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Frequently Asked Questions
What are Microfiber Towels?
While cotton is a natural fiber, microfiber is made from synthetic materials, typically a polyester-nylon blend. Microfiber is very fine — as much as 1/100th the diameter of a human hair — and about one-third the diameter of cotton fiber. These polyamide fibers pick up material or debris much better than a cotton towel rather than pushing the debris around which makes them ideal for cleaning. A good microfiber towel has an 80/20 mixture of natural fibers to the polyamide and the best towels will have a 70/30 ratio with 30% polyamide and a cheap one will have a 90/10 ratio.
Why do I need microfiber towels for detailing?
The microfiber towel is probably the most used tool in detailing cars with numerous applications. They are so prized because of their ability to absorb liquid, their ability to pick up germs, microbes, and bacteria, and are very durable. In detailing a car there are many products and germs that touch the surfaces and the good microfiber towels catch it all making for a truly great clean. A microfiber with a very high Grams Per Meter (500 – 1200 GSM) and a large pile make great drying towels. If you are using them to wipe up dust and dirt from hard surfaces you want a mid-sized towel such as a 12 x 12 or 16 x 16-inch towel that has a medium pile and a GSM between 250 and 350. Most good-quality cleaning microfiber towels have a GSM of 350. If you are cleaning the glass you want a waffle weave towel that has little to no pile, yet the polyamide in it still picks up the dirt off the window. Finally, a good microfiber towel will have between 20% and 30% polyamide in it. They are more expensive but worth the price, whereas cheap ones will have only 10% polyamide in them. Look on the tag of the towel and it will have a ratio of 90/10 or 80/20 or a 70/30 with the 70/30 being the best because it has more polyamide.
What should I look for in a microfiber towel?
When purchasing a microfiber towel, all you really need to consider are these three aspects:
How well does it dry?
How well does it pick up dirt and dust?
How long will last?
A good microfiber towel for cleaning has a “sticky” feel to it when you drag it across a surface because the polyamide fibers should be grabbing the surface. A good towel will have split fibers that curl at the ends and are what make it so effective at picking up material. It usually requires you to ask the questions because not many advertise this aspect, but if the fibers are not split it will not be any different than a cotton towel and all you are doing is spending extra money. Another factor to look for in good microfiber is how thick the polyamide is. The term for the measurement is dernier where 1 is equal to 10 micrometers and a good towel will have a number of .5 or less. The smaller they are the more they can pick up germs, bacteria, and microbes. Finally, the towel needs to be durable and able to absorb which means it needs to have a good weight called grams per meter (GSM). Good weight starts at 250 GSM. If the towel has a good denier, GSM, split fibers and can absorb well you have a good towel that should last many washes. Lastly, when washing microfiber towels use cold/lukewarm water and no fabric softner or bleach. If you use heat and softner when washing the split fibers will capture the softner and the heat will melt them making the microfiber useless.
What is the difference between a direct-action polisher and a dual action polisher?
A direct polisher pad moves in one direction only and can generate a lot more heat and is more powerful than the dual action polisher. Used improperly, it can leave swirls and holograms in paint polishing. A dual action polisher has the same circualar motion, but it also incorporates another orbit so that it has a circular motion within an orbit. It functions with less heat because there is greater coverage of the paint surface and they are not as powerful making them quite safe from things like swirls and holograms. Most detailers today only use dual action polishers.
What is the difference between a paint sealant and ceramic?
A paint sealant can be an organic or inorganic product that fills the pores or valleys of the paint to prevent contaminants from adhering and imbedding into the paint. An organic sealant like a high end wax will degrade with sunlight and time whereas an inorganic product like a ceramic spray or nano tech polish will last longer and adhere more strongly to the surface of the paint. Both will make the paint look better and protect it from contaminantes. A ceramic coating is a combination of solvents and silica that adhere with a mechanical bond to the surface of the paint. After it cures, it becomes a very smooth surface that is very strong and resistant to things like graffiti markers, bugs, bird dropping and other contaminates protecting your paint from defects for years.
