Car Cleaning & Detailing School - Lockdown 2021 - Learn FREE Online!

by Adam Wright

Lesson 1 - Start With The Wheels!

You can normally tell a pro detailer by 2 things at first glance:  1. they have 2 or more buckets, and 2.  they start with the wheels first. So that's where we are going to start - the wheels.

Most of us as kids learnt to wash the wheels last as the water gets real dirty. makes sense, but the problem is when you rinse them off you can spray brake dust onto the nearby paint surfaces, and brake dust is nasty stuff, you don;t want that on your just cleaned paint and trim!  You are better to wash the wheels first, then get rid of the water and start with clean water for the rest of the car. Another tip is to use different brushes to get different areas, there are three main areas: barrel and gaps, the flat surfaces, and around the wheel nuts, having a different type of brush for each will really help clean better and faster, and make the job more enjoyable. 

Here are some simple tips on how to clean them properly.

 

STEP 1: INITIAL RINSE

Before cleaning the wheels, we recommend rinsing down the wheel from top to bottom to remove superficial brake dust and grime. We recommend using any Chemical Guys wheel cleaner like Diablo Wheel Gel, which works on all types of wheel finishes.

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STEP 2: CLEAN

We recommend cleaning the wheels from the top down and to work around the wheel to avoid re-contaminating a clean surface. The Easy Reach Wheel and Rim Detailing Brush works great to get into intricate areas behind the wheel and calipers. To clean the face of the wheel we recommend the Green Wheel & Tire Brush, it is super soft and contains flagged bristles that allows it to easily clean brake dust and dirt. Clean the wheel until all dirt and grime has been removed.

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STEP 3: DEEP CLEAN

To get into more intricate areas around the wheel, we recommend the Boars Hair Brush to clean lug nuts and tighter areas around wheel spokes. This brush will give you the versatility to reach and clean the deepest crevices of the wheel to ensure every part of the wheel looks its best!

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STEP 4: FINAL RINSE

After the wheel is done, simply rinse it down again and proceed to the next wheel. Repeat Steps 1-3 for each wheel.

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WHAT ABOUT REALLY NEGLECTED WHEELS?

Neglected wheels tend to be more difficult to clean due to brake dust embedding itself into the wheel finish. To clean super dirty wheels, we recommend Decon Pro Iron Remover along with Diablo Wheel Gel for extra cleaning power. Decon Pro removes stubborn brake dust, iron deposits, and other embedded metallic contamination from wheels and lower body panels. Simply repeat Steps 1-3 but this time spray Decon Pro onto the face of the wheel and wait 1-2 minutes for it to penetrate the wheel finish. Then just follow the same steps as above. Decon Pro will provide added cleaning power to help clean neglected wheels that need some extra attention.

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Decon Pro may turn purple as you are using it but fear not! This just means your wheels were loaded with iron deposits and the purple is a result of the chemicals taking them off the wheel. If Decon Pro does not turn purple, it will still work and still provides a heavy duty cleaning solution.

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Lesson 2 - How to Properly Foam Wash your Car for a Scratch Free Finish!

This lesson runs through the proper wash technique in detail, including 2 bucket washes, dirt traps and foam cannons, with lots of great tips.

THE BASICS

This article will explain all the car washing basics, so you can get off the sofa and out washing your car in no time! First, you're going to need some supplies to build your car washing kit. 

Every loving car owner should own the following: 

  • A super slick wash soap
  • A soft microfiber wash mitt
  • Two sturdy buckets
  • Two Dirt Traps
  • A super absorbent microfiber drying towel
  • A drying aid like After Wash can also be helpful.

TWO BUCKET METHOD

Start off filling both your buckets with water: one for rinsing and one for washing. Press a Dirt Trap wash screen to the bottom of each bucket, which will trap abrasive dirt and debris under the screen. Then, add 1 - 3 oz (1 oz = 1 good squirt) of your favorite Chemical Guys car wash soap to one of the buckets. The first wash bucket is for the soap solution and mitt, and the second bucket is plain water used to rinse the wash mitt clean.

WASH THE CAR

Rinse the car to remove any loose dirt and debris and to start breaking down stuck-on filth and grime. Then, pick up soapy suds with the microfiber wash mitt and gently clean off the abrasive dirt and grime from the vehicle paintwork. Work in straight lines, never in circular motions. Simple gravity causes abrasive dirt and debris to flow down, so work from top to bottom to avoid redirtying the areas you just cleaned.

RINSE AND DRY

After one or two panels, it’s time to clean the dirt off the wash mitt. Dunk the dirty wash mitt in the second fresh water bucket to purge dirt and grime from the wash mitt. Scrub the wash mitt against the Dirt Trap to push the dirt through the cyclone funnels and trap it underneath the insert. Wring the mitt out on the ground to purge any loose dirt particles from the mitt before returning to the soap bucket for another pass on the vehicle. Rinse the car with fresh water after cleaning the entirety of it and then dry the car with After Wash paired with a large microfiber drying towel.

To learn more and order what you need online for fast NZ wide delivery, check out these links, freight is FREE on orders over $70, and fast with all stock held in Auckland: 

Click here for wash products

Click here for drying products

Click here for Buckets and Dirt Traps

Click here for wash Mitts and Pads

Click here for Snow Foam Cannons

Click here for Starter Kits

 

Lesson 3 - What is Clay And How to Clay A Car

DETAILING 101: THE BASICS

The clay bar has long been known as the “Detailer’s Secret” for restoring a smooth-as-glass feel to exterior automotive paintwork. A slick surface is sign of a professional job, and people love it because it makes the car feel and look brand new. Now that the clay bar is available to the public, anyone can use without calling a professional and paying expensive shop rates. But how can you get professional results if you’ve never used a clay bar? Read on to learn why you need it in the first place, the basic clay bar techniques, and how to protect your work so your car feels and looks great for as long as possible after you use the clay bar.

