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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What are your favorite detailing tools under $1

This thread is meant to share ideas on detailing. Frequently there are common very inexpensive tools that we can adapt to help with detailing.

Add your ideas to the thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'll start with Q-Tips. I buy a small supply and transfer them to a clear plastic box to keep them clean until used.

Examples of using them for automotive detailing include:
Cleaning in hard to reach small places like around the lug nuts.
Dipped in an appropriate solvent, they can help remove dried fuel lacquer from a carb leak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I find these small cotton squares useful in the engine compartment.
Particularly on small bright metal pieces.

I have found them effective on the following:
Applying solvent to remove dried fuel that leaked from carb (be careful the correct solvents on aluminium).
Using a mild metal cleaner on aluminum lines, or shiny nuts/bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A detailing forum pointed me to an article on washing microfiber towels. The presenter described a number of good ideas. He grades his towels based on condition and cleanliness. I don't do high volume detailing, so these small containers work well for me.

I found these clear containers at a buck and under store. I could buy them with different color tops as a visual queue for the grade. I then applied computer address labels to help me if I forgot the colors.

My grades are set up as follows:
Note: Sewn in tags must be removed prior to placing into a container!
A Green top Very clean and in very good condition - Use for paint
B Blue top Clean fair condition - Use for glass and buff metal
C Purple top Washed, yet may still hold some dirt in fibers - Use for interiors and wheels
D Red top Washed, yet probably last use on car - Use for under carriage etc. or as a last use to wax wood furniture in home.

I keep a couple of containers for each grade. With this smaller size container, I can drop a grade A and grade C container into the truck when going to a car show.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It is important to pull the sewn in tags and threads off your microfiber towels.
I use a larger $0.99 clear container to hold new towels.
When I bring new microfiber towels homes, I pull the tags and then put them into the clear containers.

The larger size lets me know the included towels are new, tag removed towels.
I can stack the smaller containers on the larger ones on my detailing cart. The cart is a recycled 3 shelf audio/video cart on wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I use 1 gallon freezer bags with a place to write contents to hold my soiled microfiber towels.
This helps keep them from collecting dust and debree before being washed.
I leave the end unsealed, to allow them to air dry vs. potentially mildewing.

Some folks segregate by towel grade and/or by chemicals used.
My usage is not heavy enough for that, so I wash together (twice with Tide).
I inspect both sides and grade (A, B, C or D) again as I put them into the clear boxes holding the graded towels.
 

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I bought my microfiber towels in packages of 30 at Sam's Club. I immediately washed and dried them after pulling the tags off. I dried them on LOW. If you dry them on HIGH, the really tiny fibers ("micro fibers") melt which, then, will scratch your paint. I've read that it also reduces the amount of water (or dirt) the towel will hold making them almost useless.
 

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To remove wax buildup on those tricky areas around emblems and moldings, grab a package of bamboo skewers at the supermarket or dollar store. Spending a buck or two gets you a lifetime supply.

Bill
 

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id get tooth brushes at $1 store. there good for getting old soda up and cleaning vents. simple but effective. but I did detail cars for a used car dealer for several years too.

on a side note I could make balls white wall tires look brand new with my detailing. cars usually sold with in couple days after I detailed them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

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a used toothbrush. gets wax and other debris out of the script emblems, without leaving marks.

:satisfied:
 

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I have used Pledege furniture polish to buff the chrome bumpers to a high shine. Also leaves a real slick area on the paint if you happen to do that. (Wanted to see what it would do). Aply, rub in and let dry. Come back and wipe off waxy haze to a shine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
If you have indoor cats, you know that you and the cats like their letter fresh.

I occaisionally find these 42 lb buckets containing litter on sale. As long as the cats like the litter, we like sales.

Here is a good link to Member Junkman's video on two bucket wash.

This includes using 2 buckets. One for the washing product mix, and a second one to very frequently rinse the high quality wash mitt out. Never put the wash mitt back into the product bucket without rinsing it first.

I am still trying to figure out how to build a dirt guard. It looks like I can cut down the tops, cut lots of small holes and set them on something raising the guard a few inches. One idea is to set them on three 2 inch tall sections of 2 inch drain pi pe.

Obviously, wash the insides thoroughly before and between uses. You don't want the clay getting into your wash mitts and causing scratches in the paint.

As shown below, I have 3 white buckets. The third bucket has the washing supplies for the daily driver. I can quickly grab the two lower buckets and the top bucket which holds the supplies.

These buckets are also very useful when working on your car. You can take the parts off and put them into a bucket and then separate later. If they are dirty, you are not getting all flat surfaces in the garage dirty with greasy parts. The bucket tends to keep the parts together for the remove/replace project.

I use more of these buckets when I pull weeds. For small sweep up jobs, you can collect leaves and debree to carry to the big green recycle containers.

For those of you without cats, see if a neighbor can keep a few for you to help in recycling/re-use.
 

