The final part of the trip for a wee Sassenach like myself was with Chris Kennedy of Mint Detailing in Denny. My previous visits up till now with Crystal Clear and Pro-Valet were fantastic for a mobile guy spending time with other mobile guys. However, this final part of the trip was to take a trip down memory lane by working with a unit based outfit.
Already having made acquaintance having a Douwe Egberts caramel coffee over with Johnnie Hamill a couple of days before, as well as our extensive Facebook correspondence in the year running up to the visit, there was no introduction needed as Chris started work pretty sharpish on the Kia Sportage that was awaiting some Winter Protection.
The preparation featured none less than the industry standard of pre-wash, snow foam, two bucket wash method, iron fallout treatment, tar spot removal and clay barring. Chris' advice here was to carry out the prep work as thoroughly and efficiently as possible, ensuring the job gets done properly and also leave as much time as possible for the polishing and protection aspect of the job. We aren't paid to drink tea you know! Even though, this did not stop me walking to the Co-op two doors down to get us some Irn Bru.
Once indoors the Kia was dried thoroughly, as we then set about pampering the paintwork with a micro-fine machine polish using CarPro Essence as a primer polish ready for our layers of protection. Chris told me that his initial experience with machine polishing was in a bodyshop capacity, and back then you would have to get the job of giving that extra bit of finesse to fresh paint with a single speed rotary polisher - a far cry to the advancements of the wide and wonderful world of various polishing machines that we have today. Even so, this was a great opportunity for me to receive some extra guidance on rotary polishing at higher speeds. In the wrong hands they can indeed do damage as they cut very quickly, but once over that barrier, turning the rotary up to higher operating speeds put me at just as much ease as the forced rotation DA that I have made an extension of my hand over the years.
After the machine polishing process was completed, we protected the vehicle with products from Chris' brand of choice - IGL. On the job we used IGL Ecocoat Wax, which contains trace amounts of Si02 as found in Ceramic Coatings, followed by IGL Ecocoat Premier hydrophobic coating spray.
Needless to say, the customer was delighted with her car, noticing how silky smooth the paintwork was, with assurance that the water repellent behaviour now evident on the paintwork would protect it over the harsh Scottish winter.
The feeling of making genuine friends throughout this trip was undeniable. Johnnie Hamill, his partner Mel and Chris so kindly taken me for an amazing meal at Canada Wood on the final evening, and I was treated to a visit to Stirling Castle on the morning that I had to leave, a sight to behold with plenty of history to see.
A write-up on the whole trip featured in the Pro Detailer magazine issue 6 brings us to an end of this great journey working with fellows of the trade, broadening horizons and learning just that little bit more. It is however, not the last time I will meet these great friends that I have also made, and who knows, perhaps another trip may be in order for the not too distant future... Thanks for reading! - Andrew
Whilst Detailed By Andrew has many customers that use the Service Clean package to maintain their vehicle after having a Detailing service package carried out, there are many out there that choose to wash and clean their car themselves afterwards, which is absolutely fine.
I know full well that many people may want to look after their car by themselves on the regular after having the detailing work done, for many reasons. As a result I am often asked for aftercare advice and so here I hope to give a bit of direction for the weekend warrior. In this product review I offer my two-penneth on CarPro's offering on a quintessential piece of kit that should belong in any avid car washer's arsenal; the merino wool wash mitt.
Above picture courtesy of CarPro, used for reviewing purposes.
So what is it?
It is a densely packed washed merino wool wash mitt with a pouch at the back to ergonomically put your hand in during use, offering control and less chance of resigning it to the bin after dropping it on the gravel. The high quality material medium ensures that a gentle and effective wash can be achieved when shampooing your car; being sensitive to paintwork when used properly.
Why I like it.
Okay, so you are here reading this blog because you might trust my recommendation on a product. The CarPro Merino Wool Wash Mitt has a long pile, meaning more surface area to carry suds, shampoo, and any other detailing geekiness out of that product bottle and onto your car. There isn't much softer out there than merino wool, and this higher surface area means that tiny bits of sediments are kept away from the paintwork when you "swipe" along the panel, as opposed to being ground in, causing all sorts of marring, scratches and swirls as you would otherwise incur when using a sponge or harsher item. When using this mitt, you can hold as little or as much product as you will ever need. It just holds loads of shampoo - meaning that if you want that extra bit of slipperiness on the panel, you can crank a load of it out before having to go back to the buckets.
Something to take note of here, always use the two bucket wash method. That means, once you've cleaned a couple of panels, starting with the cleanest first, wash the mitt out in a clean bucket before soaking it up in the shampoo bucket again. Grit guards help, and pre-rinsing the vehicle of as much sediment as possible is vital before considering wash contact. As a final pointer, you may want to consider the purchase of a foam lance attachment for a pressure washer or hose pipe, so that the panels can be foamed up for extra lubrication after that initial pre-wash and pre-rinse.