What Is The Clay Bar, And Why Do You Need It?

The modern detailing clay block is a synthetic plastic putty that physically pulls embedded dirt out from your car’s paintwork. If your car has ever felt rough and “dirty” even after a full car wash, you need to use the clay bar. The rough feeling on your car’s exterior is pollution, industrial fallout, and environmental contamination stuck in the pores of the paintwork. If you don’t remove this contamination, it can:

 

  • Block fresh wax from sticking to the paintwork, causing wax coats to wear out faster and not look as shiny as they could.
  • Cause paint to oxidize, corrode, and fall off the car prematurely.
  • Block light from reflecting off the clear coat as it should, giving a dull, muted shine to the finish.
  • Get pulled out in your drying towel and physically scratch your finish with every wipe.

 

Only the clay bar removes this contamination without causing more damage. A clean and smooth surface attracts less dirt and grime, and stays cleaner for longer. Prepare the surface for a longer-lasting and better-looking wax bond with improved gloss and shine with your favorite Clay Bar.

LIGHT DUTY CLAY BAR

The Chemical Guys Light Duty Clay Bar is the gentle solution for turning lightly rough and bumpy paintwork smooth as glass. Choose the Light Duty Clay Bar when working on brand new cars, or garage-kept show cars with very light levels of contamination.

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OG CLAY BAR LIGHT/MEDIUM DUTY

The Original Light/Medium Clay Bar removes embedded contaminants that ruin shine and destroy paintwork over time. Professional detailers use the OG Clay Bar to pull debris out from the paintwork that clogs buffing pads, induces extra scratches, and blocks fresh coats of wax from sticking to the surface. The OG Clay Bar works great on any glossy paint finish, new or old. Restore the smooth feel back to any car, truck, motorcycle, RV, or boat with the Chemical Guys OG Clay Bar.

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MEDIUM DUTY CLAY BAR

The Medium Duty Clay Bar grabs a hold of tougher contamination that is stuck harder to the exterior of your vehicle. Remove tree sap, brake dust, rail dust, paint overspray, pollution, and industrial fallout from any daily driver. If you live in a big city and your car is parked outside more than 12 hours a day, you probably have to use the Gray Medium Duty Clay Bar.

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THE HEAVY DUTY CLAY BAR

The Heavy Duty Clay Bar is for cars that have never been clayed. The Heavy Clay Bar is for extremely rough and sticky paint finishes full of heavy industrial contamination, pollution, tree sap, and brake dust. Only use the Heavy Duty Clay Bar when no other clay bar makes the surface feel smooth as glass. If you need to use the Heavy Duty Clay Bar, chances are the surface has been neglected and needs to be polished to remove swirls, scratches, and wash marring that accompany years of daily driving and parking out in extremely polluted conditions.

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When Should You Use The Clay Bar?

The detailer’s rule of thumb is to always decontaminate the surface with a clay bar before putting on a new coat of wax, or polishing any exterior paintwork. Those foreign particles block wax from sticking to the paint, making it last for a shorter time and not shine as bright. Polishing with any rough contaminants grinds them deeper into the paintwork, causing more marring and scratches as they clog and destroy your expensive buffing pads. If you’ve never used a clay bar before, you definitely need to use one now!

What Can You Use The Clay Bar On?

You can use the clay bar on any exterior car part that is shiny or clear. Use the clay bar to decontaminate car parts such as:

 

  • Paintwork
  • Glass
  • Clear optical plastics (headlight / tail lights)
  • Polished metals (stainless steel, aluminum, chrome, etc)
  • Wheels
  • Carbon fiber
  • Exhaust tips
  • Clear bras

What Can You NOT Use The Clay Bar On?

There are certain parts you should not use the clay bar on, such as:

  • Matte paintwork / vinyl wraps
  • Textured plastic trim
  • Rubber (door / window seals, tires)

WHAT TO DO AFTER USING A CLAY BAR

Once you have decontaminated the surface of the vehicle with a clay bar, it should feel smooth as glass. This shows you that the surface is completely clean, and there is nothing between the paintwork and your fingertips. Now you must fill the pores of the paintwork with a wax or sealant to block out pollution, contaminants, water, and harsh UV light that stick to and damage the paintwork over time.

If you want to, this is the time where you can polish the paint to remove swirls and scratches. If not, skip to the final waxing steps.

Spread a thin, even coat of your favorite Chemical Guys natural carnauba wax, durable synthetic sealant, or ultra-durable advanced vehicle protective coating to seal and protect the paint from the environment.

I DROPPED MY CLAY BAR, CAN I KEEP USING IT?

No! Would you chew a piece of gum after dropping it on the floor? No! It’s full of rocks and debris. Don’t rub clay on your paint after dropping it either.

Once you drop a piece of detailing clay, you MUST throw it out! The clay is so sticky that it will pick up any tiny abrasive particles, bits of sand, dirt, and grime from the floor. Now the clay bar is like a piece of sandpaper: rub it on your paint, and you’ll scratch it with all those abrasive particles it just picked up.

So be careful, work slowly, and only use a small piece of the clay bar at any given time. So if you do drop a small piece, you don’t lose the entire clay bar all at once.

 

Click here for Clay Products

 

More Lessons added daily during lockdown...  stay tuned..