Every time I go to a high-end restaurant and they put nine forks, three spoons and four different glasses in front of me, I wonder what the heck I’m doing there. I could be at home eating a French Bread pizza that requires no silverware while watching a re-run of my favorite episode of Seinfeld. I mean really, does each fork do something different? They all successfully penetrate a medium-well steak, so what's the deal? The same can almost
be said for all the different options available in a spray bottle to clean, protect, and shine up your car along with the necessary tools to utilize each respective product type. Once you understand the intended use of a quick detail spray, spray wax and a waterless wash, a quick visit to Autogeek.net will be anything but quick, because the options available to clean, shine and protect your vehicle are endless (almost).
Knowledge is infinite, and everyone loves a shiny car, so act like a sponge and start absorbing because I'm going to create the definitive explanation on one of the most popular topics on car care and detailing forums across the globe - spray waxes, quick detail sprays, and waterless washes. Here is my definition of a spray wax, quick detail spray and a waterless wash. Spray Wax:
A product containing protective properties to protect and beautify the surface that it's designed to be applied to (ie: paint). A spray wax (sometimes referred to as a "spray sealant") is designed to be applied to paint that's squeaky clean and free of any dust, dirt, or contaminants. A quality spray wax will easily yield 3-4 months of stand-alone protection. A spray wax (spray sealant) is often used as a "booster" over an existing wax, sealant or coating. Nick's Favorites: Quick Detail Spray:
Just as the name implies, a quick
way to touch up your vehicle's finish. A quick detail spray often contains carnauba or polymers (some contain both!) to spruce up your vehicle's appearance. A quick detail spray is often used after a wash to boost the shine. Most quick detail sprays can also be used to remove light dust (don't worry, we'll get more into that later). While a quick detail spray can contain carnauba or polymers, they don't provide too much paint protection, like a spray wax does. Lubricants ensure you don't scratch the finish as you wipe away dust. Nick's Favorites: Waterless Wash:
A waterless wash (often referred to as a "spray on car wash") contains an advanced blend of lubricants and cleaners designed to safely lift dirt and soil from your vehicle's finish without scratching. Spray on, wipe with a plush microfiber towel, buff, and the car is clean. Most waterless car wash products don't contain any protective properties and will not leave a shine that a true Auto Geek is satisfied with. Follow up with a spray wax so you can sleep at night. Nick's Favorites: Make sense? Great, now let's move on.
Take a look at Max's Vette below. Looks clean, right?
To the average uneducated onlooker, yes, the Vette looks clean and "shiny". But if you're sitting here reading this article while at work OR while you should be getting ready for your night out with your significant other, you're far from uneducated. What you are, is an Auto Geek.
Max's Vette looks clean and shiny, but upon closer inspection you can see that it's far from clean. Fresh water spots. Dirt and mysterious fibers. Insects.
Now the question: "How dirty is too dirty for a quick detail spray?" begs to be answered. Light dust. That's your answer. A quick detail spray can be safely used to remove light dust. What is light dust? Light dust accumulates from the vehicle sitting inside or outside.
Don't confuse light dust for a film of dirt. That layer of light dust that can so easily be whisked away with a quick detail spray will turn into a film of dirt the next morning. Why? Dew. What is dew? Dew is moisture condensed from the atmosphere, especially at night, and deposited in the form of small drops upon any cool surface.
By the next morning that harmless layer of light dust is now a film of dirt. What does that mean for you? You just need to change products, that's all. Once the layer of dust has transformed into a film of dirt, the correct product to use at this point is a waterless wash.
I performed an experiment on Max's Vette to demonstrate the difference between light dust and a film of dirt. I cleaned the vertical panels early in the morning and let them accumulate dust throughout the day, while the rear deck was beyond light dust, and had an actual film of dirt on the paint. Swiping my finger on the rear deck.
The translucent yellow lines running parallel with each other show the path of my swipe. As you can clearly see, the area where I swiped my finger is cleaner, but not clean. This is because there is a film of dirt on the paint. If I were to use a quick detail spray at this point on Max's Vette, I could potentially scratch the finish. You should know:
Scratching the boss's car isn't the best way to ensure a paycheck the following week. Swiping my finger on the rear quarter panel that was cleaned earlier that morning.
Like before, the translucent yellow lines show the path of my swipe. As you can clearly see, the area where I swiped my finger is clean. Dew has not had a chance to form yet, meaning the light dust is still just light dust. It's not a film of dirt. I could safely use a quick detail spray at this point.
Here at Autogeek, we believe selection is a good thing. For that reason, we have an abundance of different microfiber towels available and each one has its own intended use. Chinchilla Microfiber Buffing Cloth
(available in 16" x 16" & 16" x 24"): The Chinchilla Microfiber Buffing Cloth is super soft, super plush, and super snazzy. It features a thick pile surrounded by a luxurious red silk border. Every inch of this towel pampers your vehicle's paint. Works best with:
Waterless washes Can also be used with:
Quick detail sprays, spray waxes You should know:
No Chinchillas were harmed in the manufacturing of this towel. Deluxe Jr. 600 Microfiber Towel
(available in 16" x 16", 16" x 24", 25" x 36"): The Deluxe 600 is the cat's meow when it comes to microfiber towels. It's perfectly weighted, has a luxurious border, and when paired with a microfiber detergent, it will last longer than any microfiber towel should. Works best with:
Quick detail sprays Can also be used with:
Waterless washes, spray waxes, wax removal You should know:
There is nothing unmanly about a lavender microfiber towel. Supreme 530 Microfiber Towel
(available in 16" x 16", 16" x 24", 25" x 36"): This towel is often confused with the Deluxe 600 because of the similar specs and the identical price. The Supreme 530 is of a lighter weight, which makes it a better towel for spray waxes when compared to the Deluxe 600. Works best with:
Spray waxes Can also be used with:
Waterless washes, quick detail sprays, wax removal You should know:
One side of the Surpreme 530 has a flat weave, making it excellent for removing polishes. Gold Plush Microfiber Towel
(available in 16" x 16", 16" x 24", 25" x 36"): If the Super Plush Deluxe was a Corvette ZR1, this towel would be the Z06 - 9/10th the performance at a fraction of the cost. What makes the Gold Plush such a fantastic towel? It excels at everything! You can use this towel for all of your detailing needs. Works best with:
Spray waxes, quick detail sprays Can also be used with:
Waterless washes, wax removal You should know:
This towel occupies the most cabinet space in Autogeek's Show Car Garage.
Now that I gave you the gist of each towel, lets talk about the flim of dirt on the rear deck on Max's Vette. In order to safely clean the panel, I could either perform a traditional wash or a rinseless wash. This article is about spray products, so the correct one to use in this case would be a waterless wash
. The waterless wash of choice was Blackfire Wet Diamond Waterless Wash paired with a Chinchilla Microfiber Buffing Cloth.
Blackfire Wet Diamond Waterless Wash provides a level of gloss and slickness that used to be exclusive to quick detail sprays. With its high lubricity formula and advanced blend of Wet Diamond polymers, Blackfire Wet Diamond Waterless Wash safely lifts away dirt and grime leaving a clean, glossy finish. You should know:
Blackfire Wet Diamond Waterless Wash is also available in a concentrate.
The hood of Max's Vette also had a film of dirt and half of it was cleaned with Blackfire Wet Diamond Waterless Wash. Can you tell which side was cleaned?
Blackfire Wet Diamond Waterless Wash also works great for touching up wheels and door jambs in between washes. Because it features Wet Diamond polymers, it will also provide a layer of protection.