Friday, 7 November 2014

Paint Removed by Abrasive Polishes

Base Coat Clear Coat (BC / CC) Paint System

Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) supply a specification to their paint suppliers that establishes a minimum film thickness necessary to ensure paint durability and enable them to provide a guarantee

• E-Coat ~33 µ (1.3 Mil) - an anticorrosion coat applied to both sides of the steel to prevent corrosion
• Primer ~18 µ (0.7 mil) - Initial protection layer with texture to assist the pigment layer in bonding to the metal beneath
• Base Coat ~15 µ (0.6 mil) - The basecoat is usually 0.5 to 1 mil thick
• Clear Coat ~48 µ (1.9 mil) - The clear coat provides gloss plus physical protection from the elements, including ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is situated in the upper 1.0 – 1. 25µ (0.04 - 0.05 mil)

All paint has three major components: a pigment for colour and hiding powder; a binder that holds the pigment to the surface; and a carrier to maintain the pigment and binder in liquid form.

Polishing alleviates a myriad of paint surface problems. But use abrasive polishes wisely to maintain paint condition and to resolve surface damage problems. But know when to seek alternative methods of damage control and avoid over polishing with harsh, abrasive polishes.

Clear Coat

A clear coat system consists of one or more primer layers, a flat colour layer and a glossy, clear top layer. The primer is a corrosion inhibitor and a bonding agent for the bare metal and the colour layer. It prevents corrosion and provides a stable substrate for the colour and clear coats. The colour layer is applied to the primer and is typically very thin. Its only purpose is to provide colour. The clear coat is two to three times the thickness of the colour layer, adding to the appearance of paint depth and offering additional protection.

Specific gravity [: the specific gravity of water is 1.0 if an object or liquid has a specific gravity greater than one, it will sink. If the specific gravity of an object or a liquid is less than one, it will float]

Density (or specific gravity); different materials usually have different densities, so density is an important concept as less dense fluids float on more dense fluids if they do not mix, causing it to rise to the top (we have Archimedes to thank for this discovery)

                                                        Ultra Violet (UV) Protection

OEM paint specifications usually require the addition of ultraviolet absorber technology in their clear coat systems for protection against photo degeneration (sun fading).

Titanium dioxide, also known as Titanium oxide or Titania, chemical formula TiO2 is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium, when used as a pigment, it is called titanium white, Pigment White 6, or CI 77891. It has a wide range of applications, from the ultra violet protection of automobile paint to sunscreen to food colouring.

There are a couple things that should be realized; auto paint or chemical companies don't state the amount of ultra violet protection is in their clear coat, nor do they tell you what the specific ultra violet stabilizing chemical is in most cases.

Most automotive ultra violet (UV) absorbers are very durable and exhibit a 5 year half-life, meaning that every five years the concentration is reduced by 50% percent.

UV absorbers have a greater specific gravity than clear coat resin (1.15 g/ml for instance) which is heavier than water (0.80 g/ml) and much higher than the solvents used so there is reason to believe that it migrates throughout the clear coat. On the other hand fumed silica (CeramiClear) is low (less than 1.0 g/ml) and therefore migrates to the top of clear coat as the solvents evaporate and the paint cross-links and hardens.

Modern Isocyanate resins (clear coat) finishes are so good today that they lull people into thinking that vehicle paint has protection and shine when in reality there is not really much there, the clear coat that has a thickness of ~25.4 µ (micron). As a point of reference a sheet of copy paper is 89 µ.

A micron (µ) is a metric unit that equals one millionth of a meter, or 1/1000 of a millimetre. A micron is much smaller than a Mil. A human hair is about 2 Mil (50 µ) thick and individual bacteria are 0.1 mil (2.5µ). There are 25.4 millimeters in an inch and a micron is 1/1000 of a millimetre.
Using the micron (metric) measurement system gives you a much better idea of paint thickness as the numbers used are so much smaller. Most detailers are or should be aware of how thin clear coat paint is and it puzzles me why people over-polish paint causing it to fail prematurely

Abrasive Polishing

Polishing alleviates a myriad of paint surface problems. But use abrasive polishes wisely to maintain paint condition and to resolve surface damage problems. But know when to seek alternative methods of damage control and avoid over polishing with harsh, abrasive polishes.

There are two considerations; how much clear coat and how much ultra violet protection can be removed, they are not interchangeable. The following is the maximum allowable clear coat reductions the major USA car manufacturers will allow before the paint warranty becomes void-0.5 Mil (12µ)

Order of Magnitude (~ Thickness)
• Standard printer copy paper 7.5 µ (0. 3 Mil)
• A standard sandwich bag 28µ(1.1 Mil)
• Dollar ($1) bill 73.5µ(2.9 Mil)
0.2 Mil (0.5 µ) is the maximum paint that they are allowed to remove on the assembly line at the factory during their paint sanding and polishing process to remove dirt nibs. This number is based on testing carried out at both General Motors (GM) and Chrysler testing centres.

Wet-sanding, compounding and polishing the amount of paint removed with a mild abrasive was ~ 0.1 mil (0.25 µ) this does not mean that the clear coat will fail if you remove 0.5 Mil (12µ)

There are many factors involved and each car plant may have a unique paint system that is designed for their specific needs and the thickness varies from one plant to another so there is no way to make such generalizations. One thing is for sure that if you keep removing clear coat, at some point you will experience strikethrough

