Valeting: What are good beginners products

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Valeting: What are good beginners products

Post by Tiberius »

This week I will start washing my own cars and want to take it seriously without spending hundreds of pounds on products.

I have the following:
Karcher K2 pressure washer var kit with roamer.
Alloy brush
Three thick drying towels 80cmx60cm
Autoglym leather cleaner
Autoglym leather conditioner
Car wash and shampoo from Asda bought over a year ago.

I would like recommendations for cleaning the exterior. What should I:
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Re: Valeting: What are good beginners products

Post by marco_polo »

How often will you be washing them, ie, how long do you need the paintwork protection to last?

For long term projection you'll want a good Sealant carefully (almost professionally) applied to stripped, bare paint.
For medium term with a bit of elbow grease, try Bilt Hamber's double-speed wax.
But if you're happier to re-apply/top-up every month, a quick detailer spray like Sonax BSD is good value, plus very quick and easy to use - ideal if you're trying to do more than 1 car a day.

Do you have a good wool wash mitt / Wookiees fist? Sponges are the devils work, holding tiny specks of grit and marring your paint job.
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Re: Valeting: What are good beginners products

Post by MaxM140i »

I put a post up regarding EZ Car Care products and their 50% offer. The products are 'premium', but they are good, easy to use and get the job done. If you don't want to invest large amounts of money and try some different products i'd definitely recommend. There are still a handful of products i use of their range as i prefer them over others. Plus, they offer great value for money.

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Re: Valeting: What are good beginners products

Post by Nyxeris »

My thinking here is just to buy the best value for money products you can to get it cleaned and protected for winter, then focus on the decontamination and polishing when the weather gets better.

Buy Now
Snow foam lance of your choice (not the Karcher one, I've got it and it's pants)
Microfibre/wool wash mitt of your choice
Bilt Hamber Autofoam - £17 / 5l (125l of snow foam once diluted, possibly the best on the market for pure effectiveness)
Bilt Hamber Autowash - £10 / 300ml (60 washes once diluted - only if you want to bin the Asda stuff)
Bilt Hamber Autowheel - £13/l (1l comes pre-mixed in a spray bottle with a brush, can bulk-buy if you want)
Glass cleaners - imho don't bother, any streak-free household product you've already got lying around will work just as well.
If you want more cloths/towels the Kirkland ones from Costco (or on Amazon) are as good as anything branded and £20 for 35 instead of £20 for 3 or whatever people charge nowadays.

Collinite 845 wax/sealant - £15-20 / 16oz (old school product but is arguably better than modern stuff 3x the cost, if it's good enough for private jets/yachts it's good enough for my car!)
303 Aerospace Protectant - £12-15 / 16oz (same deal as Collinite. Will protect/condition everything rubber/plastic and leave a matt finish)
Bilt Hamber Atom-mac - £15 / 300ml (dilutes 5% product to 95% water, very very powerful corrosion inhibitor for the undercarriage, brake discs etc.)
I'll take a pass on tyre shine and a quick detailer/drying aid as both of the products I like (Megs Endurance gel and Hybrid Ceramic Wax) are rather pricy and there have been a lot of cheaper options out recently that I haven't tried!

Buy in 6-12 months
Isopropyl alcohol from ebay diluted to be roughly 10% - use as panel wipe before/after polishing.
Bilt Hamber Surfex HD - £10 / 1l (all-purpose cleaner and degreaser, works very well for the engine bay followed by 303)
Carpro Tri-X - £10 / 1l (2-in-1 tar and iron remover, good value for money)
Bilt Hamber Autoclay Soft - £11 / 200g (Don't bother buying clay until you can polish immediately after)
Dual-action polisher - any DAS6 clone will be more than good enough*
A couple of cutting pads and a couple of finishing pads*
A polish and compound of your choice - see what's on offer at the time*
*plenty of sites will sell all of these together in a starter kit for a decent chunk off.

Buy in 12 months +
Home ceramic coating kit?
Compressor/air blower to help drying
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Re: Valeting: What are good beginners products

Post by Sam1er »

What i would buy now:
- Hand pressure sprayer (Better than snowfoam gun and much more economical) (marolex or hozelock are great!)
- Some pre wash e.g. Bilthamber autofoam
- Fallout remover (Bilthamber is great stuff)
- Tar and Glue remover
- Brush for getting into those tight areas where a wash mitt wont reach
- Washmitt or washpad, i prefer the microfibre ones as they can be machine washed and will last ages, Klin has a great one
- Some form of protection e.g. wax (See Marco's post, some good suggestions there)
- buckets and grit guards

What i would buy later:
- Clay bar or clay mitt
- Pre wax cleaner or glaze or AIO to help cover up any defects unless your going to polish the paint (which is a whole different list lol)
- Foam hand Applicators for applying the above and also used for applying waxes
- Microfiber cloths, the kirkland ones are find for general duties e.g. wheels, engine bay, interior, door shuts, but i would not use them on paint, you need something softer for that. I really like the Autofinesse primo plush MF cloths
- Glass cloth e.g. Klin glass cloth is great, or a fish scale cloth
- trim and tyre dressing product

Hope that helps
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Re: Valeting: What are good beginners products

Post by moulin12 »

Exterior cleaning

Car body

- The single best thing you can buy now is a set of wash and rinse buckets with grit guards, and treat the 2 bucket method as a religion
- Any ph neutral conditioning shampoo – e.g. Autobrite Banana Gloss
- A quality mitt/cleaning pad – e.g. lambswool mitt or microfiber madness incredipad
- Paint body iron remover – e.g. Bilt Hamber iron remover - used once in a blue moon, and neutralise the paint body after rinsing off.

