How to choose a Wash Mitt for your car

Types of Wash Mitt

Specialising in Car Detailing , Project Detail Sydney & Melbourne will be covering a series of articles focussing on decontamination and in this post, we focus on car wash mitts. 

The reasoning behind this particular post stems from the belief that it is critical that for the vast majority of cases, using a typical sponge is terrible for your paintwork!

Therefore, Project Detail uses and highly recommends using wash mitts and having several spare handy. It is important to note that not all wash mitts are the same, in fact there are several types of wash mitts available on the market today. Ranging from microfibre, microfibre noodles and wool.

A good wash mitt is vital when comes washing a car properly by using a 2-bucket wash method. In combination with the buckets, the mitt greatly reduces fine scratches and swirl marks instilled on your paint. In this article Project Detail, we will guide you through the wash mitt.

Swirl marks and scratches caused by improper washing and maintenance.

Swirl marks and scratches caused by improper washing and maintenance.

Sponges = Swirl City

Sponges comes to majority of people's mind whenever a car wash is mentioned. Whether this is due to bikini washes or the person washing their car on the weekend often shown in the media.

Sponges when examined, are actually incredibly bad for washing your car. Contrary to regular belief, the paintwork on your car is very soft and not that durable towards scratching. A sponge by nature does two things when washing your car, the first is holding a large amount of liquid or shampoo in this instance. And the second is being abrasive, having the scrubbing power to remove harsh caked on residue just like a dinner plate.

These factors aren't relevant when washing your car. It is very important to remember a sponge does not physically pick up or remove the dirt. What it will do however is grind the dirt and dust on the surface as you move your mitt around, physically putting in scratches into the paintwork.

Therefore, this is why Project Detail and many professional detailers prefer using a mitt instead. The fundamental difference is the mitt's ability to encapsulate and pickup dirt and debris rather than pushing it around. This allows the grit and dirt to be dispensed safely into a 2 bucket and grit guard system.

Meguiars example of a Microfibre wash towel

Meguiars example of a Microfibre wash towel

Microfibre Wash Mitt

One of the most common wash mitt available on the market. It works great for cars that are going through a wash and decontamination for wax application or paint correction treatment. It picks up dirt and cleans well but for cars with a softer, delicate paintwork. It might cause micro-marring due to the length of the fibres in the wash mitt. 

For microfibre wash mitts, we recommend rinsing in the 2-bucket method as often as possible due to the dirt capacity in them. 

Example of a woolen wash mitt

Example of a woolen wash mitt

Wool/Sheep Skin Wash Mitt

A wool/sheep skin wash mitt is our favourite wash mitts when comes to maintenance wash and details. It's very soft, plush and very delicate on paint. It traps dirt deep into the fibres while cleaning the surface with it's soft hair. 

We however do not recommend people to use wool/sheep skin wash mitt on extra dirty cars. The down side of a wool/sheep skin is longevity, it does not last as long as a microfibre wash mitt. 

Microfibre noodle mitt in action

Microfibre noodle mitt in action

Noodle Microfibre Wash Mitt 

A noodle microfibre wash mitt combines both microfibre and wool/sheep skin wash mitt, providing the best of both worlds. The fibres has the length on a wool/sheep skin wash mitt and the material of a microfibre wash mitt and it works excellent on both a maintenance detail and preparation wash. 

If you can't decide which wash mitt to get, a noodle microfibre wash mitt is the type of wash mitt you will want to go for. 

Variant of a microfibre wash m

Variant of a microfibre wash m

Your detailer will most likely to have 3 types of wash mitt we mentioned for each different types of detail to suit for their customers. But however if you are still deciding which wash mitt to get, we recommend a noodle microfibre wash mitt for all rounders and a wool/sheep skin wash mitt if your car has been detailed previously. 

Now you have your wash mitt, but unsure which shampoo to get? Be sure to check out our previous article on car wash shampoos here. 

We hope this article helped you about choosing the right wash mitt for your car (and not sponge), feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions in regards to car detailing. You could do so by clicking here.

Types of Car Wash Shampoo

All shampoos are not the same

Specialising in Car Detailing , Project Detail Sydney & Melbourne will be covering a series of articles focussing on decontamination and in this post, we focus on Car Shampoo.

Choosing the right car shampoo for your car is essential for majority of the car owners. There are thousands of variety of car shampoo on the shelf and choosing the right one for your car might be a difficult task.  

