We first determine how dirty the vehicle is. If it is simply dust from driving then air blowing it down will work to remove 80% of the dust on the surface. A small pancake compressor that plugs in to a 110 volt outlet will do the job just fine. Use an air blower with a rubber tip so you will not scratch the surface if you bump it. Detail a car in a garage or under a carport and never in the direct sun or outside wind which will tend to blow dust back on to the surface as you work.
The next step is purchase tack cloths. This surgical blue cloth is very tacky yet it does not leave a sticky residue when used properly like some brands do.
Unfold the tack cloth so it is puffy and about 1/2 think covering just out side your hands surface. While lightly wiping the cars finish this will pick up 100 percent of the remaining dust particles. These cloths are designed for Pre-paint cleaning.
" DO NOT " push down, use just the weight of the tack cloth or you will leave a residue. Simply drag it back and forth and let the cloth do the work. No pressure, just let it glide. 2- 4 strokes as long and straight as you can then folding the tack cloth to a new clean side. Repeat until the whole vehicle is wiped.
Dupont has E-4144 Sontera polishing cloths that are disposable. These will not scratch a painted surface but allow water wiping, polish application and removal just right.
If dirt is left on the surface too many hours then there will probably be some dirt residues so the next step is to wet down some Sontera towels. Fold 3-4 towels together the same as we discussed with the tack rag and dampen well.
Be sure and squeeze excess water from the towels so it is as wet as can be without dripping.
It should not drip once you squeeze it out other wise you will be leaving water streaks and spots on the finish.
The same method is used as the tack rag, long strokes but turn the rag more often to a clean side. Remember that taking your car to a car wash and or using a wash bucket like an every day driver will scratch the finish. This will be undetectable outside and in high light but in low light you will see the hairline scratches that the soap and water bucket method offers.
The rag will pick up the dirt easily because of the amount of moisture on the towel.
You have to turn the towels to a clean area on a regular basis until your project is completely done. This could mean 3-6 individual towels if need be.
A 1/2 thick like the tack rag is perfect, continue to wipe and turn to a clean side until the rag is not picking up any more dirt. Never rinse them out in water and reuse the same towels as this will scratch the surface.
Once the car is completely cleaned the next step is to mask off all the emblems, moldings and body gaps to keep wax and or polish from entering in and being stuck down in to the crevices, making it hard to remove.
Simply lay it on with your left hand/fingers pushing in to place while the right hand is guiding it. Reverse that if you are left handed.
3M 05990 hand Glaze is not a wax and it will only look really good for couple of days. The finish it leaves is superior to that of a wax job but it is used for show work only. The following application methods will be the same for the wax of your choice. In the refinishing business we use this product because it has no silicone like wax which can contaminate a paint shop with fish eye problems.
Another product you can use that gives excellent results is Meguiars final inspection. This should be applied the very same way as the glaze. The excess wipes away very easily.
It is a good idea to keep all the supplies we have shown ready to go in your garage and or in the trunk of your ride for detailing. Water in a Gatorade bottle is leak proof and ready for action on the road to clean up bird droppings and bugs smashed against your grille, windshield etc. Wax and grease remover Dupont 3919S removes tar, oil drippings and wax build up before detailing. Label them for easy access.
Small amounts are squeezed on to the Sontera towels the size of a 50 cent piece is fine. If using the Final Inspection, spray it on the towel until a liberal amount the same size has been achieved.
In a circular motion apply the glaze with minimal pressure, when you witness this you can see how easily the molding to the right will get buildup in the cracks compared to the taped areas.
You simply take another set of folded dry towels and wipe until the residue is gone. You will see a beautiful reflection in the paint.
If you have stubborn scratches or any stains 3M's " Finesse It " part # 5929 will remove them. It takes longer by hand using this material but if you are not use to power buffing then only use it by hand. It is the same application rate as all the other methods.
It will also buff out the finish nice but will need to be glazed to finish it off.
On to the tires we use Forever Black. This product blackens the tires " dyes" them so they look brand new but it does not leave them shiny or fake looking like some products do. Be careful around white walls, red lines etc.
The tires need cleaning before applying the forever black dressing.
Water wipe them down just past the treads. For an all out show car, remove the tires and clean inside the treads using a scrub brush with soap and water. We wrap the tires with plastic after highly detailing them and once we have the vehicle in place at a show we cut the plastic away so even the tread grooves look dead on.
Apply tire gel evenly and liberally.
The foam block applicator works well. Apply it liberally as the tires are very porous.
Wipe with a dry rag to remove the residue .
Touch up if needed .