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Old 04-22-2009, 01:13 PM   #1
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Smile Zaino/Detailing Steps

These instructions are taken from
This was created by a member named DAVID i take no credit for his work. I thought I would just post this up since it had a lot of good facts, tips, and it also talked about the Zaino process. I think someone had posted up a link to this before we had this washing and waxing thread. Hopefully this helps people who have a lot of questions




Detailing Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is involved in performing an exterior detail?
A: In order to detail your car you should; wash with a quality car wash soap (not Dawn), clay, polish out swirls (if necessary), use a mild polish to bring out the gloss in the paint, and then protect the rejuvenated finish with a quality sealant and/or wax.

Q: What is the correct order to perform the various detailing steps?
A: As stated above: wash, clay, polish, mild polish, seal and/or wax.

Q: How often should I perform a full exterior detail?
A: Two times a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

Q: I heard that dawn dish soap is good to use if I want to strip old wax from my car. Is this true?
A: Depending on how fresh your coat of wax is, dawn may not remove all the wax.

Q: Is Dawn bad for my paint?
A: This is a very debateable question. I personally think that since Dawn was designed to remove grease from dishes, it should not be used more than once or twice a year. There are others who argue that Dawn is no more harsh than some shampoos specifically designed for automotive paint finishes.

Q: How did the dawn phenomenon start?
A: I think a lot of it had to do with Zaino's recommendation to use Dawn prior to starting the Zaino process. They claimed this was to remove any oils and old wax present on the paint. These things needed to be removed in order for the Zaino to bond properly to the surface. Zainos philosophy is that once you Zaino, you should never leave the Zaino system, thus negating any need to ever re-wash your car with dawn. In the zaino world, dawn is a one-time thing. But people being people, they automatically assumed that dawn was the best way to ‘clean’ their paint, and they began doing it very often regardless of whether they were Zainoing. Believe me when I tell you that claying, and polishing will do a MUCH better job of stripping your car down than dawn ever will.

Q: What is the purpose of claying?
A: The purpose of claying is to remove any imbedded contamination from the surface of your paint, contamination that washing alone cannot remove.

Q: How do I know if I have any imbedded contamination in my paint?
A: You’ll know if your paint feels sandy/gritty when you run you fingers across it.

Q: How does clay work?
A: It works by grinding away the contamination and lifting it into the clay. Claying will leave a clean smooth surface behind.

Q: What is the proper technique for claying?
A: See the below article titled "How to Properly Clay your Car"

Q: Is claying safe?
A: Yes. The only pitfall of claying is the potential for creating minor surface swirl marks from rubbing a contaminated piece of clay into your clear coat. BUT, if you follow my claying article word for word you should have no problems with this at all.

Q: What is the purpose of polishing?
A: The purpose of Polishing is to remove swirl marks from your paint (using a heavier cut polish), and to bring out the full gloss of your paint (using a milder pre wax/sealant polish).

Q: What are swirl marks?
A: Swirl marks are very fine scratches in the surface of your paint that cannot be felt with your fingernail. These scratches are mostly visible in direct sunlight and other high intensity lighting.

Q: What if I have scratches that I can feel with my fingernail. How do I go about removing them?
A: You’ll need to fill the scratch in with touch up paint and wet sand the blob down using a particular grit of automotive sand paper. Once that is complete you’ll need to polish out the sanding marks with a finer polish.

Q: How do I fix stone chips?
A: Wet sanding is one option. Another is langka. I have never used it, but some people have had great success with it. For more information try Langka .

Q: Is it possible to polish out swirl marks by hand?
A: No. Unless you are superman, then you will have no luck whatsoever in removing your swirl marks by hand.

Q: If I can’t remove my swirl marks by hand, then what should I use?
A: You should purchase a Porter Cable Random Orbital Polisher (PC). Purchase either a 7424 or 7336 model.

Q: I heard that using machines to polish isn’t safe. Someone told me that I could burn a hole in my paint. Is this true?
A: It depends on the machine. Rotaries can definitely burn a hole in paint even when used by an experienced professional. A random orbital polisher like the PC is completely safe even for a total beginner.

