Quick Detailer & Waterless Wash Explained: Uses in Car Care & Auto Detailing
By Christopher Brown of OCDCarCare Los Angeles – OCDCarCare.com – November 2013
Waterless wash, Quick Detailer (QD for short), these are terms frequently used in the car care industry. However there seems to be little clarification of how the product works. This article will provide information about the applications of a quick detailer and explore how they work.
Auto Detailing Applications of Quick Detailer
What is a Quick Detailer?
Quick detailer is a spray product allowing for simple removal of light dust and light topical contaminants from vehicle surfaces. QD’s lessen the friction between the vehicle surface and the media chosen to trap and remove the dust from the vehicle surface. Quick detailer is not a washing type product, but rather a surface maintenance product. QD’s assist in preserving the beauty of a vehicle’s finish indefinitely; as long as the dirt accumulated never rises above a simple dust level.
For anything beyond light topical dust and contamination; Waterless Washes, Rinseless Washes, and Traditional Wash are more effective. These three wash methods tackle different levels of dirty in ascending order. This is because increased levels of topical contamination require different cleaning strategies.
A traditional QD is basically a dedicated simple cleaner, since it’s lubricity agents are only suited for dirt removal. Basically, a quick detailer functions as a surfactant; adding lubricity to a surface, allowing for safe removal of dust particles from a paint surface by encapsulating the contamination particles in the solution. This drastically reduces the amount of friction between the dirt particles, the surface, and the removal medium. A QD is safe and effective because the liquid acts a transport vessel, allowing the medium [a microfiber towel] to trap the dust particles within itself This process is called emulsification, enabling safe and complete removal of all topical contamination particles from a vehicle’s surface.
Uses Of a Quick Detailer
The simple lubricity factor offered by quick detailer sprays, made them the first natural choice for clay bar lubrication. By reducing the friction between the clay and the paint’s surface, the quick detailer allows the naturally tacky clay to effortlessly glide and contour itself over a vehicle’s surfaces. This removes (by means of embedding the particles within the clay) topical bonded contaminants that contact the clay.
Besides dust removal and clay bar lubrication, QD’s and waterless washes have also become quite popular as a drying aid. This assists to reduce micro-marring during drying and the removal of any possible water spots during the drying phase.
Waterless Washes as the New Quick Detailer
A newer wave of Quick Detailer products have flooded the market in recent years called Waterless Washes. The high concentration of waterless wash solutions allow for great versatility across many processes. Some offer temporary paint protection by imparting a protective layer [wax or synthetic type of hydrophobic sacrificial barrier] to the surface. The formulation of these products creates a surface tension that greatly surpasses that of a traditional quick detailer. This means they repel liquid and help prevent contamination from adhering to the surface. Also, some products contain gloss enhancing surfactants, allowing even more versatility of use.
Waterless Wash solutions have replaced all functions of a QD while offering abilities a QD cannot match. While most waterless wash solutions offer protection, leaving behind a layer of polymers or carnauba wax, there are few which leave nothing behind on the surface. This allows the traditional quick detailer a role as a simple ‘light dust removal by means of simple lubricity.” This is because many conditions exist where contaminants need to be removed from paint with a small amount of lubricity, allowing the surface to remain clean, without adding anything to the working section of paint during the current process.
In a day and age when multiple chemicals mix on a vehicle’s surface, a high potential exists for a ‘chemical traffic jam’ to occur. With many different chemicals present on a surface, the likelihood these chemicals may begin to work against one another increases. This can lead to variety of issues on the surface. Clogging up of the surface (reducing surface tension) and/or inhibiting the bonding of topical products is the most common occurrence. To avoid this, keep a traditional quick detailer on hand and use it when other chemical process are going to follow on a working section.
© Christopher Brown of OCDCarCare Los Angeles – OCDCarCare.com – 2013
For more informative articles regarding: auto detailing, paint correction, technique discussions, and many other things car care related please browse: OCDCarCare’s Detailing Article Archive.
His passion & dedication to car care lead him to writing in-depth articles about detailing in order to share with the car enthusiast & detailing communities. This lead to detailing training courses designed to develop skills, confidence, and results, enabling detailers to increase quality, efficiency, and profitability.
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