Platinum Plus Mobile Detailing > Mobile Detailing Terminology
in Orange County and Los Angeles, California
Professional Mobile Auto Detailing and Reconditioning Services
Mobile Detailing Terminology
As a car owner these days you are faced with with an onslaught of product that advertise themselves as being "good" for your car. Many of these seem to have spent more money on advertisements, labels and packaging than they have the ingredients contained in the bottle. As professional Mobile Detailers with years of experience we have seen it all, tested out all the latest innovations and have access to sources that the general public does not. Let us help you navigate the confusing array of choices and provide you and your automobile with nothing but actual use tested and proven detailing products for you car.
We provide the following information because we believe in partnering with our clients. We believe that they will appreciate being given the most up to date information we have so that they can make right choice when it comes to taking care of one of their biggest investments.
I some cases there may be products that actually can be used for multiple purposes or automotive surfaces but in the vast majority cases a specialized car detailing product with a single purpose will out perform the "multi-purpose" products most of the time.
If you're concerned at all about making the right choices for the detailing of your car you can always call Platinum Plus Mobile Detailing at 714-614-1691 for our expertise and courteous service.
Automotive All-Purpose Cleaners
Most All-Purpose Cleaners come in a concentrated form and will need to be diluted down in order to form a solution that is right for a given task. You wouldn't want to try to remove fingerprints with an engine de-greaser at full strength. Buy several squirt bottles and make solutions of varying strengths and then label each container with a marker.
Automotive Solvent Cleaners
This is usually a petroleum distillate that is design to dissolve substances like tar, paint over spray or fingernail polish that have found their way to your car's paint or interior. It should be used very sparingly as it can remove the paint or finish below the stain and bleach out fabrics if misused. Apply the smallest amount possible using even a cotton ball or Q-tip to contain the area which is exposed to it.
Automotive Glass Cleaner
We recommend the use of only the highest quality glass cleaners when detailing any car. Pay¬† attention to whether it is a concentrate and dilute it appropriately. If you have tinted windows on your automobile you MUST check the label to make certain that it is "safe for use on tinted windows". If you like to detail your car to keep it looking its best buy your glass cleaner in bulk.
Automotive Plastic, Vinyl and Rubber Dressing
This is where the number of choices can get confusing. It's also the place where the specialized product will often out perform the "multi-purpose" product. Be careful here because some of the cheaper products, while they look good going on, can actually promote cracking and drying. Because roofs, dashboards, center consoles, door panels, arm and headrests are all highly visible parts of your car buying the best product available is highly recommended before detailing your car.
Automotive Carpet Cleaner
Unfortunately your carpet is the main repository for the dirt you track in on your shoes. Professional Auto Detailers use extraction-style carpet cleaning systems so that the dirt AND the soap residue are pulled by suction/vacuum from the carpet fibers. A low foaming carpet cleaning soap is essential here. Spot treatment can be done with a mildly diluted solution of soap and then the entire carpet can be cleaned for the most even results. Don't ignore the value of thorough vacuum cleaning before a carpet cleaning session and in between to maintain the work you've done.
Automotive Spot Removers
Here is another area where the¬† claims of "multi-purpose" spot removers must be balanced against the reality that no two stains are exactly alike. We have our own favorites and can make recommendations but it may come down to trial and error depending upon the spot you need removed.
Automotive Dry Foam Fabric Cleaner
Because of the way in which headliners are built and installed they are not a candidate for the hot water extraction method that we would recommend for most carpet and upholstery cleaning in a car. In the case of stains to headliners in your car or truck a dry foam fabric cleaner, one without harsh chemicals or too much moisture, are the way to go.
Automotive Leather Cleaner
Any cleaner to be used on leather MUST be clearly labeled as such. You will only get ONE CHANCE so find a cleaner that has the proper pH balance for leather and so does not damage it. Your automobile's leather interior didn't come cheap so don't scrimp when it comes to a leather cleaner.
Automotive Leather Conditioner
Any time you clean leather you should also consider conditioning it as well. An expert car detailer knows to use only the very best leather conditioners and not some cheap "multi-purpose" conditioners that can even end up damaging the leather.
Automotive Carpet and Plastic Dyes
In dramatic cases where exceptionally tough stains have been cleaned so many times that there is fading or a stain has etched itself in to a plastic material it may be possible to use available dyes or paints to return the color to much more consistent, even color and finish.
Bleach spills are one obvious example of this as are battery acid spills but only if they have been caught and diluted in time otherwise the damage to the fabric may be permanent.
Automotive Fabric Protection
An experienced detailers will have professional grade fabric protection products available to him that the general public will not.¬† By using these products, along with expert application, the experienced car detailer can apply a much more durable, long lasting finish. It becomes a question of value: doing something right the first time ends up being LESS expensive in the long run.
Automotive Odor Eliminators
This is a category of product that uses the principals of chemistry to neutralize a smell, not maks it with a fragrance, but truly eliminate the cause of a smell and to so by using a chemical reaction.
Automotive Air Fresheners/ Fragrances
This one is more a matter of personal choice: no single smell will appeal to everyone. It can be a nice touch but only if there¬† is not a clash between the smell of the cleaners used and the fragrances of your air freshener.
