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Understanding Chemicals

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Old 21 Oct 2003, 09:53 am
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Default Understanding Chemicals

I tried to paste this tip to Jody ( email) for the home page detailing tip section, but couldn't. So I posted it here. Maybe he can paste it there when he has time, for now, here you go> Gary

Understanding detailing terms and chemicals>

I thought this would be a good thing to post since many people don’t understand what companies are doing in the car care industry. Many terms are being misused, and the end result is the end user either buys something they don’t need, or use it for the wrong application, which can lead to disaster. So here you go, read, learn, and have some fun> Gary Kouba, owner Perfect Auto Finish, and Cruiser Fanatic.

Car wash shampoos
All-purpose Cleaners, (includes citrus based cleaners) Have no caustics in them
Engine cleaners (caustic based and high in alkaline)
Wheel cleaners, (beware of acid-based ones, and ones high in alkaline, DANGEROUS)
Carpet & upholstery shampoo, lo PH, brighteners and softeners, safe
Vinyl & leather cleaners, lo Ph, no caustics, mild

These are designed for use with high-speed buffers, (experienced users only) the compound will break down under the heat of the buffer and provide cutting action required for serious paint correction. DO NOT USE COMPOUNDS BY HAND. I have seen many people damage their finish because they were not familiar with this term.


Products, which can either, have eliminators or fillers in them. Stay away from ones with fillers, as they will only cover up swirls, not remove them. They can have silicone or wax in them as well. Most SR are meant to be used with machines.


Many companies are misusing this term. True definition is a polish offers no protection. Some polish has some cleaners in them, some are pure. They are meant to smooth out minor surface blemishes (ones with cleaners), along with bringing out shine.


Technically a glaze is a swirl remover polish formulated for body shops, because it has no waxes or silicones in them. This is why you should not wax or seal new paint for 60 days, so the solvent in the paint can evaporate.

Can be made from Carnuaba, beeswax, very little durability, 30 – 40 days.
Companies are making a fortune on marketing wax, most people don’t know how cheap it is to process, and what they get is minimum protection. Comes in paste, liquid or crème.


Contain amino-functional silicones, (some even have up to 2% wax) solvent, water, and oil. Sealants are an evolution of wax to give better protection on today’s high tech finishes. They can last up to 6 times longer then conventional wax.


Either water-based or solvent based. Solvent dressings contain mineral spirits, which can damage rubber and your finish. Water based dressings come from a silicone emulsion formulator that mixes with water and anti-static agents and UV blockers. Water based dressings are all I recommend.


Made from beeswax, mink oil and other natural oils to replace oils lost from evaporation in your leather, no magic, just chemistry.


High solvent cleaners, come in different strengths. Can thin asphalt, tar, use with caution, as it is aggressive.

Gary Kouba>

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