The old saying goes - you get what you pay for. I have seen many wash mitts in the DIY shops, online stores and eBay, at a fraction of the price; but their longevity, construct and safeness on your vehicle's delicate surfaces match their price - cheap. Granted, the CarPro Merino Wool Wash Mitt isn't going to be considered cheap by general members of the public, and I think these days especially in the detailing scene that this doesn't come to much of a surprise. This item comes in at £18.99 with VAT included, but with any possible delivery charge on top. This is in no means to say that it is overly expensive at all; this is a premium product that has been well constructed out of quality materials. Again, you get what you pay for and the value is there. Indeed, many a wash mitt are in this price bracket, and sometimes even higher. I have previously used similarly priced wash mitts in the past and I am far more impressed with this one for it's softness, ease of maintenance and build quality.
What to be careful of.
The long pile means that sticking this mitt right under the pits of your car will see you unable to get it clean again very easily. The debris from the lower, grittier, grottier areas will prove to be difficult to fully remove from those long fibres when out on the job. No matter how thoroughly you pre-wash and pre-rinse these areas, they will always be the most filthy areas to contact wash. For this reason, this mitt in my opinion is more suited to the top panels of your car. For instance, the roof, glass, bonnet, boot and higher parts of the sides. For the lower parts of the car, I recommend using a shorter pile mitt, such as the Dooka Wash Pad, Sam's Luxury Wash Mitt, or Paragon Microfibre Mitt as these have shorter fibres and "release" debris a lot easier.
Do not use the black netting to scrub your car! Perhaps my only criticism of this mitt is that it isn’t double sided with wool. However, I dare say that if they were, their production cost would be nearly doubled.
As with all long fibre wash mitts, brushing them out after use is necessary. If, like me, you wash cars frequently, it's worth having more than one to allow you that little bit of squad rotation to avoid getting caught out playing a brand new one against Guardiola on the Sunday, and a tired one against Pardiola on the Wednesday. One or two can rest on the bench waiting to be brushed out ready for the next job. There just is no room for error where cross-car-contamination is concerned.
If you are interested in buying this item, it can be found direct from the UK official CarPro site here: https://carpro.uk.com/products/merino-wool-wash-mitt
As with all advice found on the internet, you carry out any works on your own car at your own risk. Detailed By Andrew does not accept any liability for your actions taken as a result of any advice given, reading this article or any other found on this website. One final piece of T&C small print; Detailed By Andrew's reviews are strictly impartial with no third party influence.
If you have any comments or questions please feel free to post in the comment section below. Thanks again! - Andrew.
So it was not to be, I couldn't stay in Middlesbrough forever no matter how much I enjoyed my stay and the company of Mr Fryett of Crystal Clear. After the completion of our task on the Audi S3, we packed our tools away and said our fare-thee-wells. Dusk set in as the trusty Detailed By Andrew wagon sailed off past the Why Aye land of Newcastle just up the road...
The roads became more narrow, twisty and bleaker as I traversed through Northumberland National Park towards the Scottish border. My sense of direction dwindled as did the available amount of radio stations. It came to a point where I seemed to be driving forever with no hope of a service station, and I was left with no choice but to pull over in the woods, only to feel like I was on set in "The Hills Have Eyes" for the most eerie, erm, stop for a sight-see I have ever had.
Many miles later I finally arrived in Falkirk to my Premier Inn hotel where a couple of pints of Guinness and a Beefeater meal greeted me just as well as the the locals. Seriously, as an Englishman visiting Scotland my welcome proved there was nothing to fear. As it was just the start of the weekend and I was booked to be up there until Tuesday I had a night to relax and catch up with some personal admin work.
Before my scheduled visit I really needed to get my barnet sorted. A quick Google search lead me to The Ross Carter Barber Shop and I tell you now, they do a really sharp job there. Sat waiting in the queue I was familiarly acquainted with the usual Premier League commentators voices, Stoke were being beaten to my delight, and it was in no time at all that I was asked "So what is your preference - Celtic or Rangers?" A question that a young wee English lad alone in Scotland best answer diplomatically! In a strange twist of fate, Ross's father used to be a barbering tutor at a college local to me - Dudley Tech. I left, truly with a very fresh trim. With the brisk Falkirk air hitting the sides of my head - man, was indeed, not hot.
This window of time proved well in the end as Saturday's appointment to attend an Audi RS5 with Johnnie Hamill of Pro-Valet (www.pro-valet.net) fell through as the customer was sadly called into work on short notice.
These are the perils of our trade; we fully intend to provide our service to please the customer and pay our bills, but unexpected situations can dampen our efforts somewhat. Not to fear though, as Johnnie had another job lined up on a 2010 Mini Cooper that desperately required some love so he did.
