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SoCal Eco-Detail – Lexus SUV (2)

January 16th, 2017 No comments

Monday January 16, 2017

This morning I performed a wash and wax on the Lexus SUV which I detailed about a month ago. The interior was still clean while the exterior had picked up some dirt from being driven in the rainstorms that have recently been hitting Southern California. The wheels were definitely in need of a good cleaning and the car needed a coat of wax to prepare it for the next wave of storms.

After taking a few photographs I washed the wheels, performed an eco-friendly rinseless wash on the exterior, dressed the wheels and tires, gave the car a coat of wax and treated the bumpers. Times for the different steps:

10:31am Initial inspection and photographs.
11:10am Wheels washed. Prepped buckets for wash.
12:19pm Finished wash and wax of exterior.
12:35pm Wheels waxed, tires and bumpers dressed, glass wiped down.

The entire process including wheels and wax took about two hours.

WHEELS

I put one gallon of water and a small amount of Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine (ONR) into a wheel bucket into which I also put some brushes. I sprayed the tires and wheels with ShineSupply's All Purpose Cleaner(APC) diluted 1 part to 10 parts water and used the brushes and a black microfiber towel to clean the dirt and brake dust from the tires and wheels.  After the rest of the car was washed the tires were dressed with ShineSupply's Decked Out and the wheels sprayed with Meguiar's X-Press Spray Wax and buffed with a clean towel. 

Before

Before

After

After

EXTERIOR

I used an eco-friendly rinseless wash and the two-bucket method to clean the Lexus' exterior. A grit guard was in a clean rinse bucket with three gallons of water. The wash bucket had two gallons of water and two capfuls (1 ounce), of Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine (ONR). For today's wash I used a new chenille microfiber wash mitt which was put into the wash bucket and soaked in the ONR solution. I pre-washed the car using a spray solution of ONR and then gently wiped down one section at a time with the wash mitt. After each panel was washed I sprayed Meguiar's X-Press Spray Wax onto the wet panel and buffed it dry with a plush MF towel to in one-step dry the panel and also lay down a coating of protective wax. This procedure was repeated for the whole car. After each panel the wash mitt was cleaned in the rinse bucket before being reintroduced to the wash bucket. I used a detailing brush to remove some muck from under the door handles.

The car cleaned up really nicely. I dressed the black bumpers with Chemical Guys' Black on Black Spray Dressing and finished by cleaning the windscreen and side windows, buffing them with a shot of Meguiar's X-Press Spray Wax.

Before – water spots on the chrome strip

After. Shiny!

Black on Black really makes the black strip pop

Looking better than when new. Shame it's shut away in the garage!

SoCal Eco-Detail – Turquoise Blue Porsche 993 Targa

January 13th, 2017 No comments

After I finished cleaning the white Toyota Tercel I turned my attention to my own turquoise 993 Targa which I last washed about two months ago. The interior was still clean and the exterior had held up well despite the car having been driven in the recent rainstorms. However the wheels were filthy and I wanted the car looking at its best before it goes to the body shop for some minor insurance work next week.

This was an opportunity to do another rinseless wash on my car. I was not pleased with the results of its previous wash, my first experience with a rinseless. This time, instead of using the Lake Country Grout sponges, which I felt may have caused some marring of the clearcoat, I decided to go back to my usual practice of washing the car with multiple microfiber towels, which once used were never reintroduced into the wash bucket. This is my patented preferred one bucket, one touch method of washing higher-end cars and vehicles. I don't use the one bucket, one touch method on all cars, as it can use a lot of MF towels, which all have to be cleaned afterwards. In truth, a second bucket is used, exclusively for cleaning the wheels. I did a pre-wash walk-around and took some photographs, mainly focusing on the wheels.

The plan was to wash the wheels, perform a quick eco-friendly rinseless wash on the exterior, dress the tires and give the car a coat of wax for protection and shine. I noted the times for the different components of the process:

10:00am Initial inspection and photographs.
10:05am Began work on the wheels.
10:40am Wheel washing finished, exterior wash started.
11:45am External wash and wax completed, tires dressed.
11:50am Final wipe down and photographs.

The entire process, wash exterior, clean wheels, and wax took under two hours. The goal is to do all four wheels in under 40 minutes and to perform the exterior wash and wax in 45 minutes.