There are a few differences between types of car shampoo but they all serve the same purpose: to break down dirt and help clean your car.

Here at Project Detail Studio, we are going to cover the different types of car shampoo that suits the best for your vehicle. 

BMW M4 Snow Foam as Pre-wash, part of our 21-Stage Wash and Decontamination

Snow Foam Agent ph neutral

These types of shampoo are designed to be used with a snow foam lance or hose attachment. It contains high suds content and cleaning agent that is used to break down dirt and grime on the pre-wash stage. Spray snow foam, covering the entire car and let it sit for 3-5 minutes for it to dwell onto the paintwork before rinsing it off, allowing us to have less contact with the dirt when comes to the 2-bucket method wash after.

Want to know more about Snow Foam and what we mean by pre-wash? Click here to see our 21 stage wash method Project Detail uses.

Preparation/Heavy Duty Shampoo
often acidic or alkaline inclined

Typically, these kind of shampoo is used in preparation before a car undergoes a waxing application or paint correction. It provides superior cleaning compared to ordinary washes and not only it cleans all the dirt and grime well, it also breaks down previously applied wax or sealants. Also tends to have stronger cleaner ability however, if left to dry on paint can causing etching or staining to plastics, rubbers or paintwork.

Soft Wash/Maintenance Shampoo ph Neutral

These shampoos are usually pH neutral and they are very delicate on car paints and does not have the intend to strip any applied waxes or sealants. They are perfect for cars that has been detailed or previously applied wax or sealants and they are great at maintaining them. Some of these shampoos even have a small amount of wax mixed into the formula. It is usually named soft wash/wash and wax/premium car shampoo etc. 

Pro tip: If your car has been applied with any type of wax or sealants, use a pH neutral shampoo to preserve its longevity.

Coating Maintenance Shampoo ph Neutral

Coating maintenance shampoos are fairly new to the market. As some of the detailers know, ceramic/quartz coating usually is maintained by applying a top coat every few months and it acts as a sacrificial layer on top of the ceramic/quartz coatings and it provides good hydrophobicity on top of the coatings itself. A coating maintenance shampoo combines a top coat and car wash shampoo in one. An good example would be CarPro's Hydro2 or Concours Nova Jet. It can also be used on cars that hasn't had ceramic/quartz coating to provide rudimentary protection.

Detailing Kingdom's Car Hydra is an example of pH neutral premium shampoo.

We hope this article helped you on choosing the right car wash shampoo for you car. If you have any questions about car wash shampoos, you can do so by contacting us here.

How to Clean Your Glass

Properly Cleaning Your Glass

Clean windows are just as essential to matching a car's overall shine.

Specialising in Car Detailing , Project Detail Sydney & Melbourne will be covering a series of articles focussing on decontamination and in this post, we focus the importance cleaning your vehicles glass and windows.

A vehicle's windows is one of the most important parts of the car that is mostly overlooked. It has to be clean and visible for us to operate the car safely but also smudges and streaks can ruin a cars appearance. Overtime, neglect leads to a lot of bonded contaminants and grime after several years of ownership. This requires use of a clay bar to remove, more information can be found here. Without removal, the contamination can eventually hinder your driving and impact your safety.

There are many different ways to clean your glass and it can be frustrating to find the right guide to get them cleaned properly as the most common complaint we here is streaky windows. We are going to cover the basics of glass cleaning and the techniques that worked the best for us and also different method for different glass conditions ranging from brand new to old cars. 

Types of Glass Cleaners and Cloths

Having the right towel and knowing a few techniques will make the job quick and streak free.

Glass Cleaners comes in few different types. Generally they all work fine and some individuals may favour a certain brand over another. However, we highly advise not to use any glass cleaners containing ammonia. Even though they have great cleaning power and cuts through grime well, if you have window tint on your windows the ammonia will affect and damage the film. We find that window cleaners with a percentage of alcohol  works the best because the alcohol helps the streaks to evaporate at a much quicker way and it also has potent cleaning ability. 

When it comes to the type of cloths, stay away from the age old newspaper. Newspapers do not use the same quality ink they used to and it simply bleeds onto the glass and can stain the tint! Furthermore, with the new technology of towels now available, newspapers really are a thing of the past.

Project Detail recommends using a variety of microfibre towels. Try out waffle weaves, short nap or long pile, either way the most important thing is to have several handy in order to get that streak free shine.