The clear coat provides gloss plus physical protection from the elements, including ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which affects the upper level of a cured clear coat. Most car manufacturers will only allow ~ 25% of the clear-coat thickness to be removed without voiding the paint warranty and long-term durability problems becoming an issue. That means that if you started off with 50µ of clear coat (this will vary by vehicle manufacturer) you would only be able to remove <12 a="" and="" having="" p="" paint="" possibly="" re-paint="" the="" voiding="" warranty="" without="">
Most light surface marring is ~1.27 µ (0 .05 Mils) a surface scratch that can catch your fingernail is ~1.01 µ (~ 0.04 Mils) Using a medium abrasive polish and a rotary polisher will remove approximately ~ 2.5 - 3µ (~ 0. 98 – 0.12 Mil) from the paint surface. To remove a scratch you need to level the paint to its lowest part, so if a scratch is 1 µ that’s the amount of paint (and UV protection) you need to remove to eliminate it. Note: 25.4 µ (micron) = 1 Mil
Using an Abrasive
Using a medium abrasive polish and a rotary polisher will remove approximately 2.5 - 3µ (0. 1 Mil) from the paint surface, which is typically four passes at 1500-1800 RPM; however many variables such as polish/compound and speed / pressure used that may affect the paint removed)
A paint thickness reading of 4 Mil < ( 100 µ (Microns) is reasonably safe for polishing. 3 – 3.5 Mil ( 80-90 µ) I wouldn't use anything stronger than > 2000 grit polish, 2.75 – 3.0 Mil (70-80 µ) > 2500 grit polish and under 2.75 Mil (70 µ) use a glaze. The readings tend to vary from panel to panel and are thinner towards the panel edges.
• 200µ + can be expected on older cars that have been hand painted or a re-painted vehicle
• 100 – 200µ 4 – 8 Mil - normal paint thickness
• 80 – 100 µ - 3 – 4 Mils, thin paint
• 80 µ < - less than 3 Mil, very thin paint
These numbers are offered as a guide only, as there are too many variables to provide any more than an approximation.
CeramiClear Coating
PPG’s CeramiClear clear coat is the first automotive clear coat to use nano particle technology in the final coating applied to car bodies, protecting the colour coat while providing a durable, glossy appearance. With the help of the nano-technology developed at the beginning of the 1980s, scientists have been able to alter the molecular structure of the binding agent and integrate tiny, microscopic ceramic particles. These each have a diameter of less than 20 nanometers, which makes them tens of thousands times thinner than a human hair.
During the electrostatic paint application process, it is sprayed just like a Melamine or Silane 2K clear; the key is what happens during the cross linking or curing of the clear. The hard "ceramic" particles rise to the top, just as the ultra violet (UV) inhibitors do, and concentrate there and the binding agent particles float around freely at first in the liquid paint. Removing the top layer of clear coat it has been observed by some detailers that the paint is less dense (softer) and paint removal is no longer a linear process
Clear Coat
The clear coat is the coating layer that forms the last interface to the environment. It carries the biggest part of the technological performance and must be able to resist ultra violet radiation, environmental etch, bird droppings, car wash machines and other outside influences.
Be cognizant that clear coat thickness and composition will vary in accordance with the OEM assembly plant, paint specification, paint type (solvent or waterborne) and paint supplier and any additives used i.e. ultra violet stabilizers, Isocyanate hardener and catalysts
Base Coat Clear Coat – two stage paint; base (colour) coat and clear coat were adopted as an automotive industry standard in 19982, clear coat paint was originally used to protect metallic paints that are subject to oxidation and provide depth of colour.
BC_CC paint systems do not oxidize in the same way as single stage paint does, but they are subject to clear coat failure. They are applied over the primer and covered by the clear coat layer to protect it from the environment.
There exist three main base coat systems in the paint shops of the automotive industry worldwide: medium solids (MS) high Solids (HS) Water-based (waterborne) (WB) paints are essentially low solids paints (up to 60% waterborne solvent), but they are legal because de-ionized water is used as the solvent, as opposed to volatile organic compounds (VOC).
The main purposes of the solvent are to adjust the curing properties and viscosity of the paint. It is volatile and does not become part of the paint film. It also controls flow and application properties, and affects the stability of the paint while in liquid state. Its main function is as the carrier for the non-volatile components
Photo degradation
[: decomposition of a compound by radiant energy] a common reaction is oxidation.
Today’s water-based products have a number of obvious environmental benefits, but some are more susceptible to photo degradation (fading) over time, a significant drawback. In addition, because of ozone depletion, higher levels of solar ultra violet (UV) radiation now reach the surface of the earth. This further contributes to the rate of fading.
Polymers use in auto paint, plastics and vinyl, where they are routinely exposed to sunlight; the UV radiation adversely the mechanical properties of these materials, often causing structural failure, which limits their useful life.
Paint Thickness
A paint thickness reading of > 100 µ (Microns) is reasonably safe for polishing. 80-90 µ, I wouldn't use anything stronger than< 2000 grit polish, 70-80 µ <2500 70="" a="" and="" any="" are="" edges="" from="" glaze.="" grit="" p="" panel="" polish="" readings="" seams.="" tend="" the="" thinner="" to="" towards="" under="" use="" vary="">
• 200µ + can be expected on older cars that have been hand painted or a re-painted vehicle
• 100 – 200µ - average paint thickness
• 80 – 100 µ - thin paint
• < 80 µ - very thin paint
Paint Removed by Polish or Compound
Using a medium abrasive polish and a rotary polisher will remove approximately 2.5 - 3µ (0. 1 Mil) from the paint surface, which is typically four passes at 1500-1800 RPM; however many variables such as polish/compound and speed / pressure used and etc that may affect the amount of paint and ultra violet protection removed
If you have reservations about the amount of paint surface removed or the amount of paint remaining the use of a paint thickness gauge (PTG) is arbitrary. There comes a point when you must judge wither removing a scratch will compromise the clear coat and / or UV protection, if so you’ll have to ‘live’ with the imperfection
Paint thickness will often depend upon the OEM paint specification, which can vary by vehicle assembly plant. It’s interesting to note that painters must now demonstrate proficiency with an electronic paint thickness gauge in order to become certified to perform paint refinish warranty work for General Motors Corp. (GM) vehicles
Order of Magnitude (Thickness)
• Standard printer copy paper 76µ (3Mil) thick.
• A standard sandwich bag 28µ(1.1 Mil)
• Dollar ($1) bill 73.5µ(2.9 Mil)
These numbers are offered as a guide only, as there are too many variables to provide any more than an approximation.
1. The elongation (elasticity) of paint enables it to move in tandem with the metal as it expands and contracts due to environmental temperature fluctuations; for this reason note the paint temperature when taking readings as they can vary in accordance to the surface temperature.
2. Measure your paint thickness in a very cold environment, then measure it when the paint surface is hot to the touch, you may find it varies by as much as a 2µ(microns)
Paint Insurance
The newer coatings available like synthetic polymers are a cross-linking thermoplastic, its cross-linking process attaches the polymer with covalent bond that becomes part of the surface of the material it is attached to, which in effect becomes a secondary protection for the clear coat, in fact a relatively inexpensive (when compared to repainting) renewable sacrificial coating.
Silica (AQuartz) or reactive resin hydrophobic coatings (OPT Opti-Coat™); think paint sealant that has greater durability and scratch resistance (9H) something that also provides a self-cleaning protection, with a durability on a timescale measured in years rather than months, these coatings add a measurable protection of 2-3 µ microns to the clear coat.
Opti-Coat™ is not a nano particle; it is rather a pre-polymer that cross links and forms a continuous film on the surfaces it is applied to, similar to a single component Isocyanate that forms a clear coat finish. It is very resistant to alkaline car wash concentrates as used by car wash spas and tunnel wash companies
The coating is very low maintenance and requires cleaning less often than conventional paint protection products. Provided the surface is kept free of abrasive grime, bird excrement or other acids, the coating should last for around two years. Coating longevity will be improved if the paint surface is cleaned on a regular basis, and only with either normal pH car care concentrate shampoo or a citrus degreaser.
After Care
To enable a vehicle to maintain its value original paint that is in good condition is an asset. People are
keeping their vehicles an average of nearly nine years.
Making you client aware of how to wash and dry a paint surface while inflicting the least amount of damage will help to avoid the need to overly polish the clear coat to remove scratches and the subsequent loss of both clear coat and ultra violet paint protection.
The main point of this article is to inform detailer that there is a very limited amount of clear coat and to keep them from over polishing and unnecessarily removing their clear coat and ultra violet (UV) protection.
Providing this kind of value added-value services will enhance your reputation and enable you to become the source for both ethical service and high quality work. As with the successful sale of any product, educating the customer is the key.
The main premise of this article is inform detailers that there is a very limited amount of clear coat available and to keep them from unnecessarily removing their clear coat. New polymer technologies are now available to add clear coat to the existing layer without the need for an expensive re-paint and at a fraction of the cost.
 Depending on the resin technology, these clear coats can be more resistant to scratch and marring, more resistant to chemical etching, and more resistant to oxidation, therefore minimizing the need for polishing. Even if you have to polish it off at some point, you can always add a new layer without removing the thin layer of factory clear and avoiding the possibility of premature failure of the paint system and the need to repaint.
1. UV Protection and Coatings for Plastics in the Automobile Industry - Paint & Coatings Industry (PCI) -…/uv-protection-and-coatings-for-plas…
2. “Protecting UV-absorbing Clear Coats from Sunburn," Polymers Paint Colour Journal, February 2000
1. Distribution of Stabilizers in Multi-Layer-Coatings and Plastic Coatings - 3rd International Coatings for Plastic Symposium, Troy, MI, June 2000.
2. Potential Reasons for Yellowing of Coatings over Plastic Substrates - 4th International Coatings for Plastic Symposium, Troy, MI, June 2000

