Ivan Rajic’s 10 Favorite Detailing Productsby Ivan Rajic
Having completed a more comprehensive article listing Detailing Products for Caring Owners and Enthusiasts, I wanted to address questions such as “What’s your favorite product(s)?” with a simple “Top 10” list.
Thus, the products listed here are in no particular order and I didn’t try to list items that pertain to specific detailing tasks. That is covered very well in my other article, so I figured I’d leave it be for this one. Rather, I simply brainstormed for products that come to mind as true favorites and ones I “couldn’t live without” as they say. In other words, this list isn’t categorized into products for washing, claying, polishing, etc. It’s quite simply a list of 10 products I use on a daily basis and ones that I would be looking for desperately if I didn’t already have them.
As everyone’s already aware of, there are numerous products from multiple manufacturers widely available, so this list is simply what I personally prefer to work with on every detail job and should be seen as exactly that, nothing more, nothing less. I did add my thoughts and explanation on each product as I hope that will thoroughly elaborate on my reasoning in making these selections.
That said, here are my top 10:
DI Accessories Sheepskin Wash Mitt
This will be an obvious choice to all who have gone through other options and found this to be the best for washing. It has everything one wants out of their wash media: It’s very soft and mild on paint, has long nap to trap dirt better and it’s extremely durable. This came to mind as I really don’t know what else I would be using or what I would prefer. Personally, I like the DI Accessories Sheepskin Wash Mitt w/no thumb as opposed to the mitt with thumb, mainly because I hold the mitt from the outside and have no use at all for the thumb area. Even if I did use it with my hand inside, I always use both sides of the mitt when washing a section of the paint, so I would have to pull my hand out and use the other hand in order to flip the mitt over. Lastly, the first thing I do with my mitts is cut off the little loop near the cuff so to not have it drag on the paint aimlessly. When I dry the mitts, I like to open them up so it fully dries inside and out, so the little loop is of absolutely no use to me. Long story short, this wash mitt is by far the best wash media I’ve come across in my many years of detailing.
DI Microfiber Waffle Weave Drying Towel
As many here saw in my article Winter Washing with ONR, the DI Microfiber Waffle Weave Drying Towel is a very important tool in my arsenal. Similarly to the wash mitt mentioned above, this drying towel simply stands out from the rest. It is soft and safe for any paint, whether you blot dry (as described in my ONR article linked here) or wipe across paint when drying and it absorbs very, very well. In fact, you can typically dry an entire car with just one towel, especially if you do the water sheeting method prior to using the towel. Lastly, this towel is extremely durable and isn’t in the same category of most others, that tend to dry fairly quickly and loose their ability to absorb much water. This drying towel lasts long and absorbs just as well as new after many uses. Come to think of it, I’ve been purchasing these towels from Detailed Image for at least 3-4 years now and have yet to even demote one to wheel or door jamb duty, let alone toss it away!
Clay Magic Fine Grade Clay Bar
There are many clay bars out on the market today, most of which are made to do the same thing and have only slight differences. The Clay Magic Fine Grade Clay Bar stands out for me because it’s the perfect combination of softness, aggressiveness and quality. It’s more aggressive than the clay available over the counter and online for everyday owners, which is usually fairly mild and safe. However, it’s much less aggressive than it’s Medium Grade counterpart. This makes it great for quickly removing almost any contamination you can come across while leaving no marring when used properly.
Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine – ONR
Ahh ONR. To make a long story short, my history with Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine started with a lot of speculation. Even after recommendations from numerous respected colleagues, it took me a while to make the move on ONR. After doing so, I can’t have enough of it and it never ceases to live up to my expectations. With it’s many uses, such as quick detailer, clay lube, glass cleaner, etc., ONR is the most used product in my business so the 5-6 gallons I have as “backup” aren’t just for show. Let’s not forget of course that it’s one of, if not the best rinse-less washing products out there, as I’ve documented in my article Winter Washing with ONR.
E-Z Detail Brushes
These brushes are amazing for any hard to reach places. I mainly use them for the wheel area, particularly the inner wheel barrels, back of spokes and calipers. They can just as easily be used to brush off wheel faces and are a great tool to get into the valve stems or nuts and bolts on multi-piece wheels. Lastly, they’re great tools for reaching some engine components, exhaust tips and undercarriage areas. I use both the Full Size and Mini Size E-Z Detail Brush in tandem on every detail job and would be hard pressed to do the job with any other tools.
Meguiar’s Ultra Finishing Polish M205
Meguiar’s Ultra Finishing Polish M205 stands apart from it’s competition in many, many ways. It’s easily one of the most versatile polishes out there, having the ability to correct fairly severe defects when paired with an aggressive pad and also finish down great with a finishing pad, such as a Lake Country Black or Crimson Finishing Pad. It can even finish down without marring on most of those nightmare, jet black paints when used with the right pads and techniques. This makes it perfect for those one-step polish details where the goal is to get as much correction as possible without leaving any additional marring in the paint. Finally, when used in tandem with it’s aggressive counterpart, Meguiar’s Ultra-Cut Compound 105, it’s a part of the most advanced two step system the detailing world has seen in a long time, providing great correction and a fine finish in only two steps.
