Learning more about detailing - please critique my process


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Hey all- looking for some critique. I've always had black cars and now that they aren't econo cars, swirls bother me more and more.

One car is black and has opti coat pro +

Pre-rinse w/ regular hose water (pressure wash)

2 bucket wash with ONR + big red sponge and distilled water in both buckets

I was previously drying with an Absorber, but am switching to the waffle microfiber towels

I was previously applying hyper seal to a dried car, but will now use as a drying aid

Finish with instant detailer with Meguiar's microfibers (since I have a stack of them)

Wheels I am currently using Meguiar's hot wheels wheel and tire cleaner


The car without coating -

Pre rinse with hose water (pressure wash)

2 bucket Wash with Optimum Car Wash mixed with regular water and big red sponge

pressure rinse with hose water

I was previously drying with a water blade and Absorber, but will switch to waffle microfiber towels

Wheels I am using Meguiar's hot wheels wheel and tire cleaner

For clay when needed (probably not often enough, hence swirls) I am using Meguiar's clay and detailer - not sure if I should switch to the clay mitt w/ water or not

For compound when needed, I use Presta Ultra Cutting Crème with a harbor freight DA

For polish when needed, I use Meguiar's Ultimate Polish

For wax, I use Meguiar's synthetic liquid wax

Planning to switch to intensive polish, hyper polish, and optimum car wax when I run out of these products moving forward and also power clean for the wheels


I'm not sure where to use Ferrex or when on both the coated and non coated cars .

Also, I use distilled water in the no rinse wash because the water is very hard by me. I have MDR on hand when needed.

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a couple quick observations - unless you off road, live on a dirt road, or deal with sand/chemicals for snow removal, I don't see the need to ever rinse your cars with a hose.  I have not done a traditional hose wash since I met ONR.  Also, I would think the Hot Wheels is a pretty caustic cleaner for regular use.  Power Clean is safer with lots of other uses.  I'll let others comment on the non Optimum products mentioned. 

FerreX is safe on both coated and uncoated cars and is for occasional use, particularly for decontamination or when brake dust is a problem.  ONR will soften hard water, but it's always good to use DI when available.

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