Q: What is the difference between a rotary and an orbital? Why is one safe and the other isn’t?
A: Rotaries spin in a consistent circle. If you leave it on the same spot for too long then the heat generated by the consistent motion can burn a hole in your paint. Conversely, an orbital does not spin in a consistent circle, but rather a random spinning motion. This randomness makes the polisher safe (regardless of how long it is left in the same spot) because it does not generate anywhere near the same amount of heat as a rotary.

Q: I already have a craftsman (or other brand that’s not a PC) orbital. Is this ok to use instead?
A: No. Most other orbitals are one speed (the PC is six) and their motors bog down as soon as they touch your paint rendering them useless. The biggest advantages of the PC are it’s variable speeds and strong motor.

Q: Can I use the foam pad that came with the PC for polishing?
A: I personally wouldn’t. Get yourself some quality foam pads made by lake country and a velcro backing plate.

Q: What is the difference between the 7424 and 7336 models?
A: The 7424 comes packaged with a 5” counterweight while the 7336 comes with a 6“ counterweight.

Q: Why should I care about this?
A: The purpose of the weight is to minimize the vibration of the machine when using it with different size backing plates. You should always match backing plate diameter with counterweight size. For example, 6” plate with a 6” counter weight, and so on.

Q: How is the PC so much better than my hand if it does not generate a lot of heat?
A: True, the PC may be safe and produce minimal heat. But it does have the ability to produce more even and uniform results that are not achievable by hand. The PC may not produce the heat of a rotary, but it still does an excellent job of breaking down the abrasives in medium to fine polishes. Your hand will have a hard time breaking down any abrasive in any polish.

Q: What abrasive polish do you recommend for removing swirl marks?
A: Menzerna Intensive Polish or Zaino ZPC used with a cutting pad for heavy swirls. For minor swirls, haze removal, and final polishing, Zaino ZPC with a polishing pad will do a great job.

Q: Why do you like Menzerna IP and Zaino ZPC?
A: The products are both very user friendly, have no filler, and produce excellent results.

Q: You recommend polishing with a finer polish to remove the haze caused by the more abrasive polish. Why does the more abrasive polish haze to begin with? Is this a defect?
A: No. The more abrasive polishes are supposed to work this way. They will remove the bigger swirls with diminishing abrasives that will level some clear off your car. The abrasives won’t break down enough to leave a totally uniform finish, thus producing a hazy look. To remove the haze you will need to step up to a finer polish and pad combination.

Q: How does polishing remove swirls?
A: As stated above, polishing will remove swirls with diminishing abrasives that will level (remove) some clear off your car.

Q: How do I avoid swirl marks?
A: As stated above, follow proper technique when washing and drying your car. Do not go through car washes with brushes or soft cloths. For proper wash and dry technique see the articles below related to; Washing, Washing in Winter, and Drying.

Q: What is 'Compounding'? I've heard the term used before, but I don't know what it means. Is it the same as polishing?
A: Compounding is the same as polishing, except compounding requires the use of a very abrasive polish, usually a rubbing compound.

Q: Are Menzerna IP and Zaino ZPC considered to be rubbing compounds? Are they very abrasive?
A: No. Neither product is in the same category as a rubbing compound. Both are more of a mild to medium polishes, with IP being a bit more agressive of the two.

Q: Is polishing safe in general?
A: My general rule is to polish a car no more than once a year. Polishing too often, regardless of machine, will eventually wear out your clear coat necessitating a repaint. If proper washing and drying techiques are followed, then the introduction of new swirls should be minimal. Poor wash and dry techniques are the number one cause of swirl marks.

Q: How thick is the paint is on my car?
A: Most clearcoats are as thick as a piece of saran wrap. Further to that, most of the UV blockers in the clear coat are in the top 1/3rd of the clear. This further solidifies the need to refrain from over polishing.

Q: Should I use my PC to apply my mild polish?
A: Yes. Apply it with a foam polishing pad.

