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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK folks I've known about Dawn and other topical automotive "wax strippers" for a long time, but I 've never used any of them...Ever. To be honest I've never thought about stripping wax before I re-waxed and that may be a mistake. I have always had questions; about product compatibility, the protective duration of any given product, and other such questions. I know many people have their own specific product that they use and I understand that. What I would like some feedback on is; How often do you use a wax stripper? Why?(what is gained) and what are your thoughts about changing up your selection of wax without stripping? Is there any evidence to indicate that using different brands of waxes on top of each other will effect the finished outcome? I would also be interested in your impressions on the difference between standard Carnauba based waxes vs. the newer "synthetic" based waxes? Lastly, what is your personal rule of thumb for the frequency of re-waxing and what "tells" do you use to make that judgment?
 

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I use Dawn about once a year. The new sealants like to adhere to "bare paint". You do not have to use a stripper at all if you are polishing before waxing as that takes it down to the paint too. The universal cleaner before you wax is rubbing alcohol, or "ISP" to detailers - diluted to 40/60 alcohol/water in a spray bottle. That cleans it perfectly.

Bu there is a bigger urban myth that inhibits the gloss and this is that all you have to do is "wash and wax"...That will seal in a lot of crap. You should clay and polish the surface to get it as glossy as you want and then wax. WAX IS NOT WHAT CREATES GLOSS. It's the polish of the surface that gets you the gloss, the wax is just to seal the surface.

I can quote 100 diff combinations of products that will get you there and it is ridiculous to have these wars of what works best - they all do. It's the procedure that matters - for a new car---clay--->finishing polish like Meguire's 205 on a orbital with a white pad, then the sealant/wax of your choice - I like Blackfire.

Carnuba waxes don't last long and are great for car shows, sealants last 6 months and are easier to use. I highly recommend them. If oyu want a great easy procedure to keep your car stunning nice - read this - it is so easy...from a master detailer - Todd Helme at autopia:

http://www.autopiaforums.com/forums...o-hours-blackfire-rapid-fire-combination.html

I might add, once the polishing is done, the regualr maintenance is wiping your car down with a sealant that is spray on walk away (like using windex) - no buffing - every 2 -3 months, I can do my car in 15 minutes...

i would be happy to put together a few lists of what you need to keep your car nice and durable, but will not play the stupid games of "I use this and it's better than whatever you use"...like so many do on the net...In fact I have a MS word doc we use on the Honda accord site I used to moderate with everything you need - PM me or email me...
 

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I use Dawn about once a year. The new sealants like to adhere to "bare paint". You do not have to use a stripper at all if you are polishing before waxing as that takes it down to the paint too. The universal cleaner before you wax is rubbing alcohol, or "ISP" to detailers - diluted to 40/60 alcohol/water in a spray bottle. That cleans it perfectly.

Bu there is a bigger urban myth that inhibits the gloss and this is that all you have to do is "wash and wax"...That will seal in a lot of crap. You should clay and polish the surface to get it as glossy as you want and then wax. WAX IS NOT WHAT CREATES GLOSS. It's the polish of the surface that gets you the gloss, the wax is just to seal the surface.

I can quote 100 diff combinations of products that will get you there and it is ridiculous to have these wars of what works best - they all do. It's the procedure that matters - for a new car---clay--->finishing polish like Meguire's 205 on a orbital with a white pad, then the sealant/wax of your choice - I like Blackfire.

Carnuba waxes don't last long and are great for car shows, sealants last 6 months and are easier to use. I highly recommend them. If oyu want a great easy procedure to keep your car stunning nice - read this - it is so easy...from a master detailer - Todd Helme at autopia:

Review in Pictures: Polish and Seal your Paint in two hours with the BLACKFIRE "Rapid Fire" combination - Autopia Forums - Auto Detailing & Car Care Discussion Forum

I might add, once the polishing is done, the regualr maintenance is wiping your car down with a sealant that is spray on walk away (like using windex) - no buffing - every 2 -3 months, I can do my car in 15 minutes...

