The Final Wipe Ė Tips for creating a streak-free, show car finish Note:
The final wiping technique is not for the initial wiping-off of the wax or paint sealant, but instead is for after the majority
of product has been already been removed and now all youíre doing is giving the finish a final wipe. Turning a diamond in the rough into a glistening gemstone
You started early in the morning by washing the car, then you clayed the paint, then removed all the swirls and scratches, then polished the finish to a super high gloss and after that you applied your favorite wax
or paint sealant
. Youíve taken a diamond in the rough and turned it into a glistening gemstone. After removing the wax or the paint sealant itís time to give the paint one last final wipe to remove any trace residues and showcase all your hard work.
Hereís a tip to help you insure there are no streaks or smears left on the paint and a technique that on some hard to work on paints
that might be just the ticket for creating the perfect finish in any lighting condition. The Final Wipe
After all the work is done, when itís time to give the paint the final wipe-down before you stand back and say to yourself it is finished
, and then you take your pride and joy for a spin around the block or turn the keys back over to the owner, you usually want and need to give the paint a final wipe-down
to insure you didnít miss any spots and to remove any trace residues off the paint that can stand out like a sore thumb in the right light at the right angle that will so easily distract everyoneís attention from the work of art youíve created.
This technique can often times help you to remove any stubborn streaks or uneven looking areas on the paint, and itís exactly opposite of what Iíve often seen enthusiasts and detailers do my entire car detailing life. The Technique
The technique is to wipe the paint down slowly using your best, premium quality microfiber polishing cloth
using gentle, even pressure. Fold your polishing cloth 4-ways to provide plenty of cushion to help spread out the pressure from your hand as best as you can over the face of the folded microfiber.
Fold your microfiber polishing cloth to create plenty of cushion to help spread out the pressure from your hand and to give you 8 dedicated wiping sides.
The secret to this technique is purposefully moving your hand and wiping cloth s-l-o-w-l-y
over the paint, not like a spastic crazy guy moving his hand at light-speed over the surface. How it works
The way this works is really quite simple but let me break it down for you into simple terms so everyone can understand. When making the final wipe, your job is to remove all trace residues from the previously applied wax or paint sealant; thatís your job. While to the human eye the surface of your carís paint looks smooth and flat, under a microscope itís actually a landscape of hills and valleys, (which is high spots and low spots), as well as pits and pores and interstices. (Interstices = microscopic gaps and cracks in the paint)
Trace residues remain in the lower imperfections on the surface and when you move a polishing cloth over the surface the fiberís of the polishing cloth grab onto and removes residues off the high points the easiest. Again, your job is to remove all the trace residues and do it in such a way that you do no harm to the highly polished surface at the same time, thus you need to use a premium quality microfiber, folded 4-ways to help spread out the pressure of your hand.
Now think about it, if youíre moving the microfiber quickly over the surface how much time do the residues on the surface have to transfer to the cloth? Seconds? Milliseconds? Thatís not very long.
Thatís why wiping like a mad man wonít remove streaks or residues and could possibly inflict swirls and scratches back into the finish. Slow down to speed up
Instead, how about moving the polishing cloth slowly over the surface and enabling the microscopic sized fibers to get into the low portions where once they make contact with any remaining wax or polymers, the residue will have time to transfer from the paint to the cloth?
This is called the final wiping technique
and most people would agree it makes sense. It also works most of the time for stubborn streaks that sometimes show up on dark colored paints but itís also just a good technique when working on highly polished surfaces where your or your customerís expectations are high.
If youíve ever spent upwards of 8 hours and/or longer polishing out the paint to perfection on your car, or a customerís car then you know how much work goes into,
- Washing the car.
- Evaluating the surface.
- Claying the paint.
- Taping off trim, body lines, emblems and badges as well as hard, thin edges.
- Removing swirls, scratches and other paint imperfections.
- Polishing the paint to a high gloss.
- Applying the wax or paint sealant.
- Removing the tape and carefully wiping off any left-over residues around body lines and trim.
- Removing the first and subsequent coats of wax or paint sealant.
Now itís time for the final wipe and the last thing you want is to do anything that could potentially instill any new swirls or scratches into the now pristine finish.
Thatís why as you progress through the process, after each step you have to be more and more careful when wiping off any compounds or polishes and usually as you progress through the process the quality of your wiping cloth increases along with your carefulness as thatís how show car finishes are achieved. You canít just wipe with any old towel and do it in any old way. Show car work demands focusing on the task at hand and using your best skills and your best tools to reach the goal of a flawless show car finish.
Rushing at the very end doesnít make sense and if you instill swirls and scratches because youíre wiping off the car like a lunatic or not using your best quality polishing cloths, then thatís working backwards
in the process.
Simply put, sometimes you have to slow down to speed up
That is, sometimes using a slow wiping motion, or slow rate of travel, will be more effective at removing all trace residues and enable to reach your goal versus moving your hand and polishing cloth quickly over the paint. Sure at the end of the process youíre tired and ready to clean-up and be done with the car but the technique you use for your final wipe-down of the paint needs to be calculated, methodical and precise. And after you make the final pass and you lift your hand and polishing cloth off the paint you can stand back and admire your work and then say, ďIt is finishedĒ
The Final Wipe is also demonstrated in this video...
How to remove shallow RIDS and how to machine apply both a paint sealant and a finishing wax This how-to video also covers,
Screenshots Mike Phillips demonstrating the "Final Wipe Technique"
- RIDS - Random Isolated Deeper Scratches
- Removing watches and any jewelery
- Using a DA Polisher without the handle
- Placing cord over shoulder
- Priming the pad on a DA Polisher
- Speed settings for removing isolated defects
- Downward pressure needed for removing isolated defects
- How to clean a pad on the fly
- Where and why to mark your backing plate with a black mark
- Rotating the body of the tool to keep the pad flat to a panel
- Why to allow the pad to stop spinning before lifting the pad off the paint
- How to swap backing plates from a 3.5" to a 5"
- Machine waxing using 5.5" Hydro-Tech Crimson Finishing pads with Menzerna Power Lock
- The "Kissing the Finish" Technique
- How to do the Swipe Test to check if a wax or paint sealant is dry
- How to remove dried paint sealant using a microfiber bonnet on a dry pad on a DA Polisher
- How to clean a microfiber bonnet on the fly with your fingernails
- How to apply a paste wax by machine - Souveran Paste Wax
- How to carefully wipe a WOWO wax off by hand using Microfiber Gloves and plush Microfiber Towels
- How and why to fold a microfiber towel 4-ways to wipe wax off
- How to break-open a coat of wax and then creep out to carefully wipe off a coating of wax
- How to do the "Final Wipe"