Q: What mild polish do you recommend for bringing out the full gloss in the paint and removing the haze from more abrasive polishes?
A: As stated above, Zaino ZPC with a polishing pad will do the job. If you are using Zaino Z2 then I would strongly advise using Zaino ZPC. If you are using Klasse SG as your final sealant, then you can go ahead and use Klasse AIO if you want. Also use it with a polishing pad. For any other wax or sealant, ZPC is the safest bet since it has no filler and will not inhibit bonding of any other sealants to your paint.

Q: Can you outline the proper way to polish with a PC?
A: Yes. See the article below titled "How to Properly Polish your car using your PC 7424/7336"

Q: Is it really necessary for me to use a mild polish on my paint if I don't have any swirls?
A: Yes. Mild polishes will clean the paint and bring out its full gloss. Six months to one year of driving can take quite a toll on a paint finish.

Q: Why should I seal and/or wax
A: Sealants and waxes will protect your newly detailed surface from the harsh elements of nature.

Q: What is the difference between a sealant and a wax?
A: A sealant is usually a synthetic polymer, while a wax is usually made of carnuba. Synthetic sealants are much more durable than waxes. They also provide better protection because they cross-link and bond to your paint providing a strong barrier. Carnuba waxes do not bond and cross-link. They merely ‘sit’ on top of your paint.

Q: Which one do you recommend?
A: It depends on what you expect out of a protectant, how often you like to wax/seal, and the type of look you like. Sealants give a more glass like look, while carnuba waxes offer more warmth and depth. If you enjoy waxing often, don’t care about durability, and like the warm look, then go with carnuba. If you are lazy and want to wax as minimally as possible while still getting protection and a nice shine, then use a sealant.

Q: How often should I wax or seal?
A: Wax once a month if you choose the wax route. Seal every six months if you choose the sealant route

Q: What do you do?
A: When I use Klasse, I use both. I apply three layers of Klasse High Gloss Sealant Glaze (SG) spaced one week apart after my weekly wash. On the fourth week I apply a carnuba wax. Then I wait six months and start the whole process over again. All I do is wash in between.

A: When I use Zaino, I do not top with a carnuba. Zaino looks so good on its own, it doesn't need a carnuba topper.

Q: Are there any drawbacks of applying a wax over a sealant.
A: Possibly. You may encounter some ghosting or hazing of the wax. This is because Klasse SG and carnuba do not entirely get along.

Q: How likely is this?
A: In my experience it is not very likely but still worth mentioning, only because I want to be upfront with everyone. It has only happened to me once on a section of my hood. For the most part you probably won't notice it. Many, many, if not all klasse users top with a carnuba and are very happy.

Q: What does the haze look like?
A: Hazing or ghosting is hard to explain. It will look like a thin film of oil that moves around on the surface in the direction of your last towel swipe.

Q: Is it necessary to apply three coats of Klasse SG?
A: No it's not necessary to apply three coats. Three coats are more for appearance than protection. Though, some people like to apply more than one coat to ensure they have good even coverage everywhere.

Q: Is it necessary to add a carnuba on top?
A: No it is not. Carnuba is added only for looks. It will have no bearing on durability when used with Klasse SG. SG is an infinitely better protectant than any carnuba will ever be. Topping with a carnuba will give you the best of both worlds. The Klasse shine and protection combined with the warmth and depth of a carnuba.

Q: After I apply a carnuba can I put more SG on?
A: No. SG will not bond to the carnuba wax. In order to add more SG you will have to strip your paint with AIO and start SG’ing from scratch.

Q: Can I use any carnuba wax as a topper for my SG?
A: No. You must use a pure carnuba wax. If you use a ‘cleaner’ wax then you will strip the SG off. Cleaner waxes are dual products that clean, as the name implies, and add a layer of wax. Save those types of products for your beater.

Q: How long do I have to wait between layers of SG?
A: Wait AT LEAST 24 hours. Polymers need time to cure and cross-link (harden) before the next layer can be applied. Adding a new layer before this will just ‘gum up’ the previous layer negating any benefit you may have realized from layering in the first place.