i would be happy to put together a few lists of what you need to keep your car nice and durable, but will not play the stupid games of "I use this and it's better than whatever you use"...like so many do on the net...In fact I have a MS word doc we use on the Honda accord site I used to moderate with everything you need - PM me or email me...
Glen has provided a lot of correct information. Dawn is a great trick to use from time to time, but highly recommend against as a common wash method. It strips the paint of the fillers, silicone's , waxes and oils that can be left behind on the paint. Though, since it is such a strong cleaner solution, it does "dry" your paint out to a certain extent. As Glen said with the alcohol which is actually deemed "IPA" which is Isopropyl Alcohol. Its a 90% alcohol solution, generally found at most grocery stores. This trick is more kept to a professional detailers use, to be used after each polishing step to help inspect the paint. To make sure that the level of correction they are getting is what they are after and that no marring is left behind.

Now as Glen said, its a huge misconception that waxing alone is what makes a car look great. Waxing or sealing a vehicle after it has had the paint surface properly prepped, is what creates that amazing glow and look. Then sealing it in afterwards really helps lock in that gloss. As for using an orbital, that is more or less a waste of time and money. Unless you want to spend the money to get a good DA Buffer like a Griots or Meguiars and the required buffing pads. Then Meguiars 205 is a good over the counter polish to use to help do minor correction and give your paint some nice gloss. Blackfire Wet Diamond also has my vote for a great long last sealant. I use that on many different colors and vehicles. Always comes out great.

Now when it comes to wiping your car down, wiping it down all the time is not the best idea. Unless you do a very proper waterless wash/QD. If your just dusting your car off, odds are you are leaving straight line fine scratches in your paint. Which overtime can really start to dull the vision and keep the paint from looking its best. A water wash is always the best thing to do, even if your doing it twice a month on your garage queen.
 

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onlty one thing to clarifty - you said:

As for using an orbital, that is more or less a waste of time and money. Unless you want to spend the money to get a good DA Buffer like a Griots or Meguiars

to me these are the same - I use a griots6 - saving for a Flex 3401 forced rotation DA......


and by "wiping down" I mean it's never on a dry dirty surface - I mean after a rinselsss or water wash....I don't like waterless washes as it's too dry for me....
 

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onlty one thing to clarifty - you said:

As for using an orbital, that is more or less a waste of time and money. Unless you want to spend the money to get a good DA Buffer like a Griots or Meguiars

to me these are the same - I use a griots6 - saving for a Flex 3401 forced rotation DA......


and by "wiping down" I mean it's never on a dry dirty surface - I mean after a rinselsss or water wash....I don't like waterless washes as it's too dry for me....
Yeah, to me orbital is nothing more than a wax spreader you would buy from a local auto parts store. Its generally what most people will go after when you say that. So i wanted to clarify as well. The Griots is also one of the type of buffers I use. I have the Flex 3401 and honestly, I hate it. I have had it three years and its been used all of maybe 5 times.

Waterless Washes work great when you are very liberal when spraying a dry surface in preparations to wipe it down.
 

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Yeah, to me orbital is nothing more than a wax spreader you would buy from a local auto parts store. Its generally what most people will go after when you say that. So i wanted to clarify as well. The Griots is also one of the type of buffers I use. I have the Flex 3401 and honestly, I hate it. I have had it three years and its been used all of maybe 5 times.

Waterless Washes work great when you are very liberal when spraying a dry surface in preparations to wipe it down.
explain about the 3401 - why?...
 

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I have the poor mans version, the Porter Cable 7424 and really only use it on larger items like boats and trucks. For me it's easier to use a hand application, especially with the new synthetic products that are so much easier to apply than the older Carnuba products. I also end up having to do the complex curve areas by and so the benefit of the orbital just isn't there.
 

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I'll apply sealants by hand, but polish is so much better with a orbital...the hand cannot move at 1500 rpm, and that's what it takes to get rid of scratches and swirls...for real bad scratches, you need to go to a rotary....and that takes experience...
 

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I'll apply sealants by hand, but polish is so much better with a orbital...the hand cannot move at 1500 rpm, and that's what it takes to get rid of scratches and swirls...for real bad scratches, you need to go to a rotary....and that takes experience...
Good point and that's about the only time I break out the Porter Cable.
 

