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View Full Version : What temperature ranges are best for applying cleaners, polishes, and waxes?



Mike Phillips
Sep 29th, 2004, 01:03 PM
What temperature ranges are best for applying cleaners, polishes, and waxes (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2999)




When we talk about surface temperatures, we need to consider three factors:

Surface Temperature
Ambient Temperature
Relative Humidity
Surface Temperature (Actual surface temperature of the vehicle)
http://www.meguiars.com/faq/Image8.jpg
The best surface temperature range for applying cleaners, polishes, and protectants is approximately 60 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. More importantly, the surface does not feel warm or hot to the touch.

Basically, when you're working within this temperature range, it's not too cold, and it's not too warm to realize exceptional results from just about any Meguiar's product.

Meguiar's products will work easily within a much broader temperature range, such as, 50 degrees to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but guaranteed best results will be achieved in the 60 degrees to 80 degrees range.

Ambient Temperature (Outside temperature)
Ambient temperature is the room temperature or the temperature of the surrounding environment. It's easily possible to have between 10 to 50 degrees difference in ambient temperature compared to surface temperature. This can make the difference between a product that's easy to work with, or hard to work with. Keep in mind, the hotter the ambient temperature, the quicker products will dry.

Humidity (Moisture in the air)


Simply put, humidity is moisture in the air. Technically there is Relative Humidity and Absolute Humidity, but as it relates to:

Applying
Working with
Curing, drying, hazing
Wipe-off or removal of car care products.
The simple explanation of moisture in the air, or more specifically, the amount of moisture in the air is the major factor, which will affect how easily or potentially difficult a product will be to work with, or a procedure will be to perform.

Low humidity, in warm to hot temperatures, will act to cause liquids to evaporate and dry more quickly. This can make a product difficult to work with or decrease the amount of time the product remains easily workable on the surface.

High humidity in cold temperatures can make products hard to work because it can dramatically increase the amount of time necessary for the product to cure, dry or haze (depending on which product you're using).

Low humidity in low temperatures tends not to be a factor in working with, cure times, and when applying and in the removal of cleaners, polishes, and protectants (Low temperatures are a factor, but not low humidity in low temperatures).

High humidity in high temperatures tends not to be a factor in working with, cure times, and when applying and in the removal of cleaners, polishes, and protectants (High temperatures are a factor, but not high humidity in high temperatures)

Extreme temperatures, both cold and hot will make any product more difficult to work with.

Direct sunlight
Direct sunlight will dramatically increase the surface temperature compared to ambient temperatures and make cleaners, polishes and protectants extremely more difficult to apply, work and remove.

Air current/Wind
Air current/air flow, or windy conditions will act to increase the evaporation speed and potentially making some products more difficult to apply, work, or remove. In some cases this can be a bonus, helping a wax to cure/dry more quickly.

Summary
The best conditions for using cleaners, polishes and protectants on automotive paints would be in a cool place, out of direct sunlight, in a surface temperature range between 60 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with comfortable to low humidity, with a light breeze to create the perfect conditions for detailing your car's finish.

Common sense and a good rule-of-thumb is to avoid applying any product if the surface is too warm to touch with the palm of your hand comfortably.

50 degrees Fahrenheit = 10.0 degrees Celsius
90 degrees Fahrenheit = 32.2 degrees Celsius

SeabreezeDetailing
Oct 12th, 2005, 12:04 PM
Very good writeup Mike! This is extremely important information that I had to learn over time.

AeroCleanse
Dec 13th, 2007, 08:04 AM
So does that mean that surface temp is more important than air temp? So if the air temp is say 32F yet the surface temp is 70F then there shouldn't be any problems working on the surface?

Murr1525
Dec 13th, 2007, 08:21 AM
That might be an extreme case, but yes, you would definately get better results than on a 32F surface.

For instance, working in the sun in the winter is quite ok if you are up north, and even beneficial, because it will raise the surface temp a bit.

AeroCleanse
Dec 13th, 2007, 09:08 AM
That might be an extreme case, but yes, you would definately get better results than on a 32F surface.

For instance, working in the sun in the winter is quite ok if you are up north, and even beneficial, because it will raise the surface temp a bit.

Might be extreme, not where I live in Wisconsin. I was considering using water from my hot water carpet extractor (water only no chemicals in it), which gets the water up to 200F, to warm the surface up to a workable temp.

MWAUTOPRO
Dec 16th, 2007, 05:58 PM
Might be extreme, not where I live in Wisconsin. I was considering using water from my hot water carpet extractor (water only no chemicals in it), which gets the water up to 200F, to warm the surface up to a workable temp.