Never cleaned your windows?

Try a variety of towels, you'll find whichever one is easiest for you.

Some people clean their glass on a weekly basis and many others simply have never touched their windscreens and windows since they purchased their cars. Take this into consideration that the longer you leave your windows the more grime will need to be removed:


  1. As part as your car maintenance wash with the 2 bucket method, wash the exterior glass thoroughly as you can and make sure you don't leave any dirty spots. If your glass is hydrophobic (beading well), most likely your glass is in good condition.
    You can find out more about the 2 bucket method by clicking here to see our guide.
  2. After your vehicle is dried properly with the correct drying techniques, wipe down the glass with a microfibre waffle weave drying towel. 
    If you need help drying your vehicle, check out our guide here.
  3. Spray glass cleaner onto your towel to prevent overspray of glass cleaner landing all over your car.
  4. Use your 1st glass cleaning microfibre towel and wipe your glass.
  5. Followed by your 2nd glass towel, wipe down the glass making sure there is no streaks or lint on the glass. 

Pro tip: To avoid confusing any potential streaks, stick to a direction! Try horizontal for the interior and vertical for the exterior. This way, you will be able to identify streak immediately.

Long term cleaning or maintenance:

  1. As part as your wash and decontamination, decontaminate your glass with a clay-bar treatment to remove any bonded contaminants. 
  2. After your vehicle is dried properly with the correct drying techniques, wipe down the glass with a microfibre waffle weave drying towel. 
  3. Using a DA polisher or by hand and a suitable glass polish slowly to remove any build ups of water marks or strong residue.
  4. Use a multi-purpose microfibre towel and wipe off any residue left from the polish
  5. Use a IPA-water dilution, spray and prep the glass for the last step product. 
  6. Apply a suitable windscreen coating such as RainX to give longer protection and easier cleaning in the future.
  7. Do a final wipe with a glass microfibre towel.

We hope that this article will help any weekend warrior or anybody keep their windows clean. By having cleaner windows will improve safety and vision. If you have any questions regarding our article or general enquiries, be sure to leave a comment or contact us here.

How to Clay Bar your Car?

Clay Bar - A How To Guide

Specialising in Car Detailing , Project Detail Sydney & Melbourne will be covering a series of articles focussing on decontamination and in this post, we focus on the ubiquitous Clay Bar.

What a typical new clay bar kit looks like. Colours and variations between fine and course exist.

What a typical new clay bar kit looks like. Colours and variations between fine and course exist.

n a previous post, we discussed how it is important to decontaminate your car regularly in order to keep it looking it's best on conjunction with car washing. The post 'Decontamination - Why is it important?' can be found here

The clay bar looks like a piece of clay, Blu-tak or even plasticine. However, this small piece of mouldable material has become very important piece of car care product for maintaining a proper finish. Detailing Clay was invented in the body shops of Japan in the early 1990's. However, it wasn't until the early to mid 2000's did the rest of the world start realising what it was and just how important it would be. Nowadays, every detailer or even car wash should carry a variety of clay bars and even an assortment of other clay products.

In a nutshell, a Clay Bar is a piece of equipment that is designed to glide over the surface of your paintwork by hand. Used in conjunction with something that gives good lubrication, the clay bar removes physical contamination such as tar, light sap or fall out as it glides over the surface of the vehicle. This in turn leaves the paint smooth to the touch and no longer rough.

At Project Detail, a clay bar treatment is included with every level of detail. It is now the standard and no longer the exception to the rule to provide this treatment in order for the cars we work on to have a better finish. You can find out more about our detailing services here. 

When do I need to Clay my car?

Contamination stains the Clay Bar Brown as it is removed during the claying process.

In order to determine if you need to clay your car it is best to give you car a wash first. If you would a guide recommending how to perform a proper 2 bucket method wash check out our previous article by clicking here.

After washing the vehicle properly, if the vehicle still feels rough to the touch then more then likely there are signs of contamination on the paintwork that need to be removed. This can be done chemically with the right products or physically with a clay bar.  

How to Clay a car?

It is vital to lubricate the surface sufficiently while claying. You cannot over lubricate!

Equipment required:

  • 1 x Clay Bar (preferably fine grade)
  • Suitable Clay Lubricant in a spray bottle. Dedicated lube can be purchased or made.
  • Several clean microfibre towels

Beginning with a clean car and work one small section at a time on a single panel. It is important to begin working top to bottom, as any sediment or run off will drip downwards and not get onto any clean or finished panels.