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explain about the 3401 - why?...
Reverse rotation is a pain to get use to. Buffer walks real easy. There is almost no situation where 9000 OPM's in true forced rotation fashion is useful. Once you use it and see just how aggressive it is, you will quickly find out its too aggressive and only usable in certain situations.

I'll apply sealants by hand, but polish is so much better with a orbital...the hand cannot move at 1500 rpm, and that's what it takes to get rid of scratches and swirls...for real bad scratches, you need to go to a rotary....and that takes experience...
Neither can a orbital or DA. 1500 rpms would equal out to nearly 15000-16000 OPM's. Now and days you can achieve 100% correction on paint. Even paint as hard as a usual GM Corvette paint without breaking out a rotary. Now granted I love polishing with a rotary as it is a lost art, but with the advances in the detailing industry, most everything is done now and days with oscillation.
 

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Neither can a orbital or DA. 1500 rpms would equal out to nearly 15000-16000 OPM's. Now and days you can achieve 100% correction on paint. Even paint as hard as a usual GM Corvette paint without breaking out a rotary. Now granted I love polishing with a rotary as it is a lost art, but with the advances in the detailing industry, most everything is done now and days with oscillation.
I was not being literal...I am saying you can't correct by hand - you need a random orbital...simple as that...
 

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I was not being literal...I am saying you can't correct by hand - you need a random orbital...simple as that...
Oh, I very much agree. The way you said it is damn near how I tell people. "Can your hand move at 1000 moves per minute?" It takes heat to generate the corrective ability to work in the compound or polish. A body simply cannot generate the even force and heat distribution to get those results.
 

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Didn't read through but responding to the OP-

Dawn is ok but doesn't get the paint as clean as people think. It leaves a residue of its own as well. If you are polishing then that doesn't matter too terribly much but if not its really not the best option ime.

When using a wax or sealant if you do not polish the vehicle you should use a paint cleanser. This will remove the old layers and grunge and allow for a better bond of the new wax or sealant. While it won't achieve what a proper abrasive polishing will, it will be the next best thing. As far as traditional sealants go you can't do any better than Four Star Ultimate Paint protection for ease of use, beauty and three to 4 good months of protection. If you want something that's fast to apply its Hydro2 spray on rinse off - importantly hit me up for tips on how to use this with great affect. Very easy given a few simple tips which I also have written in my site if you scroll down on the product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks Corey! One thing jumps out at me after reading these detailing threads and posts. Many times I don't understand the meaning of the terms used by you pro's. Corey's post is a good case in point.(Not to pick on you Cory)
1) "...When using a wax or sealant if you do not polish the vehicle you should use a paint cleanser..."
2) "...While it won't achieve what a proper abrasive polishing will, it will be the next best thing..."

Many times I am not sure of the terms that are used and what exactly is meant. By example in #1 What constitutes a paint cleanser and how much cleansing is required before waxing? I would guess it would be determined by the condition of the paint, but...Perhaps you can help here.
What exactly is meant by "proper abrasive polishing". How do we know which abrasive polishing method to use or which method is best used for our particular need?
What would really help me, and perhaps others, is a glossary of terms in regards to detailing so I / we know exactly what is meant by any given set of tips. This may be a difficult request to respond to, but even a basic description of terms might be helpful here. Thanks!
 

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Thanks Corey! One thing jumps out at me after reading these detailing threads and posts. Many times I don't understand the meaning of the terms used by you pro's. Corey's post is a good case in point.(Not to pick on you Cory)
1) "...When using a wax or sealant if you do not polish the vehicle you should use a paint cleanser..."
2) "...While it won't achieve what a proper abrasive polishing will, it will be the next best thing..."

Many times I am not sure of the terms that are used and what exactly is meant. By example in #1 What constitutes a paint cleanser and how much cleansing is required before waxing? I would guess it would be determined by the condition of the paint, but...Perhaps you can help here.
What exactly is meant by "proper abrasive polishing". How do we know which abrasive polishing method to use or which method is best used for our particular need?
What would really help me, and perhaps others, is a glossary of terms in regards to detailing so I / we know exactly what is meant by any given set of tips. This may be a difficult request to respond to, but even a basic description of terms might be helpful here. Thanks!
Hi Chip, thank you! A pre wax cleanser or paint cleaner generally refers to a product that is similar consistency to a polish but usually does not contain abrasives. Sometimes a paint cleaner will also contain a primer affect to help the sealant in that line of products bond longer.