Car Wash Solution or Car Shampoo
Use a high-quality, specially formulated car wash solution or car shampoo instead of laundry detergent or dish soap because they are too harsh and don't contain the same lubricants and thus can have less than desirable effects on the smooth painted finish of your automobiles body. Just say NO to scratches.
Special Automotive Wheel Cleaners
Custom wheels have become incredibly popular, they are one of the first things people do to customize the appearance of their car. Because tires and wheels are the part of the car closest to the road they are often get dirtiest first. Experienced detailers have two approaches to cleaning wheels: acid-based and non-acid. Be aware that, while acid-based wheel cleaners might give the fastest results many cities do NOT allow them to be washed down the drain. While non-acid wheel cleaners may take more elbow grease on your part you won't have to worry about wearing protective eye wear, elbow length gloves and an acid proof apron to protect your clothes, not to mention the entire proper/legal disposal issue of a toxic waste.
Degreaser are the type of cleaners that break up grease, usually when its mixed with dirt and dust, so that it can be easily brushed or rinsed off. This is often an early part of any big car detail job, removal of gross filth, especially in the engine compartment of cars that may not have been ideally maintained, in the wheel wells and around door hinges.
Automotive Bug Remover
Use only products that have been specially formulated to dissolve the organic compounds found in bug carcasses. Because bugs are liquid when hit and may then dry onto your paint job before you're done driving this is especially important as you do not want to damage your car's paint job.
Automotive Tar Remover
Its a reality that automobile owners must face: driving on asphalt roads you will encounter tar at some point. In order to preserve your paint job treat any tar spots that occur as quickly as possible. Apply the tar remover, let it sit for a while to soak in and then gently try to remove the mass of tar before soaking an absorbent cloth and removing whatever remains.
We hope that you've found this comprehensive list of car detailing chemicals to be useful. As always, we are available to help you keep your car looking as good as possible, helping you retain its resale value at the same time. Feel free to call Platinum Plus, Orange County's leading Mobile Detailer if you need further assistance. We're at 714-614-1691 and ready to help.
Car Detailing Wax
Car detailing waxes are protective coat for all of the hard cleaning work that has come before. They are never pure wax but are wax combined with chemicals to aid both in the easing of the application and the durability of the finish once applied to an automobile. Choosing liquid, cream or paste is largely a matter of personal preference, they work essentially the same.
All scratches reflect light in a non-uniform way and thus make your paint job appear to be dull. An automotive glaze is designed to fill in any imperfections in a cars paint job, tiny scratches or swirl marks from a poorly done buffing, that would otherwise keep your car's paint job from looking its best. A glaze is made up of oils, silicones and other chemicals that are intended to temporarily fill the scratches so that the paint job appears shinier.
Car polishes are very fine, slightly abrasive compounds designed to remove a tiny amount of the topmost layer of paint and in doing so remove any oxidation or slight scratches that may be there. Polishes come in different strengths depending upon the needs of your paint job, from mild (barely more abrasive than a wax) to much more abrasive (approaching a compound, see next entry). Your experienced mobile detailer will help you make the right choice for your car.
Abrasive compounds were developed to address major imperfections in a car's paint finish. Compounds are created from an abrasive material suspended in a lubricating base of silcones and oils. Compounds vary in abrasiveness from ones that are only slightly more abrasive than a polish to ones that can remove serious oxidation to your paint with just a single application. The use of compounds should be followed by a polish every time in order to protect your car's finish. Compounds are available in formulas designed to be used on clear coats, regular paint jobs and even severely oxidized paint.
A relatively new addition to the armamentarium of the mobile auto detailer, sealants are made from polymers and designed to protect a car's paint job like a wax does but will last up to twice as long. Polymer molecules form in to long chains that interlink forming a web of protection on your paint job, much stronger than wax is ever capable of doing.
Car Detailer's Clay
Commonly called Detailer's Clay, it is really a moldable resin that is pulled over the car's painted surfaces to on a bed of lubricant spray wax to remove contaminants, either natural or man-made, that remain on the car's finish after washing. It is available in a variety of different strengths, the most abrasive of which will remove light oxidation. It is most useful when a car's paint is good to very good condition before the waxing or sealing coat goes on.
Automotive Aluminum Polish
Specially designed for use on bare aluminum that can be found in some custom wheel styles today. Strangely enough the polish turns black during normal use indicating that it is removing oxidation.
Automotive Chrome Polish
Where would cars be with out chrome? If you've got chrome then chrome polish is in order: wheels, bumpers, trim, you have it polished!
Automotive Glass Polish
Only necessary when you encounter stains that normal glass cleaners will not remove.
Automotive Exterior Trim Paints
Generally exterior trim paints are black but other colors are available. Wiper arms, luggage racks, side view mirrors, door posts, accent trim are all candidates for a freshening up with trim paint.
We have provided this information for educational pursposes only because many of these products require some expertise to be used safely and appropriately. We are always available in a professional capacity to help keep your car looking its very best. Feel free to contact Platinum Plus Mobile Detailing at 714-614-1691.