Should I get a graphene coating?
Graphene first came out into 2004 is an amazing product that has tremendous applications such as heat resistant, chemical resistant, and exceptionally strong. In fact, a layer one atom think is 200 times stronger that steel. But right now, the only way to get graphene to apply to the paint is to mix it with an intermediary which is a ceramic type liquid. The graphene is supposed to be infused in it but when you get a bottle of it, you can see the graphene settled on the bottom of the bottle. If it was truly infused in the intermediary, it would not settle. Each atom is a 6 sided hexagon and needs to connect with the other atoms at all six points and if it does not have that the graphene becomes brittle and will break down. Most graphene coatings are suspended in a nano/ceramic solution and don’t add any value to the coating, but if you can find a pure graphene coating that is not suspended in a nano solution it may be a great product. As far as the graphene suspended in ceramic solutions founder and president of Dr. Beasley’s Jim Lafeber has been dealing with graphene for over a decade and has come to the conclusion that it is not able meet its potential and not the best product to use at this time. However, Jim Lefever does believe that when the breakthrough in the technology comes graphene will be the silver bullet for paint protection.
What is involved in a deep interior clean?
A deep clean of an interior means every surface is cleaned and protected. It involves getting into areas that are not usually seen making sure that hidden debris is removed so it doesn’t blow onto freshly cleaned areas that are seen like the top of the dash. Every nook and cranny is cleaned, carpets, seats, glass, door jams, headliner are all cleaned. The fabrics are shampooed and often seats are lifted to provide access to carpets and surfaces that are not accessible. A deep clean usually takes about 8 hours and often has to stay with the detailer overnight to dry all the fabrics.
Can I use any soap to clean my vehicle?
The short answer is no. For washing the exterior paint a soap that is PH neutral is required to protect the paint from premature wear. A dishwashing soap is very aggressive and will take away from the clear coat of the paint making the surface prime for contamination from debris. Wheels have a lot of brake dust and if it is left for a long time the dust will embed in the wheel and regular cleaning will not get rid of it, so wheel cleaning soaps that are designed to remove wheel grime are excellent for wheels. Degreasers can be using for rubber/vinyl products as long as they are not too strong and will have protectant applied afterwards. For interiors, there are some very good cleaners that have a protectant similar to products like 303 that protect from UV rays. They have enough power to breakup the debris but are not so strong that they will damage surfaces. In cleaning glass in cars you want a glass cleaner that does not have ammonia because if ammonia gets on the dash or display console it will etch the surface. So for a great clean use the right cleaning products when detailing your vehicle.
What happens if my rugs get soaked?
Many government organizations, including the EPA, suggest that mold and bacteria can begin to form in wet carpet as soon as 24 to 48 hours after becoming wet. In Edmonton we track snow into our vehicles along with salt and it melts and soaks into the carpets of our vehicles, if it stays moist it will begin to stink in 24 to 48 hours. When spills happen with significant liquid, the liquid (usually water) will get past the top layer of the carpet and soak into the underlay. Once it gets into the underlay and accumulates, the top layer may feel dry but underneath it is very wet and will start to stink after 48 hours. If the car gets flooded because of a broken window in a rain storm the carpet will likely need to be removed in order for air to get to the underlay and have it thoroughly dried out. Underlay of carpets in cars is usually a fibrous type or a foam cell type. Both types will hold a lot of water but the foam type will hold it indefinitely and because the carpet and floor matts are on top of it, the likelihood of it drying is next to zero and will need to be lifted to properly dry.
How often should I polish my car?
Every time your car or truck is polished to remove defects from the paint a portion of the clear coat is being ground away to get that clear optical look that people want on their vehicles, therefore paint correction and polishing should not be done regularly. If paint correction is done every three months your vehicle is going to need a paint job sooner than later. That being the case, there is a need for paint correction when the paint is in bad shape and it needs to be restored. Polishing that removes blemishes and attempts to make paint look new again should not happen more than once every one to three years. Instead, maintain the paint with a proper paint protection and correct washing that doesn’t mark the paint.
