PDR Technician: A Journey Through Clearcoat Maintenance For The Detailer Part XI


I’m going to just jump right in. Hopefully you are reading these in order. So now on to the types of tools to use. You don’t want to use a sponge. The reason is that the pores on a sponge trap debris and stays there and dries. When you go to use the sponge, even if you had soaked it, it will still have some trapped debris. The best tool to use is a natural fiber body brush. This type of brush is made from imported bleached pig’s hair and is super soft to the touch. Most commonly you will find this brush with pig’s hair set in a mahogany block with epoxy cement. These types of brushes are designed for car washing clearcoat finishes, so don’t try to use it for brushing your hair. In addition, when using this type of brush you want to use very little, if any, pressure.

The brush has a nap that’s about 3″ deep. So no, you do not need to schedule a nap for it. So that you understand how much pressure to use, of the 3″ of nap, you will only use the first 1/2″ to 3/4″ of the hair. So you can see by these numbers that you are just barely applying pressure. Remember, you don’t want to create friction on your vehicle. If you are finding it difficult to locate this type of brush, then the next great thing will be ‘Ideal’ Clearcoat Washing Tool which is a synthetic wool mitt. You also need to be very careful because not all brushes that say they are pig’s hair. If the bristles or hair are too hard, then of course, you stand the chance of having them scratch the clearcoat. This would not be a good thing.

This series is just about finished. I sure hope that you have been making note of the pearls of wisdom I have shared with you. Next we will go a bit further into the soapy cleaners and which to use.

PDR Technician: A Journey Through Clearcoat Maintenance For The Detailer Part X


So what is the ‘Just Right’ clearcoat wash product? The proper and ideal slippery, soapy solution for frictionless dirt removal from a vehicles finish, including clearcoat, can be defined by a number of characteristics:

  • High-foaming inherent cleaning action
  • High lubricity slipperiness, like a lubricant
  • Free-rinsing-a solution, in itself, leaves no residue
  • pH-balance-a product with an acid-alkaline balance which is slightly alkaline to counter the acidic nature of a finish’s collected pollutant’s

So where can you find such a product? There are several available, you will just need to check the labels before purchasing them.

Clearcoats need to be washed in certain and very specific way. The tools you use must be just as critically designed for clearcoat washing. A few of these tools would be natural fiber body washing brushes, synthetic wool washing mitts, sponges, and terry cloth towels.

Whatever tools you choose to use, the basic washing techniques for washing a clearcoat vehicle are the same.

First you will hose with clear clean water and flush the vehicle to remove any loose dirt or pollutants. Then you will wash the finish with a free-rinsing wash solution. If any dirt remains after this process, then you will need to remove it with a minimal of friction. It is likely, that if there is any dirt left on the vehicle, it is probably being held there by surface tension. To remove stubborn dirt or other stick-to-surface materials such as bird droppings and tree wax, you’ve got to disturb the surface tension without creating friction enough to scratch the clearcoat.

The type of cleaner you use and the type of pressure you apply will hopefully lift the debris without causing damage. I will share more hints in the next post.