Johnnie's works van is a mobile guy's dream. An MWB Transit T280 with enough space to pack everything you could require into. Much like the Crystal Clear van, I soon appreciated my own efforts to equip my diddy Peugeot Partner van in a space effective manner, otherwise there was just no way I could effectively compete!
Rocking up in the van, firing up the generator and linking the pressure washer to the water supply we were soon on our way after the initial inspection, and meet and greet with the customer.
Johnnie has been in the trade for more than 30+ years so there is more to his wealth of experience than I could possibly hope to include in this write-up, which is why I was keen to get some hours down working with him. There is only so much you can hope to learn on your own, or by reading books, or by watching videos after all.
Sadly this Mini was bereft of TLC, and Pro-Valet was the port of call to get it shining once more. I picked up tips from Johnnie to further up my game on the clay bar process, to name just one of many. Not that I had been doing it wrong or inefficiently, but there are some little tricks to make the side panels a little more comfortable on the hands.
One of the main educational points for me was getting to try the Rupes Bigfoot 15 for size (myself being a die-hard Flex user this was akin to a West Brom fan trying on a Wolves shirt, as some would say), but jokes aside it proved an opportunity to try out some polishing tools that I otherwise would not have unless I committed to buy them. In a strange turn of events, a young man happened to walk by wearing a West Brom jacket... Stifling my temptation to shout "Pulis Out!" Johnnie imparted some advice on how to get the most of the light cut pad and polish in conjunction with that particular machine.
I thoroughly enjoyed working alongside Johnnie, and the lessons I learned will always shine through in my future work.
It wasn't just the tricks, working manner and tools that I had the benefit of learning form either. There was a particular protection product used on this visit that really shone through. I'll keep it a secret for now though, as I really want to offer it to you, the potential customer, some point soon... But not only that, some methodology that works well for mobile guys putting up with unpredictable weather. The customer was delighted with her car, and with Johnnie and I working somewhat in tandem we managed to get the whole thing done in 3 and a half hours. Those are Usain Bolt stats right there!
It is mesmerising isn't it? How a chain reaction between two chemical elements results in the production of a vivid colour... Out of nowhere, purple liquid just seeps out of the paintwork's pores to prove as a visual that one element of your cleaning and decontamination process can be witnessed with a colour change as proof of efficacy.
Colour changing Iron Fallout removers have been on the market for a decade at the very least. The first one I personally tried was CarPro Iron-X. As the market leader in Iron Fallout removers, most brands have upped their game to keep pace and produce an alternative to challenge the original colour changing Iron Fallout removers.
Before I delve into the car detailing geekiness involved with reviewing such a product, I would like to quickly give you a run-down on what Iron Fallout actually is. Brake dust and factory pollution contain iron particles that just love to sinter into your paintwork, and from there start a chain reaction of tiny bits of rust into your finish. It is better to arrest the affects of this process by nipping it in the bud before it takes a serious hold. This is why Iron Fallout removers are formulated. They break these deposits down into a water-soluble compound that just rinses away.
Autoglym have recently stepped into the fold by launching their own colour changing treatment called "Liquid Clay". Interestingly, they have had an Iron Fallout remover on the market for many years, which is an Oxalic acid based product that does not change colour on application.
Firstly, I would like to echo the rhetoric that this product is perhaps a little misleading in its nomenclature and printed description. Autoglym have said that the use of the use of this product will result in smooth paintwork, just as if you have clay barred it! Personally, if I were employed by their savvy marketing department I would have dubbed it "Clay Mate". Why? Because treating Iron Fallout, as well as tar spots, should be done in conjunction with clay barring for a fully comprehensive clean of the vehicle's bodywork.
So, the product itself. It has a zesty scent that overpowers the usual eggy-fart smell that is all too well associated with these types of products. A bonus for the user before we have even started, in my books! Some would argue that perfumes hamper the yield of these treatments, but this one delivers well and truly.
I put it to good use on a worthy recipient - that being a 27 year old Nissan Allstar, in all its glory with white paint. If any colour change effect was going to be best visible, it was going to be on a truck like this one, what with some areas of surface rust quite literally running down the paint.
Within 5 minutes the "bleed" effect was evident in abundance. Application was smooth, it would seem a little goes a long way helping this product to be economical in repeat use.
In terms of price, you will have to contact your local Autoglym sales rep for exact cost as this is currently a product only available through your local franchise. For a 5litre container, you should expect to pay around £40, making this not quite the most expensive deal, but not the cheapest outlay either.
The use of this product certainly broke the back of decontaminating this truck, which was then followed with clay barring and a light cut machine polish with dual action machine utilising CarPro Essence polish, with Bilt Hamber Hydra-wax.
Would I buy again? Certainly. It isn't the cheapest per litre, but spreads much better than the cheapest - giving it that economic value so much well known by the dish wash soap that we dare not use on our cars. If they choose to make a 25 litre offering, I will be all over it. Andy out!