Leatherique Rejuvenator Oil and Prestine Clean
When it comes to leather, I only use Leatherique Rejuvenator Oil and Prestine Clean. The duo is one of the best leather rejuvenation processes out there in terms of cleaning ability and finish. In addition, I like to use Prestine Clean to lightly touch up stains, scuffs and marks on leather, as well as other trim inside the vehicle. I’d highly recommend the Leatherique “twins” to anyone.
P21S Carnauba Waxes
My go to wax for pretty much any detail job. I have used the P21S Concours Carnauba Wax for a very long time and just last year made the switch to the newer P21S 100% Carnauba Wax. Both are great carnauba waxes that go on easy, wipe off even easier and provide great shine and protection. It’s wrong to say that these waxes can’t be beat for the price because they are great in any price bracket, easily competing with waxes that cost more than twice as much. In other words, these waxes are extremely affordable for what the buyer actually gets out of them. For more info and further input, please check out my P21S Concours Carnauba Wax Review.
Foam or Cotton Swabs
These came to mind as I was thinking about products that are in the “sweat and blood” category. Without products like DI Accessories Foam Swabs, I wouldn’t be able to complete those jobs where extreme attention to detail is required, such as getting into all the crevices and getting the final spec of dirt out. They’re also an integral part of all basic detail work, such as getting into the lug nut holes on wheels, crevices on calipers, seams between body panels and inside plastic grille pieces. A must have for anyone as they have countless uses around the car.
Last but certainly not least, not by far! Rubber gloves, such as the DI Accessories Latex Gloves, are items I use most in my business, with masking tape (which almost made this list) being a fairly close second. Many guys don’t use gloves, but I can’t imagine working without them. Aside from the fact that you can keep your hands clean and not worry about any liquids you might encounter, wearing gloves allows you to switch from dirty to clean and back without washing your hands multiple times throughout a detail job. When working on wheels, I inevitably encounter some brake dust and overall dirt left on my hands, which are as you all now know covered with gloves :). Once done with the wheels, I can simply toss two gloves into the trash, put on two new gloves, then grab the wash mitt and start washing the car without worrying about contaminating the mitt or dry towels. By far one of the most important tools and one that simply has no better alternative.
Well that’s that. If some of you see your favorite products, great! Others, I’d highly encourage to give a few of the listed products a try as I’m sure you’ll be impressed. Otherwise, just like I do myself, everyone should keep using what works best for them, but always leave a little time for experimenting with new or new-to-you products. One never knows when they’ll be pleasantly surprised and add a new product to the collection.
Thanks for reading and I look forward to any reader comments on my Top 10.
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Thanks for another great one! You churn these out like nobody’s business!
Love the EZ detail brushes (I bought both from DI, months ago)!!! They work very well for their intended purpose. For those of you who don’t have them and plan to get/us them, just remember to pull them out of your wheel barrels s-l-o-w-l-y to avoid getting splatter all over the place and your face. They do scrub well and the fact that they bend is awesome!!!
I used the wash mitt (no thumb) for the first time last week with Optimum Car Wash. It ‘glided’ across my paint and was awesome to use. I did not use it on lower panels – those I hit with a chenille MF mitt instead. That said, the Sheepskin wash mitt is fantastic! Use both sides before dipping back into your bucket. I keep the loop on to hang dry from a small clip/hook in my garage after washing it off in the sink…gently.
The MF waffle weave drying towel, which I have had for nearly a year – is incredbile. Blot, don’t wipe, and you’re all set!
I have not gotten Leatherique Pristine Clean yet, but plan to one of these days. If and when I do, I will probably remove the cap and attach a spray head. This tip, btw, i picked up from one of Todd Cooperider’s many great write-ups.
Thanks Jon, I truly appreciate the support!
I’m glad you are enjoying some of my favorites as much as I do!
Oh and I too got the Prestine Clean spray head tip from Todd a while back! He’s pretty helpful sometimes :).
Thanks again Jon!
HI Ivan – Wrote you in the past and appreciate your talent. I am a Pancreatic Cancer Stage 4 individual that has been in battle for about 18 months now, (with God’s intervention I’ve already beaten the odds). I love detailing but I’m really learning by reading as much as I can, but boy there is tons to know. So if I ay can answer a couple of question.
1) Should I wear a respirator and if so do you which kind would be best?
2) I am about to pull the trigger on a Porter Cable 5.5 buffer, with M105, M205 and do your mix of M300 using orange pads for the 105/m300 mix and black pads for the M205 – Is this right?
3) Do I need a primer to spray the pads before I start?
4) Here is my plan but need assurance I have to order right – Compound with M105/M300 mix (orange), followed by M205 as a the polish, (Black pad), followed by Carnuba Wax (don’t know which pad? Like to use a pad because I run out of energy) Followed by a Sealant. Is the right.
Lastly what you change or add? Ivan I appreciate your help. Best regards and Thank you, Steven Palmisano