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Layered approach to cleaning

Strong products have always a certain hype about them, and when asked “what is the best Product X” people will often go on and on about the cleaning powers of products. But pure cleaning power is one of the least important things in detailing. Pure cleaning power will tell you nothing about if a product is really good.

So what is important then? A product that is considered good should not only clean well but also be safe to your car, even after multiple uses and safe on you while using it and at best safe on the environment.

A cleaner might not show his material unsafety after just one use, but then after a few uses you notice your plastic trim starts to discolour, your rubber gaskets on the windows might start to deteriorate or even our paint might start to oxidise quicker, your brake system might develop deep rusting issues,..) this is why using a good material safe product on regular washes is so important.

But you can already see where this leads, while there are crazy products that just hit that sweet spot where they have a good combination of material safety, cleaning power and also economical pricing, it is still import to layer your approach.

A super strong product that takes a reasonable compromise on material safety is good to have in the case where you clean something with it once that was extremely dirty. In that one case the benefit of a stronger cleaning power outweighs the slightly (and I really mean slightly, there are products out there that shouldn’t really be used by anyone not trained on them) worse material safety.

This goes for almost every part of cleaning, be it interior or exterior. Have a mild approach ready, when it fails go up a notch. This can both be via different products and also different strengths of product. You want to be as safe as possible while also having the cleaning power needed. Over time you will find which combination you will need when and can likely skip that step of working yourself up the layers.

Updated on 5 July 2023

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