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Perhaps it's beer for me, help me push through those last little areas that go missed. Just messing.... sort of
Nice job on the details of these tips. I actually like detailing the Hag. Ok, maybe because it's normally over a beer or two
 

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If you have indoor cats, you know that you and the cats like their letter fresh.

I occasionally find these 42 lb buckets containing litter on sale. As long as the cats like the litter, we like sales.

Here is a good link to Member Junkman's video on two bucket wash.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w09r6m6sRCA

This includes using 2 buckets. One for the washing product mix, and a second one to very frequently rinse the high quality wash mitt out. Never put the wash mitt back into the product bucket without rinsing it first.

I am still trying to figure out how to build a dirt guard. It looks like I can cut down the tops, cut lots of small holes and set them on something raising the guard a few inches. One idea is to set them on three 2 inch tall sections of 2 inch drain pipe.
I do mostly rinseless washes and use similar buckets. Grit guards are important to keep the dirt away from your mitt, so I built my own. Salvaged egg-crate grill material from overhead light fixtures worked just fine. I trimmed the corners to match the rounded corners of the buckets, then cut two layers of narrow strips and glued them underneath the main grid.



Also, I like casters on my buckets to move them around the car easier. I cut a piece of 3/4" pine to fit the base, add some casters, then a couple strips of 1/4-3/8" plywood are fastened to the baseplate and to the pockets around the handle. No protrusions into the bucket. I also mark the 2 gallon level with striping tape. I've been using the same buckets for over 5 years.

Bill
 

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I have been following this thread and have picked up some good tips.

I have an all black daily driver - and I hate waterspots. My 3 cars do not have any from washing them. My black truck has been bucket washed a total of 5 times since 2010. That is only due to serious mud/road dirt from driving in the rain. I use microfiber towels, and Meguiar's products to clean it without water. I hope to attend a TNOG at Meguiar's soon, as I have scratches and swirls in the black paint also.


"As shown below, I have 3 white buckets. The third bucket has the washing supplies for the daily driver. I can quickly grab the two lower buckets and the top bucket which holds the supplies."

I knew your El Camino looked too good to be "bucket washed". :thumbup:

From Byron's paint thread ...

Next up was this Chevrolet El Camino which is cared for quite well, in fact is has not been washed with water in 3 years. The owner had picked up some swirls & scratches in the black stripes over the years from wiping the vehicle down & what seems to be physical contact scratches, possibly from driving on the freeway.

Gale @ TNOG.jpg
 

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My Camino is still wearing its original lacquer and it's wearing quite thin, so good washing technique and equipment is very important to keeping it swirl-free, as there isn't enough paint left to do any serious polishing.
Whether you do waterless, rinseless or hose and bucket isn't as important as good techinque.
I think it was Junkman who said "technique trumps product every time".



Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Right Ted. But it's more than a $. It comes out to about $4 per wash.
I used to use Meguiar's Ultimate Detailing spray. At our Region 18 Meguair's Detailing 101 Class Meetup, Nick Winn suggested trying the Ultimate Watterless Wash and Wax Anywhere. I really like using it. See image of El Camino below with bottle image.

There we go. We can tie this in with this thread. My new gallon and quart jugs where $1 each, as was the high mist sprayer.

I now mix Meguiar's D115 Professional Rinse Free Express Wash and Wax concentrate at 4:1. This makes up a product that other than color and smell, is very, very similar to the Enthusiast product I was using. I also mix a 8:1 concentration for very light cleanings that works similar to the touch up after driving 50 miles to a car show.
I now buy Meguiar's D115 in gallon size concentrate and premix product for about $2 to $3 per wash. Since I am frugal, this allows me to use a little more product, which is just a little safer on the finish. With the California drought, we were not allowed locally to wash in driveways with water in 2014-2016.

Don't get missled by my image. I use these products on my paint. However, I can also use them on the wheels for light touch up. That would likely be the last use for the microfiber towel. Brake dust can be abrasive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Bill brings up an important point about technique.
You have web access, since you are reading this bulletin board.

For a 50 cent small bag of popcorn, you can put one of your best friends in your lap or between you and the computer screen to learn about technique from some very knowledgeable individuals.

Not everyone on youtube has invested enough time to share good techniques.

I will encourage watching those videos that are done by people who have invested time in the industry. Here are some examples.

Junkman (Junkman2000, AJ, Sarge). These can be a little long. Sarge's history has included helping keep our young military personnel safer by "Telling then what he is going to tell them. Telling them. Then telling them what he told them". He wants us to remember. He is also a member of El Camino Central.


Online Bulletin Boards.
1) Mike Phillips Director of Training at AutoGeek.net
http://www.autogeek.net/mike-phillips-bio.html?gclid=COiK4tWru9QCFYYCaQod2YIMKQ

2) Meguiar's Online : Go to Forums.
http://www.meguiarsonline.com

3) Larry at Ammo NYC detailing
Example: Cleaning Microfiber Towels
 

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