In the interest of full disclosure, I am in no way affiliated with, employed by, have any vested interest, or in any way receive compensation from the sale or distribution of any of the product lines reviewed or the company that manufactures or markets it. No endorsement of companies or their products mentioned is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar companies or their products if they are omitted.
The author does not provide any guarantee of results and is not responsible or liable for any third-party products or services. Brand, product and company names used throughout these articles are trademarks of their respective companies and are used for product identification purposes only.
I purchase all the products I use, so the endorsement is entirely personal and unbiased, the product recommendation is based on “Does exactly what it says on the box” and it suits my detailing goals. I have tested the products mentioned and have found that they will perform the task more than adequately using the methodology and tools cited, which may or may not be the same as those recommended by the manufacturer.
Car care chemicals are the most misunderstood component auto detailing, they should work on their real merits, not ‘smoke and mirrors'. Proceed with this in mind; the products you use constitute a very small factor in the equation. It is my opinion that when it comes to car care products its best to understand the scientific process to enable the best result possible.
Most companies won’t release ingredients other than what's on the MSDS sheet. Patenting chemicals is pretty risky since if you change a couple of ingredients by a few percentages it's technically a different product. When it comes to technical specifications and chemical formulations, it is important to realize that all companies must keep secure their proprietary information and agreements. Without this, no business would have the incentive to develop new products, expand their market, stay competitive, and ultimately - exist.
A product that shows great results in the controlled environment of a laboratory may not produce the same results in the real world, this is the reality of field testing, which throws up masses of variables which lab testing just cannot replicate i.e. resistance of paint coatings against ultra violet (UV) damage, bird droppings, acid rain, alkaline sprinklers, scratching (regardless of hardness factors) gloss, dirt and surface stain repellence and temperature resistance.
Detailing relies on the correct preparation procedures and the correct methodology to obtain pristine results. Methodology and technique constitute 95%; the reasoning behind the choice of quality products is to eliminate any limiting factors, thus enabling you to place emphasis on technique used.
These articles are not intended to warrant or guarantee any results with any of the products mentioned. No endorsement of companies or their products mentioned is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar companies or their products not mentioned. The author does not provide, nor guarantee and is not responsible or liable for any third-party products or services. Brand, product and company names used throughout these articles are trademarks of their respective companies and are used for product identification purposes only.
There is no `one correct way' to apply a product; the way detailing products are customized are what each individual finds give them their desired results. Using the same application methods and products of one individual may or may not give you the similar results; but it’s always best to adopt your own methodologies by experimentation with different products, after all that half the fun of detailing
The detailing methods set out here have been adapted for special use and may not be the same as those recommended by the product manufacturer, and you may experience different results from those stated. Some of the methodologies are controversial as they do not conform to popular practices. I’ve found that some myths are deliberately perpetuated by product manufacturers as negative marketing and others are just common errors of judgment.
Diagnosis is the key, not guess work; the most important thing to find out before you attempt to clean or care for something is to ascertain what the material is made from. Much the same is true if you’re trying to remove a stain, what caused the stain and what is the material you are trying to remove the stain from. Formulate a detailing plan, then utilize proper detailing techniques, combined with quality products is what makes a details outcome, successful. When in doubt always allow common sense to prevail.
A sound understanding of the proper technique and the correct process will produce excellent results even with a mediocre product. A quality product used without the proper surface preparation or application technique will never obtain a satisfactory result. Using the proper methodology (surface preparation, using a quality product, along with the correct application technique) will ensure an excellent result.
Skill Level / Experience
Some methods described may be beyond the capabilities of the average detailer or enthusiast; in this case we strongly encourage the reader to consult a professional detailer or body shop concerning the matters discussed herein.
Focusing on one person’s methodologies or the products or tools they use will seriously limit your detailing experience and knowledge. Most importantly - choose carefully whose advice you listen to, and more importantly what advice you act upon.
The information contained herein is believed to be true and accurate; however we make no guarantees concerning the veracity of any statement. The writer assumes no responsibility, expressed or implied, due to misuse or misinterpretation of the information or methods used, or for any vehicle damage or injury that may occur due to the suggestions and information offered.
