Clay, Buff, and Wax

clay, buff, and wax

Clay, Buff, and Wax

Impure water leaves a fine residue on your vehicle’s finish

Many of our customers’ cars have finishes with less luster and less silkiness than they should be even though they’ve had their car waxed in the past elsewhere. When you draw your fingers lightly across the finish they should glide like on silk with virtually no friction, but instead you can feel a slight drag.  This is a natural toll that occurs over time as minute contaminants and minerals from inadequately treated water used by many car washes as well as home washing build up a fine and hard residue of impurities bonded to the original factory finish that won’t wash off. This creates friction that holds on to dirt more readily. It dulls your finish and the depth of your paint color. This slight roughness prevents the glass-like surface that wax needs to bond strongly, so it shortens wax life. Even new cars have often been sitting and kept clean with untreated water and sitting in acidic rain, so they already have begun to build up this contaminant layer. So most people never see the super-shiny and silky finish their vehicle had when it left the factory.

clay, buff, and waxThat is why we thoroughly purify our water

Unlike many Car Washes, we thoroughly purify the water to protect customers’ vehicles. We protect vehicles’ finishes by first softening water to remove minerals. then going through two progressive levels of charcoal filtering it, and then it processing through reverse osmosis to 000 particles per million of purity, creating two fractions. The 000 RO water is tanked separately and used for the final rinse, and the remaining softened and double charcoal-filtered fraction is reused for all other functions in the tunnel requiring water. Street water never touches your vehicle. The result is truly pure water that is not just spot free but will keep your finish as pristine as the day it was manufactured…provided you return it to that state first.

Fine swirls and scratches are common

Furthermore, most vehicles have small swirls and scratches on the finish, which further compound the problem. Most car washes have cloth brushes. These absorb the dirty, gritty water from cars in front of you, becoming heavy and abrasive, and leave scratches and swirls on your finish. Look at the hood of your vehicle with the sun reflecting from the opposite side and you’ll see what we are talking about. This is the reason many people only hand wash their cars. Unfortunately, hand washing does not solve the problem, because if you examine a hand washed car in direct sun you will also find many tiny swirls in the paint, which come from wiping, scrubbing and brushing while cleaning it.

We rejuvenate finishes with a clay, buff, and wax treatment

Rejuvenating Finishes

At Cleaner Quicker Car Wash we rejuvenate the finishes of our customers’ vehicles with a clay, buff, and wax treatment. We first “clay” the finish, then we buff it, and then apply a layer of Carnauba wax or Paint Protector and polish it with a buffer.


Claying removes the fine hard layer of contaminants and minerals that builds up on finishes and reduces shine, holds dirt, and shortens wax life. We typically use an artificial “clay” bar which looks like a sponge with a black rubber bottom. We sometimes use actual clay, but the “sponge bar” is preferable because it is not easy for particles to get embedded in it by accident and cause accidental scratching when rubbing the finish. The finish is lubricated constantly with a special solution while the clay is repeatedly stroked across the finish to gradually remove the offending layer of contaminants. It is a painstaking process but leaves the finish like silk with virtually no friction and you can feel an enormous difference when you gently drag your fingers across a clayed and un-clayed section.


Buffing out swirls and scratches

We remove these tiny swirls and minute scratches by buffing the finish with our high end random orbital polishers like Big Foot and Flex. Used by a skilled detailer with appropriate compounds, they do not leave swirls and “ghosts” (white apparitions that appear to be inside the paint) like rotary buffers, since their buffing wheel is offset from the shaft so it moves in a constantly changing ellipse, never repeating the same track twice. The remove the imperfections from other surfaces and leave the surface like glass.

More serious swirls and scratches can usually also be buffed out, though it takes more time than the standard buff. (See our section on Body Restore and Scratches)

Adding the final enhancement and protection- Carnauba Wax and Paint Protector

Carnauba Wax

Carnauba wax is famous, not only because of its extreme shine, but also because it is extremely silky and sheds water and dirt well, keeping the vehicle cleaner longer. Unfortunately, there are no labeling standards in the car wash industry like food and drug. That means someone can tell you they have “Carnauba Wax” if there is only one teaspoon of the key ingredient- Carnauba- in a 55-gallon drum of wax. We take special care to ensure we use only the highest quality branded products at Cleaner Quicker Car Wash, Detailing, and Restoration, including both the Carnauba wax we use with our Platinum tunnel wash and the Carnauba wax we use in our luxury hand wax and polishes. Our hand-applied Carnauba wax is good up to over 175 degrees in the heat and leaves a gorgeous shine with dirt-shedding silkiness.

Paint Protection Treatment

We also offer Paint Protector in addition to Carnauba wax. Paint protector is a synthetic coating that is more robust than even the best Carnauba wax. It provides a harder and thicker coating which lasts much longer, is temperature resistant up to over 600 degrees, is more abrasion resistant, and is extremely silky even compared to Carnauba wax. It lasts two to three times as long as a high-quality wax. Its high-temperature resistance means that it will stand up even on a black vehicle when parked in the hot summer sun in Arizona when surface temperatures could cook a steak. Secondly, it is harder, tougher, and more abrasion resistant. In fact, fine scratches and swirls can be buffed out without destroying the protection. On our first application, a small amount was spilled on top of the rear bumper on a black BMW and hardened overnight. We were amazed to find it took over 5 minutes to get it off with a strong solvent. Well over half our hand waxes are now with Paint Protector.

When the three step clay, buff, and wax process is complete, the vehicle’s finish is like a mirror and amazingly silky. The color is deeper and almost liquid. Water and dirt blow off more easily, and the wax or paint protector lasts far longer since they have such a smooth even layer to adhere to.

We love doing it since we love seeing our customers smile when they see, and feel, their vehicle afterwards.