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A-Z Detailing For Dummies

Duel Autocare A-Z Detailing For Dummies

The detailing, car care and valeting world can be a confusing place to be, whether that's as a newcomer or a seasoned professional. Products, methods and terminology are constantly evolving and developing, so it's sometimes challenging to keep up-to-date or relevant.

With this in mind, we've compiled an A-Z of all things detailing terminology. You'll notice there are some blank spaces, so please do let us know if you have a suggestion or if you would like another term or process explained in simple, easy-to-understand language.

All Purpose Cleaner

All purpose cleaners are used for many tasks instead of one dedicated purpose. One such product is Logic.

Body Shop Safe

Body shops or spray shops require silicone-free products to avoid any airborne particles that could affect the paint finishes.

Clear Coat

A clear coat is a transparent finish or layer applied on top of a painted surface. A clear coat is a protective coating that protects the painted finish underneath with hardness and resistance to different mechanical and chemical agents.

Dilution Ratio

Some products within your detailing arsenal may require dilution before use. For example, this product requires a dilution of 1:4. It needs to be diluted or weakened using water. One part product to 4 parts water. The higher the dilution, the weaker the end product is.

Extraction Vac

Wet extraction vacuums are designed for the removal of liquid or wet dirt and debris from surfaces. Waste is sucked into a collection bucket or housing where the fluid can be disposed of or poured away. A regular vacuum is not designed for liquids or water, so an extraction vac is essential for cleaning processes such as seat cleaning and stain removal from fabric surfaces.

Fallout Remover

Iron fallout refers to iron particles derived from various sources, such as airborne particles from ironworking factories, railways and, most commonly, brake dust. These particles bond to the vehicle or wheel surface.

These can easily be removed using dedicated reactive fallout remover chemicals. One such product is the Toxin-Iron Fallout Remover.


Holograms are visual defects within the finish of your vehicle. The finish may appear flawless, but when sunlight or direct light is placed onto the car, these unsightly holograms will be visible. Holograms can occur when an aggressive polishing method is used, usually with a rotary polisher combined with a heavy polish and polishing pad.

IDA - International Detailing Association

The International Detailing Association is the leading global association for professional detailing operators, suppliers, and consultants in the industry. The association is dedicated to promoting the value of professional detailing services, recognising professional detailing as a trade, and empowering detailing industry professionals at each stage in their careers.

Jet Wash

Often referred to as a pressure washer. It's a water pump powered by an electric motor. The jet wash is connected via a hosepipe to your outdoor tap. Water from the hosepipe enters the pump, which shoots out the water at high pressure and speed through the pressure washer lance or gun. There are many reputable manufacturers of Pressure Washers, such as Kranzle, Karcher and Nilfisk




Layering is simply applying one product on top of another or the same product multiple times. This is often the case when using wax to ensure good, thorough coverage or to increase durability. Another example of layering is applying a sealant product, followed by a wax or a top coat, also known as a sacrificial layer, protecting the more durable sealant underneath.

Microfibre Cloths

Microfiber or microfibre is synthetic fibre finer than one denier or, in layman's terms, thinner than a strand of a human hair! The most common types of microfibers, cloths and towels used in detailing are made from polyesters, polyamides or a blend of both.

Microfiber or microfibre is synthetic fibre finer than one denier or, in layman's terms. There are different styles, blends, shapes and sizes of microfibre, all designed to suit a particular cleaning task. For example, a twisted fibre design is often used in the production of microfibre drying towels due to their increased water absorbency properties.




Have you ever seen a red car turn pink? This is an excellent example of oxidation or oxidised paintwork. This effect can be reversed with a machine polishing procedure.

Paint Correction

Paint correction is the process of 'correcting' the finish of your paintwork by removing layers of clear coat to a level below the depth of any swirl marks or scratches. This process utilises a machine polisher, a fixed rotation machine known as a rotary polisher or a dual action polisher, and a combination of polishing compounds and pads.

Quick Detailer

Quick detailers are a fantastic option for car enthusiasts or those who are new car owners in general. They elevate any existing layers of wax and sealants to provide a showroom-esque finish and shine.

This is made possible by leaving a thin layer of wax and or polymers on top of the existing protective layer. You can also apply a QD to previously unprotected paint. Quick detailers are also used during the final stage of the car detailing process. The reason is that a QD (quick detailer) can remove any fingerprints and dust following the car washing and polishing stages.

Rotary Polisher

The rotary is often considered the adversary of the dual action polisher. It is a polishing machine that uses only 1 type of motion to create a polishing effect. It is very good at cutting and works quicker than a DA (dual action), but it also requires much more experience and knowledge. Many consider the rotary a senior-level of experience machine. Courtesy of Detailing Wiki (link)?

Snow foam Lance

The Snow Foam lance is essential for any budding detailer or a seasoned pro. They are designed to deliver a range of products, mainly snow foam liquid, to the vehicle as a method of pre-washing before the contact wash.

The snow foam liquid and water is mixed and dispensed out of the foam lance nozzle at high pressure through a small metal gauze, causing the solution to 'foam' when sprayed.

Two-Bucket Wash Method

The two bucket wash method is considered the safest way of contact washing your vehicle while minimising the potential risk of scratching any vehicle's surfaces. So why and how does the two bucket wash method work?

The Two Bucket Wash Method drastically reduces or eliminates dirt and grime picked up by your wash mitt and spread around the vehicle, meaning far fewer unsightly and unwanted swirl marks and scratches. The Two Wash Bucket Method avoids this by having both a 'wash' and a 'rinse' bucket. Once the wash mitt has contacted the vehicle and has cleaned an individual panel or area of a larger panel, it is dunked into your rinse bucket containing the clean water and grit guard. The wash mitt must be agitated by hand in the rinse bucket to dislodge or remove any loose or embedded grime from the wash mitt's fibres. Once any dirt has been removed, you can place the wash mitt back into the dedicated 'wash bucket' and continue the process, repeating this method.




Vacuums are a must for any interior cleaning. Loose debris and dirt are sucked away from interior surfaces and deposited into a bag or a chamber that can then be emptied into a waste bin

Wheel Cleaner

A product designed solely to clean the wheels of a vehicle. Wheel cleaners can come in different forms or makeups, for example, ready-to-use solutions, products that require dilution, gel-based cleaners for longer dwell times and more recently, popular wheel soaps which are applied via a pressured foam sprayer, foam lance or added into your wheel cleaning bucket and used alongside your range of wheel cleaning brushes.