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Its one of those questions that gets asked over and over again, so i thought I'd do a guide, for us with nice 'normal' cars, i think if you got super cars or hyper cars this aint the thread for you:p

Ever since I discovered www.detailingworld.co.uk , I've been a bit OCD when it comes to car cleaning, I think, thankfully, I’ve calmed down a little and settled on a nice reasonable collection of gear, and a sensible cleaning regime.

The sort of gear you need is the following:

Washing

Turtle wash/wax & Meguiars hyper-wash, are two products I’ve used over the years, with good effect. Theres lost of other products available and most are as good as each other in my experience.

1 Lambswool wash mitt. Far better than a sponge, and you tend not to put more swirls in your paintwork with these.

2 buckets, one for soapy water, and one with clean water, the clean one is for washing your wash mitt in.

1 bottle of Tesco/aldi All Purpose Cleaner, this product is awesome, its as good as the way more expensive Meguiars stuff. This stuff you can mix up for varying strengths depending on the grime you want to tackle, I’ve used this stuff to clean my engine, the arches, door shuts etc etc its also good for cleaning flies and stuff too, it does strip wax tho.(with this you apply the stuff using a squirty bottle and scrub with a nail brush (not on paintwork tho, just rub gently with a MF cloth)

Washing is the easy part, you basically soak the car with water, personally I have a SuperSpray bottle, this hooks onto a normal hose and you fill it with your normal wash liquid, and spray it on the car, this isn’t essential, it just acts as a pre-wash.

Anyway, hose off the prewash, then simply, using light pressure, wash a panel at a time using your wash mitt, make sure you clean the wash mitt after every panel in the clean bucket, this ensure no grit is spread onto the paint work, ie no micro scratches or swirls are imparted.

If your wheels are really mucky, get some Meguiars Wheel brightener, it will shift serious crap, but you don’t want to use it on kerbed wheels as it will get into the lacquer. If the wheels aren’t too bad, use some Autoglym wheel cleaner.
 
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Paint conditioning.

Now if you haven’t ever done a proper clean on your car, then you are in for some very rewarding hard work!

1st up I would advise after washing your car, dry it using a microfiber drying cloth, get a Sonus one of Ebay. Once you have done this, you will either see lots of swirls or your paint work will feel rough, this unfortunately means hard work.

To clay your car, means to basically run a specially formulated claybar over the paint work to remove the embedded tree sap and other airborne contaminants, get some Meguiars Quick Clay, spray some of the detailer spray on your car, and lightly rub the clay on the bodywork, a panel at a time, you can actually feel and hear the crud being rubbed off, this makes a world of a difference to the paint work.

Hopefully you wont have to go through this next stage, in all honesty depends how bad your OCD is when it comes to cleaning a car, if you see lots of swirls/micro scratches, you will need to cut the paint, in the olden days all we had was t-cut, today, however, we have veritable feast of products and methods available to the common man.

If you feel like splashing out get a Silverline Rotary from Ebay, this will help you easily get rid of the paint defects, there’s a couple of products I have used to good effect, some are hardcore, some are more suited for cars which aren’t in too bad nick. Please note the rotary polisher takes some getting used to , practice on a scrap panel if you are worried, in my experience you have to be really cack handed to screw your paint up with a rotary. Its worth getting some 6” and 3” pads for the rotary, this allows you do small part of the car and you can do scratch repairs aswell

• Farecla G3 – Hardcore, cutting paste, will get rid of defects fast, but can do damage with a rotary if you are ham fisted.
• Sonus SFX1/2 – These are more subtle and again really work well, go with 2 first, if that don’t shift the marks, then move onto 1
• Menzerna Intensive polish – My personal fav, excellent product, really restores gloss, and isn’t messy.
• Meguiars #80 & #82 is another alternative.
• As is Megs scratch remover, which is good for small scratch removal.
• Megs Plast x is also excellent for removing scratches from plastic, its also good for removing marks from lights.
 
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Now after this stage I’d personally advise a coat of polish and wax now.

I personally use Autoglym Super Resin polish, as this has some fillers so will mask some defects, but again theres lost of stuff out there, I don’t really rate the Megs retail stuff, but the chemical guys and poorboys stuff is very good, its just SRP is easily available.

By now you should have a really shiney car, so its time to protect all your hard work, you either want a wax or a sealant.

A wax will protect the paint for a nice long period (depending on the wax) or you can use a sealant which will give a 3d finish, but wont protect for as long, but it does give a really good show car finish. I’d also advise putting some wax on the wheels.