Liberally spray the  lubricant over the section you were working on. Taking a small ping pong ball size of clay, kneed the clay into a patty shape. Then gently without applying pressure glide the clay bar back and forth in straight line motions of about 30cm's each stroke.
As you are claying, you should begin to notice the contamination being picked up and the clay will begin to slide smoother and any noise it was causing should stop.

It is important to not go into circular motions as any potential contamination picked up can scratch and leave swirl marks. As the lubricant begins to run away or dry, it is very important to keep 

Continue to work your way around the car. Project Detail recommends every quarter of the car, to rinse the vehicle. This will remove the lubricant and prevent water marks or the lubricant drying on the surface.
Once you have finished a panel, you will notice the clay bar changing colour as the contamiantion it removes stick onto the clay itself. This next step is very important, fold and kneed the clay until the contamination is folded in on itself. This will reveal a 'fresh' surface for the next panel and that the previous contamination does not scratch the paintwork.

Heavy contamination staining the clay. Kneed the clay in on itself to reveal a fresh surface.

Once the entire vehicle is done, rinse off the vehicle again and then proceed the dry the vehicle. Be sure to check out our article "How to dry your car" to make sure no further scratches are incurred.

Once the vehicle is dried, congratulations you car should mostly be contamination free! The paintwork will not only be smoother but for those with heavily contaminated vehicles, the paintwork will actually look brighter and show more colour as well as there is no contamination staining the surface.

We typically recommend the weekend warrior to clay their car once a month to once every 3 months in order to stay on top of the contamination. Removal of heavy contamination particularly on softer paints from certain makes can leaving marring, scratches of defects that will require paint correction to remove.

Quick Tips & Tricks

  • Please note that matte wraps or factory matte paint cannot be clayed successfully. 
  • Without suffcient lubricant, the clay will stick and scratch the surface
  • Once the clay begins to break apart or change colour entirely throw it away.
  • If you drop your clay onto the ground, throw it away. Due to its stickiness, it will pick up dirrt and gravel which will scratch the surface entirely.
  • You can clay any hard and smoother surface; metal, chrome or even glass!

To find out more on how Project Detail can help you detail your vehicle check our other articles from our blog here or to ask us a question or if you have an enquiry be sure to click here.

How to Dry Your Car

Drying, as part of our 21-Stage Wash and Decontamination on a brand new XE Jaguar 

The Right Way

We emphasise a lot on our 21-Stage Wash and Decontamination, how swirl marks are caused and washing your car the right way to reduce the chances of instilling swirl marks, minor scratches and general wear and tear. Another major cause for imperfections is the way you dry your car. 

Sadly, majority of the car owners use methods that are simply too aggressive for the paintwork of the car. Typical synthetic chamois or even leather chamois are main culprit, dragging with lots of friction making the surface 'squeaky' clean is actually not a good thing.

We are going to cover several methods you can use to dry your car properly without causing any chance of getting swirl marks and minor scratches on your car. Before that, we'll quickly cover some incorrect techniques.  

Swirl marks caused by using improper car washing techniques over the years 

Synthetic/Leather Chamois "Shammy"

Contrary to popular belief, chamois (leather or synthetic) causes more harm than good. Yes, it does try your car extremely well, absorbing water and leaving no streak marks on your car and windows and it can be squeezed out and reuse it again for the entire car without the need of using multiple cloths.  

However, the main issue about chamois, doesn't matter if its leather or synthetic, is they are very grabby. They grab onto your paintwork and glide across with a strong friction. The chamois itself in addition to any possible dust or dirt particles or anything you missed during the washing stages may also be dragged along the surface causing scratches and marring.

If your detailer uses chamois to dry your car, be sure to ask them these 3 Questions we listed to make sure they are doing the right thing by you and your car. Also request them use clean microfibre towels as a drying aid instead.

Letting it dry naturally 

Water spots caused by letting the car dry naturally after a wash

Water spots caused by letting the car dry naturally after a wash

A lot of car owners tend to let their car dry naturally. That is good to a certain extent because they are avoiding any chances of instilling any imperfections on to the paintwork caused by friction.
However, the one major disadvantage to allowing the water to naturally dry is the risk of leaving water spots on your vehicle. Particularly on the flat panels like the roof, boot and especially the bonnet as the engine heat can accelerate that process.

