surface prep... clay or paint cleaner first?
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    surface prep... clay or paint cleaner first?

    Hey guys/gals! I'm new on this board. First, I want to say that this is a great community. I'll be detailing my car myself for the first time and I stumbled upon this site after doing some research.

    I have a 2004 Honda Accord in NightHawk Black Pearl (I didn't make it up, that's its official color ) so keep in mind that swirls and hazing is VERY noticeable.

    So far, I've learned about the Meguiar's 5 step process and particularly about how to sucessfully remove swirls.

    My question is regarding the cleaning phase. I've read that it involves clay and/or cleaner, but I wasn't sure if there was an order if I decided to do both.

    I planned on using the Smooth Surface™ Clay Kit and also the Deep Crystal System Paint Cleaner. Is there an order? Which should I do first?

  2. #2
    Registered Member scarface_'s Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum.
    Wash, clay, then paint cleaner. Thats what i have seen from other posts asking about claying or scratchx first. Since paint cleaner is like scratchx, the Wash, clay, then paint cleaner applys i would think.
    Last edited by scarface_; May 21st, 2006 at 07:24 PM.

  3. #3
    Registered Member N.E.W.car's Avatar
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    Welcome!

    Clay is the first thing you do after a good wash.

    Wash - Clay - Clean - Polish - Wax

    Any other questions just ask - there are a ton of good people on here that love to help out!
    Nate Williams
    N.E.W.car Mobile Detailing

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    Registered Member Murr1525's Avatar
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    Just to note, the SS Kit and the DC#1 Cleaner will not remove swirls.

    You are going to want toget a tube of ScratchX to remove swirls by hand.

    How To Remove Swirls By Hand

    How to remove a defect by hand with ScratchX
    2017 Subaru WRX Premium - WR Blue

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    wow, thanks for the prompt replies!

    So this brings me to my next question, would I be using the ScratchX in place of the DC#1? If not, which should I use first?

    I really dont mind using both, if it'll make a difference.

  6. #6
    Registered Member scarface_'s Avatar
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    I never used dc#1. Just scratchx and it gets alot out, just not deep scratches but im waiting on using the DA for them.

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    Registered Member Murr1525's Avatar
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    If your swirls are isolated, you can ScratchX those spots, then do the rest of the car with DC#1. Or just do the whole car, it might be easier.

    If you are all swirled up, then you can just ScratchX everything, and skip DC#1 the first time.
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    Registered Member N.E.W.car's Avatar
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    I wouldn't plan on doing the whole car in ScratchX in one shot. To remove swirls by hand takes a good amount of effort...if it was me I would do one panel at a time.

    If you set out to do the whole car, you will most likely get tired fairly quickly...working that stuff by hand is hard work.

    In my opinion, if you want your WHOLE car to come out great - just do one panel (like the hood one night, then a fender or two another night). That way, you are more likely to give each and every panel your full attention and a your best effort.

    Here is what I would do to your car, if I had to work by hand, using only the DC line and ScratchX...

    Wash (NXT or GC)
    Clay
    ScratchX (panel by panel, washing in between if needed)
    DC#2 (I have used it by hand, and it can give great results if used thoroughly and correctly)
    NXT Tech Wax, M21, or DC#3 if you already have it. (Two thin coats is always best).

    Keep in mind you probably aren't going to get PERFECT results by hand - but if everything is done correctly, you will definitely see a dramatic improvement.

    Of course we will need to see some before and after pictures!!!

    Good luck bud.
    Last edited by N.E.W.car; May 21st, 2006 at 09:26 PM.
    Nate Williams
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    Registered Member miked2's Avatar
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    I'll respectfully disagree re DC1 not removing swirls. My wife's 9-3 had a ton, and DC1 along with a PC removed over 90% of them. I was incredibly impressed -- this was my first time using DC1, and it's going to be a go-to product for me. Before I had just been claying and going straight to DC2.

    I like ScratchX, too, but it's going to require a lot of work to use it properly over the whole car. I've used ScratchX successfully to remove a good chunk of a bunch of scratches in a rear bumper.

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    Registered Member Murr1525's Avatar
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    Originally posted by miked2
    My wife's 9-3 had a ton, and DC1 along with a PC removed over 90% of them.
    You are right, applying by machine changes things a bit. And it would be much easier to work by PC.
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