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

About the Author - TOGWT

About the Author

The naked Scientist promises to strip car care chemicals to their bare essentials, biotech, nanotechnology, chemistry and the chaos theory are also involved. And this being doctor Jon, you’ll require certain items, a syringe, a microscope, possibly something designed by NASA

Born in London, England in 1944, I studied at  studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science (MSc) Business Management, after graduation I joined the RAF and attended Royal Air Force College at Cranwell, Officer Cadet training graduating as a Flight Lieutenant. I then gained a position in the Oil & Gas, Hydrocarbon Exploration sector working for a British Oil & Gas Exploration Company, a few years later was granted a scholarship, and studied at Imperial College, London graduating with a Doctorate (PhD) in Chemical Engineering

Timeline – detailing was never my prime source of income, I detailed Concours d’élégance vehicles at week-ends and school holidays. While at university I had a job at the Connolly™ Leather Company in Wimbledon. I detailed my first car in 1958 at the age of fourteen and gave up hands-on detailing in 1995. Since then I have written books (often as a ‘ghost writer’) and articles for motoring magazines, I run a website as well as a Blog (all detailing orientated) I'm an active contributor to various on-line detailing forums as well as Facebook 

I began detailing Mercedes-Benz / BMW helping out at my Father’s dealership where we would spend three or four days or more detailing vehicles. As well as his Jag collection back in the late 50's, which he used to enter in Concours d’élégance events (detailing to another level) and as such I'm used to a large number of high-end new and used cars. The one thing I learned (and still have that last 98% to learn, mind you) way back then still holds true today “ It’s the surface preparation that makes the difference, not the product”.

The Bentley 4½ Litre is a British sports car built by Bentley Motors. Its supercharged variant is also known as the Blower Bentley. Famous for his statement "there's no replacement for displacement", Walter Owen Bentley upped the displacement of the Bentley 3 Litre in 1926 to produce the 4½ Litre. Upon taking control of the company, the "Bentley Boys" went in search of even more power and developed the supercharged model in 1929 at Henry Birkin's racing workshops in Welwyn Garden City. A 4½ Litre Bentley raced at Le Mans in 1927 but crashed. Another claimed victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1928 with drivers Woolf Barnato and Bernard Rubin at the wheel.

This is the car author Ian Fleming first chose for James Bond. It is featured in three of the 007 Novels, Casino Royale, Live and Let Die and Moonraker. In the book, Bond drives one of the last blower Bentley built, a battleship grey Convertible Coupé, with French Marchal headlamps and an Amherst Villiers supercharger. Interestingly, Ian Fleming himself owned a 'blower' from whence the inspiration for Bond's car came. Even more interesting is the fact Fleming bought the car from Amherst Villiers after it was produced for him by Bentley. The car was recently to be seen in the Yorkshire Motor Museum, Batley but since the museum's closure it has passed into a private collection.

I detailed my first car when I was fourteen (a mere five and a half decades ago) it was a 1929 Bentley  Production 1926–1930 (supercharged model from 1929) 720 produced (cost today £ 2 M) that belonged to my Fathers friend Brigadier John Dix of Kensington, London. If, as they say, "God is in the details," then a 1929 Bentley is truly a religious experience. I knew then that detailing would become a passion and my metier

Detailing has always been a relaxing past time for me and while at college I had a part-time business detailing classic vintage cars. From there to Concours d’élégance entrant then judge, and then on to writing car care articles /instructions, then writing this book on my favourite subject. I have tried virtually every top product on the market ever since using the arm-breaking Simonize as well as T-Cut polish and Chelsea leather cleaners

With a background in the physical and chemical sciences and decades in the performance coatings industry it is my intent to educate, based on five plus decades of experience; passing on to my readers the dynamics that take place; the cause and effect not just “How” it works, but also “Why” it works, as well as an explanation of the scientific terminology and chemicals involved with detailing products and helps to maintain the focus on the process as much as the results. I try to write in a way that helps the reader to understand the technical and scientific facts along with any relevant chemical information, but if you've read any of my forum posts / threads you'll already understand just what I mean

I've always believed in empowering my reader’s with facts based on knowledge, experience and scientific facts as opposed to marketing hype and letting them make their own logical decisions. Because I’m passionate about what I do and care about making sure detailing is a safe, fun and rewarding experience for the enthusiast and professional detailer      


Having been involved in detailing some of the world’s finest classic and high-end exotic and luxury automobiles for five decades TOGWT®  is the first place both Professional and Enthusiast detailer’s look to for an  uncompromising level of unbiased  technical and scientific knowledge. Working closely with the industry’s leading-edge product manufacturers from around the world means the best technology and product advice is available to enable you to care for your automobile.

The old grey whistle test (TOGWT aka Jon Miller) is the author of “Automotive Detailing; Inside and Out”, a knowledge base for the perfectionist and a 140+ articles that form the series “The Technical Detailing Papers” (can be found on the website – TOGWT Detailing Wiki))When I first started writing these detailing guides I realized that it would be very detailed (no pun intended) because of my penchant to include not just “How it works, but also “Why” it works, as well as an explanation of the scientific terminology. With that in mind I probably respond with more detail than some think is necessary. But try to write in a way that helps the reader to understand not only "How" to do something, but "Why" they are doing it. I then considered how I could simplify things; however the only way to accomplish this would be to omit necessary information and that didn't feel right to me

Reading these articles will not improve your detailing skills, lead to a successful business or change your life. Applying what you learn from it, however, will. That's where your commitment comes in - you need to make a commitment to yourself right now that you will take action on what you learn.Chances are you own a fine automobile, maybe even an expensive one and you want to give it the best care.
Our harsh environment isn't concerned with how fine an automobile you own, but these tips are mythologies are written for those who do. A well maintained and cared for automobile not only looks good but also worth much more when the time comes to sell it. Regardless of how neglected or soiled the vehicle has become you will find the methodology and products in this book to restore that ‘as-new’ look again.

Every week-end you’ll find people washing and cleaning their vehicles, some doing the bare minimum and some who find it therapeutic; washing away the stress of daily life (some have even called it their ‘golf’) By using the right tools, methods and products, a simple car wash can be achieved in very little time; using very little water Optimum No Rinse (ONR) and a just detailed look with Quick Detailing (QD) For the person who wants a more thorough cleaning or the perfectionist you’ll find a range of products and methodologies to produce an ‘optically perfect shine’.