The only situation where allowing the car to dry naturally without any issues is using filtered water. Typically a 0ppm - 2ppm filter will remove all iron, calcium and other minerals commonly found in our tap water. This means that when the water evaporates, it leaves no minerals behind to form watermarks.  

The only other alternative is to have a high quality paint protection product (Wax/Sealant/Coating) that provides good hydrophobicity and drive a loop on a high speed road so the water runs off the surface.

Microfibre Drying Towels and Air Blow Technique

Pressurised air or a blower makes sure no water is left in crevices.

Replace your synthetic or leather chamois with a microfibre one. Either a proper microfibre drying towel or a waffle weave towel will produce fantastic results. They are able to be used dry, soak up immense amounts of water. Furthermore, they has much less friction as they glide over the surface, this means less chances of scratches and swirl marks. 

Tip - Make sure to have 2-3 towels for personal use. Dropping the towel on the ground or excessively wet towels are less effective.

Another component that most forget is all the water hiding in side mirrors, door handles of in the jambs of doors. After a few minutes or after opening the doors, water pours out and leaves water marks on the car. To avoid this, simply firmly open and close the doors and boot a few times to shake out the water. A much more effective solution is to use a blower or an air compressors to blow the excess water away.

Drying Aids & Spray Waxes

Ferrari F430 Rossa Corsa Red after a maintenance wash

Another additional factor when helping drying your vehicle is to introduce a dedicated drying aid or more commonly found a spray wax. While drying a panel, simply spraying a small amount onto your towel of the surface will make the cloth more slick and glide over the surface easier. Furthermore, the spray wax will actually help absorb more water meaning faster drying and better results.

We have found using this method to decreases the likelihood of swirls and also allows the car to be dried in 20-30% quicker.

We hope that we have provided some tips on drying your car, if you would like to know more or have any questions for us be sure to click here to contact us.

*banner photo credit to AMMO NYC & Larry Kosilla

2 Bucket Method Wash Method


Good Results Comes from preperation

Almost every family in Australia owns a car. In a perfect world, cars won't get dirty and paintwork are flawless without any imperfections. While in reality, cars do get dirty easier than you think from harmful environment factors such as bird and bat poo, industrial fallout or even tree sap.  
The good news is there are ways to keep them less dirty with waxing your car regularly or by using paint protection coating's self-cleaning effects. You can check out our article about paint protection coatings here.

We love our cars and most of us always want a clean car, that is why car washes and car care products exist. Compared to windscreen glass for example, painted surfaces on a car is actually quite soft and they tend to get scratched easily. If your car is covered in dust and your brush it off, chances are you've created fine scratches on the car. Ever wipe your car with something like a tissue? That has also probably scratched the surface.

Without the right washing methods, it won't be long for your car paintwork looks tired and loses its lustre and gloss, leaving behind swirl marks, scratches and a dull finish.

One of the best and easiest ways to keep your car in the best condition in the long run is by using the famous 2-bucket method in conjunction with Grit Guards to wash your car safely, this method is also included in our 21-Stage Wash and Decontamination.

2-Bucket method is a safer way and a major improvement to wash your car while reducing the changes of any swirl marks caused in the process. Project Detail will go through the process with you below.

2 Bucket Wash Method

Contents include:

  • 2 Large Buckets
  • Car shampoo of your choice. We suggest using a pH neutral one if possible.
  • 2-3 Microfibre Wash Mitts (We heavily advise against using sponges. Look out for this in another article.)
  • Optional - Grit Guards. Easily found online, if you have these, these are a major bonus.


  1. Start by filling two buckets with as much water as possible. This allows the dirt to be released easier and suspended in the liquid. While having too little water means the dirt and debris is more concentrated. 
  2. Pour your shampoo mixture to the right dilution ratio into one bucket only. This becomes your 'wash' bucket.
  3. The second bucket is filled with water only, this bucket becomes your rinse bucket.
  4. Using a clean microfibre mitt, begin washing the vehicle top to bottom. This allows any loose dirt to pour down and not create any more work in this fashion.
  5. Try not to use excessive force otherwise the friction may push into the paintwork and cause swirls or scratches. Allow the microfibre mitt to glide over the surface and catch all the sediment in it's microfibre fingers.
  6. Every panel or adjusting depending on how dirty your car is, rinse the microfibre mitt in your 'rinse' bucket. The dirt will be trapped in this bucket. Wring the mitt clean and dry.
  7. Dip your mitt into the 'wash' bucket. Your mitt should be clean and be carrying clean shampoo water onto the vehicle.