Accuracy and Verifiability of Content
I strongly espouse the dissemination of accurate; unbiased information, verifiability of content and information quality while trying to maintain a neutral point of view and as far as possible without bias, This ensures that anything challenged or likely to be challenged, including all quotations, be attributed to a reliable source in the form of an inline citation, and that the source directly supports the material in question. By its very nature some article content is original research, which refers to material-such as facts, allegations, ideas, and stories not already verified or published, but I try to ensure that information quality and a neutral point of view is consistently maintained
I strive to present complete and accurate information. To be of real practical use, a subject like automotive detailing requires a great deal of research, and updating as new products or technologies becomes available, so the articles are updated on a regular basis as necessary from current research. From time to time there may be information that contains typographical errors, inaccuracies, or omissions (because I’m human). These are unintended and TOGWT™ reserves the right to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions and to change or update information at any time without prior notice.
Product Quality and Technique
Proceed with this in mind; the products you use constitute a very small factor in the equation. Methodology and technique constitute 95%; the reasoning behind the choice of quality products is to eliminate any limiting factors, thus enabling you to place emphasis on technique used. Fundamentally the most important thing about products is how they perform. Product testing or even improvements to their basic formula in the laboratory is one thing, but how they perform in everyday conditions on actual vehicles is something completely different.
The aesthetics- of a vehicles appearance is usually based upon an emotional reaction and is very subjective to say the least, the only best wax or sealant that really matters is what looks 'best' to you. In the final analysis it all come down to; 85% preparation, 5% product, 7% application methodology and the balance is in the ‘guy’ of the beholder
Research others opinions and products, test them and then make an objective decision based upon factual information not marketing hype or brand loyalty.
I have always thought that the more facts and information you have at hand the easier it is to judge what information you are being given. After all, how can you fully understand and properly use any product unless you have all the facts? In the final analysis; it’s your vehicle, your hard earned money and your choice.
Diagnosis is the key, not guess work; the most important thing to find out before you attempt to clean or care for something is to ascertain what the material finish is made from. Much the same is true if you’re trying to remove a stain, what caused the stain (Organic stains, Inorganic stains or Petroleum soils) and what is the material you are trying to remove the stain from. Formulate a detailing plan, then utilize proper detailing techniques, combined with quality products is what makes a details outcome, successful.
Providing the cleaning product selected is suitable, apply product to an applicator not the area to be cleaned (the only exception to this is glass surface cleaning) apply several drops of the selected cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area and rub gently with a clean, white micro fibre towel. Do not over wet. Use small amounts of the product and blot frequently, do not rub or use too much pressure. Do not use the product if it adversely changes the material’s colour or texture.
Focusing on one person’s methodologies or the products they use will seriously limit your detailing experience and knowledge. Most importantly - choose carefully whose advice you listen to, and more importantly what advice you act upon. The misinformation and myths that are so prevalent in the detail industry is the reason that detailers need to do research on their own. I would strongly suggest that you verify any information that I or anyone else shares with you.
Use of any information on these pages is used at the reader's own risk. The detailing methods set out here have been adapted for special use and may not be the same as those recommended by the product manufacturer, and you may experience different results from those stated. When in doubt always use common sense
Dilution of Cleaning Chemicals
a) Under-dilution – a chemical solution that is too can damage carpets, upholstery, wheels, etc. It costs more in actual product cost and additional labour to correct any problems that occur due to improper dilution.
b) Over-dilution - a weak chemical solution can cause inadequate cleaning performance, which means you will have to re-clean the same areas. With carpet and fabric upholstery, this can lead to over-wetting, resulting in such things as mould, mildew, shrinkage, etc.
c) Spot testing to ensure chemical will not stain or damage material is also very important
Pre-test Spot Procedures
Read the product labels and manufacturers safety data sheets (MSDS) to obtain a basic idea of contents, pH levels etc. Depending on the pH of the product you use you should return the surface to neutral (pH 7.0) before you apply any dressing or protective products. Always select a chemical / cleaner that are biodegradable, environmentally friendly and safe to use by observing any precautions recommended so that they won’t harm you, your vehicle or the environment. Read the product labels and manufacturers safety data sheets (MSDS) to obtain a basic idea of contents, pH levels etc.
The information contained in these articles is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by TOGWT™ and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the information, products, services, or related graphics for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.
In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of materials, time or any profits arise out of, or in connection with, the use of this information.
