I recently started polishing my family and friends’ cars, as well as mine, but I always manage to get polish in the crevices? How would I go about removing it?
Thanks for submitting your question Christopher.
This is a very common issue that we detailers need to address on every single polishing job. How we choose to deal with it will vary from one person to the next, but taking the time to do it properly is a sign of a quality detail job.
I see a lot of cars out there that have been “detailed” in the past, and unfortunately the person working on the car cut corners and didn’t clean up the mess afterwards. This is an un-finished job, and looks very unprofessional. Depending on the polish or compound that is used, it can also turn very hard over time and then it becomes quite difficult to remove.
The first option that you have is to prevent the polish from getting into the cracks and crevices in the first place. You can tape up body seams, around lights, trim, emblems, and any other places that polish or compound can get into. Not only does taping prevent polish build-up in these areas, but it’s also protecting delicate edges and trim.
As you can see in this photo, I have applied a 1/4″ strip of tape over this seam just to prevent polish from getting down into the seal.
We’ve addressed how to prevent polish build up in crevices, so now let’s take a quick look at how to remove it. At the end of the polishing session, we’re always going to have residue and build-up at the edges where the tape was, and we’ll also have some in areas that couldn’t be taped. This can become a time-intensive task, but it has to be done properly. You need to be very careful during this stage, otherwise you risk scratching up the areas that you just spent a good part of a day (or more) polishing.
First make sure that you have several high quality (clean) microfiber towels just for this task. You want to be sure that you’re regularly switching to a clean area of the towel because the polish or compound can quickly build up on the towel, and depending on the product you’re working with it could mar the finish.
Now for cleaning solutions, you have several different options. I have a few favorites that I work with for this task. Since I’m cleaning polishing dust out of door jambs, under the hood, and in the trunk area at the same time, I’ll usually reach for a pre-mixed bottle of Optimum No Rinse at Quick Detailer ratio. I can clean those areas and remove polish at the edges at the same time. Just spray some directly onto your microfiber towel, and very gently remove the polish residue. Once again, if you’re close to a visible painted surface when doing this, be very careful so you don’t mar the finish. Another couple of products that I use are Meguiar’s M34 Final Inspection, and Meguiar’s Ultimate Quick Detailer. If I am dealing with compound or a polish from a previous detailer, and it is caked in an area around marker lights or tail lights, I will spray it down with Isopropyl Alcohol to help break down the residue. If you have very hard compound built up from somebody else’s work, and it’s turned into concrete, then you could use some fresh compound or polish on a microfiber towel and clean those areas up before you start your own polishing.
This can take quite a bit of time to do it right, but it makes all the difference in the world after the job is done.
I hope this helps! If you have any additional questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to ask.