Auto Body Cleanser - Better than polish

We always talk to people about how they are looking to "POLISH" their car. I have to always put it out there, that we are not big believers in regular polishing on paint. Read how we regard a non abrasive paint cleansing as a better method for regular use, to clean and restore that beautiful shine in your cars paint.

No, you don't want to be polishing...

To start off, we better clear up one simple point: Cleansing the paint is not the same as polishing the paint! Cleansers should be exactly that; purpose specific cleaning agents that remove blemishes and mild oxidisation with a combination of chemistry and a minor bit of elbow grease.


The best polishes on the market are to be used by a machine (random orbital or orbital) and can give a flawless finish when applied by a professional detailer (another article we will cover in the future). Polishes that are applied by hand, on the shelves of most auto accessory stores, are generally a one step cleaner/protectant that relies on abrasives to get the cleaning side of the job done and then uses a filler ingredient to temporarily mask the swirl marks they create. This is NOT the type of stuff we ever want used on our personal cars, let alone anyone else's. 

Why you ask?

Well, whilst I don't want to knock them, as polishes do have their time and place, I'll cut to the chase. If you have a brand new, well looked after car, even a restored collector car (that's a very broad term, covering past/present and future classics) with a new, original, or just with a fresh coat of paint, you don't need to use a polish. This is because the abrasives found in most polishes do a good job of what they are employed to do; strip off a fine layer of paint to expose a new layer underneath. Given that paint is on average between 50-150 microns thick (that makes a bee's look big, trust me), this should only be done as a last resort, if at all. Majority of the swirl marks you get in your paint are dutifully put there by the same abrasives as well. Another thing we don't think should be the result of using any car care product. 

Polishes, along with most 'one step' miracle products ("Cleaner Wax" is just re-named polish) tend to either do one of their tasks well at the expense of the other, or do both poorly. The one step method that provides cleaning and protecting in one easy action, either builds residue up on itself or does not supply enough of a protective barrier, causing your paint to start going backwards, FAST. You naturally use more of the polish to gain back some of your shine but this works temporarily, before you lose your glow again. Before you can say 'Killer Shine', you're back in the auto store buying more polish.

It's all about great preparation

Don't get us wrong, not all polishes are bad. Especially if you have a car that only needs a quick 'one-step' maintenance. We own a 1967 Falcon XR GT that still has its original paint from the day it left the factory, and is in pretty good order. If the previous owner of that car had chosen the regular polishing path, she would be like 95% of the other XR GTs out there: re-sprayed and therefore, in our opinion, devalued.

The majority of the cars in our collection fall into two categories; immaculately restored, or entirely original. So when we created our pre-wax Auto Body Cleanser, we formulated it to be used with both the new hard clear coats or old fragile acrylic coats. These range from our 1940 Ford Businessman's coupe with its original paint, through to our freshest coat, the BMW M1 Procar. Gentle but effective is definitely the motto of our pre-wax paint cleanser.

Very few car care companies understand just how important it is to retain original coats of paint. We do, and we want the motoring enthusiasts of Australia to know that they can now buy a product from a local manufacturer which is focused soley on the goal of paint longevity. We understand that not everyone wants a new coat of paint on his or her car every 10 years; and when you regularly use the Bowden's Own range, this only becomes an option, not a necessity. The Auto Body Cleanser has a dual purpose; to renew your cars original lustre and to prepare the surface for our Auto Body Wax, Lazy Wax or Fully Slick protective coatings.

Car care is all about awesome preparation, and this product we've created has become the ultimate paint preparation tool we can make to use by hand. Deep cleaning the paint, removing minor imperfections and marks, and leaving it silky smooth so the wax can work its best on the surface. It's also why the next step is so important as well. 

Do you need to Clay?

To start, we ensure that the car has been thoroughly washed with our Auto Body Gel or Nanolicious Wash, and has had time to totally dry. Its surface has to be cool to touch and out of direct sunlight. Then we assess the cars' paint; does it really require a thorough going over? Run your fingertips gently over your paint. Does it feel rough and look as though there are particles bonded to the car's surface? If so, it may first need some quick work with a Clay Bar or Clay Towel. These products make your paint beautiful and smooth, taking off all the bonded contaminants that sit on top of your paint - the types that the cleanser cannot remove, such as over-spray, rail dust and many other little items that bond to your paint over time. Doing this claying process will make the cleansing a lot easier and it also helps your final wax coats' effectiveness so it lasts a lot longer too. It's well worth doing. You can find the guides on these products at the bottom of this article.

When applying the Auto Body Cleanser, the rubbing action, combined with its active ingredients, creates a positive charge on the surface of the paint. This enables the Auto Body Wax to bond to the surface with tenacity, ensuring an even, smooth surface that lasts. If you follow the directions on the bottle and follow up with the Auto Body Wax, Lazy Wax or Fully Slick, you can expect your car to glow, and most importantly, expect your paint to last.