 

WHEELS

I started by hosing off the wheels to remove loose dirt and brake dust. Next, I put about two gallons of water and a small amount of Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine (ONR) into my wheel bucket into which I also put my wheel brushes. I started by liberally spraying the tires and wheels with ShineSupply's All Purpose Cleaner(APC) diluted 1 part APC to 10 parts water. After letting the APC sit for several seconds the tires and wheels were brushed until clean with a soft brush. I used a boars hair brush to clean the wheels and the lug nuts. A wheel woolie was used to clean between the spokes and to reach through to clean the barrels of the wheels. Excess liquid was wiped off using a black microfiber towel. Remaining dirty residue was spritzed with hose water and dried with a black MF towel. I noticed a lot of metal particles embedded in the front rims which could not be removed by washing or buffing. This calls for the future use of  an iron remover/decontaminant like CarPro's IronX to help get those 20 year-old wheels looking as good as new again. After the rest of the car was washed the tires were dressed with ShineSupply's Decked Out mixed with 2 parts of water for a look like-new satin finish. Finally some protection was added to the wheels which were sprayed with Meguiar's X-Press Spray Wax and buffed with a clean towel. This should help reduce the amount of brake dust sticking to the rims in future.

Passenger Rear Before

and after

Passenger Front before

and after

Driver Front before

and after

 

EXTERIOR

I used an eco-friendly rinseless wash and one-bucket method to clean the 993's exterior. I prepared a wash bucket with two gallons of water and two capfuls (1 ounce), of Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine (ONR) and put five high quality yellow microfiber towels to soak in the solution. The car had been through a couple of recent rain storms and was relatively clean but I always perform a pre-wash on this car. I made a stronger solution of ONR for the pre-wash into a hand-held pump sprayer. I started by spraying the glass roof, the side windows and the windscreen, waited for about a minute before squeezing out most of the ONR solution from the first yellow microfiber towel in the wash bucket, folded it into quarters and lightly passed it over the roof and windows of the car. As a section of the towel became soiled I turned it to a clean section and continued until the roof and windows had been wiped clean. After these areas were cleaned I discarded the towel. Before the glass dried I used a clean waffle weave MF towel to remove the excess liquid from the just-washed area, applying very little pressure and using only the weight of the towel in light movements, with no back and forth rubbing; one of the many great features of ONR is that it absorbs into the drying towel and wipes off very easily. I continued in this way, working around the car, one panel at a time, and never allowing a used towel to go back into the wash medium, the remainder of which was as clean at the end of the car washing as it was before I started. I used a detailing brush to clean around trim, emblems, handles, etc. Once the dirt and grit had been removed it was safe to use more vigorous rubbing with the MF towel to remove a couple of stubborn marks without causing any scratching or marring. To finish the exterior detail I sprayed Meguiar's X-Press Spray Wax onto one panel at a time and buffed with a clean plush MF towel leaving behind a coating of protective wax and a high shine. 

The tires were dressed with ShineSupply's Decked Out mixed with 2 parts of water for a look like-new satin finish. Finally the wheels were hit with Meguiar's X-Press Spray Wax and buffed with a clean towel.

When I washed the car two months ago I applied  Chemical Guys Black on Black to the rear grill and inside the engine bay. Both these areas were still perfect and in need of no further attention.

The car came out well. the wheels look much better. Q1. What can be done better? A. Decontaminate the wheels. Q2. Where can I save time without sacrificing quality? A1. Perform a one-step dry and wax, by spraying Meguiar's X-Press Spray Wax onto a just-washed panel and drying and buffing in one go. A2. It was not necessary to use the hose on the wheels; APC and ONR with a good wipe-down will get the job done just as well.

So Cal Eco-Detail – White Toyota Tercel

January 13th, 2017 No comments

This morning I performed a wash and wax on my neighbor's white Toyota Tercel. The car is her daily driver and she usually has it washed, waxed and the interior vacuumed at a local detailers for $25. At some stage the exterior had been badly repainted with an uneven finish and white brush marks all over the rubber trim. The black bumpers had also been repainted.