Car cleaning done the wrong way can be at best disappointing, and can do more long-term damage to the various vehicle surfaces. The purpose of this book is to show you various ways, utilizing various skill and experience levels, how to retrieve the original looking finish to your bodywork and interior and how to maintain it. Although it is divided into separate elements for vehicle detailing, the approach taken is the assumption that you are giving your vehicle a complete detail, even if you take it one element at a time. The order in which the various sections are arranged to enable you to do the various detailing steps, in the most time efficient manner and is the adopted procedure for trained professional detailers.

There are also sections explaining various components, detailing tools and products, and chemicals as well as an A-Z of detailing terms and methods to enable an understanding of the “why” as well as the “how” of detailing (also includes cleaning tips and professional tricks)

This section has been expanded to help you deal safely and effectively with virtually every car care detailing situation you might come across, and you can do so with the knowledge and peace of mind that the products recommended and the application methods have gone through an amazing amount of real-world testing on many different marques and their paint film systems.

The proper way to find out what works and what doesn't is to read the label or relevant MSDS and find out what it contains; a combination of knowledge and experience will guide you the rest of the way.

As a Chemical Engineer I would like to help detailers reach an intelligent and logical understanding of the many chemicals used in detailing. Improperly used chemicals can cause damage to the person using them and to surface they are applied to (sometimes irreparably) because the detailer was not educated regarding the chemical make-up of the products they used.

Conversely I also want to tell you that it's a waste of time to dedicate too much time and attention to them. All that is required is that you learn some basic chemistry i.e. what pH values mean, what chemicals will safely remove stains and what detailing chemicals to avoid or the precaution to take if you do choose to use them.

If a product is not working for you, experiment until you find one that’s suitable for your needs. After reading these articles, you should have a basic understanding of the chemicals used in car care products along with some simple generic definitions of the chemicals used. Enthusiast grade products are the cream of the crop and are only available through limited distributors both locally and online.

Professionals typically don't use these products because of time restraints and / or there price point. Whether you have a daily commuter, a concourse show vehicle or you just want to protect what has now become an expensive automotive investment. Most of the answers to maintaining an ‘as new’ condition can be found here. Unbiased advice without any exaggerated claims or marketing hype.

As a detailer, you already face an enormous number of product choices in the market, and every few months, the next "greatest" detailing product attempts to capture your attention long enough to score your dollars. Over-complication is often used in marketing to give the illusion of a more research-oriented manufacturer. The opposite of the very successful approach to product selection KISS (keep it simple stupid)

The products recommended are easy to use, following the stated methods, gentle towards the many different material automotive materials and finishes, safe for both you to use and the environment. This is not a short cut guide, but a list of recommended methods / products to provide maximum protection for your vehicle, so you will enjoy maintaining the vehicle in an as-new (or better) condition for as long as possible.

I didn’t invent detailing, nor did I invent many of the techniques used in these following articles. I do however; use these processes and techniques, all of which have proven them to work effectively, providing consistent show-winning results. As a long-term regular contributor to the online detailing community

I openly recommend products that I use (I test many products and only endorse those that work (i.e. they do what it says on the box) and try my best not to use ‘hype’ terms. I strive to take an ethical stand on testing vendor products, especially those ‘donated for testing. Thus allowing readers to know the difference between editorial content and advertising; it's only my recommendation no matter what products you use the recommended methodology will apply.

I don't know it all, but detailing and making cars beautiful is my passion. I've probably made almost every mistake and have seen just about every problem, when it comes to detailing mistakes teach you what not to do. I have spent enjoyable times as Concours d’élégance judge and at various car shows (as both a ‘Best of Show’ judge and entrant, winning and/or placing in many) making cars beautiful is my passion.

I have always tried to learn from other people, and keep an open mind on new ideas, new products and new techniques. It really does all come down to Process over Product; 85% preparation, 5% application methodology, 2% knowledge of paint finish and  5% product suitability, the balance is the ‘emotive reaction’ of the beholder. A manufacturer is free to place any claim of excellence he wants on his product to make it sell, I only endorse a product that I have personal experience of by using it, rather than personal preference, brand loyalty or emotions.

After five plus decades of detailing vehicles what is left is experience, and experience unshared is knowledge wasted. I hope that you too enjoy the learning process as much as I do and with the help of the techniques and methods in this book your vehicle will become something to have pride in, or perhaps even become a “Best of Show” Concours d’élégance winner

The more I learn, the more I realize what I don’t know. Then at some point, I hope to have learned enough to realize, that I know nothing at all [We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master] [Ernest Hemingway] I have always tried to find out not just “How it works, but also “Why” it works. With that in mind I probably respond with more detail than some think is necessary.

When the Old Grey Whistle Test went on air (BBC Television, England) in 1971 it was unique, in a world accustomed to Top of the Pops, here was a show on which the bands performed album tracks and were interviewed after they had played. This was before the days of miming, the music was live and, since the idea was to air new sounds, many of the bands were making their first television appearance. The title’s opening sequence featured an animation of a man kicking a star. He was to become affectionately known as The Starkicker.

Presenter Bob Harris (whispering Bob) recalls how the show's name was inspired by the doormen (in grey suits) who worked at the music publishing houses in London's Denmark Street, known as 'tin pan alley':

"It was a 'tin pan alley' phrase from years ago. When they got the first pressing of a record they would play it to people they called the old greys. The ones they could remember and could whistle having heard it just once or twice had passed the old grey whistle test".

My adaptation:
The old grey whistle test infers that the blokes with a little grey in their hair have tested these products or tools in real world situations, on many different car marques and various automotive paint system’s, they are recommended as they have been found to do what they were designed to do, usually more than adequately.

Thank you for spending the time to learn from this book. I’ve made every effort in providing you with as much information as possible to enable you to obtain results that are without equal.

I have learned a lot from various detailing forums, most noticeably Autopia and the various contributors who are prepared to share their knowledge and experience and they are in large part the inspiration for this book, 

I would also like to make a special mention to Bill Doyle and others from Autopia for their suggestions and for proof-reading. I would be remiss if I did not also give recognition to the following Autopia members for their inspiration; Accumulator, BlgZ28conv, DETAILKING, DavidB, Ron Ketchum (Grumpy), MPhillips, The other PC, Scottwax, et al

This is not a product vendor’s catalogue, nor a vendor pretending to be an educator, as there are a lot of companies that are now writing online books and DVD’s on detailing and preaching that only the product they sell or manufacture are suitable. In reality they are just advertisements, with the appearance of educators as opposed to mere salesman. Those who have something to sell can be very persuasive, often using marketing facts (i.e. blurring the distinction between science and fiction) to make a great case while completely ignoring meaningful points, like their product adds nothing of real value.

 Commercialism brings with it concerns of honesty and true representation. In other words, it’s difficult to know what is true when someone is motivated by income, i.e. directly targeted at product sales, more so than an unbiased opinion.