Q: Are cure time and dry time the same thing?
A: No. Dry time is the time UNBUFFED product sits on your paint before buffing it off. Cure time is the time BETWEEN buffed coats of a product.

Q: What is the proper way to apply and remove SG?
A: See the artice below titled "How to Properly apply and remove Klasse SG"

Q: Can I apply Klasse SG immediately after I apply AIO, or do I have to wait? Does the AIO need to cure first?
A: You can apply SG immediately after the AIO. AIO has no cure time.

Q: Can you tell me what detailing products you recommend and where they can be purchased?
A: Yes. See the article below titled "Which detailing products to buy and where to get them".

Well that’s all for now. Any more questions, post or PM me and I will add them to the above list.



Which detailing products to buy

Car Wash

I recommend buying a large jug of Mothers California Gold wash for non Zaino'ed cars. I personally use and love the stuff. I buy mine from Canadian Tire (CT).

If you are using Zaino, then I'd strongly recommend using Z7. It is an awesome car wash with excellent lubricity.

Wash Mitt

Buy the Viking wash mitts. Available locally. I use the Simoniz chenille mitts from CT.


Buy the cheap 8-10 pack cotton towels for your doorjambs and the other nasty places. Available locally.

Good towels

You can buy quality MF towels from any quality vendor. I'd also recommend buying an MF Waffle Weave towel as well for drying your car.


Buy Mothers or Clay Magic. They both work equally well and they are available locally. I personally use Mothers. I buy it from CT. Clay magic is not readily available in Canada locally.

Abrasive Polish

[size=2][color=black]Buy Menzerna Intensive Polish (IP).

Mild polish

Klasse All In One (AIO) for Klasse details or Zaino ZPC for Zaino details.


Klasse Sealant Glaze (SG) or Zaino Z2 Pro.


S100. It is available at any Harley-Davidson Dealer as well as online from many places. This wax is the exact same as P21s.

Quick Detailer

Mothers California Gold QD for non Zaino details. Works well and is available locally. Z6 for for Zaino details. Zaino can be purchased from the Zaino store.

Wheel and Tire Cleaner

I usually just use car wash soap. If they are really dirty, I use Eagle One A2Z. Be warned though, consistent use of harsh wheel cleaners is not good for your rims.

Tire dressing

For now I'm using Mother FX Tire Shine (High Gloss) or Mothers Reflections Tire Shine (Low Gloss). Both can be purchased locally. Not sure when they will be coming to Canada. Online is an option for us Canucks.


I use a damp and then dry towel to wipe them off. I don’t use any Sprays or Cleaners.


I recommend the Porter Cable (PC) 7424/7336 Random Orbital Polisher. It can be purchased locally in Canada at Canadian Tire, and in the USA at Lowes.

Foam pads for Polisher

Buy Lake Country pads. They can be purchased from many online vendors. Some companies private label their pads, but rest assured they are LC.

Velcro Backing Plate for Polisher

Same places as listed for the foam pads.


How to: Properly Wash your Car

First some basic rules:

1. You should always wash your car out of direct sunlight. I usually wash my car in the evening once the sun starts to set giving me enough shade on my driveway. This will help to avoid water spots.

2. Don't ever wash your car immediately after driving it. Two reasons for this;
-Your rotors are still hot. Spraying cold water on them will cause them to warp
-Your hood will also be warm making it more susceptible to nasty hard water spots


1. Use a nozzle gun that will allow you to control the intensity of the water you are spraying onto your vehicle.

2. Always start with your rims, rubber, and wheel wells. Start with the two front wheels since they are the dirtiest. Fill up one bucket with car wash soap. Spray the rim, rubber, and well with water. Mist the rim lightly. Use full force on the rubber, and well. Dip a sponge in the soap. Start by cleaning the rim. When complete, mist off the soap. Spray water on the sponge at full force to clean the gunk from the rim off of it. Wring out the water when complete. Dip the sponge back in the soap, and clean the well. Spray the soap off when complete. Clean the sponge with water, wring it out and place it back in the bucket. Clean your rubber by using a tire brush. Try scooping only the suds from the top of the bucket onto the bristles. Work the suds into the sidewall until you are satisfied they are clean. Use full pressure water to clean the soap off. Use the full pressure from the nozzle to clean the brush. Place it back in the bucket. Repeat this process for the next 3.