I did not have access to the interior so I did a pre-wash walk-around and inspected the exterior of the car and took some photographs. After which I washed the wheels and performed an eco-friendly rinseless wash on the exterior, dressed the wheels and tires and give the entire car a coat of wax and treated the bumpers. The interior will be addressed another day. This was an opportunity to refine my cleaning techniques on a small sedan, and to identify those areas where more efficiencies can be made. I noted the times for different components of the process:

8:15am Initial inspection and photographs.
8:20am Began work on the wheels.
8:40am Wheels washed. Began wash and wax of exterior.
9:30am Finished wash and wax. Dressed tires.
9:40am Final wipe down completed with photographs.

The entire process including wheels and wax took about an hour and a half. To charge only $25 the client's regular detailer has to be cleaning the exterior and the interior in under 30 minutes and they must be doing a very basic job with minimal attention to detail. My goal is to complete the exterior of a vehicle like this in under one hour without compromising the quality of the work – but to do it for $25, which includes the interior, is unrealistic.

WHEELS

I started by hosing off the wheels to remove any loose dirt and brake dust. I made up a wash bucket with about two gallons of water and a small amount of auto detergent into which I put my wheel brushes. I stated by liberally spraying the tires and wheels with ShineSupply's All Purpose Cleaner diluted 1 part APC to 10 parts water. After letting the APC sit for several seconds the tires and wheels were brushed until clean with a soft brush. I used a boars hair brush to clean the wheels and the lug nuts. A wheel woolie was used to clean the holes in the rims and to reach through to clean the barrels of the wheels. Excess liquid was wiped off using a black microfiber towel. Remaining dirty residue was spritzed with water from the hose and dried off with a MF towel. The tires were dressed with ShineSupply's Decked Out mixed with 2 parts of water for a look like-new satin finish. Finally the wheels were hit with Meguiar's X-Press Spray Wax and buffed with a clean towel.

Before – Passenger Front Wheel

After – Passenger Front Wheel

Before – Driver Front Wheel

After – Passenger Rear Wheel

 

EXTERIOR

I used an eco-friendly rinseless wash and the two-bucket method to clean the Tercel's exterior. I put a grit guard in the bottom of a clean rinse bucket followed by about three gallons of water. I made up a wash bucket with two gallons of water and two capfuls (1 ounce), of Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine (ONR) and put a few blue microfiber towels to soak in the solution. The car had sat through a couple of recent rain storms and was relatively clean so a pre-wash was not required. Starting at the top I gently wiped down one section at a time with a folded in-four microfiber towel soaked in the ONR solution, switching to a clean section of the towel as it became soiled. After each panel was washed with ONR I sprayed Meguiar's X-Press Spray Wax onto the still-wet clean panel and buffed it dry with a plush MF towel to simultaneously remove any remaining liquid and to lay down a coating of protective wax. This wash and wax procedure was repeated for every section of the car. The MF cleaning towels were cleaned in the rinse bucket to remove as much grit as possible before being reintroduced to the wash bucket. Where appropriate a detailing brush was used to clean around trim, emblems, handles, etc. Because they had grease marks and heavier soiling the underside of the wheel arches, side rocker panels and the rear and front bumpers were left until last to avoid risk of marring the paintwork. The grease and heavier soiling was hit with 1:10 APC before being wiped with ONR. Once the dirt and grit had been removed it was safe to use APC and more vigorous rubbing with the MF towel to remove grease marks.

The wash phase went smoothly enough. The resprayed paint had not been sealed well and in some sections white residue was visible on the blue washing towel. Similarly the black paint on the bumpers wiped off very easily. I dressed the bumpers with 303 Aerospace Protectant buffed with a yellow 12 x 12 MF towel which made them look blacker, less chalky and more uniform. The windscreen was a little streaky and had scratch marks etched into it from the wiper blades which were filthy, requiring 4 or 5 wipes to get all the dirt off. I cleaned the windscreen with isopropyl alcohol applied with a green 12 x 12 MF towel, followed by a pass with Meguiar's X-Press Spray Wax to take advantage of its excellent hydrophobic property.

The car came out looking pretty good given its age and the poor quality of its paintwork. The owner thanked me for her new car! Here are some photographs of the exterior:
 

Before – Driver-Side Rear

After – Driver-Side Rear

Before – Passenger Front Wing

After – Passenger Front Wing

After – Passenger Front Wing

After

SoCal Eco-Detail – Dodge Heavy Duty Diesel Truck Interior and Exterior

December 31st, 2016 No comments

This week I cleaned the interior and performed a wash and wax on a client's Dodge truck while he was out of town for the holidays. The truck is his daily driver and he has used it for several cross-country trips, often sleeping inside the truck. The right rear wing had recently had some repair work and had been repainted. The interior was well used, tired and in desperate need of some tlc. 