I think that the more real facts you know the better. I don't set hoods on fire, or subject paint to a laser beam, nor do I pour acid on the paint. Detail products work on their real merits, not on smoke and mirrors. It is my intent to educate and pass on five decades of experience to my readers in not only the “How it works’ but “Why it works”. Because I’m passionate about I do and care about making sure detailing is a fun and rewarding experience for the enthusiast

I have no affiliation, professional or otherwise with the listed companies, or their products. I use and recommend them as they do what the manufacturer says they will. There are many other products in the marketplace that may be equally suited to the tasks listed, however I have used the products listed and found them satisfactory for my use.

The advent of materials like detailing clay, micro fibre technologies and finely milled micro abrasives suitable for ceramic hard paint 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 this e-book will be up-dated and revised on a regular basis

Detailing combines chemicals, equipment as well as a knowledge of vehicle surfaces, ‘Chemicals’, refers to the cleaning and protection products used, ‘Equipment’, refers to the tools used, for example, random orbital polishers, high-speed rotary polishers, extractors and power washers, to name a few. ‘Vehicle Surfaces’, requires a basic understanding of chemistry and how to rejuvenate and protect each of the many and varied material surfaces, regardless of its specific surface composition making objectives observations based upon the results obtained, and adjusting the techniques used as necessary

Detailing also takes willingness to experiment, which usually means deviating from the product manufacturer’s directions, making objectives observations based upon the results obtained, and adjusting the techniques and products used as necessary, always keeping an open mind on manufacturer’s claims for their products.

Copyright © 2002-2010, TOGWT ®Ltd (Established 1980) all rights reserved

Detailing Chemicals Identification

Detailing Chemicals Identification
One of the most confusing things about this business is the chemicals used and the chemistry behind them.  Certain product or combination of products can have a negative impact and to the newcomer in the industry, or your everyday enthusiast, understanding the chemical interactions could become challenging, if not darn right confusing. As a Chemical Engineer I have a gained a lot of knowledge on chemicals but I can't imagine being relatively new to the industry and coming into detailing today.
Product vendors are in business to sell products and sometimes rename the same product to do other things i.e. a swirl removing polish vs. a finishing polish (they both do the same job) However with chemicals it’s not quite that simple

Testing the pH
The term pH is a measurement of the relationship between hydrogen ions and hydroxyl ions.  When you have more hydrogen ions than hydroxyl ions, you have an acid.  Likewise, if you have more hydroxyl ions than hydrogen ions you have a base (alkali).
The pH scale is a measure of the acidity or basicity (Alkali) of a solution. It is approximates but is not equal to p [H], the negative logarithm base 10) Base (Acid) 1-7, Alkaline 7- 14; the pH of a solution is temperature-dependent.
Unfortunately the pH scale is logarithmic; for every integer that the scale decreases the material is 10 times more acidic. Those of us in earthquake country know all too well the consequences of a change of from 6 to 7 on the logarithmic, Richter scale. The difference in the pH scale is just as dramatic and therefore just as misleading.
A substance that is neither acidic nor basic is neutral; pure water has a neutral pH of 7.0 each whole pH value below 7 is ten times more acidic than the next higher value. For example, a pH of 4 is ten times more acidic than a pH of 5 and 100 times (10 times 10) more acidic than a pH of 6. The same holds true for pH values above 7, each of which is ten times more alkaline than the next lower whole value. For example, a pH of 10 is ten times more alkaline than a pH of 9.0
 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
Be cognizant that a chemical may be aggressive but its strength may be diluted with a solvent or a chemical buffer; its aggressiveness is also dependent upon the percentage of that chemical as part of the products formulation
Important Note: All warnings, cautions and recommendations listed by the manufacturers/OSHA should be complied with when working with chemicals.

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.
When spraying any surface with a liquid, it is always advisable to spray a small area first (test area) then allow to dry to make sure the solution does not react with the surface.
Providing the cleaning product selected is suitable, 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.
Chemistry 101 - a large amount of heat is released when strong acids are mixed with water; adding more acid releases more heat. If you add water to acid, you form an extremely concentrated solution of acid initially. So much heat is released that the solution may boil very violently, splashing concentrated acid out of the container.  If you add acid to water, the solution that forms is very dilute and the small amount of heat released is not enough to vaporize and spatter it. So Always Add Acid to water, and never the reverse
Distilled water
 Potable water usually contains a number of microscopic contaminants, along with dissolved minerals such as calcium and iron.
 Distilled water should ideally be nothing but hydrogen and oxygen molecules and has virtually all of its impurities removed through distillation, which involves boiling the water and re-condensing the steam into a clean container (pH 6.0 – 7.5) any dissolved solids such as salt, bacteria, calcium or iron remain solid while the pure water converts to a much lighter steam and is drawn out for condensation, leaving most if not all solid contaminants behind.
 Distilled water is preferred for dilution as it’s a ‘known’ quantity, unlike domestic potable water
In larger chemical and biological laboratories, as well as industry, cheaper alternatives such as deionized water are preferred over distilled water.
Chemicals used in detailing products require a carrier system, which can be solvent or water-based. Many products formulate their chemical (or an oil emulsion) using water as a carrier system to ensure an even distribution
Detailing Chemicals
This is a list of chemicals found in some automotive products, giving their chemical names and synonyms, along with the effect they can have on vehicles. This is by no means an exhaustive list
I can only comment on what the product manufacturer states his product contains (MSDS or product label), and first-hand knowledge of how it performs, otherwise I might be subject to litigation
When it comes to product marketing and technical specifications, it is also 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.
Critics say the lack of knowledge about chemicals exposes a system where environmental regulators largely rely on companies that profit from industrial chemicals to sound alarms about their safety. questions about potential effects on human health and the environment often aren't raised until years after a chemical is introduced to the marketplace.
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.
Product Relabeling
Many car care companies use Chemical company’s plants and R&D (i.e. Warner Chemical or P & B Manufacturing) products that are specifically mixed and then re-labelled. The same is also true of foam pads, Lake County Mfg. relabelled their foam for many different vendors
The consumer must have confidence that the labeling on the products they purchase has not been changed or altered in any way so that the information about the product is accurate
Chemical Resistant Trigger Sprayers
Kwazar Mercury Pro - spray bottles are designed specifically for cleaning and detailing professionals. Every pump delivers twice the product onto the surface. High-density Polyethylene (HDPE) is resistant to many different solvents
Plus this sprayer has Viton ® Seals for high temperature and chemically aggressive applications, the spray can be adjusted from fine mist to a constant stream and also has stainless steel (chemical resistant) trigger spring fitted. Sizes available in 0.5 Litre (17 oz.) and 1 Litre (33oz.), available in blue, green, red, and yellow spray tops
Cleaning - Place spray assembly in a bucket of warm / hot soapy water and pump the trigger a few time, rinse by doing the same thing with clean warm / hot water
Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65)
In 1986, California voters approved an initiative to address their growing concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals. That initiative became the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known by its original name of Proposition 65. Proposition 65 requires the State to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. This list, which must be updated at least once a year, has grown to include approximately 775 chemicals since it was first published in 1987.
Proposition 65 requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment.
By providing this information, Proposition 65 enables Californians to make informed decisions about protecting themselves from exposure to these chemicals. Proposition 65 also prohibits California businesses from knowingly discharging significant amounts of listed chemicals into sources of drinking water.
The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) administers the Proposition 65 program. OEHHA, which is part of the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA), also evaluates all currently available scientific information on substances considered for placement on the Proposition 65 list.
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) should be available for every chemical you use. Read these and follow the recommendations for safe use and disposal of the material. As required by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), 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.