Here's a link to the direction of Four Star Prewax cleaner- quality paint cleaners work similarly and in the same general way. http://www.carpro-us.com/four-star-ultimate-pre-wax-cleanser-16-oz/premium-finish-care/

A polish (when the term is used correctly) refers to a product that contains abrasives. Abrasives generally come in DAT (diminishing abrasive technology) and smat (super micro abrasive technology)

A polish is used to remove swirls, scratches, and oxidation from the surface. Saying "remove scratches and swirls" is actually incorrect as what you are doing is removing a small amount of the paint around the swirls until you level it to the depth of the swirls which then creates a flat surface. If only fine swirls are present you can use a finishing polish like Reflect to create a perfect finish using a dual action polisher and a polishing or finishing foam pad. If deep swirls or scratches you would first "compound" which generally means a heavier polish with bigger or more abrasives in it. If compounding you would then come back and finish with the finishing polish to refine the surface.

A paint cleanser will have very little "cut" based only on the foam pad you are using and the chemical cleaners in the paint cleanser.

The amount of paint cleanser or polish used is far less than one would expect. With paint cleaner you can easily make use of the product by hand as well as machine - while with polish a machine is really desired or you have a LOT of work ahead of you and you will not create the same finish a machine will. Additionally you will need some advice and practice to use the machine to good affect.

The paint cleanser (assuming its a good one) can be easily used to get better gloss and a clean surface even by hand although by hand it takes a bit longer. It will not remove swirls but will remove light oxidation and deep embedded grime.
 

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The reason removing swirls makes such a difference in gloss of the surface is because of the way light, reflection, refraction, and color works. When you view your paint you are viewing the light reflecting off the surface. The "gloss" you perceive is a direct result of how much of that reflection reaches your eyes.

Swirls (shallow or deep scratches generally induced by washing incorrectly) cause the light not to bounce back and hit your eye. Instead they cause the light to bounce off in another direction.

Place your car in direct sun and then look just to the left or right of where the sun hits the paint and you will likely see thousands of swirls. The sharp corners of these "fine scratches" is where the light is being directed away from your viewpoint and destroying the gloss.

Polishing these swirls with an abrasive polish is the way to achieve true perfection and even the occasional deep scratch may not be always be advised to completely removed, the fact you rounded the edge of it while removing the medium to fine scratches will allow the gloss to return there as well.
 

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Some detailers do not correct or polish or refine paint but instead use a "glaze" which simply fills in the swirls on some level with oils and fillers. This is easy to do and doesn't require the time and effort put forth by quality detailers. These products will wash off in days or weeks and the swirls will be visible once again. Even at its peak the glaze will not achieve what polishing will by a long shot.
 

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Great info here I've been showing corvettes since '88 rather than use dawn to take it back to square one I like using clay, than remove any swirls or scratches using my orbital buffer, than polish which always feeds the paint also using my buffer and seal it with wax by hand. Products are key but sweat makes it perfect. :D
 

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Great info here I've been showing corvettes since '88 rather than use dawn to take it back to square one I like using clay, than remove any swirls or scratches using my orbital buffer, than polish which always feeds the paint also using my buffer and seal it with wax by hand. Products are key but sweat makes it perfect. :D
Sounds like you've got a good routine going! One thing I would point out though:

Modern clear-coat finishes like the one on the new Stingray do not really benefit from "feeding" oils into the paint; older single stage enamel and lacquer finishes did benefit from the use of oils because they were porous and would dry out/oxidize over time without oils penetrating into the paint, whereas clear coat paints (as a function of their chemistry) will cross-link and form a much stronger bond which does not oxidize in the same way older paints would.

The oils in polishes don't soak into a clear-coat finish, instead they simply sit on the surface until they are washed away or evaporated. This is why glazes aren't typically seen as the ideal solution for modern clear coat finishes -- it's better to remove all of the defects, strip the finish of polishing oils, and apply a sealant or coating. The absence of polishing oils will promote the strongest bond between the sealant and the paint, ensuring the longest lasting protection possible.
 
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