If going for wax, I recommend the following

• Collinite 476 – extremely hard wearing wax, mine lasted 4 months over the winter, and I do a lot of miles.Suited for light coloured cars
• Collinite 915 – same as above but suited for darker coloured cars, my personal favorite
• Poorboys nattys blue – better finish than the above but only lasts 3 weeks.
• Chemical Guys petes 53 – not much to choose between this and the poorboys stuff. Poorboys is cheaper….
• If you are feeling flush, go for some Zymol!

If going for a sealant, look for Klasse AIO & Carlack, I’ve seen those used to good effect.
 
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So that’s its in reality, you should have a nice shiny, protected car. And you should be utterly knackered.

But… you haven’t finished, as you need to do the inside,do all the dressing and glass!

For tyres I use the Megs Endurance.For trim, im not a big fan of uber shine, I just want the clean look, so I use Poorboys Natural Look dressing, but the Einzett & chemical guys gear is excellent (if a little pricey), the Megs and Autoglym stuff is okay ish. For leather the Gliptone cleaner is the best out there. For cloth interior cleaning, just mix up some weak mixture of the APC you have, I haven’t found a type of dirt it wont shift tbh!

For glass I’ve used Autolym FastGlass and the Einzett glass cleaner to good effect, but personally I’d just go with cheapo glass cleaner and newspaper.

I think that should cover it, all of the above is something you would do 2 maybe 3 times a year, in between you just need to wash and dry the car in my experience, its by no means the perfect cleaning routine, everyone has a different routine im sure, and have their own favorite product, so if you think you know of better products, recommend away.
 
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Since i signed up on DW I have spent so much money its crazy. I have bought all sorts of products and now even have a "proper" machine polisher.

I do enjoy it though and find it very rewarding when my car is so shiny afterwards :)
 
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My next two products are some nattys blue and a drying towel. Cant wait!

last thing I got was a claybar, not impressed tbh, didnt feel it removing any contaminants at all.
 
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My next two products are some nattys blue and a drying towel. Cant wait!

last thing I got was a claybar, not impressed tbh, didnt feel it removing any contaminants at all.

What clay did you use?

I recommend bilt hamber auto-clay. Compared to the meguiars quick clay and sonus green etc it is very very good. Not only can you use water for the lube but it is pretty good clay too, I wouldn't say its a strong clay but it did a very good job for me.
 
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Just he megs one, with the quik-detailer. Did the bonnet then decided it was crap and stopped. The clay just slid over, like an icecube on glass, didnt catch on anything
 
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Good thread mate, since I've got my new car I've been making a lot more effort in keeping it clean and its not easy!

At the moment I've got 'Autoglym' bodywork shampoo conditioner, super resin polish and car glass polish.

I've never used the resin polish yet but have used the shampoo and the glass polish and it seems decent enough, how highly do you guys rate Autoglym?

Also, how regularly do you guys wash your cars? Mine isn't garaged and seems to get dirty really quick.
 
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Just he megs one, with the quik-detailer. Did the bonnet then decided it was crap and stopped. The clay just slid over, like an icecube on glass, didnt catch on anything

Maybe you were spraying too much QD on? Megs clay isn't bad at all and if the car has never been clayed before or even for a while the amount of dirt it will pull off..
 
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Good thread mate, since I've got my new car I've been making a lot more effort in keeping it clean and its not easy!

At the moment I've got 'Autoglym' bodywork shampoo conditioner, super resin polish and car glass polish.

I've never used the resin polish yet but have used the shampoo and the glass polish and it seems decent enough, how highly do you guys rate Autoglym?

Also, how regularly do you guys wash your cars? Mine isn't garaged and seems to get dirty really quick.

I personally like AG after trying out a few of there products, SRP can be great if used correctly.
 
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So, you use it as the cloth to wipe the window cleaning stuff with?

What special about newspaper that makes it better to use than a cloth?

It is old school, but works really well, spray on the window cleaner,and use the news paper to clean it off, it just seem to clean it all of that much better than a cloth and it gives a better finish imo, maybe it the inks :p
 
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i washed/polished/sealed both mine and my sisters yesterday....within 2hours it rained... :mad:

turtle wax clear vue wash or something
AG SRP
AG EGP

after allowing the EGP to cure for a few days i planned to wax both cars with turtle wax clear vue wax but since its rained again...... :mad:
 
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