This was an opportunity not to be missed as the client was away for several days. This will be a surprise for him, although he probably won't notice the changes!  After I dropped him off at the airport I drove his truck to my place. I did a pre-wash walk-around and inspected the interior and the exterior of the truck and took some photographs, especially of the interior, which is where the bulk of the work needed to be done.

The plan was to complete a full detail of the interior, perform an eco-friendly rinseless wash on the exterior, clean and dress the wheels and tires and give the truck a coat of wax. This was an opportunity to refine my cleaning techniques and to identify areas where more efficiencies can be made. I noted the times for different components of the process:

3:30pm Initial inspection and photographs.
3:36pm Began work on the interior.
5:08pm Interior finished and photographed.
5:10pm External wash.
6:28pm Final wipe down completed.
The following day I spent about 30 minutes to clean and dress the wheels and took photographs of the exterior.

Because it was dark and getting late, I left the wheel wash and final photographs until the following morning. The entire process including wheels and wax took about three and a half hours. The goal is to complete a large vehicle like this in under three hours while doing a high quality job. The main lesson learned was that washing in the dark compromises the quality of the work done and should be avoided.

 

INTERIOR

The back seats of the truck were piled high with stuff and I decided to devote most of my efforts to other parts of the interior. I started by vacuuming the front passenger area to remove dust and loose debris from the dash board, the instrument panel and the seat. The floor mat and floor well were left for later.

Passenger footwell and mat. Lots of debris and sticky stuff.

 

I cleaned some grimy marks from the headliner and visor using ShineSupply's All Purpose Cleaner diluted 1 part APC to 10 parts water. The APC foamed up white as soon as it contacted the grime. I agitated the foam to loosen the dirt with a boar's hair detail brush and wiped clean with a yellow microfiber towel. The grime was gone. Next I cleaned the passenger side window and the passenger side of the front windscreen with Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine (ONR) buffed off with a green MF. The passenger high handle and A-frame were cleaned with APC, stubborn marks removed by light brushing with a stiff bristled nail brush, The dashboard molding was wiped down with ONR and a yellow MF. Airvents and the passenger fascia were sprayed with APC and brushed with a Quickie Auto Pro Wash Brush, which is a large soft brush, and a boar's hair detail brush and wiped down with a yellow MF. The passenger door was sprayed with ONR and brushed with the large soft brush. Stubborn areas were brushed with the nail brush and the panel wiped clean.

Passenger seat and footwell

Dirty passenger seat

 

I used a Colourlock cleaning brush to remove most of the loose dust and dirt from the fabric seat. I got the remainer out using the crevice tool on my vacuum cleaner. The stains were removed using 1:10 APC followed by a stronger solution of 1:4 APC for stubborn areas. The APC was sprayed onto the seat and agitated using a stiff brush. The dirty liquid was wiped off with an orange MF towel. 

 

Next the floor mat was removed, shaken and sprayed with 1:10 APC and left to soak while I vacuumed the floor well. Most of the dirt in the floor well was stuck to the bottom by an unidentified sticky gelatinous material that was eventually removed with copius amounts of 1:4 APC and lots of brushing and wiping. The mat was brushed, wiped and replaced in the floor well which had cleaned up nicely.

I cleaned the center arm rest, then repeated the entire process on the driver side. I used 1:4 APC to remove a large stubborn greasy stain on the driver seat. Grubby hand marks were cleaned off the  A-frame and the steering wheel. The mat and floor well were cleaned in the same way as the passenger side. I finished up by wiping down the rear door panels and windows and cleaning all the door jambs. I was very happy with the result and took some photographs.

Driver side before cleaning. You can see a large greasy stain on the seat.

After cleaning

After cleaning

 

Cleaning the interior took about one and a half hours. Given the state of the cabin and with the tools available this is about as fast as it could have been done. Much time was spent on the seats and the floor. A carpet extractor or a steam cleaner would do a better job and with less effort. I used a more powerful vacuum cleaner than on the last job, the Lexus SUV; this made a big difference. ShineSupply's All Purpose Cleaner was very effective and did a good job of quickly removing most stains and scuff marks from the sills, door panels and most of the grime and body oils from the seats. 

