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19 comments on Ask-A-Pro: The Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) Wipedown

  1. Ignas Peciulis says:

    I recently started using the IPA wipedown in my process.
    The simplest thing i can say about it is. I would like to shake the hand of the man who thought of this.

  2. Alberto Sosa says:

    Hey Todd, I’ve been following you’re work ever since I have bought my first detailed image product. I highly look up to you’re work. I wanted to know if it would benefit to use the IPA wipe down method before I apply CG EZ-Creme Glaze. The last polish I usually use is Menzerna Micro polish, then EZ-Creme Glaze, BFWD, and last CG 50/50 wax.

  3. Andrew Lastivka says:

    Nice write up. I’ve always used 91% IPA.

    One question Todd, is there any way to minimize possibly micromarring because of the lack of lubricity with IPA/Water solution?


    • Thanks Andrew.

      I’ve never had a problem with this myself. I think if you’re using a high quality, clean microfiber with very light and even pressure, you shouldn’t have any issues with micromarring when doing an IPA wipedown. The only exception to this would be a handful of cars out there with crazy-soft paints. And if this is the case, it’s not because of a lubrication issue with IPA…just that the paint is so soft that touching it in any way, shape, or form will cause problems.

  4. John G says:

    I am always thankful for your input and dedication to doing things the right way. One quick question regarding health concerns and IPA. Is there any sort of worry in regards to ingesting the IPA solution through the lungs? I understand that our faces should not be buried an inch from the panel(s) but exposure should be abundant while doing an entire car (depending on size). I know that our intentions are always good but just wanted to see if you have any concern regarding this in terms of exposure and health? Thanks again!


    • John,

      Health concerns are always important to me when dealing with detailing products. I think people need to be cautious when dealing with all of them really, and common sense safety practices should prevail. While I’m not a health expert, I do think there are more detailing products out there that have higher health risks if vapors got into the lungs. Some of the wheel cleaners, degreasers, tar removers, etc that detailers use on a daily basis can be quite potent…and should be handled with care for sure.

  5. Art says:


    What is the main difference between IPA wipe down and CG Vertua Bond?


    • Well they sort of accomplish the same basic task in the end, but do it in different ways. Some polishes can be very difficult to remove from the surface and leave behind a lot of residue. In this case I would definitely use IPA to remove them instead of Vertua Bond or EZ Creme. Also if you need to inspect the finish to make sure you’re getting a true correction, then you would use IPA instead. If you just need to do a thorough cleaning of the paint after polishing (when not much residue is obviously present), then you could either do an IPA wipedown, or use something like Vertua Bond or EZ Creme to clean the surface and prep it for your sealant or wax application.

  6. Terry S says:

    Would you do a IPA wipedown before or after P21 Paintwork Cleanser?

    Also when should paintwork cleanser be used? (everytime you wax or at some other interval)


    • There shouldn’t be a need to use IPA prior to Paintwork Cleanser, so you could just use it afterwards. You should only need to use a product like P21S Paintwork Cleanser 2-3 times per year as needed to freshen up the paint. You don’t need to use it every time you wax…

  7. Chris Williams says:

    Bringing this back from the dead. When doing an IPA wipe down, are there areas that should not be exposed to the alcohol? I’m wondering if headlights in particular would be affected from the alcohol. Or maybe things like trim or other porous plastics?

    Thanks for any input!

    • Chris,

      While there may be some parts that may not get along well with Isopropyl Alcohol, you should be pretty safe. The reason I sound vague is because there’s simply no way to know every part of every car made. The best method is simply to be cautious around any areas that you may have concern for. If you don’t want to get alcohol on an area, then spray it directly onto your towel first, and then wipe the area around it so that you don’t have a problem with overspray. I hope this helps.

      • Chris Williams says:

        Wow! I needed to check this sooner! This is the response I was hoping for. I figured the best way was to simply spray the towel then wipe avoiding any questionable areas. Thank you for the input. Now I will feel better when I do my wipe down on my car. I am doing an overhaul on the car using techniques that I’ve read from your posts. The car is a black MR2 Spyder. I will submit pictures at some point.

        Thanks again!!

  8. steve murphy says:

    could you help me please as i am starting out detailing my car when using ipa is it better to dilute it say 50/50 or 20%ipa to 80% water and is it better to use distilled
    best regards

  9. Mike Williamson says:

    Should I do the IPA wipe down before doing the glaze or would it remove the glaze if I wipe on top of the glaze?

  10. Norman DeLise says:

    Does IPA remove all of the wax and grime build up? I have a 15 year old car that hs years of carwash wash and waxing.

  11. Irene says:

    There is a recommendation going around on Facebook for a diy de-icing your car’s windshield. They recommend 2/3 alcohol to 1/3 water. Is this too strong for your car’s finish/paint?
    What do you recommend for a cheap de-icer?
    Thank you.

  12. mark says:

    What does indian pale ale (IPA) have anything to do with waxing a car?

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