 A Material Safety Data Sheet (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)
Chemical Information (MSDS) A-Z-
Definitions of Terms Used in Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) -
Household Cleaners
 If you're using common household cleaners, you're likely to encounter the following chemicals (among many others), and the following effects, while cleaning:
·         Chlorinated phenols found in toilet bowl cleaners are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.

·         Diethylene glycol found in window cleaners depresses the nervous system.

·         Phenols found in disinfectants are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems.

·         Only phenol ethoxylate, a common surfactant (or detergent) found in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners, is banned in Europe, and biodegrades slowly into even more toxic compounds.

·         Formaldehyde found in spray and wick deodorizers are a respiratory irritant and suspected carcinogen.

·         Petroleum solvents in floor cleaners damage mucous membranes.

·         Perchloroethylene, a spot remover, causes liver and kidney damage.

·         Butyl Cellosolve, common in all-purpose, window and other types of cleaner’s damages bone marrow, the nervous system, kidneys and the liver.

 Unfortunately, it's not easy to identify which products contain these hazardous ingredients. While cleaners are the only household products regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission under the Federal Hazardous Substances Labelling Act, they're still not required to reveal their ingredients, as they are considered "trade secrets" so government regulations are actually designed to protect this proprietary information rather than to protect human health or the environment
 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
 Chemical Profiles - this site provides detailed information on more than 11,200 chemicals, including all the chemicals used in large amounts in the United States and all the chemicals regulated under major environmental laws. You can search for information by typing in the chemical's name (or any common synonym) or the chemical's standard identification number) -
Acids are highly corrosive; the skull and crossbones warning on an acid label is there for a reason; acids will etch or erode anything in its path, they are also very effective in dissolving metals and etching glass. Dilution - adding water to an acid it lowers its pH, i.e. it becomes more acidic; the process is called hydrolysis)
The dilution of an acid doesn’t make it safer as the addition of a molecule of water to a chemical compound, without forming any other products is known as hydration (i.e. dilution causes the pH to decrease) But since pH is not a very good indicator of the strength of the acid in every system, this approach won't always produce the desired results.
Don't Play Mad Scientist
Don't haphazardly mix chemicals; pay attention to the order in which chemicals are to be added to each other and do not deviate from the instructions. Even chemicals that mix to produce seemingly safe products should be handled carefully.
For example, hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide will give you salt water, but the reaction could break your glassware or splash the reactants onto you if you aren't careful. Some rules are NOT made to be broken. That is true of the rules used for chemicals. They are established for your safety and those of other’s around you.
Ratios (Dilution):
Dilution rates are shown as a ratio i.e. a solution of Distilled water / Chemical 5:1, this means that the product is diluted five parts distilled water to one part chemical.  If you have a container with dilution markings fill the bottle with water to the dilution level required and then add product to the fill line.
    Ratios- convert the ratio into fractions. Add the two numbers of the ratio together then use that number as a denominator for the individual parts. Multiply total amount of solution you want by the fractions.
Example- distilled water to product with a dilution ratio of 5:1 in a 16oz spray bottle >
 (5:1 ratio) 5 + 1 = 6, Water =16 x 5 / 6 (0.833) = 13.33 = 13.25 oz. Product = 16 x 1/6 (0.166) = 2.66
 Use 13.25 oz. of water / 2.75oz of product.
a) Polymers have a shelf life of approx. 3-5 years if kept in their original containers and stored at temperatures as above
b) Polish - technically 2 years, however if bottle is kept closed, and the product has not separated, there would be no problem with use for four years after sale date.
c) Waxes - will last almost indefinitely, provided that they are stored a sealed in their original containers and in the refrigerator or controlled environment once opened. The liquids should last 18 months if stored at normal room temperature.
d) Detailing Chemicals (Wheel cleaners, all purpose cleaners (APC) and etc.) have an almost indefinite shelf life if kept in their original containers and stored at temperatures as above, see also Product separation
e) Product separation - if product emulsion separates it could be indicative of age (but not necessarily past its useful life) shake vigorously for 5-10 minutes and see if the product re- mixes.
Product shelf -life may vary from one manufacturer to another, if in doubt check with product mfg. or vendor.
Chemical Name:
Ammonium hydrogen fluoride (NH4HF2)
Or Ammonium bifluoride SiO2 (BF) is miss-classified as the safe alternative to hydrogen fluoride, once mixed with water it becomes hydrogen fluoride one of the most common, and dangerous, acid wheel cleaners used in automatic carwashes today. Its effectiveness removing brake dust and difficult contaminants from wheels is undisputed, but most chemists say Ammonium bifluoride presents an unjustifiable and potentially lethal risk.
Ammonium thioglycolate
Chemical salt CAS # 68-11-1 [:  a chemical compound with the formula HSCH2CO2NH4]
[Mercaptoacetic acid; sodium salt; mercaptoacetic acid; monosodium salt; Sodium thioglycolate; Sodium thioglycolate; Thioglycolic acid, sodium salt; sodium thioglycollate;]
 Thioglycolic acid, a simple sulphur group- chained carboxylic acid, is a clear liquid; soluble in water.  Sulphur group will react with bases.
Being the salt of a weak acid and weak base, ammonium thioglycolic acid exists in solution as an equilibrium mixture of the salt itself as well as the free carboxylic acid thioglycolic acid and ammonia: A solution containing ammonium thioglycolate contains a lot of free ammonia, which exhibits an exothermic reaction. This salt was once used for exothermic permanent wave lotions; they now use permsodium thioglycolate instead of ammonium thioglycolate
Ammonia (NH3)
The polarity of NH3 molecules and their ability to form hydrogen bonds explains to some extent the high solubility of ammonia in water, however, a chemical reaction also occurs when ammonia dissolves in water.
In aqueous solution, ammonia acts as a base; acquiring hydrogen ions from H2O to yield ammonium and hydroxide ions the production of hydroxide ions when ammonia dissolves in water gives aqueous solutions of ammonia their characteristic alkaline (basic) properties. Not all of the dissolved ammonia reacts with water to form ammonium ions.
A substantial fraction remains in the molecular form in solution, in other words, ammonia is a weak base, and quantitative indication of this strength is given by its base ionization constant
Butyl Cellosolve
Synonyms: Butyl (2-butoxyethanol)
An ethylene glycol-based solvent, it is recommended that one use precautions when working with glycol ethers such as 2-butoxyethanol, as it is toxic. Employers are required by United States federal law to inform employees when they are working with these substances. [1]
Butyl (2-butoxyethanol) is as a strong ethylene glycol-based solvent, and a highly effective cleaner, as well as inexpensive, it is harmful to man and the environment. It white-stains aluminium and damage clear coated (painted) wheels and powder coating finishes. Butyl is also very harsh on your skin, causes respiratory distress when inhaled, and it is not readily biodegradable.
A chemical that is found in a wide variety of household cleaning agents - glass cleaners, oven cleaners, general degreasers, spot removers, air fresheners, and carpet cleaners, among other things. It is a colourless liquid with a sweet, ether-like odour and is manufactured by the Eastman Kodak company. It is also known as butyl glycol, Dowanol, Bane-Clene and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether (EGBE), which has made it on to the list of California’s toxic air substances
Research has shown that skin can also absorb 2-butoxyethanol vapour from the air, making skin a major pathway of exposure to this chemical
Synonyms: Benzol, Cyclohexatriene
Effects on Vehicle: Paint streaking, damage. Health Effects: Carcinogenic Found In: Solvents, Compounds
Synonyms: Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK)
Effects on Vehicle: Damage, an organic compound; it dissolves many substances, cellulose acetate and nitrocellulose coatings (paint) polyurethane coating and vinyl films. Health Effects: Butanone is an irritant. Found In: Solvents
Coolant Anti-Freeze
Ethylene glycol - is toxic to humans, as well as to animals and should therefore be handled and disposed of properly. It has a sweet taste that can contribute to its accidental ingestion. Various symptoms can result from such poisoning, including severe diarrhoea and vomiting. Some ethylene glycol antifreeze contains an embittering agent such as denatonium to help discourage either accidental or deliberate consumption.
Propylene glycol - on the other hand, is considerably less toxic and may be labelled as non-toxic antifreeze. It is used as antifreeze where ethylene glycol would be inappropriate, such as in food-processing systems or in water pipes in homes where incidental ingestion may be possible.
Propylene glycol oxidizes when exposed to air and heat. When this occurs lactic acid is formed. [8][9] If not properly inhibited, this fluid can be very buffering agents are added to propylene glycol, preventing low pH attack on the system metals. [1]
Hydrogen Fluoride
Synonyms: HF, Hydrofluoric Acid Bi-ammonium fluoride, ammonium fluoride
Effects on person: Small amounts of concentrated hydrofluoric acid on the skin can be fatal. Effects on Vehicle: Damages wheels, painted surfaces. Found In: Wheel Cleaner, Concrete Cleaner, Fallout Remover
Hydrofluoric Acid (HF)
Is dangerous, just small amounts of concentrated hydrofluoric acid on the skin can be fatal. The purpose of this notice is to raise awareness of the inherent dangers associated with dermal contact with concentrated hydrofluoric acid and of the importance of observing strict precautions when handling it.
Hydrofluoric acid is a corrosive and toxic liquid that is potentially fatal even following dermal exposure to small amounts (Burke et al., 1973). The fatality risks described highlights the potential for relatively small quantities of concentrated hydrofluoric acid to produce acute systemic toxicity and it is clear that laboratory personnel underestimated the risks associated with the acid
Hydrofluoric (HF) acid's ability to dissolve oxides makes it important in the purification of both aluminium and uranium. It is also used to etch glass, to remove surface oxides from silicon in the semiconductor industry, as a catalyst for the alkylation of isobutene and butane in oil refineries and to remove oxide impurities from stainless steel in a process called pickling.
Do not confuse hydrochloric acid (HCL) with hydrofluoric (HF, has a pH of 3.14) acid because of the similarity of names. On the skin, hydrochloric acid burns from the outside in. Hydrofluoric acid solution readily penetrates the skin and burns both skin and deeper tissues. If enough acid is absorbed, it may lethally affect the heart and nervous system.