Article Revisions / Updates
To be of real practical use, a subject like automotive detailing requires a great deal of research, and updating as new products become available. The advent of materials like detailing clay, micro fibre technologies and finely milled micro diminishing abrasives, suitable for ceramic nanotechnology paints are examples of why it’s so important to monitor the industries new products, chemical technologies and ideas that are constantly being introduced, as are the techniques for applying them, hence all of the in-depth articles will be up-dated and revised on a regular basis
Process over Product
A wax or sealant can only reflect what is underneath it, so a clean, level well-prepared surface is the most important consideration (85% of a surfaces reflectivity is its preparation) along with applied product clarity. If you apply a product over a surface that is dirty or one that has surface imperfections a wax or sealant will not disguise it, only highlight them.
Material data sheets (MSDS)
Be aware of dangerous ingredients and request Materials Safety and Data Sheets (MSDS) from the manufacturer if there is any question.
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is required under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard. The MSDS is a detailed informational document prepared by the manufacturer or importer of a hazardous chemical. It describes the physical and chemical properties of the product. MSDS’s contain useful information such as flash point, toxicity, procedures for spills and leaks, and storage guidelines.
Information included in a Material Safety Data Sheet aids in the selection of safe products, helps you understand the potential health and physical hazards of a chemical and describes how to respond effectively to exposure situations. Although there is an effort currently underway to standardize MSDS’s the quality of individual MSDS’s vary. A MSDS may be useful but it cannot substitute for prudent practices and comprehensive risk management.
An MSDS should be available for every chemical you use. Read these and follow the recommendations for safe use and disposal of the material. The target audience for information in a MSDS is the occupation worker who may be exposed to chemicals at work. However, much of the information is also relevant to consumers.
Read the manufacturers application instructions and then obtain and read the MSDS sheet to ascertain the chemicals used. Although it should be said that an MSDS is a document that contains details of the hazards associated with a particular chemical and provides information regarding its safe use. The MSDS is required to state the chemical's risks, safety and impact on the environment.
An MSDS is a fact sheet developed by manufacturers describing the chemical properties of a product. Material Safety Data Sheets include brand-specific information such as physical data (solid, liquid, colour, melting point, flash point, etc.), health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, handling, disposal, personal protection and spill/leak procedures.
How to Read a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/maho/gemare/gemare_012.cfm
Chemical Information (MSDS) A-Z- http://www.ehso.com/msds.php
Definitions of Terms Used in Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) - http://www.ehso.com/msdsdefs.php
Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS)
Each CAS registry number (often referred to as CAS #) is a unique numeric identifier that designates only one substance; it has no specific chemical significance, but is a link to a wealth of information about a specific chemical substance. Since CAS Registry Numbers are not dependent upon any system of chemical nomenclature, they can provide a reliable common link between the various nomenclatures terms used to describe substances. And serve as an international resource for chemical substance identifiers used by scientists, industry, and regulatory bodies
Contamination of surface waters arises from the residues discharging to storm drains, which in turn most commonly drain to rivers and lakes. Chief pollutants include phosphates; cleaning chemicals (degreasers, etc) oil and grease. This is almost exclusively an issue for home/driveway washing.
You should never assume that aqueous solutions can be disposed of untreated via the storm drainage system. Pending regulations are in place (Clean Water Act and Ground Water Pollution and various city ordinances)
to limit the amount of contaminated water that is allowed to be discharged into storm water systems (i.e. street vehicle washing) always responsibly dispose of all non-biodegradable materials from your vehicle cleaning in a responsible manner.
Waste management is a serious concern for water authorities in most states and cities. It is no longer acceptable to allow chemicals into the storm drainage system. This means that a detailer must have a containment and water reclamation system when using any chemicals that are not biodegradable and safe for aquatic life.
California uses a 2-gallon rule. If a detail requires more than 2 gallons of wash water, the water must be contained. Waste run-off must be disposed of in accordance with federal, state and local environmental control regulations.
Be sure you are compliant when washing cars; check with your local government municipal office or the EPA regional office in your area to see what you need to do to be compliant when washing vehicles at businesses and residential neighbourhoods.
Disposal of Aqueous Solutions
One should never assume that aqueous solutions can be disposed of down the drain. The storm drain system takes all the water from outside homes and businesses (rain, overwatering of lawns) and sends it untreated straight to our local creeks, rivers, bays and eventually the ocean. The storm drain system is designed as a flood control system to allow water from heavy rainstorms to flow quickly to our waterways to avoid flooding of our streets, homes and businesses. However, the rainwater can pick up pollutants as large as shopping carts or as microscopic as pesticides and fertilizer and flush it all into our waterways damaging the fish, plants and other living things in our eco-system.