STEP 1

Preparing to cleanse 

If the paint feels okay, then you are ready to give it a cleansing. First, you have to assess the paints' condition. Is it fragile, old paint? If your answer is YES, then only give the car a mild once over to develop a bonding agent for the wax/sealant. If it's the original coat and that is the way you want it to stay, then only use a reasonably gentle action when applying and buffing off the Auto Body Cleanser. Remember, this is clear coat safe and very gentle, so short of going ballistic with a buffing wheel, your car is getting cleansed by the safest paint cleanser you can buy!

Again, make sure the car is dry - why? Well, water actually compounds how effectively the cleanser works, meaning it makes it tough to cleanse. It can also be annoying when your nice even strokes are broken by a droplet, escaping from behind that beautiful chrome badge. So dry that car! Always make sure you are not wearing any rings, or other items that can mark the paint. Big belt buckles are a ripper for those unexplained scratch marks all over your cars body.

STEP 2

Effective application 

Start by shaking the bottle well, then apply a 50 cent piece size dollop of Auto Body Cleanser to the surface of a blue edged Circle Work microfibre applicator pad. Smother it over the surface with your finger, leaving no dry sections on the pad.

We also have an orange edged Circle Work applicator pad and matching Big Softie microfibre cloth for using with the wax. Both blue and orange edged cloths and applicators are the same. This is done so you can visually separate the cleanser and wax cloths. Reason being is that the cleanser cleans off any wax. So if there is cleanser and wax on the same cloth you will wreck your whole day! Keep them separated, as you do not want to use the same cloth by mistake when doing the next step of waxing.  

Firstly use the Auto Body Cleanser on a small, inconspicuous area to assess suitability. We have never had a complaint; other than people using the Auto Body Cleanser under the assumption that it would have some real cutting 'oomph'. Make no mistakes; this is the baby shampoo of the paint-cleansing world.

STEP 3

Apply in a circular motion 

Work on one small area of the car at a time. I like breaking down large panels into quadrants. This minimises the chance of missing a section.

Apply using a gentle circular motion, making sure to go over the entire surface a section at a time. We like to do it with a pass over in one direction, say top to bottom, and then a second pass, still using the circular action, this time going from side to side on the same area. This is so you get the most effective cleaning done and don't miss any spots!

There might be a few of you out there that have been told to apply products in a straight line, never circular. Yes, that's true with old polishes and other products that use an abrasive, as they will create swirls! However, with the modern combination of our safe, non scratching Circle Work applicator and our cleanser being free of harsh abrasives, you can go the easier circular motion with no fear of swirls.

STEP 4

The final buff 

Once the cleanser has dried to a haze, remove it with a folded, clean, blue edged Big Softie microfibre cloth. Using the non plush side first to make the job easier. Use the same circular motion for the best result.

Then flip the cloth to the plush side for a final buff over the area and you're done. Note how smooth it moves over the paint now. That's what deep cleaning does! Now move onto the next section, continuing until all the car is done. 

Drying time of the cleanser will vary with your climate and the conditions under which you are cleansing. Another thing to take on board is the less cleanser you apply, the easier it is to buff off!

The cleanser can leave white marks on some black trims and plastics, due to the good gear we put in it. Try and keep from applying product on them, or mask them off with painters tape before you begin. If you do get some on by accident and need to remove them, our Vinyl Care or Vinyl Revival lightly scrubbed onto the trim areas with a soft nail brush will do the job nice and easy. Just don't scrub the paint...

STEP 5

Feeling good 

Inspect the car to ensure all the residue is buffed away. Then gently run your dry fingertips over the paints surface to ensure it feels smooth and ready for the Auto Body Wax, Lazy Wax or Fully Slick.

Well done! Feels good doesn't it? But don't rest on your laurels now. The paint is currently exposed and if you don't protect it with a nourishing wax or sealant before it's exposed to the elements, then you're in for a rapidly degenerating paint job. This leads us on to our next section; waxing and paint protection. You will find this section in another guide below. 

 

Any questions?


I believe the Auto Body Cleanser is one of the best and most sophisticated products in our range. Try it and see how much better a non abrasive paint care system is for your cars paint over the long term.

You can get our paint care products at any of our great retailers nationwide. Find your closest store in the link at the bottom of this article. 

If you have any questions or feedback about this article please contact me by email - dan@bowdensown.com.au or call our office on 1800 351 308

Love your car,

Dan Bowden


Paint Rejuvenation Pack

Paint Rejuvenation Pack

Bring back the shine to your paint with this cool combo of products.

$46.99 View Product

Paint Cleanse & Restore

Paint Cleanse & Restore

A modern replacement for abrasive polishes, that rejuvenates paint without creating swirls

$25.99 View Product

Circle Work

Circle Work

Designed to snugly fit your hand, for quick and easy application of cleansers, waxes and polishes.

$16.99 View Product

Big Softie

Big Softie

This plush cloth cuts time in removing waxes, cleansers, glass cleaners and detail sprays.

$12.99 View Product

Questions - How often should I be waxing?
Questions - How often should I be waxing?
Paint Protection - Using the Auto Body Wax
Paint Protection - Using the Auto Body Wax
Using the faster and easier Clay Towels
Using the faster and easier Clay Towels
Keeping it smooth with our Fine Clay Bar
Keeping it smooth with our Fine Clay Bar