Comprehensive Product Recommendation Guide
I get many PM’s asking me “What products do you use for detailing?” This is always a difficult question for me to answer because I use so many various products from many different manufacturers. I’ve decided it would be more efficient for me, and for those asking, to just publish a comprehensive list that I could add to and edit as new products are brought to my attention. You guys have seen many of my product reviews on here, some good, some bad, but always an honest opinion. As such, everything expressed in this posting is only my opinion. I’m far from a product expert or chemist, but I feel that I’ve tried enough things to know what I like.
This took a lot of time to compile, so I hope you enjoy reading it ;)
Winner: AMMO Foam Paint Cleanser- Ammo unseated my previous favorite, Optimum, which I didn't think would ever be possible. It's a little pricey, but on a per use basis, it's not much more than any other quality soap. The foaming, lubricity, and clean rinse are just amazing. Great scent, too. Full review here
Honorable Mentions: Optimum Car Wash, Adam's Car Shampoo
Winner: Ultima Waterless Wash Plus- I go back and forth on this one, but I feel that UWW+ offers the best combination of price effectiveness, lubricity, and glossy finish. ONR, while not expressly marketed for this use, is a close second for me.
Honorable Mentions: Optimum No Rinse
Winner: Optimum No Rinse- This one is a no-brainer. I'm not even putting an honorable mention. I would like to try the new one that has wax, but haven't as of yet.
Winner: Microfiber Madness Incredimitt- Wow. Now this is the perfect hybrid between the softness of a wool mitt and the soap transfer of microfiber. You can't go wrong with this. It also happens to be the most durably constructed mitt I've ever seen. I can't pull the fibers out of it even if I try.
Honorable Mentions:DI reTHICKulous Wool Mitt- This thing is seriously soft on your paint. It's made of long nap Merino wool, so it keeps the dirt away from the paint and slathers on tons of soapy water each time. I'd use one in the shower if they weren't so expensive :D
Adam's Wash Pad- I actually like the wash pads a lot because they transfer more soap than a merino wool mitt does. It gets second place because they quickly become rough to the touch, and therefore have to be replaced often. Good price, though.
Winner: GTechniq W2 Universal Cleaner Concentrate- W2 has dethroned Adam's APC as my favorite cleaner for a few reasons. One, it's cheap. It's $7 for 100mL. Second, it's incredibly versatile. Selling as a concentrate gives the end user a lot more control in what jobs can be tackled effectively. Third, it works. I have yet to throw anything at it that it hasn't made quick work of. At 10:1 it's a very capably interior cleaner on leather, carpets, plastics.
I'll add Megs D101 and D103 to the winner's circle here as well, for exactly the same reasons. Gallon sizes are nice.
Honorable Mention: Adam's All-Purpose Cleaner- This stuff is phenomenal. Makes quick work of tar, built up wax, road gunk...all the nasty stuff. Do yourself a favor and order by the gallon.
Winner: Adam's Detail Spray- Bar none, the best detail spray I've ever used. It's priced like liquid gold, but this is one instance I don't mind that. Don't waste it as a clay lube or anything, but definitely keep it in your arsenal for touching up fingerprints or adding a little pop to clean paint.
Honorable Mention: AMMO Spit, Optimum No Rinse
I'll preface this one by saying that you should never need a dedicated wheel cleaner if you're properly maintaining your wheels. All that should be needed is a cleaning with soap and water during your wash. However, if your wheels are super grimy, this is what I like.
Winner: Sonax Full Effect- Full Effect makes quick work of brake dust and grime on wheels and turns from green to purple as it pulls out the brake dust. Very effective, but very expensive.
Honorable Mention: Adam's Deep Wheel Cleaner- Very nice wheel cleaner. It's very similar to Sonax, but a little thinner consistency. Really a winner, also.
Winner: Car Pro Iron X- This stuff smells like liquid death, but it is effective and easy to use. Makes short work of iron filings stuck in your paint, and turns purple as it reacts so you can see it working. Pair it with a sponge like this
Winner: Speedy Surface Prep Towel- This is the best thing to happen to car detailing since the Porter Cable. It saves you hours over traditional claying with no downside. The advantages are innumerable. Pricey, but much cheaper than clay on a per-use basis.
Honorable Mention: Mother's Clay Bar (available at any store)- If you must use a traditional clay bar for something such as wheels or something really nasty you don't want to get on your Speedy Towel, Mother's clay bar is as good as any, it's cheap and readily available.
Winner: Optimum No Rinse- At the price point, there is absolutely no reason to use anything else. It's highly effective, and one bottle makes 16 gallons of clay lube.
Dual Action Polishing
I use a PC. I don't know enough about the others to make a recommendation on which DA polisher is the best. The PC works very well and is a tank that has never given me an issue in 100s of hours of use. I recommend 5.5'' pads for the PC, which would call for a 5'' backing plate.
Light Cut/Polishing Pads-
Winner: Buff & Shine Microfiber PAds- I’m in love with these MF pads. Best I’ve tried, beating out my former heartthrob, Optimum. I've never seen such fast correction and still a very good finish. Microfiber is also much easier to clean than porous foam pads- even machine washable! I believe microfiber pads are the way of the future for DA polishers.
Honorable Mention: Optimum Microfiber Pads- These pads are just fantastic. I can’t say enough about them.
Lake Country Flat Pads- You can't go wrong with Lake Country pads. I prefer to finish with a blue pad sometimes after using my microfiber pad- depending on the paint.
This is where it gets ridiculously subjective. Everyone will have a different favorite and there are dozens of terrific options. Don't hate me if yours isn't here ;)
Winner: Menzerna FG400- This stuff impressed me more and more each time I reach for it. It cuts through sever swirls like butter and leaves nearly an LSP-ready finish on almost all paint. It’s basically a true one-stepper for all but softest paints. I like to finish with Menzerna SF4500 sometimes for just that final jeweling.
