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Citrus Power pre wash - what it can do for you -
5 min read Tuesday 19 April 2022

Citrus Power pre wash - what it can do for you

Got Citrus Power in your kit? Here's why the answer should always be yes…

We may have said it a million times, but we'll say it again - the pre-wash is one of the most important, if not THE most important, stages in detailing. It's here where the most harmful contaminants are removed from the vehicle surfaces in the safest possible way, prior to contact washing, in a bid to avoid inflicting damage, particularly on paintwork.

Heavy grit, grime and road salt can cause swirl-marks and defects when dragged around on your wash mitt, and this is the reason that we remove them first - simply to cut down on the risk of causing damage that will inevitably have to be rectified later. Very often these contaminants are firmly stuck onto surfaces, so to aid the process we use Citrus Power Bug & Grime Remover as a pre-cleaner to power through the dirt, breaking it down, lifting and encapsulating the harmful particles, allowing them to be rinsed away.

But, why would you need Citrus in summertime, when cars just don't get as dirty? Do you still need to pre-wash your vehicle? Well, the answer is always yes. You see, while you'll still find a small amount of corrosive salt and grime on the road (especially here in the UK where the weather, for the most part, isn't what you'd call tropical), what's even more abundant in the spring and summer months is the concentration of bugs floating around in the air, splattering themselves all over your paintwork and glass as you drive. In fact, there's far more bugs in the warm evenings than there ever will be in the winter, and that's why you should always have this ready-to-use, spray-on cleaner in your detailing kit… Bug & Grime Remover -the clue really is in the name.

Why does bug splatter need to be removed?

Apart from the fact that the relatively sharp gritty particles contained in bug splatter can physically cause swirl marks - especially when we're tempted to go scrubbing away with a wash mitt to get them unstuck - they're also highly acidic. Bugs tend to eat fruit and other acidic foodstuffs, and these combined with their blood and natural acids in the body inevitably end up on your vehicle when they explode on surfaces. These acids are what eat through protection layers and into paintwork or clearcoat, causing even more damage. This is why it's so important to neutralise the acids and remove the debris as soon as possible, and it goes without saying that this process needs to be performed safely.

How Does Citrus Power Work?

Citrus Power will essentially dissolve bug splatter on contact. Just like with other grime and particulate soiling, it uses special surfactants within the formula to break down, lift and suspend the contamination within the solution (and most importantly, away from surfaces) allowing the whole lot to be rinsed away together.

These surfactants are essentially "polar' molecules which attract water at one end, and foreign particles like grime (while repelling water) at the other. They use this hydrophobic-hydrophilic mechanism to lock on to grime/bug particles on a molecular level and, with the other end that's attracted to the water in the solution, physically pull them off surfaces. After this the surfactant molecules group together to surround the contaminant, allowing it to be rinsed away. For more on the science of how surfactants and aqueous agents like Citrus Power work, see our article - All Car Cleaning Products Explained.

Should I agitate Citrus Power?

This depends on the circumstances in which it's being used. When it comes to paintwork Citrus Power is designed as a contactless cleaning agent, and agitation, for instance washing the product in with a mitt, would go against the whole point of safely pre-washing. You can however reapply and agitate Citrus Power (or use in conjunction with Avalanche Snow Foam) into areas such as door shuts, window rubbers engine bays, lights and on protected wheels to help with the cleaning. Here the agitation isn't simply about scrubbing away contamination, the idea is to work the solution into the most awkward areas with a Detailing Brush, moving away any spent solution (that's solution which has already broken down and encapsulated the soiling) and replenishing the area with fresh solution to work on any remaining grime. So, yes, Citrus Power can be agitated, but we wouldn't do it on exterior paintwork, vinyl or gloss plastics during your first stage pre-wash.

How often can I use Citrus Power?

Unlike many harsh pre-cleaners and APCs Citrus Power is gentle enough that it won't strip protection layers, meaning that your waxes, sealants or coatings are safe. This is what makes it suitable for any detail, including regular maintenance washes.

The real question here then is; how often do you need it? Technically you could use Citrus Power every day if you wanted to, and this would have no effect on your protection layers. Obviously, we realise that isn't practical, because ideally you have to snow foam, contact wash and dry the vehicle, too. But, once a week or so is far more manageable for summer maintenance washes on daily drivers, after all, you should only ever clean your vehicle as and when you need to.

How can I use Citrus Power to remove the bugs?

That's the easy part! Citrus Power is supplied ready-to-use, so you just spray-on over the whole vehicle, leave to dwell for a few minutes while it gets to work, and rinse away the solution.

We do have a couple of top tips though: Always start the process by applying to the most contaminated areas - those with the heaviest concentration of bugs and other soiling - this will give them the maximum dwell time. And of course, always rinse you whole vehicle with your pressure washer first, this will ensure that the Citrus Power is being utilised where it's most needed, instead of on loose soiling that can be removed easily by pre-rinsing.


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