FINDING YOUR WASHING ELIXIR
Throughout the years I've covered the expanses of car care products, with much of them alluding to a magical potion, special formula, or perhaps the cure for all diseases as it pertains to the auto enthusiast. With a countless catalogue of enticing products, how do you know which one will perform to meet your expectations?
Bedazzled packaging and marketing slogans fill the shelves and sometimes you're left wondering if there's something more to it than meets the eye. I will tell you that the detailing world is no different than any other industry. Unfortunately, the only way to differentiate the efficacy of one product versus another is to simply to buy and test.
As you navigate your way through countless care care products, here are a few watchwords that you can avoid, thus giving you the opportunity to find that one product that matches your criteria. Please note, this article is entirely subjective and should only serve as a guide.
1. Above all else, avoid any products that haven't been tested in the marketplace for a certain period of the time. Would you purchase a brand new vehicle without learning its durability and overall reliability? I should hope not.
2. There's always a red flag associated with big-box stores. However, you can take this with a grain of salt because this isn't the case for every single product on their shelves. While places like Walmart, Costco, Target, and other stores of the like provide everything underneath the sun, care care products offered at these places are often riddled with less than savory products. If you want exceptional results, you need to look in all the right places. At the end of this article, you'll find a healthy handful of washing solutions that are not only user-friendly, but also deliver eye-popping results.
3. Shampoos and soaps are primarily made of solvents. Unlike traditional dish soaps, car wash shampoos and soaps of a higher pedigree will often list information such as pH levels. Just for reference, a pH level between 6 and 7 is scientifically designed to be the least abrasive against the surface it touches. Therefore, look for products that contain any semblance of pH-neutral or pH-balanced. Reason being is that when you're addressing vehicles that Sodium Lauryl Sulphate or SLS is the main ingredient that's used in a majority of specialty car wash solutions, and there are some manufacturers that use a higher concentration. Coco Diethanolamide is the chemical additive that's used as a foaming agent. Again, the results will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
4. In an ideal world, you need to find a product that feels like silk against your wash media. To make a correlation, you would never shave your face without some form of lubrication (shaving gel, cream, etc.) The same concept applies to your washing solution.
5. While E-commerce is flooded with car care products, especially those of the washing persuasion, some of the most trusted brands within the industry include Meguiar's, CarPro, Sonax, Optimum, P&S, Gyeon, Poorboy's, Griot's Garage, and many many others. Trust me, there are many others. This should at least serve as an introductory guide.
6. While this may not be directly associated with a washing solution, there's a highly debatable topic concerning the use of a foam gun or foam cannon. The application of using a shampoo-specific foam cannon is to allow the washing solution to break apart and emulsify the contamination that may be present on the paintwork, whereby reducing the potential of marring the finish. Others seem to be of the opinion that this is purely for aesthetics and showmanship, but I'm of the opinion that it delivers its set of benefits under the right conditions, especially for those that carry a coated vehicle.
Optimum Car Wash
Meguiar's Hyper Wash
CarPro Reset Shampoo
Chemical Guys Mr. Pink (best if used with a foam gun or foam cannon)