6 mths
- A tar spot remover – e.g. Auto Finesse Oblitarate. Use sparingly and do not allow to dwell for any length of time
- Grime remover – only when you feel a deep cleanse is required. You can use up to 10% diluted Bilt Hamber Surfex for this.
- Tyre brush, Gyeon TireCleaner (great product) and a tyre dressing, e.g. Gyeon Tire or (Tire Express for a matt look)

12 mths

- Consider using snowfoam, maybe, though I’d say the developing consensus is that snow-foaming doesn’t achieve an awful lot, other than laying down a ph neutral lubricating product that helps reduce the effect of having mineralised tap water sit on the car as part of the pre-wash.



- Microfiber madness incrediflair wheel wash mitt – it's genius.
- Cheap ebay set of Wheel Whoolies
- Use your diluted Bilt Hamber Surfex for any hard to shift tar or grime stains – experiment with dilution ratios, but the key is stronger the dilution the less dilution time required. Otherwise simply use the same shampoo as for the car body.
- Iron remover – use your BH Korrosol. Avoid the pointless use of spraying on before having thoroughly cleaned the wheels, as all you will be doing is painting loose dirt particulates a nice shade of purple, and which would come off with a bit of water and soap anyway. Should one of the least frequent re-purchase items in your stock.
- Finish off with PoorBoys Wheel Sealant – easy to apply, buffs to a good shine, makes it easier between washes (assume that’s every 3 weeks).

6-12 mths
- Genuine set of Wheel Woolies or a Incredipad brushes – both are bloody expensive but I’m not sure what the alternatives are

- Car glass can be hard to clean thoroughly if it hasn’t been kept on top of. For troublesome issues, there are methods and products that can help, but for general cleaning two products I’d strongly recommend are the Microfibre Madness Cloudbuster cloth (best I’ve come across) and AutoFinnesse Glisten


For the paint, there are two paths you can go down, ceramic coating or wax. Yer takes yer choice and all that.

There are many variations in ceramic coatings in terms of ease of applicability, durability, and ‘gloss’. Putting aside the more durable forms, one of the best bangs for your both in terms of applicability and durability (but at some expense to gloss) is Gyeon WetCoat – a spray-on, jet wash off product. For more gloss but much less durability, there’s Gyeon Cure or CarPro ReLoad (the former being a more diluted version of the latter but easier to apply)

The thing to remember about waxes is simply to they range from the most glossy and least durable to the more durable and lest glossy. So I would tend to use the likes of Collinate 845 for the winter period but use more of a show wax over summer periods.

Always good to have a quick detailer hanging around. Like waxes, these vary in a trade off between durability and gloss. I like Autoglyms Rapid for a sharp look and ease of application, but I regard it simply as a finishing product as it has little durability.

Prepping the car for either these will depend on the state of the car and whether using ceramics (and what type of ceramics) or wax. But in either case, if the paint body has noticeable micro-scratches then depending on how bad these are you’ll want to research hand and machine polishing, as well as claying etc. However, if you’re going down the wax route, you could think about using a glaze prior to wax to fill in the scratches. Simplest routes are to glaze then wax, or use WetCoat.

On plastics, another tick up for 303 Aerospace Protectant.

- Any light cleansing product e.g. AutoFinnesse Sprintz
- Leather cleaner e.g. dr leather, and a soft leather brush. Ditch the conditioner – does nothing on modern leather other than provide a substrate for grime.

On microfiber cloths, whilst I prefer brands such as microfobre madness and the rag company, the main thing is to understand that there are essentially 4 types of cloths.
- glass cleaning (e.g. microfiber madness cloudbuster)
- dirt shifting (e.g. microfiber madness slogger)
- polishing/applying (e.g. microfiber madness yellow fellow)
- buffing off (e.g. microfiber madness deluxe buffer)

Generally, you can tell in your hand what any type of cloth - or quality of cloth - is going to do to your car (good or bad).

Not sure why a Karcher shouldn’t be suitable? Not sure what the difference is between the K2 and K4, but I’d been using K4 for years before upgrading to a Kranzle, and it did okay for me.


Should you find yourself bitten by the detailing bug, then even more than my Kranzle washer, I regard my x3 Detailing Outlaws bucket organisers as my most extravagant outlay. But, again, it's the price you have to pay for genius.
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