Caring for your Matte paint

Matte/satin (satin finishes will fall under this category too, so if your vehicle has a satin finish, and not strictly a matte finish, then this article is also for you!) paint jobs and wraps are becoming increasingly popular with some of the major manufacturers offering this type of finish from factory. This type of finish requires a totally different style of care so as to not add shiny spots and ruin the look. In this guide we'll go over how to wash and care for your matte finish, run you through how to protect the paint from the elements, and give you some important information on the do not's when it comes to matte finishes.

Flat Out Finish

When working with matte finishes, it's very important to not use any products that are designed to add gloss, this includes washes, detailing sprays, polishes or cleansers, waxes and sealants etc. 

You will also need to avoid any kind of extended rubbing or buffing using any kind of product, which rules out the Clay Bar and Claying Rubber, or any other clay mediums as these will wear away the matte surface and leave shiny spots underneath.

In our range of products, we can recommend using Snow Job or Mega Snow Job for a prewash, Auto Body Gel as your bucket wash, Three Way can be used touchlessly for iron decontamination, and Clean Detail as your detailing spray for general wipedowns and can be used as a finishing spray once the detail is complete. We are working on a protective spray sealant and a paste wax for matte/satin finishes that will be available in the coming months.


Snow Foam Pre Wash

The Snow Job pre wash is an important start to any detail. This step is vitally important in helping to reduce the chance of putting swirls and scratches in your paint by laying a thick blanket of foam over your vehicle, helping to break down heavier dirt and grit, before pressure washing it off. If the car is particularly dirty, or you need a deeper clean to perhaps strip older waxes and sealants off, or the car has built up road grime, our Mega Snow Job might be better suited with its extra cleaning ability.

Start foaming at the back of the car, on the dirtier lower sections first, moving up to the roof last to allow the foam the longest dwell time on the dirtier sections of the car.

For a detailed how-to guide on using the Snow Blow Cannon and Snow Job, see the guide below - 

Hand Washing

Now that you've removed the heavier dirt and grit from the car, it's time for a two bucket hand wash with Auto Body Gel. We use this wash as it's a more pure wash and won't leave any extra elements that aren't suited for matte finishes on the paint after its use. Grab your Wash and Rinse buckets with Great Barrier Thingy's in them, and your favourite wash tool (we love The Wash Pillow). Put one capful of the Auto Body Gel wash into the Wash bucket with approx 10-12L of water, and froth it up with your pressure washer or hose.

Wash sections of the vehicle at a time, starting at the top, and working your way down to the dirtier lower sections last. After each section (quarter of a roof, bonnet etc), dip your wash tool into the Rinse bucket to get any dirt and grit out of it, then go back into your clean wash suds bucket and continue around the rest of the car, doing small sections at a time.

Once the whole car has been washed, take the end of your hose off and flood the panels with water, to help remove all the suds, and as much water as possible from the surface. Start at the top of the car and work your way down.

Once you're done, empty the buckets and give them a good rinse out. You don't want to be storing any wash water for use later!

For a detailed look at this process, and all things washing, check out our guide below - 


With the pre wash and wash now done, it's time to dry the car. At this stage, for this process, we're using The Big Green Sucker. Normally we would use Boss Gloss for this as it will help the cloth to absorb water a bit better, but we don't want to add shine to the finish so we won't be using it.

Start by drying the glass first to avoid getting water spots. After doing the glass, start from the top and work your way down to the lower sections of the car last.

For all the water that sits in wing mirrors, door handles etc, it's always a good idea to get a small battery powered blower, and go around and blow all of the water out of these spots, then tidy it up with either the Twisted Pro Sucker or The Big Green Sucker, to avoid getting any water spots on the paint.

For more information about the Twisted Pro Sucker or The Big Green Sucker and how to use it, see our guide below:

Paint Decontamination

If you have a vinyl wrap over the entire car, we do not recommend the use of Three Way.

Make sure the vehicle you're decontaminating is in the shade and the paint is cool to touch. A well-ventilated area outside in the shade is ideal.

Spray Three Way directly onto the painted surfaces (don't stress if you get it on headlights, plastics, etc, as it's 100% safe for all of these surfaces) one panel at a time, and allow 1 minute for the purple reaction to begin. This reaction is the ingredients in Three Way reacting with the iron particles on your paint, and safely breaking them down so they can be rinsed away. You will notice this reaction will be stronger on the bonnet, roof and rear of the car, as these are the panels that will see most of the fallout on them.

After 1-2 minutes (no more than 3-4 minutes), rinse the panel thoroughly. If you're worried about water drying on the panels, dry the panel before moving on. Move onto the next panel and use the same method on each subsequent panel, until the whole car is done.

After you have washed and rinsed the vehicle after using Three Way, dry the whole vehicle. It's good practice to run around the vehicle with a small battery powered blower if you have one, and blow all of the water out of the nooks and crannies like around the wing mirrors, behind door handles, wheels and tyres etc. It's also a good idea to quickly dry the door jambs, wheels and tyres with a couple of Dirty Deeds cloths.

Quick Detailing/finishing spray

Clean Detail is safe for use for general car detailing purposes, bird poo removal etc, as it is not protective and does not add gloss to your finish. This makes it the perfect product to use on a matte finish, to finish the detail off and leave a brilliantly smooth and anti-static finish.

Lightly mist Clean Detail evenly over the surface you need to be cleaned. We find it's best to do smaller sections at a time, so it doesn't all evaporate away. Use enough product to have the area mildly damp, then lightly wipe over it with a clean, folded Big Softie microfibre cloth. Finish it off by turning the cloth over to a dry side and gently buffing the area for a perfect, natural looking finish.

If you're doing a bigger area, use two Big Softie cloths; one for product removal and the other for buffing to a clean finish. 

Check your cloth often for dirt in it. Don't use the dirty sections again, turn it to a clean side and replace for a new cloth once all sides have been used. 

Clean Detail is lubricating, but it's not made to be used on areas that are excessively dirty or with heavy build ups of grime. You're always best to clean those by rinsing down with water first and then washing with Auto Body Gel

Any questions?

Should you have any questions about anything mentioned in this article, or have questions about other products and processes, feel free to get in touch on 1800 351 308, or shoot us an email to

Happy detailing,

Brett Hobbs