 

EXTERIOR

I used the eco-friendly two-bucket method to wash this truck's exterior. I put a grit guard in the bottom of a clean rinse bucket followed by about three gallons of water. I made up a wash bucket with two gallons of water and two capfuls, or 1 ounce, of Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine (ONR) and put a Lake Country Blue Grout Sponge and a couple of blue 16 x 16 MF towels into the solution to soak. I made a stronger solution of ONR for use as a pre-wash in a hand-held pump sprayer. I sprayed the driver side of the roof and the driver side windows first, waited for about a minute before squeezing out most of the water from the wash bucket sponge and lightly wiped the roof and windows of the truck. When the sponge got dirty I turned it over and used the clean side. After finishing the panel I put the sponge in the rinse bucket and repeated the cleaning process with one of the MF towels, essentially washing the area twice, checking to see how much dirt was being lifted onto the towel after each pass. I used a clean waffle weave MF towel to remove most of the excess liquid from the just-washed panels, applying very little pressure and using only the weight of the towel in light movements, with no back and forth rubbing. Next I sprayed Meguiar's X-Press Spray Wax onto the clean panels and buffed with a plush MF towel to simultaneously remove any remaining liquid and to lay down a coating of protective wax. This wash and wax procedure was repeated for every section of the truck. The sponge and MF cleaning towel were cleaned in the rinse bucket to remove as much grit as possible before being reintroduced to the wash bucket. Where appropriate a detailing brush was used to clean around trim, emblems, handles, etc. Because they had grease marks and heavier soiling the underside of the wheel arches, side rocker panels and the rear and front bumpers were left until last to avoid risk of marring the paintwork. The grease and heavier soiling was hit with 1:10 APC before being pre-soaked with ONR. When the dirt and grit had been removed it was safe to use APC and more vigorous rubbing with the MF towel to remove the grease.

The wash phase went smoothly enough. Something had scraped along the side of the truck leaving a couple of blue streaks on the passenger C-frame and on the side of the truck bed. The marks could not be removed using a microfiber towel and APC alone so I used a mild polishing compound to buff them out.

 

UPDATE

When I picked the owner up at the airport it was getting dark and he was tired after his cross-country flight. He did say in passing: "When I think about my truck I don't think of it being as good-looking as it really is." He didn't notice anything was different until he drove it the following day and realized his mats were clean and that he could see, for the first time in maybe years, the metal of his wheels. In the days since at least two people have asked if he'd bought a new truck! I'd say that was a job well done!

Scuff mark over rear wheel

Gone

Long scrape mark

Gone

Deeper scratch

Almost all gone

 After washing and waxing the entire truck I performed a final wipe down. I started washing the exterior at 5:10pm when the sun was setting. I finished at almost 6:30pm and it was dark.

Although the truck had been recently repainted there were a few rust spots visible on the roof and there were some areas where the paint was beginning to peel off on the passenger side.

The next morning I took about thirty minutes to clean the wheels using 1:4 APC and the remaining ONR in the wash bucket. The tires and wheels were sprayed with APC and brushed until clean with a soft brush. I used a boars hair brush to clean the wheels and the lug nuts. A wheel woolie came in very useful for cleaning the small holes in the rims. Excess liquid was wiped off using a black microfiber towel. Remaining dirty residue was wiped off with a spritz of ONR and a MF towel. The tires were dressed with ShineSupply's Decked Out mixed with 2 parts of water for a look like-new satin finish. Finally the wheels were hit with Meguiar's X-Press Spray Wax and buffed with an old clean towel.

I touched up a few areas that the light of day revealed to have been missed during last night's cleaning. The main lesson here is that all cleaning must be performed with adequate light to ensure that a quality job is done properly.

 

After

Before

After

Before. Blue streak.