  8. Repeat the process until your vehicle is washed.
  9. If vehicle is excessively dirty, it's ok to change the water for fresh water or even change mitts.
  10. After washing and drying your vehicle, be sure to wash the mitts and buckets for next use.

We hope that this article has been useful for you, feel free to share and comment as we believe this will assist in keeping your car swirl free for longer. If you would like to know more about how Project Detail washes their vehicles, be sure to check out our 21 stage wash method by clicking here.

To know more or for any additional questions, click here to contact us.

21 Stage Wash Method

Our Washing is Different

Project Detail believes in providing our customers with a special service, something they won't be able to wont be able to experience for their car at many other places. By using the best products from Europe, USA or Japan and modern techniques we can ensure that even our 'simple' wash will exceed the performance of washing at home, local car wash or even some mobile detailers.

We carry that same belief with car detailing in Sydney & Melbourne and aim to provide the best service possible.

Our washing process is no different and may seem excessive to some but it allows us the car to be cleaned to the highest degree in order to produce the best results in our paint correction or when applying our glass coating. 

A BMW M4 with 'Snow Foam' during our 21 stage wash process.

Our fundamental belief is that being careful enough, swirl marks can be avoided. Famous Detailer Paul Dalton once said there's 3 different of 'energy' to be utilised for easier and more effective washing: Thermal energy, Friction Energy and Chemical Energy. These come from our access to hot water washing up to 90 degrees celsius, the chemicals doing their job and finally the physical washing process itself.

Porsche 911 Wheels -  Before

Porsche 911 Wheels - During Iron Removal

Below is our 21 Stage washing process. Originally, it was never designed this way. We washed vehicles as thoroughly as possible and we realised it took a total of 21 stages for us to complete.

  1. Soak the exterior car in Citrus Pre-wash Solution. Gently begins to break down dirt, contamination and other debris on the car.
  2. Spray a suitable wheel cleaner such as a pH neutral Iron Fallout remover onto the wheels.
  3. Rinse Wheels with pressurised hot water.
  4. Shift Vehicle and soak other half of wheels in the same product, and repeat rinse.
  5. Spray product where necessary and use wheel woolies, wheel brushes and dedicated Wheel cleaning bucket to deep clean wheel barrels and brakes where possible, rinse with hot water.
  6. Spray Appropriate degreaser into Wheel arches, scrub and rinse to clean arches.
  7. Scrub and clean tyre to remove previous tyre product or silicone based products.
  8. Cover vehicle with thick pH neutral snow foam (consistency like shaving cream) and allow to dwell for 3-5 minutes depending on the level of debris.
  9. Rinse Snow Foam and Pre-Wash Solution off car with Pressurised Hot Water.
  10. Begin 2 bucket wash method with grit guards to separate sediment and debris removed from the vehicle. Vehicle is washed with fresh, microfibre wash mitts. We use a pH neutral and wax free shampoo and buckets filled with hot water.
  11. Buckets are emptied and fresh hot water is filled if the car is excessively dirty. Mitts can also be changed depending on the condition.
  12. Every Quarter of the car, the car is rinsed and kept wet not allowing the water to dry and stain the vehicle.
  13. Once vehicle is fully washed, we do a final rinse.
  14. Spray pH iron fallout remover onto painted surface to remove ferrous particles
  15. Spray tar remover to remove road tar and glue residue if present.
  16. Using a proper clay lubricant and a Japanese manufactured fine grade clay bar, carefully clay the surface to remove physical contamination.
  17. Rinse vehicle every quarter in order to prevent lubricant drying on the paintwork.
  18. Using a proper microfibre or waffle weave drying towel, vehicle is dried before the water dries.
  19. Pressurised air or a blower is used to remove water built up around mirrors and other crevices
  20. Check for dried water spots, using an appropriate water spots remover. Remove as necessary.
  21. Prepare vehicle for next step by wiping down with diluted Isopropyl solution to remove any remaining waxes, water marks or finger prints left on the surface.