With few exceptions, it is illegal for anyone to throw, dispose of or allow anything other than rainwater into the storm drains. Try to divert car wash water to a landscaped or planted area. Your local water treatment authority or publicly owned treatment works will have information on treatment and disposal of these cleaners. Adjustment of pH and dilution are usually required before disposal to a drain. Always comply with current water usage and disposal regulations / water usage restrictions.
A car care product may be biodegradable and environmentally safe but just remember the dirt, oil and road grease you are cleaning with it are not, once rinsed off the vehicle paint surface the resultant solution is no longer biodegradable and environmentally safe
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
For your safety and the legally required protection of employees, you will need to have personal protective equipment available that will include a respirator fitting for you and your employees. At no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.
Protection from Potential Health Hazards
1. Warning: Always use ground fault protection interruption (GFPI) when using any electrical device around water
2. Eye Protection: I would strongly advise the wearing of safety glasses or visor when operating any machine polisher.
3. Ear Protection; the constant pitch of a polishing machine could affect your hearing so wearing ear plugs would be wise to protect you from hearing loss.
4. Hand Protection; Gloves- with the verity of chemicals a detailer uses on a daily basis wearing chemical-resistant gloves resist penetration and permeation, and will provide protection against dermatitis and chemical burns. Gloves can provide protection, but they must be chosen with care, the proper selection matched to the hazard is critical. Chemical-resistant gloves resist penetration and permeation, and cam protect against dermatitis, chemical burns and corrosion.
5. Respiratory Protection (N95): Materials such as aluminium oxide (Aluminium oxide is on EPA's TRI list if it is a fibrous form) or silicon carbide (Nuisance particulate-Accumulation in lungs) used in polishes and compounds, and powdered fillers (Crystalline silica poses a serious inhalation hazard because it can cause silicosis) and Isocyanate clear coat residue represent a hazard to your lungs and may cause respiratory distress. Use a NIOSH-approved half face respirator equipped with a combination filter cartridge should be worn while using them
6. Consult the current 3M Respiratory Selection Guide for additional information or call 1-800-243-4630 for 3M technical assistance.
7. Material Safety Data Sheets: Use a ring binder or other filing system to ensure the appropriate MSDS is always available to identify hazardous substances
8. Work Hygienic Practices: Rinse cloves under running water before removing them
9. Protect yourself, work safe. As in all things, allow common sense to prevail and proceed with due caution
GFCI and Extension Cord
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter and Extension cord selection is based on two main principles. First, the cable should be able to carry the current load imposed on it without overheating. It should be able to do this in the most extreme conditions of temperature it will encounter during its working life.
Second, it should offer sufficiently sound earthing to (a) limit the voltage to which people are exposed to a safe level and (b) allow the fault current to trip the fuse or MCB in a short time. To meet these requirements requires consideration of the circuit load current (AMPS) a reasonable voltage drop, cable thickness (G) and length (feet) and the over-current protection device
Prime Wire & Cable Duplex GFCI -residual current device is also known as a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) junction Box with 6-Ft. cord, Model# GF200806 Portable GFCI duplex receptacle detects power leaks and shuts off electricity in less than a second to prevent shock. Test and reset buttons Tough jobsite box with 6-ft. 12/3 SJTW power cord UL listed, meets OSHA standards.
Prime Wire & Cable 50-Ft extension 12/3 Neon Power Cord — Blue, Model# NS514830 Bright NEON extension cord stands out for easy identification. 12 Gauge, SJTW, 3 prong cord features super-flexible vinyl jacket with a cold temperature rating of -31°F. LIGHTED connector indicates when power is on. Cord is water and flame resistant and rated at 15 amps, 125V, 1875 watts, UL listed and meets OSHA standards – Northern Tool
Wire Resistance and Voltage Drop Calculator - http://www.stealth316.com/2-wire-resistance.htm
1. Wikipedia® Encyclopaedia
2. Automotive Detailing Inside & Out; a Knowledge Base for the Perfectionist", by Jon Miller
3. TOGWT™ Series of Detailing Articles, by Jon Miller
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