Cleaning and Detailing. (printable)

alfawestlancashire

New Member
Messages
139
The out side of the car ..........

Ensure all doors are shut and widows are up, yes I left a rear window slightly down once and with a pressure washer the interior was soaked and the white cloth roof was stained.. Do not worry it was an older car and not the Alfa.

Begin to wash the car down with the pressure washer starting from the roof, always work top down as the water falling off will drag off particles. Get the car soaked, ensure the wheel arches are blasted, wheels are soaked and some of the brake dust has been removed and lower door panels, sills, bumpers are soaked......REMEMBER do not expect the pressure washer to do all the work, your input is much more rewarding and much more effective than the machine.

So now your car is drowning in water. Get your selected suds, I use Dodo Juice Supernatural shampoo, however you can buy Zymol shampoo, works just as well and has a stunning smell of bananas. The great thing about those two and such products is that they do not remove your hard work of prior waxing and last a long time too, not a lot is required.

Fill your sud bucket with luke warm water and fill your other with just water.... Yes that is right TWO BUCKETS... WHY???? well if you wash your car "conventionally", dip and dip and dip into dirtier and dirtier water you will drag stone particles, fall out etc back over your paintwork, by adopting the second bucket to rinse your wash mitt you will remove the particles and when you dip back into suds you will have a nice clean mitt do it with.

So start from the roof of your car and keeping the wash uniform (back n forth) do not be tempted to wash in a circular motion, this will encourage swirl marks and they are ugly. Wash each panel with a fresh mitt full of suds (two bucket). Once you have done the whole car, rinse the car down (top to bottom), pay particular attention to suds behind the mirror glass, try and get that out as much as possible and any other jiggly places.

Keep the car wet.... Get your wheel cleaner, I use Bilberry wheel cleaner as it smells great and is acid free but very very very very very good, get around all 4 wheels and leave for 2 or 3 minutes. Grab your wheel cleaning brush, mine being an EZ Detail brush that is very good indeed for small gaps and effective removal of dust. After scrubbing each wheel, hose down to remove the cleaner and MF cloth to bring out the shine, You will be blown away.

Back to the car, keep the pressure washer at hand, if you can remove the lance for high pressure and just soak with a stream of water that would be great.

Here comes the magic of preparation..... CLAY BAR. I use a Bilt Hamber medium clay bar as this is cheaper than most but probably better too. Addition lube is not required either, which is what makes this product so great. So get your clay and cut off a piece. lay it lengthways and cut to a width of about 2cm, kneed the clay flat so it fits into your fingers tips nicely and just put to the paint work, use it like you were keying the surface with sandpaper, keep the movements uniform and you will first feel the surface as being rough, keep the clay lubed with water and you will feel it getting smoother and smoother, once you have completed the wing (where I start) have a look at the bar....... and prepare to fall over...

BE VERY VERY CAREFUL NOT TO DROP THE CLAY. I cannot say how far one side will go as every car will have different levels of paint contamination but what I can tell you is when I did my first clay session, I used about half of the 200g bar. You can use both sides of the clay and then Kneed again but remember you are removing contaminants and it will carry on to the clay.

So you have done the whole car, dropped the clay, shouted in anger, broken your spine. You can now wash the car down to remove any clay residue. Once you have washed the car down, get your MF drying towel and well.... Dry the car. You can buff again to ensure all surfaces are dry but not essential. Now run your worn to the bone fingers along the body work.......... Now isn't that smooth mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Now your body work may appear to be sublime, however we can improve on that.

Next phase is applying a glaze, if you have a dark car then use Poorboys Black Hole, very good, cheap, loads to go around but most of all, regarded by 1000s of home detailers as being a “great product with wonderful resultsâ€, which I have to agree with. This glaze comes in two forms, one for dark cars and one for light, simple. You can apply by hand or using a Dual Action Buffer machine, application by hand is tough work because you do need to seal the glaze by waxing which means hard hand work again so I strongly suggest trying to get hold a DA buffer. Not only for ease of application but the final results are brilliant. It is very difficult to see the glaze so you will need your best set of eyes to see the outlines of the glaze being applied and curing.

When applying the glaze you do not need a lot, about 4 pea sized drops will be fine on a 6" DA pad at speed setting 2 too 3, however that is user preferential. So you have begun applying, is there a method...... maybe?? but that is what the DA is all about, ham fisted people like myself. Just be sure to apply it equally and keep the machine moving, covering all corners of all panels. Once the Glaze has cured after about 15 minutes just get another MF cloth and buff off, it comes off very easily and the results are fairly instant.... The hard work pays off believe me.