Honorable Mention: Where to even begin? Optimum Hyper Compound/Polish, M105/205, the entire Menzerna line.. We're really spoiled with a wealth of fantastic polishes that all have their unique strengths.
Glazes (for cheaters ;))
Winner: Chemical Guy's Blacklight- This one isn't even really a contest. Blacklight by a mile. Adds incredible shine, effectively fills minor swirls. Does all you'd want it to and lasts quite a while when topped with a good sealant.
Honorable Mention: Adam's Brilliant Glaze- Second place, but really not even in the same league. Doesn't last very long, doesn't fill swirls very well. It is very nice on glass, chrome, etc., though, and adds a high degree of gloss for a very short time on paint.
You thought polishes were subjective? LSPs are about as personal as fingerprints. The fact of the matter is that there are hundreds of excellent choices. These are just some I use all the time and love.
Winner: Blackfire Wet Diamond All Finish Paint Protection - This is my favorite all-around sealant. It provides very durable and long-lasting protection, excellent beading, and is still very easy to apply. Highly recommend two coats, spaced 12 hours apart for best results.
Honorable Mention: Rejex, Menzerna Power Lock, Collinite 845
Winner: Blackfire Midnight Sun- Best paste wax I've ever used, for the money. Goes on and off like a dream, beads like mad, and leaves a terrific finish. Mates extremely well with BFWD sealant, or with any sealant, really.
Honorable Mention: Adam's Americana, Chemical Guys' Pete's 53
Winner: Sonax Polymer Net Shield
Werkstatt Acrylic Jett: Trigger
Honorable Mention: Blackfire Crystal Seal
Keep in mind that what I look for in a tire or trim application is a natural black look. If you like a high degree of shine, you won't like my choices.
Winner: Ultima Tire & Trim Guard Plus- By far, my favorite tire dressing out there. It lasts a very long time (months) and leaves just the right amount of shine. You can apply multiple coats to increase the shine if desired, but I prefer one for a natural look. Pricey, but you use so little that it lasts forever.
Honorable Mention: Adam's SVRT, Carpro Perl
Winner: GTechniq G1 Clear Vision- G1 is a revolution in glass coatings. It lasts up to 3 years (claimed) and beads water flawlessly. Also keeps bugs and other stuff from sticking to the glass. It has a steep learning curve and is far from the easiest thing out there to use, but if you can master it you won't be disappointed. I have 2 years on mine and it's still working like a champ.
CarPro FlyBy30 - This is becoming my go-to, even over the G1. It doesn't last as long, but it sheds water just as well (if not better), is a lot cheaper, and is a LOT easier to work with.
Honorable Mention: GTechniq G5 (especially good over G1)
Winner: Meguiar's D120- D120 performs as well as any glass cleaner out there. The reason it gets the nod is that for $20, you get 11 gallons of glass cleaner. Doesn't get any better than that.
Honorable Mention: Stoner's Invisible Glass, available at any store. Works extremely well, readily available, and pretty inexpensive. Just can't compare to the price of the D120.
Winner: Microfiber Madness Cloud Buster- Fantastic glass towel. Cleans really well, and just flip to a dry side for that final buff and streak free perfection. All-in-one.
Winner: Werkstat Satin Prot- Far and away my favorite interior dressing. Dries to the perfect satin look that you want for an interior. Never greasy, and very easy to apply.
Honorable Mention: Ultima Interior Guard Plus, Adam's Total Interior Detailer
One of my favorite things to spend money on. I'm a towel junkie and have tried just about everything I can get my hands on.
Waterless Wash/Detail Spray Towels-
Winner: Microfiber Madness Crazy Pile- This is the best towel made. It might be the best THING made. I just got my hands on these about a month ago and I can't imagine a more perfect towel.
Honorable Mention: Microfiber Madness Summit 800, Zaino Borderless Blonde, Adam's Waterless Wash Waffle Weave
Sealant/Wax Buffing Towels-
Winner: Microfiber Madness Crazy Pile- See above. This towel runs the gamut. Perfection.
Honorable Mention: Microfiber Madness Summit 800, Zaino Borderless Blonde, Cobra Supreme 530
Winner: Microfiber Madness Dry Me Crazy- Ok, think of it like this: What if Adam's made a quad soft towel, made it bigger and 1200 g/m2. That's what this is. Softest towel ever, most absorbent thing I've ever touched. It guzzles water like a Shop Vac. You can easily dry a full car and the towel barely feels damp. Just drag it across the paint, then flip to a dry side to buff off any streaks. PERFECT. Video demo here.
Honorable Mention: Unnecessary. Like having an honorable mention to Giza for Best Pyramids.
Winner: Blackfire Microfiber Cleaner & Restorer- Works perfectly every time. Keeps your towels soft while removing even the worst stains without the need for any sort of pre-treatment.
Well, there it is. I'll try to keep this list updated as new things impress me enough to make the cut. Hope this helps at least a couple people out there.
Great job, lots of good info here. 100% agree on Optimum's MF Hyper System. I was floored by the results and how easy I achieved them.
Perfect! Thank you for this! I know I've bugged you with my fair share of questions.
This list will not stop me from pm him at all hours of the day. :sm0:
Thank for the list and your continued support on this forum cd
couldn't resist lol:laughabove::laughabove::laughabove::laughabove :
This is great!!
Very cool and diverse list! Thanks for sharing your experiences!
I just realized I forgot glass. Shame on me. I'll add that tonight in class after my exam ;)
very good list!
Good stuff Matt!
Someone is sick of answering PM's :D
J/K... nice writeup.
Very nice write up Matt!!
Thanks for taking the time to write this all up! AWESOME!
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