Probably not the best idea, the difference in temperature could cause the glass to crack and I have a feeling it wouldn't be the best thing for the paint.

AeroCleanse
Dec 16th, 2007, 06:39 PM
The glass to crack? I'm not washing the whole thing, just the painted area to be worked on. The extractor puts out a spray at a low volume. Not sure how this would be any worse that going to a car wash that uses hot water.

MWAUTOPRO
Dec 19th, 2007, 04:00 AM
Ive seen glass crack at car washes before from hot water. As long as you let your car get somewhat warmer (above freezing) it shouldnt be an issue.

epoch_02
Dec 19th, 2007, 05:40 AM
Can i ask what would be low humidity?

I have recently had a garage built and have a dehumidifier installed, once the concrete base has fully dired out my intended aim is for 60% humidity all year round, would this be ideal?

billddrummer
Jul 16th, 2017, 06:11 PM
What temperature ranges are best for applying cleaners, polishes, and waxes (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2999)




When we talk about surface temperatures, we need to consider three factors:

Surface Temperature
Ambient Temperature
Relative Humidity
Surface Temperature (Actual surface temperature of the vehicle)

http://www.meguiars.com/faq/Image8.jpg
The best surface temperature range for applying cleaners, polishes, and protectants is approximately 60 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. More importantly, the surface does not feel warm or hot to the touch.

Basically, when you're working within this temperature range, it's not too cold, and it's not too warm to realize exceptional results from just about any Meguiar's product.

Meguiar's products will work easily within a much broader temperature range, such as, 50 degrees to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but guaranteed best results will be achieved in the 60 degrees to 80 degrees range.

Ambient Temperature (Outside temperature)
Ambient temperature is the room temperature or the temperature of the surrounding environment. It's easily possible to have between 10 to 50 degrees difference in ambient temperature compared to surface temperature. This can make the difference between a product that's easy to work with, or hard to work with. Keep in mind, the hotter the ambient temperature, the quicker products will dry.

Humidity (Moisture in the air)


Simply put, humidity is moisture in the air. Technically there is Relative Humidity and Absolute Humidity, but as it relates to:

Applying
Working with
Curing, drying, hazing
Wipe-off or removal of car care products.

The simple explanation of moisture in the air, or more specifically, the amount of moisture in the air is the major factor, which will affect how easily or potentially difficult a product will be to work with, or a procedure will be to perform.

Low humidity, in warm to hot temperatures, will act to cause liquids to evaporate and dry more quickly. This can make a product difficult to work with or decrease the amount of time the product remains easily workable on the surface.

High humidity in cold temperatures can make products hard to work because it can dramatically increase the amount of time necessary for the product to cure, dry or haze (depending on which product you're using).

Low humidity in low temperatures tends not to be a factor in working with, cure times, and when applying and in the removal of cleaners, polishes, and protectants (Low temperatures are a factor, but not low humidity in low temperatures).

High humidity in high temperatures tends not to be a factor in working with, cure times, and when applying and in the removal of cleaners, polishes, and protectants (High temperatures are a factor, but not high humidity in high temperatures)

Extreme temperatures, both cold and hot will make any product more difficult to work with.

Direct sunlight
Direct sunlight will dramatically increase the surface temperature compared to ambient temperatures and make cleaners, polishes and protectants extremely more difficult to apply, work and remove.

Air current/Wind
Air current/air flow, or windy conditions will act to increase the evaporation speed and potentially making some products more difficult to apply, work, or remove. In some cases this can be a bonus, helping a wax to cure/dry more quickly.

Summary
The best conditions for using cleaners, polishes and protectants on automotive paints would be in a cool place, out of direct sunlight, in a surface temperature range between 60 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with comfortable to low humidity, with a light breeze to create the perfect conditions for detailing your car's finish.

Common sense and a good rule-of-thumb is to avoid applying any product if the surface is too warm to touch with the palm of your hand comfortably.

50 degrees Fahrenheit = 10.0 degrees Celsius
90 degrees Fahrenheit = 32.2 degrees Celsius

Excellent advice. I should have skipped using Ultimate Polish today. It was drying so fast it was nearly impossible to remove before it hardened into a film, which required adding even more product to remove.

I was working outdoors in a covered parking space. Ambient temp ranged from 85-95.

I would say that with an ambient temp of 80 degrees F or higher, UP may be difficult to work with.

Thanks.