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Detailing Essentials #1 | Stoner Tarminator


First up in the Detailing Essentials Series is one product I can’t detail without- Stoner Tarminator! Tarminator is designed to remove tar deposits, heavy contamination, tree sap, bugs, road film and more. But I don’t actually want to talk about any of that. Don’t get me wrong there are not many products out there that remove contamination better, but I’ve used this product in two entirely different ways to up my detailing game. Now, since this series was created to highlight products & techniques that have changed my personal detailing game, we need to talk about the first problem that it solved.

Early on in my detailing career, I struggled with dried polishing residue stuck in body seams. In some cases, IPA just didn’t thoroughly remove it. It would appear that IPA had eliminated it, only for the dreaded white residue to return. Then I tried a little Tarminator on a foam detailing swap and everything changed. The dried polishing residue was removed with ease once and for all. Now its also important to remove any residue promptly, as waiting and letting it dry will only make life harder down the road.

The period after a paint correction that is dedicated to cleaning out every crack, crevice, door jam, and panel edge is what I call (The Go-Through)  The Go-Through process ensures the vehicle is free of all polishing dust, residue, and oils. For me, Tarminator paired with some detailing swabs is an essential tool in making this process quicker and more effective. Many times as detailers, we get fixated with defect removal and polishing out every last scratch, but what is equally as important is ensuring that the overall vehicle is looking spectacular. These small details that sometimes get overlooked are what separates a good detail from an extraordinary one.

Now, on to the second problem that Tarminator fixed. How many hours have we all spent using APC scrubbing tires during our wheel cleaning process? I know I’ve personally spent way too much time. I remember searching the web and coming across a fantastic article. In this article, it talked about prepping tires by wiping them down with Tarminator before applying a dressing. I was very intrigued and had to try it for myself. I sprayed Tarminator directly into a microfiber towel and wiped the tire down with firm pressure. Tarminator removed any browning and left behind a crisp, clean, new rubber appearance.  This process is perfect if you like a subtle matte finish or if you want to maximize the durability of a tire dressing. By preparing the tire like this, the dressing can adhere to the rubber, reducing any sling potential. Once I tried this method, I never looked back. I still clean the tires lightly with APC during the wash process but save the significant work for Tarminator to handle. I’ve just fallen in love with the way it makes tires look.

These two examples I shared with you are just some of the ways Tarminator has upped my personal detailing game. How has Tarminator helped you? Remember, always keep pushing and sharing your detailing innovations. It’s from sharing and interacting together that we can all learn from each others detailing essentials (no pun intended)

James Melfi
Holliston, MA
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14 comments on Detailing Essentials #1 | Stoner Tarminator

  1. Ryan Hager says:

    Those are great tips, and have to agree Tarminator is the best at removing tar on vehicles. I’ve used other products such as Poor Boys bug and tar remover [blue concentrate?] and works pretty well, but not as fast as Tarminator. Thanks for the tip for the tires! I’ll have to try it out.

    • james melfi says:

      Ryan, I’m glad you found the article helpful! I think you will definitely like the results on tires!

  2. Ron Ayotte says:

    James… you never cease to amaze me with your tips and tricks!

    • james melfi says:

      Thanks Ron!

      • Ron Ayotte says:

        Tarminator also works on the stubborn ingrained dirt that can be found in rubber floor mats and the WeatherTech floor liners. I recently detailed a Toyota Highlander that had some weird staining on the rear rubber mat that covered the concealed 3rd row seating. I sprayed Tarminator on the mat and used one of my “grunge grade” microfibers to wipe it down. It removed the stain and brought back the natural look.

  3. Matt says:


    I miss your videos on Facebook and instragram for the q&a’s. When cleaning my tires, I spray optimum power clean on the tires and scrub them then when cleaning my wheels go over the tires with my sponge. I will try the tarminator suggestion once the car is dry and before I apply my tire dressing. I use a couple of things. Carpro Perl or if I want to use a spray I do cover all. Griot’s black shine is good as well. Hope you have more q&a videos. I am not a professional but enjoy cleaning my car and truck. Thanks, Matt

    • James Melfi says:

      Hey Matt,

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you enjoyed the videos. Hoping to get back behind the camera soon! I think you will really like the tarminator tire cleaning method.

  4. Zach says:

    How do you like Tarminator vs. Tar X?

    • James Melfi says:

      Hey Zach,

      There are so many great tar removal products out there, TarX being one of them, my personal preference is Tarminator- but get the product that works best for you.

  5. Dave Turner says:

    I love the look of the tires after using the Tarminator and then dressing them. Is it OK to use on a regular basis, I’m just wondering because of the possible rubber reaction to the solvents in the Tar remover?

    • james melfi says:

      I’m so glad Dave, it is a great look. We have used Tarminator on a regular basis without any negative effects.

  6. Ryan Hager says:

    Speaking of Weathertech floor mats, is there a non slippery dressing that can be applied to them? I tried Aerospace 303, and it protects them great but it a bit slippery.

    • james melfi says:

      Hey Ryan,

      Most dressings will leave the mats a bit slippery. I like to just get them as clean as possible and then follow up with a cleaner/protectant like Nextzett cockpit premium

  7. michael says:

    I did a test spot with Tarminator on window seals and it removed a bunch of black gunk. Is tarminator safe for rubber seals?

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