3. When finished step 2, clean the sponge and brush as outlined in step 2. Dump the soap from the bucket and rinse the bucket out with clean water.

4. Fill up the now clean bucket from step 3 and another clean bucket with car wash soap. I usually put 4 or 5 cap fulls of soap in my bucket. It allows my to fill up the bucket with more water half way through my wash, and still maintain good suds. Put two different dedicated 100% chenille wash mitts into each bucket. Do not re-use the sponge from step two on your paint! One bucket/mitt will be used to clean all horizontal surfaces and all vertical surfaces above the middle of the door. The other bucket/mitt will be used to clean all areas of the car below the middle of the door. Why am I doing this you ask? Well, the areas below the door tend to be dirtier, thus you wouldn’t want to use the same mitt on the horizontal areas as it will most likely cause swirls. I use two buckets because it allows me to keep my wash water cleaner during the process. Using one bucket will guarantee dirty water and in turn create swirls.

5. Start by washing the highest part of your car and working your way down.

You should mist the roof and front and rear windows with water. Dip your sponge for your top part of the car into its bucket. Gently glide the mitt over the paint. Try not to apply pressure. The weight of your arm should be enough. Go in a front to back motion, NOT circular. I can't stress this enough. Why? Well, if you get grit trapped in your mitt, it will create swirls in your paint. Front to back swirls are much harder to see than circular, minimizing the damage. Do half the roof. Flip your mitt over and do the other half of the roof. Then use the remaining soap on the mitt to clean the front and rear windows. Rinse the roof and windows with misting water. Rinse the mitt by spraying both sides with full force.

Wring the water out, dip it in the bucket and begin cleaning the hood. Do half the hood with one side of the sponge, the other half with the other side. Rinse the hood with misting water. Clean the mitt and wring it out. Put it back in its dedicated bucket.

Take the bottom mitt and begin cleaning the front grill, headlights and front bumper, fogs, etc. Rinse the area with water. Rinse the mitt and place it back in its bucket.

Move onto the trunk. Take the sponge for the top and clean the trunk lid. Flip it over and clean the back of the trunk above the bumper. Rinse the areas and rinse the mitt.

Take the bottom mitt and clean the area below the bumper. Rinse the area and rinse the mitt.

Take the sponge for the top and clean the rear quarter panel, flip the mitt over and clean the rear door (if you have a sedan) above the molding. Take the remaining soap and clean the frame above the window and the window itself. Rinse the door and quarter panel, window and the mitt.

Do the same thing for front fender and front door. Rinse the area and mitt. Do the opposite side in the same manner.

Take the mitt for the bottom part and clean the front door below the molding. Flip the mitt over and clean the rear door. Use the remaining soap to clean the rocker panel. Rinse the area and the mitt.

Do the opposite side in the same manner.

Your car is now complete!

Just some general notes:

Always mist the area with water before washing it with the mitt.

Always mist the paint when washing the soap off. Directing a high-pressure spray is not good for the clear coat.

Always go in front to back motions with the mitt.

Always glide the mitt over the area.

Always rinse the mitt with a full spray before dipping it back into the buckets. This will ensure the mitt and wash water stays clean


How to: Properly Dry your Car

Once you have completed washing your car you should remove the nozzle from the hose. Turn the water on and let it fall on the horizontal surfaces starting from the roof, and working down to the trunk and hood. This will sheet most of the water off the paint. Once the water has finished sheeting, take a quality cotton or MF towel and blot the remaining water off your paint. Try not to rub. Rubbing is the enemy, even on clean paint. It is still possible to create micro scratches while drying if rubbing.

Use separate towels to dry the rims, paint, glass, and door jambs. If you dry immediately after you wash then you should not get any water spots on your windows, eliminating the need to use ammonia based window cleaners.


Last edited by MRK III Z28; 06-10-2009 at 10:27 PM.
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