Although the 21 stages seems like it would take all day, in fact it only takes 1-2 hours to complete. Even to the outsider spending 1-2 hours on a washing seems insane but with the calibre of cars and their devoted owners, it's a must to make sure the car is prepared for the paint correction, wax application or glass coating that comes afterwards.

By using a snow foam as thick like cream allows the dirt to break apart and rinsed away.

To find out more about Project Detail's services, please click here

If Project Detail can help with any washing queries or anything else, please click here to contact us.

What are Swirl Marks?

Swirls Marks 101

At Project Detail, we are asked often on a daily basis what are swirl marks and/or how I fix them? It occurred to us that some people aren't aware of swirl marks and most people do not know what is causing them. 

50/50 Shot showing medium to heavy Swirl Marks. Right Side - After 2 Stage Correction.

Swirl Marks are actually a culmination of fine scratches on the surface of the paintwork. When light is shone on the surface of the paintwork, what appears to look like 'spider-webs' or circular marks are what detailers call 'swirl marks.' These are regarded as a paint defects and the side effect of these swirl marks is a duller finish and your car not showing it's true colour.

The reason for making the paintwork look duller comes down to each individual scratch making up the swirl marks. These scratches actually refract the light hitting the surface of the paint. When light normally hits a flat and unscratched surface, the light reflects directly to your eye. We process this as 'Glossy,' therefore the flatter and more perfect a surface is the glossier it looks to our eyes.

When a surface has imperfections and begins developing swirl marks, the surface begins to refract the light and the surface appears dull, increasing in effect as the swirl marks get worse.

BMW E90 in Carbon Black. 50/50 showing true colour after correction versus heavy swirl marks.

Why & how do Swirl Marks happen?

Now that you have an understanding about swirl marks, it's equally important to know why and how swirl marks occur. The major causes can be broken down into a few categories:

  • Incorrect & Bad Washing Techniques
  • Physical Contact with the Car
  • Car Wash Cafe's & bad detailers

The biggest cause of swirl marks is through bad washing methods. We will cover this in a future post in terms of just how important good washing methods are for maintaining your cars paintwork. But believe it or not, your cars paintwork is actually quite delicate. Over time as it gets covered in dust, debris and bird poo etc. these are all 'abrasive' matters. Meaning if they are dragged back and forth they will scratch the car. Therefore, learning how to properly wash a car is important if you wish to prevent swirl marks.

The second reason is harder to determine. Physical contact with our car can and usually happens naturally over the course of the cars life. Whether friends, family or the owner leans on the car or touches the car at some point will ultimately lead to fine scratches developing which in turn become swirls marks.

The final reason is related to the first reason but we feel it must be highlighted again. Bringing your car to a car wash or a detailer whose outlook is not focussed on quality but rather quantity can mean that their equipment is usually called into question too. Dirty chamois, dirty sponges and old towels will often mean your car is literally being sanded while you drink your coffee.

Mercedes SL500. Heavy Correction 50/50 shot - notice the true colour versus the original paint.

Can Swirl Marks be removed?

In short, yes they can. Swirl Marks are thankfully superficial, while they are many scratches they are also very fine. In order to remove swirl marks, paint correction is necessary. To find out more about what paint correction is, click here. Depending on how bad the swirls marks are will dictate what level of paint correction is required.

It is also important that the paint correction process is done properly. Poor polishing skills or rushing the job can also lead to another paint defect known as holograms or buffing trails. Be sure to check out our post about holograms here

Once the correction process is finished, the surface should show a big difference. As seen in the photo's above, the paintwork is returned to a deep lustre and the clarity allows the true colour to be seen.

For more information on how Project Detail can assist your car looking its best, contact us here.

How to remove Water Spots?

Water spots - 101

Water spots on a black car.

It was a great day, you decided to spend some time washing your car after a good week accumulating all sorts of dirt, grime and even dirty water from the rain. After a wash, you started to realise there's these spots on the paint, thinking that you didn't dry it properly and you proceed to grab a microfibre towel, wiping it hoping these water spots comes off and then the devastation hits you, it wont and it seems permanent. Sound familiar? This type of paint defect are called water spots aka water marks.

They are caused by impurities found in water in the rain and in the tap water because these two types of water sources aren't 100% pure. They contain minerals such as calcium, sodium or even worse some of them might be acidic that causes them to be etched into the paint deeply and it's only removable via intensive paint correction or even wet-sanding. These water spots generally would affect a lot more on your vehicle's paintwork that hasn't have any form of protection. Check out our article earlier  'Should I consider Paint Protection for my car?' by clicking here.