After

Before

After

Hood after cleaning

After

After

Driver-side bed rear wing. Before cleaning

After

SoCal Eco-Detail – Lexus SUV Interior and Exterior

December 22nd, 2016 No comments

Last Wednesday I had my first detailing job. The client asked me to perform an interior and exterior detail on his wife's Lexus SUV. The car was overdue a cleaning which was originally to have been done for $150 by a local wash & shine/pet grooming parlor!  As is my wont I did lots of research online and prepared an action plan to clean this SUV as well and as quickly as I could using the same products and tools that I use on my own car, which you can see here: Detailing a Porsche 993

I met the client in front of his house at the scheduled time of 9AM. The Lexus was parked in front of the house so I asked the owner to move it inside the garage. I did not need to be outdoors for this job; there was rain in the forecast and the eco-friendly no-rinse wash does not require running water. I also wanted to be close to an electrical outlet so I could use the vacuum cleaner on the car's interior. After he moved the car inside we walked around and performed a full pre-detail inspection of the car. It is vital before starting to have a clear understanding of what the client wants to have done, listen to their concerns and answer any questions they might have. I showed the client some scratches and other defects in the paintwork. Before commencing work I took a few photographs of the car.

The plan was to complete a full detail of the interior, perform an eco-friendly rinseless wash on the exterior,  clean and dress the wheels and tire walls and finish up with a coat of wax. I did not how long this detail would take, but knew from detailing my own car that it would not be fast. I noted the times for different components of the process:

9:00am Arrived. Initial inspection and photographs.
9:10am Began work on the interior.
11:14am Interior finished. Prepared for external wash.
12:24pm External wash completed.
12:49pm Final wipe down completed.
12:55pm Finished final inspection and photographs.

Because it was raining heavily, we decided to leave the wheel wash and the final waxing until the next time the car is washed, which should be in about a fortnight. The process excluding wheels and wax took about four hours. The goal is to complete a large car like this in under three hours while delivering the same, and preferably better, quality.

 

INTERIOR

I started at the rear of the car. When I opened the tailgate I saw that the trunk liner was dirty and covered in green plastic needles that had been shed by a fake Christmas tree. There were traces of glitter and there were dark scuff marks on the sill and around the door frame.

 

I took out the trunk liner, shook off the loose debris, placed it on the ground, gave it a quick wipe with a towel and sprayed it with a 50:50 solution of LA's Totally Awesome All Purpose Cleaner. I let the liner soak for a couple of minutes while I inspected the condition of the rest of the hatchback. There was some dirt and a few smudges on the soft carpet-like floor which I sprayed with APC and agitated with a boar's hair detail brush. The dirt was lifted from the carpet by blotting the excess liquid with a damp terry towel cloth which was also used to scrub the dirt from off the trunk liner.

The driver's seat and door panel were grimy from regular use but the rest of the interior was in pretty good condition. I removed the black floor mats from the front and rear footwells and inspected them in the daylight. Removal of the rear mats revealed a large stain on the light-colored carpet, to which I directed the attention of my client. Both rear mats had dark stains which were not easily visible on the black mats; the client was probably not even aware they were there. After shaking off all the loose dust and dirt the mats were vacuumed with a hand-held Dirt Devil, then spritzed with APC which was left to sit while I vacuumed the carpets in the floor wells in the car. The Dirt Devil struggled to pick anything up and only by attaching an extension tool was I able to remove the dirt and hair from the floor wells. One day I will get myself something like the Ridgid 2-in-1 portable Compact Vacuum Cleaner, a 4-gallon, 6 HP vacuum that also has a blower attachment which comes in handy for blowing water off the car and for blowing out dust and dirt from hard to reach places, like under the seats. I scrubbed the mats with a Colourlock cleaning brush, blotted off the excess liquid with a terry towel and brushed off all dirt and hairs that could not be vacuumed out and then left the mats to dry.

Here are some photographs of the driver side footwell and door sill before cleaning:

Before – driver footrest

 

For comparison here are some shots taken after these same areas were cleaned with APC:

After – Driver sill and foot rest

 

Next I turned my attention to the seats. The driver's seat was more heavily soiled than the others. The rear seats looked like they were barely used. I sprayed the front seats with APC and agitated the liquid and dirt with a small scrubbing brush. The excess was lifted by blotting with a 12 x 12 orange microfiber towel. The rear seats were wiped down with a solution of Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine (ONR) and an orange MF towel.

