressle will work itself into any little crevices and, once cured, you’ll have the desired finish, with next to no effort at all. Perfect for shows, perfect for maintenance washes, perfect for just about any occasion there is.