Detailer glossary is a set of terms and definitions that are common and popular in the detailing world. On this page, we dedicate space to defining the products, tools, techniques, applications, processes, and aspects of good detailing. Also covered is the types of vehicles that can be detailed and what is required to detail them. This detailer glossary is an ongoing project and will be updated regularly with new terms.
Abrasive – All detailing products have a level of abrasiveness depending on the purpose of their application. Natural (silica) or synthetic (aluminum oxide) components are present in cleaning and polishing compounds applied to the vehicles surface.
Blushing – Blushing can occur on new paint after polishing where the paint becomes milky or cloudy looking. It may be necessary to wait 30 days to re-polish to address the blushing.
Ceramic Coating – The best UV and heat protection can be found with ceramic coating for paint protection. Ceramic coating protects from swirls, chemicals, bugs, dirt and many other issues that can cause damage to a cars paint.
Clay Bar – A clay bar is designed to lift the residue and grime from a vehicles finish. They can be made from natural or synthetic compounds. Using a clay bar will ‘lift’ all the contamination from the surface so that a protectant can be applied.
Compound – A type of abrasive polish that is used to remove scratches and other imperfections from the paint surface.
Cut – How abrasive a polishing compound is referred to as its cut. Higher cuts can remove paint, scratches and material faster than lower cut compounds. Lower cut compound is used for protecting the finish of the paint.
Degreaser – A product that is used to remove grease and grime from the engine bay.
Dry – Drying may seem obvious, but it is an important step after a wash. Air drying with high powered fans is often used, but microfiber cloths or other drying cloths are also often common drying apparatus. Vehicles that aren’t dried properly after washing will have issues with the clear coat.
Detail spray – A quick-detail product that is used to clean and shine the exterior of a car between washes.
Engine Bay Dressing – A product that is used to restore the original shine to plastic and rubber components in the engine bay.
Engine cleaner – A product that is specifically formulated to clean the various components of an engine.
Engine Bay Protector – A product that is used to protect the various components in the engine bay from the elements.
Engine Degreaser – A product that is specifically formulated to remove grease and grime from the engine.
Engine Protector – A product that is used to protect the engine from the elements and prevent corrosion.
Glaze – Glazes are substances that are applied to the finish of a vehicle to fill in any scratches or imperfections that may be present. Application of glaze makes the paint more shiny and vibrant, closer to what the vehicle looked like when it was new. Typically only one coat of glaze is applied.
Microfiber Cloths – Microfiber is a type of fabric with millions of fibers. It is especially good at removing particulate such as dirt, grime, grease, wax and any other substances that may be present on a vehicles surface. Proper high quality microfiber cloths are required to detail vehicles properly.
Polish – A product that is used to improve the shine and clarity of a car’s paint.
Power Wash – A method of cleaning using high-pressure water spray.
Pressure Washer – A machine that produces a high-pressure stream of water for cleaning purposes.
Sealant – A sealant is really important for protecting the paint for the long term. What sealant does is bond with the paint, offering protection for months or longer. The bonding process requires a curing time of 1 hour or longer depending on the product.
Steam cleaner – A machine that produces steam to clean and degrease various surfaces, including the engine bay.
Wash – The first step in any good detailing is to wash the car. Washing is a technique in and of itself and requires the proper tools and products.
Wax – Waxing is one of the most important processes in detailing. There are so many different types of waxes, all with different quality levels and application processes. This is why it is so important to go with a professional detailing service like Slick Mobile Detail!
Wire Brush – A tool with a handle and a head made of wire bristles, used for scrubbing and removing dirt and grime from surfaces.
Wheel cleaner – A product that is specifically formulated to clean the wheels and tires of a car.