Here is the final bit you have been waiting for..... WAXING... Yay finally... I'm starving I hear you say.

There are so many waxes out there, Hard wax, soft wax blah blah blah..... I shall keep it simple, get Autoglym HD WAX, it comes with two brilliant application pads, and a buffing MF cloth and do not purchase from a store, get it from Amazon for about £32, better than being ripped off by halfrauds at £45....... Disgusting.

AG HD Wax is very very good indeed, the beading is outstanding and it brings out the best of any paint work, easy to apply, easy to remove.... It is a good wax.

So apply in a circular motion, say a 3inch X 3inch block, start from one edge of the bonnet down and back up the other side of the waxed section. Once you have completed one panel, complete the wings, once you have done the wings, buff the bonnet, done the bonnet then wax the roof, once you have done the whole roof, buff the wings.... Reason you wax one, leave one, buff one, wax one etc etc etc is so the wax can cure onto the paint work.

Once you have waxed and buffed, get a thick MF cloth and buff again. You have waxed and can see shadow lines!!!??? then a good little tip is to moisten a cloth or use your moist drying cloth and wipe the waxed area and then buff with a buffing MF cloth with slight application of pressure.

Once the above has all been done, have a quick walk around, dry the door edges and apply tyre gloss and admire all your hard work.

I will advise that you let the wax cure for a few hours and apply a second and if you really want, add a third layer. The wax will seal in the glaze and the protection will last about 4 to 8 months (8 if your uber lucky).

Now 3 weeks pass, the car is buzzing, all you need is a hose, no pressure, soak the car, two bucket method, dry, buff, clean the wheels etc and that is it!!!! DONE, much easier now you have done all the tough work before, and now the wax has matured the shine will improve.

I hope this will help and get you going, you may feel that the methods need to be changed to suit you but this is purely a guide that suits me.

MF Cloths – they are better at drying and cleaning as they lift out particles and leave a uniform finish.

Lambswool Mitt – The natural fibers will capture small particles and trap them till you wash out in your bucket of water. Also it holds in suds very well so coverage will be brilliant. Soft fibers will not effect the paint either.

Clay bar – Will remove contaminants from the paint work that you never thought were there. Clay barring ensures a soft, smooth finish to the paint work and providing a great bonding surface for the glaze and wax... Remember PREPARATION IS KEY!!!!!!!!

Glaze – They have a filling effect, and will cover up light swirl marks and other light marks, it will not get rid of them permanently but will give the overall finish a more admiring finish. It also provides a wet look which on any dark paint looks sublime, more so on black, dark blue or deep deep colours (reds).

Wax – will seal in your glaze and prevent it simply washing away. Will also protect your paint work from acid in bird dropping, fall out and all other ugly particles in today's atmosphere. Also makes life 100000X easier when it comes to cleaning, water and dirt falls off, enjoy the beading.:battered:
 

Csr dog

New Member
Messages
333
Nice post, i was going to buy the hd product but nearly fainted at halfords price of £45, £32 is much more reasonable. I really need to clay my car as the paint does feel rough.
 

vantastic

New Member
Messages
1,499
Or just spray it with a hose, then halfrauds best shampoo, job done

Just kidding

Good post, I clay and wax once a year

EDIT the car's not me
 

Csr dog

New Member
Messages
333
Or just spray it with a hose, then halfrauds best shampoo, job done

Just kidding

Good post, I clay and wax once a year


EDIT the car's not me
Will claying smooth the paintwork? I do polish mine but im sure i can get a better finish.
 

vantastic

New Member
Messages
1,499
Will claying smooth the paintwork? I do polish mine but im sure i can get a better finish.
Clay removes the stuff you cant see, so yes it makes it smoother, also it may take you a while to learn how to use clay and dont expect it to be instant result, clay just cleans its not a polish.
 

zagatoes30

Centenary Club
Messages
12,931
Clay makes a big difference to a car overall finish, gets rid of lots of things you can't see and gives a lovely smooth paint finish to put the polish on.

I do my cars each Spring, along with a few coats of polish through the year and the paint stays looking great.
 

GhostyDog

New Member
Messages
594
If the paints in not so good condition to begin with best of starting with a machine polish once contaminants are removed otherwise you'll not be satisfied, my XF had obviously been through every automated car wash in Birmingham, had it fully machine polished and now it looks awesome :) and very easy to stay on top of.