Before – Driver seat

 

Before – Driver seat

 

Dirt coming off driver seat

 

After – Driver seat

 

After the seats were finished the interior glass including windshield, side windows, sun roof and vanity mirrors were cleaned with ONR and a green microfiber towel. ONR was sprayed onto a yellow microfiber towel to wipe down the dashboard, the console, the navigation screen and the surrounding area. I used a boar's hair detailing brush to clean around the knobs and handles and radio controls before wiping down with a MF towel. The steering wheel and instrument column were cleaned with ONR and a yellow MF.  My standard procedure is to use the different colors of microfiber towels for specific jobes: the smaller 12" x 12" orange towels for upholstery, green for glass, yellow for everything else. Larger 16" x 16" towels, blue and orange for the external body, black for wheels and large waffle weave MFs for drying and blue plush MFs for the final pass.

The driver door panel and arm rest cleaned up well after some work with ONR and  APC:

Before – Driver arm-rest

After – driver arm-rest

 

The seat belts were very dirty. I tried to remove the grime using a 50:50 solution of APC, but a tougher cleaner will be needed to restore the seat belts to be almost as good as new. I replaced the mats and conditioned the leather seats and door panels with Lexol leather conditioner buffed off with an orange microfiber towel. Finally, I replaced the hatch back liner and cleaned the glass on the inside of the rear window. The rear door was closed and the interior was finished in a little over two hours.

How can this be accomplished quicker? A more powerful vacuum cleaner will cut at least 15 minutes.  A stronger solution of All Purpose Cleaner will quickly remove the tougher stains and scuff marks from the sills and door panels, will clean the seat belts and easily remove the grime and body oils from the seats. A lot of time went into cleaning the driver's seat; this will be much easier in future if interior cleaning becomes part of the regular maintenance schedule of this vehicle.

 

EXTERIOR

I use the eco-friendly one-bucket method to wash a car's exterior. After rinsing a bucket to remove any grit or dirt, I put a grit guard in the bottom followed by about two gallons of water. I stirred in four capfuls, or 2 ounces, of Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine (ONR) and dumped six blue 16 x 16 MF towels into the solution to soak. I had previously made a stronger solution of ONR to use as a pre-wash in a hand-held pump sprayer. I turned another bucket upside-down to use as a step so that I could access the roof of the Lexus SUV. I sprayed the passenger side first, waited for about a minute then took a blue MF towel from the wash bucket. I squeezed out most of the water and folded the towel into four. I lightly wiped the roof of the SUV, doing just one pass with each quadrant of the towel. I turned the towel over and repeated the process, essentially wiping down the same panel twice, checking to see how much dirt was being lifted onto the towel after each pass. When each quarter of the towel had been used for one wipe the excess liquid was wrung out and the soiled towel put into a clean black trash bag. I lightly spritzed ONR onto a clean waffle weave MF towel and used it to remove excess liquid and gently wipe down the roof, applying very little pressure, just using the weight of the towel in light movements, with no back and forth rubbing. The wash procedure was repeated on the other side of the roof and I continued to work my way around the car, using a new MF towel soaked in ONR on each panel. Soiled towels went straight into the trash bag, never back into the wash bucket. Where appropriate I used a detailing brush to clean around trim, emblems, handles, etc. I left the rear of the car, the side rocker panels and front splitter 'til last. The wash phase went smoothly except for a bird dropping on the front hood which had probably been there for a long time and needed work with a clay bar to fully remove. It is essential to remove bird droppings, tree sap and pollen as soon as possible, preferably within 5 hours, before it eats through the clear coat and etches the car's paint.

Before – bird dropping visible in hood after first pass with ONR and before clay bar

 

After the main wash was finished I opened all the doors and cleaned around the door jambs and around the edges of the doors with a microfiber towel soaked in ONR.

ONR from a spray bottle was misted onto the car as a final detailer and buffed to a clean dry shine with a plush microfiber towel. The rinseless eco-friendly wash took just over an hour to complete. Some time can be saved by having a step positioned on each side of the SUV eliminating the need to keep dragging the spare bucket around so I could reach the roof. More time can be saved by having a wash bucket positioned on either side of the car to cut down on time spent walking around the car to get a fresh MF towel.

By the time the external cleaning was finished it was raining very heavily outside the garage and the air was very damp. I decided to hold off waxing the car until the next visit. After a short discussion with the owner we agreed to postpone cleaning the wheels as they would get dirty again after a couple of days driving in the rain. We did a final inspection of the car and I took a few photographs of the finished product – taking care to not include the dirty wheels! Notice how little water is on the floor of the garage.