CDC Information on Hydrofluoric Acid -
Isoamyl acetate
Isoamyl acetate (banana oil) which is a solvent with a banana fragrance
Muriatic Acid (Hydrochloric acid)
Hydrochloric acid is the solution of hydrogen chloride (HCl) in water. It is a highly corrosive, strong mineral acid and has major industrial uses. It is found naturally in gastric acid. Historically called muriatic acid or spirits of salt, hydrochloric acid was produced from vitriol and common salt. Muriatic acid has a pH of 0.1used to clean concrete
Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK)
See Butanone
Synonyms: Meta-Xylene, 1, 3-Dimethylbenzene, m-Xylol
Effects on Vehicle: Paint streaking and other damage, found In: Solvents, Compounds
Mineral Spirits
Also known as White Spirit or Stoddard Solvent, used for cleaning and degreasing machine tools and parts
Neutralized Acid Salt
[: Base + Acid ---> Water + Salt]
Bases usually have an OH, Acids usually have an H, H+ OH form H2O the leftovers of the reactants form a salt. pH is the concentration of H ions in the solution. As the acid gets neutralized, more of the H ions combine with OH and form water lowering the H concentration and pH
Neutralization is the reaction between an acid and a base (alkaline) producing a salt and neutralized base. Common examples include acetic acid and sulphuric acid, when mixed with water cause an exothermic chemical reaction, loosening the sintered ferrous metal particulates, which have been converted entirely to rust and disintegrates forming a miscible emulsion that can be rinsed away.
Oxalic Acid
Although considered to be one of the safer ‘active acids’, especially when compared to HF, etc. contribute to further damage of the paints resin system softening the paint, damaging soft exterior trim and aluminium creating long-term damage that may not be evident for months.
Oxalic acid exhibits many of the reactions characteristic of other carboxylic acids; it’s a relatively strong organic acid, being about 10,000 times stronger than acetic acid (Vinegar). It tends to soften the clear coat; it bleaches uncoated metals and etches glass. This acid still needs to be handled with care and should not be allowed to dry on a paint surface.
 Oxalic acid's main applications include cleaning or bleaching, especially for the removal of rust, e.g. Bar Keepers Friend is an example of a household cleaner containing oxalic acid. Be cognizant that Oxalic acid can damage the paints resin (binder) system in the long term and may also soften paint
Caution: Oxalic acid is considered to be a poison
Potassium Hydroxide
Synonyms: Ethanedioic Acid Caustic potash, Potassium hydrate, Potassium lye.
Effects on vehicle: Strong oxidizer affects paint in high % concentrations, found In: Cleaners
Phosphoric Acid
[: a mineral (inorganic acid) having the chemical formula H3PO Used as a rust converter; by direct application to rusted iron particles, it converts iron oxide (rust) to black ferric phosphate, FePO4.]
Synonyms: Orthophosphoric acid
Effects on Vehicle Smokes wheels, chalks plastics, found In: Wheel Cleaners, de-greasers, concrete cleaners
Sodium Laureth Sulphate
Sodium lauryl ether sulphate (SLES), is a detergent and surfactant,
Sodium Metasilicate, Anhydrous
Synonyms: Silicic acid, sodium salt
Effects on Vehicle: Damages aluminium causes chalking, streaks paint, found In: Cleaners, de-greasers
Sodium Hydroxide
Synonyms: Caustic Soda, Sodium Hydrate, and Soda Lye
Sodium hydroxide (pH 13.5) also known as lye and caustic soda is used in many industries, mostly as a strong chemical base in the manufacture of drinking water, soaps and detergents and as a drain cleaner, but used with a chemical buffer it shouldn’t scare people.
Effects on Vehicle: Strong oxidizer causes discoloration, attacks rubber and plastics, found In: Cleaners
Sulfamic Acid
Synonyms: Amidosulfonic acid, Amidosulfuric acid, Aminosulfonic acid, and Sulfamidic acid
(H3NSO3) may be considered an intermediate compound between sulphuric acid (H2SO4), and sulfamide (H4N2SO2)
Effects on Vehicle: see sulphuric acid
Simple Green or Crystal Simple Green
Aluminium is a soft metal that easily corrodes with unprotected exposure to water. The aqueous-base and alkalinity of Simple Green or Crystal Simple Green are corrosive and will react with bare aluminium causing hydrogen embrittlement (this is also known as stress cracking corrosion). As the cleaner gradually ferments it reduces the pH from its normal mildly alkaline state to acidic. Slow corrosion of the aluminium results, generating a little hydrogen on the surface.
Anaerobic conditions also generate hydrogen and hydrogen sulphide bio chemically, producing small amounts of methane. The aluminium probably has sufficient residual stress to be susceptible to hydrogen stress cracking, and this can be accelerated by the sulphide
Therefore, contact times of All-Purpose Simple Green and Crystal Simple Green with unprotected or unpainted aluminium surfaces should be kept as brief as the job will allow - never for more than 10 minutes. Large cleaning jobs should be conducted in smaller-area stages to achieve lower contact time.
Rinsing after cleaning should always be extremely thorough - paying special attention to flush out cracks and crevices to remove all Simple Green/Crystal Simple Green residues. Unfinished, uncoated or unpainted aluminium cleaned with Simple Green products should receive some sort of protectant after cleaning to prevent oxidation.