Letting your car dry off naturally after a wash using tap water is a way of getting water spots too due the mineral contents.

Water Spots and minor swirl marks on a Ferrari F430 Rossa Corsa Red 

Water Spots and minor swirl marks on a Ferrari F430 Rossa Corsa Red 

Types of water spots 

Above surface water spots 

You're lucky! This type of water spots haven't etched into the paint yet and they are part of the contamination on the surface. The water has evaporated leaving the minerals and dirt behind to stain the surface of the paint. However, if you do leave it for long enough it will begin to etch into the painted surface.

There are now good products on the market place which allow quick and safe removal of above the surface water spots. These are usually as easy as spraying and letting dwell for a few seconds and gently wiping off with a good and clean microfibre towel.

Note - if the water spots are not removing quickly or easily with the dedicated product, be sure to stop otherwise there is a good chance of causing marring or scratches in the paintwork.

An illustration of several types of paint imperfections, etched in water spots is one of them.

An illustration of several types of paint imperfections, etched in water spots is one of them.

Below surface water spots 

Water spots that have note been rectified in time and it etched into the paintwork, as illustrated on the picture above will require a more drastic solution in order to remove. Depending on the severity of the water spots, it can vary from car to car. Some cars will require minor paint correction whereas others will require major paint levelling with automotive fine grade sandpaper and intensive paint correction. 

In order to prevent this type of water spots from occurring here are some simple tips which you may find useful. By drying your car properly with a microfibre drying towel and/or air drying in between crevices and holes that are impossible to reach with towels will prevent excessive water from drying on the surface of the car.

 Another option is to carry a quick detailer product and water spot remover with your vehicle. Though it may seem excessive, inspect for any water spots and remove any water spots if any and use a quick detailer over the entire car.

Ultimately, having some form of product or paint protection will allow your car to have a barrier against the minerals and the water drying on your car. Click here to see some examples.

If you have further questions regarding water marks and how they occur or how to remove them, please feel free to contact us by clicking here.

What are Holograms?

What are Holograms aka Buffing Trails?

Holograms are the term detailers use for a specific type of paint defect. These often look like strange shimmering patterns (hence holograms) on the surface of the paintwork. These holograms can either run in straight lines or in random patterns which is far worse.

An unfortunate Toyota Corolla strewn with Holograms (buffing trails)

Holograms are caused by inexperienced or rushed machine polishing. Sadly, these are most often caused by panel beaters, staff at the car washes or worst case the 'detailer.' The polishing machines and using the wrong combination of their equipment such as pads or products is a large factor in causing holograms. 

Combine these together with bad experience or rushing a car, the unbalanced pad and incorrect combination leaves these 'buffer trails' or holograms as they move across the paintwork.

Lexus IS250 with holograms left by the owners local carwash.

You will find that almost all of these operators will be using a 'rotary' style polisher. These machines can be heavy, cumbersome extremely powerful. In fact, at Project Detail we only use our rotary polisher when completely necessary.

So in essence, holograms are actually scratches forming on the surface of the paintwork caused by the user. 

Lexus IS250 with holograms left by the owners local carwash.

How to remove holograms

The good news is that incorrect polishing or lazy polishing causing the holograms can be fixed. While the holograms are relatively superficial, proper paint correction needs to be performed in order the permanently remove the holograms. More on paint correction can be found here.

The paint correction will level out the surface and polish away the holograms. However, please be careful to make sure the detailer carries the work out properly, otherwise the holograms could get worse or maybe you will even get new holograms in the paintwork.

50/50 shot of the same Lexus undergoing paint correction. Left side shows corrected paint.

Using a proper dual action machine will also assist in removing the swirls caused by a rotary style polisher. These machines are more modern and with the newest innovation from companies like Rupes or Flex, removing the holograms and leaving a relatively swirl free finish is achievable.

If paint correction is not an option for you, the correct use of fillers from a glaze or similar product may also assist. These products will 'fill' the swirls and the fine scratches from the holograms making the swirls and holograms disappear. However, regular washing or use of strong chemicals may strip the glaze from the surface revealing the holograms underneath the paintwork.

If you would like more information regarding holograms on your paintwork or to discuss how paint correction can improve your paintwork, contact us

Project Detail are experts at paint correction and often encounter holograms in the paintwork of cars they work on.