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Quick Detailing - The Facts
Quick detailing is a term used to describe how you can maintain the appearance of your car after washes using products that you simply spray on and then immediately buff off using a microfibre towel. However, in some parts of the world quick detailing is also used as a substitute for normal washing and some degree of confusion has arisen in terms of understanding what is and isn't safe. In this guide, we discuss the origin of quick detailing products and comment on their suitability for maintenance and washing ...
Quick detailing is a term used to describe how you can maintain the appearance of your car after washes using products that you simply spray on and then immediately buff off using a plush microfibre towel. The term was coined in the US in the early 1980s when the first spray and wipe products were released onto the car care market. These products were intended to serve two main purposes. Firstly, their use was recommended after washing and drying, as their special formulations enabled them to quickly and easily remove water spots and add extra glossiness to the finish. Secondly, their use was recommended every few days to remove light dust and fresh road grime and negate the need for regular washing. This was marketed as a lifestyle advantage for busy people with little or no time for car care and those living in areas subject to seasonal water shortages.
These intended uses remain equally valid today, but have evolved in line with advances in the marketplace. For example, many quick detailing products now also add a layer of sealant or wax protection, meaning that topping up your protection can now be done quickly and easily after each wash. This means that it is now possible to extend the life of underlying sealant and wax layers almost indefinitely, which is certainly a benefit for busy people who struggle to find the time for sealing and waxing after washes. Moreover, advanced products are currently being released onto the market that promise to enable you to safely and effectively wash your car without the need for buckets or a hose; instead you simply wipe your car clean. These so called waterless wash products feature advanced blends of emulsifiers, surfactants and lubricating oils that loosen dirt and grime and enable it to be safely wiped away without adding fine scratches to underlying surfaces.
If the above sounds too good to be true that's because to a large extent it is. A lot of comments posted on car care websites about quick detailing are often written by people living in warm, sunny climates where the roads are clean and rainfall intermittent. In the UK, our climate is very different and it is not unusual to find that your car is quite dirty again only a few days after washing it. Generally speaking, waterless wash products are only meant to be used to remove light accumulations of dust and grime; not even their manufacturers recommend that they are used to clean really dirty vehicles, as the chances are you will damage your paint by inflicting swirl marks or more serious scratches. Although we urge caution, waterless wash products are invaluable on certain occasions. For example, if you are going to a show or a track day some distance away, waterless wash products are great as they enable you to quickly and easily remove any grime acquired en route.
Returning to the first intended use of quick detailing products, we recommend that they are used after every wash to remove water spots, enhance gloss and add another valuable layer of sealant or wax protection. An important thing to remember at this stage is that you should try to match your choice of quick detailer to the type of sealant or wax you use. For example, if you normally add protection in the form of a natural carnauba wax, you should only use a quick detailer that contains gloss enhancing oils and carnauba wax. This is because if you attempt to layer a sealant-based product over a wax the sealant polymers may not bond properly, which may limit durability and cause streaking. However, if you normally protect your car by applying a sealant then you can use any quick detailer you like, providing that you don't end up layering a coat of sealant over a layer of a wax-based product at any point. If you are unsure about what can and can't be layered in terms of last step products and quick detailing products, please get in touch and we will be happy to advise you accordingly.
Meguiar's Ultimate Quik Detailer
Meguiar's Ultimate Quik Wax
PB Luxury Buffing Towel