Simple Green is corrosive and will react with bare aluminium causing hydrogen embrittlement (this is also known as stress cracking corrosion). As the cleaner gradually ferments it reduces the pH from its normal mildly alkaline state to acidic. Slow corrosion of the aluminium results, generating a little hydrogen on the surface.
Anaerobic conditions also generate hydrogen and hydrogen sulphide bio chemically, producing small amounts of methane. The aluminium probably has sufficient residual stress to be susceptible to hydrogen stress cracking, and this can be accelerated by the sulphide.
Trisodium phosphate
The major use for trisodium phosphate (TSP) (Na3PO4) is in cleaning agents. An extreme alkali chemical, even at 1% dilution the pH is 12.0 and this solution is sufficiently alkaline to convert (a fat or oil) into soap. Rarely used due to environmental concerns
Synonyms: Toulon, Methylbenzene
Effects on Vehicle: Paint streaking and damage. Health Effects: Central nervous system depression, cardiac disrythmia. Found In: Solvents, Compounds
MSDS and pH values –
1.  Acids can be safe if used with care and the directions are followed precisely.
2.  Accidents and expensive replacements can always be avoided if you do some research and are smart about your choices.
3.  Always check the products MSDS and its pH value before you use it.
4.   Dilution of an acid- the addition of a molecule of water to a chemical compound, without forming any other products is known as hydration (i.e. dilution causes the pH to decrease)
High pH (base)
A strong base is a base which hydrolyzes completely, raising the pH of the solution toward 14. Concentrated bases, like concentrated acids, attack living tissue and cause serious burns. They react differently to skin than acids do, so while strong acids are corrosive, strong bases are referred to as caustic.
There are three main types;
1. Oxygenated Solvents- alcohols, glycol ethers, ketones, esters, and glycol ether esters. Oxygenated solvents are synthesized from other chemicals to form the desired solvent. Those solvents are typically of a high purity with specifications ranging from 99.0% to 99.9% purity.
2. Hydrocarbon Solvents (Petroleum Distillates) - aliphatic (include methane, propane, and kerosene, they are flammable and may be explosively flammable).
3. Aromatic hydrocarbons- which are the most toxic compounds found in petroleum products and include such substances as para-xylene (Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl benzene, and Xylene), which are all volatile organic compounds (VOC)
Notes- when using solvents always use Nitrile medical gloves (usually the blue or purple ones) if you are going to be using them for any length of time.
Solvents are used for chemical cleaning, and as a carrier system, it also makes products workable and to provide spread ability, as is the case with Carnauba wax, which in its natural state is rock hard.
The low surface tension of silicones is sometimes added to solvents to improve the wetting ability and to improve the surface contact.

Solvents require an aerobic cure (exposure to air) to allow them to evaporate (outgas); some solvents contain formaldehyde, which dissolves both natural rubber and synthetic compounds, and some contain petroleum distillates specifically hydrocarbon and oxygenated solvents, which represent most of the total organic solvents used.
Organic solvents can be classified by chemical structure, for example water is a solvent, but is inorganic. Solvents provide solubility for the other ingredients, dependent upon the type of solvent used will determine the product's drying time.

Use a safe solvent; Anhydrous Isopropyl alcohol, Isoamyl acetate (Banana oil) or d-Limonene (citrus based) that does not contain any harmful components (Butyl, Heptanes or Xylene or hydrocarbon aliphatic solvents) With all cleaning products (especially solvents) always test a small inconspicuous area first to ensure it won't discolour, stain or etch the surface, and ensure that the pH of the product is suitable for the material

After the paint surface has been subjected to a chemical cleaning its protective layer (s) have been removed and the paint surface left without protection, so it is very important that a wax or polymer protection be applied immediately.
NFPA Fire Diamond
Health Risk – Flammability – Instability – Special Hazards
Health Risk 0 - 4
4 - Very short exposures could cause death or serious residual injury even though prompt medical attention was given.
3 - Short exposures could cause serious temporary or residual injury even though prompt medical attention was given.
2 - Intense or continued exposure could cause temporary incapacitation or possible residual injury unless prompt medical attention is given.
1- Exposure could cause irritation but only minor residual injury even if no treatment is given.
0- Exposure under fire conditions would offer no hazard beyond that of ordinary combustible materials.
I hope this article has given you some insight into the hundreds of chemical products the auto detailing industry has available. Good detailing requires a little knowledge of chemistry and to this end I hope I have provided you with enough information to understand at least the basics of cleaning and detailing using chemicals.
Environmental Commitment
One should never assume that aqueous solutions can be disposed of down the storm drain. 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. Always responsibly dispose of all non-biodegradable materials from your vehicle cleaning in a responsible manner
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)
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 Nitrile rubber   cloves or a good quality Barrier cream will protect your skin
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
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2.       U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) on Hydrogen Chloride National Center for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development, Washington, DC 1999
3.       U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS, online database) National Toxicology Information Program, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD 1993.
4.       California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) Air Toxics Hot Spots Program Risk Assessment Guidelines: Part III.  Technical Support Document for the Determination of Noncancerous Chronic Reference Exposure Levels SRP Draft Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, Berkeley, CA. 1999
5.       American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).  1999 TLVs and BEIs Threshold Limit Values for Chemical Substances and Physical Agents Biological Exposure Indices.  Cincinnati, OH.  1999.
6.       National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).  Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Cincinnati, OH.  1997.
7.       Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  Occupational Safety and Health Standards, Toxic and Hazardous Substances Code of Federal Regulations 29 CFR 1910.1000 1998
8.       American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA).  The AIHA 1998 Emergency Response Planning Guidelines and Workplace Environmental Exposure Level Guides Handbook 1998
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10.    Center for Disease Control and Prevention -
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