What can I do to remove marks from my car without polishing?
When it comes to paint on cars and trucks people tend to think the first and only thing they can do to fix marks is paint correction/polishing, but polishing and correcting is aggressive and can only be done a number of times because the clear coat is very thin and if you polish it too thin you will need a new paint job. So before you break out the machines consider these 6 possibilities that can make your paint look better and preserve the clear coat on your vehicle.
1. Paint Cleaner: Paint cleaner is an effective product that can remove some blemishes that don’t come off with a regular washing of your car. Paint cleaner chemically breaks down contaminants like road grime, sap, and other organic blemishes similar to the way an iron decontaminator works. By allowing the chemical to break the blemish down you don’t have to use excessive scrubbing because in the rinse the broken material no longer clings to the surface of the paint and simply slides off. Less mechanical scrubbing means less chance for micro scratches because even high quality plush microfiber polishing towels can leave a mark with scrubbing.
2. Mineral Spirits: These are a solvent that is a step up in aggressive removal of blemishes than paint cleaner meaning use care because our goal is too improve not damage the clear coat. Mineral spirits are an aliphatic solvent that dissolves another substance to a molecular level making it easy to rinse to wipe away.
3. Paint Thinner: This can be a great product for the parking garage bumps where paint is transferred from the too-small parking spot for your car. Paint thinner like the mineral spirits is aggressive, but in this application is less destructive than polishing to remove the paint transfer. With the right use of some paint thinner that unsightly mark can be removed without the costly trip to the body shop or detail shop to polish it all away at the expense of the clear coat.
4. Glazes: These are fun products that contain fillers are oils that very closely match the refractive index of the paint. Translation micro-scratches seem to disappear because the oil gets in them and renders them hard if not impossible to see. The effect is similar to the filler that fills rock chips in windshields. These also can include waxes, silicones, resins, and protective substances that make the paint look great. They won’t fill a big scratch but a micro line that comes from a coat brushing against the car door can be covered with these products. In addition, the shine they add to the paint detracts from lines that are still visible making the vehicle look great. Also, using paint thinner, mineral spirits, and paint cleaner can leave your paint looking dull, but when you combine them with a glaze product it will revive the look of your paint.
5. Sealants and Waxes: Keeping with the nature of Behind the Detail and our philosophy, being proactive and protecting your paint is the best way to avoid needing to polish your car. When you’re driving a brand new pristine car and not having to worry about swirl marks, the issues you run into are etching from acidic contaminants like bird droppings and acid rain. These kinds of issues ravage your paint when not properly protected. This etching can be a major call for a detail, so having a durable sealant and wax coating always on your car is highly effective in protecting against paint etching, fading, or staining. All of those reasons can drive someone to getting their car polished.
6. Proactive Care from Visual Contaminants: This may seem like a no-brainer, however, it fits in perfectly with number 5. These sealants and waxes are a durable protection for your paint finish, but you can’t expect them to do too much. You need to preserve your sealant like you do your paint. Accumulating water spots, bugs or bird droppings can eventually eat its way through the protective layers and into the clear coat. It’s just the nature of acidic chemicals. For me, I always have a bottle of detail spray and a microfiber towel in my car at all times. If I’m at work or driving and notice something on my paint, it takes but a minute or two to grab my stuff and clean the mess. Furthermore, keeping on a regular wash maintenance schedule is key to protecting the paint as well. Although that doesn’t mean going to the 7/11 automatic car wash, a hand wash will keep the paint clean and free of contaminants as your car sits and bakes in the sun throughout the week.
The whole idea is preserving your clear coat. We’ve noticed how there is the “anti-buff” community that will never allow a machine polisher to touch their car, but we also want them to know that there are things one could do to be proactive and even treat the paint without needing to buff.