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Detailing Essentials #3 | Foam Cleaning Swabs


I truly believe, what makes a quality detail stand out- is when the small intricate areas receive just as much attention as the main focal points. These small areas, when detailed to a high-level, help create a more uniform finished product and a nice contrast between materials. How many times as detailers have we inspected a vehicle only to be distracted by the endless supply of old compounding residue stuck in every single crack and crevice?  In some cases, the residue is worse than the paint defects themselves. My point with this example is, had someone taken the time to remove the old residue the overall appearance wouldn’t have been nearly as bad. It’s the small details that make all the difference.

I have always liked to prioritize the smaller details. The jams, body seams, lower rocker panels, rubber seals- all these areas are essential in creating a complete, seamless detail. It wasn’t always so easy to reach those small areas until I stumbled across the now irreplaceable foam cleaning swab.

These foam swabs have become one of the first things I order regularly. They are now an ESSENTIAL part of our detailing business. What makes them so special? Well, they allow us to reach places not accessible with a microfiber towel, brush, or applicator. These little swabs help remove that tiny bit of dried polishing residue stuck in the door handle or those dust particles trapped in the AC vents.

Now, there are two particular swabs that I have enjoyed the most, the rectangle and pointed. These two have been the perfect combination for attacking all the tight areas around a vehicle. Listed below are a few examples where these swabs have excelled.

Rectangle Swabs:

  • Lug Nut Area
  • Jambs
  • Engine Components
  • Grilles
  • Seals

Pointed Swabs:

  • Door Handles
  • Window Trim
  • Mirrors
  • Roof Rails
  • Emblems
  • Body Seams

I typically spray a cleaning solution into the foam tip, scrub the desired area, and remove any remaining dirt/debris that is now lifted, with a microfiber towel — a simple and effective procedure.

From a post-correction wipe down to an intensive interior detail, these foam detailing swabs help make the difference and allow us to achieve that last 10%.

James Melfi
Holliston, MA
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2 comments on Detailing Essentials #3 | Foam Cleaning Swabs

  1. Rodney Tatum says:

    Wonderful article. Kind of like my Ibrid, these swabs have me wondering how did I ever detail without them.

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