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    Is silicone bad? What is silicone?

    The Role Silicone Plays in Car Care Products

              By Mike Phillips (Autogeek.net)

    One of the most frequent comments I hear when I go to car club meetings and events is that silicone is bad for your car. It's a common myth, from years gone by, that the mere presence of silicone near a car will cause the paint to shrivel up and fall off or prevent it from ever being repainted. These myths are false, but the latter is based on factual problems painters once experienced. The fact is that all modern automotive paints contain silicone as an ingredient to help the paint to spray and flow smoothly.

    Most of the concerns people have about silicones and products that contain silicones stem from the days when lacquers were used as the primary car finish. Back then, if the surface wasn't properly prepared, residual silicones on the bodywork or in the shop environment would cause paint defects. The most common silicone induced problem is a small defect referred to as "Fish Eyes".

    Fish eyes are small craters that form in the paint finish. Fish eye defects form where the paint piles up in a circle surrounding a point on the surface that contains a contaminant. The reason freshly sprayed paint does this is because contaminants like wax and silicone tend to create high surface tension and do not allow the paint to properly flow and self-level.

    Instead of laying down flat, paint moves away from these ingredients, forming a ring around them that has the visual appearance of what is historically described as a fish eye. In severe cases, where the painter does not properly prepare the bodywork for painting, contamination from wax, oils and silicones can cause paint adhesion problems.

    Knowledge of paint and other automotive finishes have evolved and grown substantially since the 1950's. The problems painters encountered 50 years ago are more easily addressed with today's modern paint formulas and prepping chemicals. Likewise, the modern paint facility has evolved into a high-tech environment (primarily due to environmental regulations), and paint additives help overcome common flaws.

    More importantly, modern paint technicians are educated in their craft. Until the 1970's, there were very few formal training programs available for young men and women entering the automotive repair industry. Today there are certified schools that specialize in formal education for the automotive industry. This includes paint manufacturers, who provide in-depth training for anyone who uses their paint systems.

    All professional body shops understand that the cars they repair have been maintained using products that contain waxes, oils and silicone. For this reason, all professional repair facilities perform the necessary preparation work required to insure that the paintwork is free of contaminates before they begin their work. In so doing, the dreaded "fish eyes" will not be a problem.

    The preparation work includes using special degreasers and silicone removers that effectively remove these substances from the surface or chemically alter their molecular structure in such a way to insure they pose no problems. If there is ever any question or doubt about the surface to which new paint is going to be applied, painters will use a paint additive to eliminate fish eyes. Interestingly enough, the paint additive that eliminates fish eyes is typically a special silicone additive.

    There are many kinds of silicones available for use in car care products. They vary in form and functionality. Car care chemists select the best performing silicones to create a desired finish for each kind of car surface.

    Silicones are primarily used to modify or enhance a specific characteristic of another ingredient in a polish, wax or protectant formula. Silicones are not used for any characteristic they offer in and of themselves. There are some functions in a car care formula that only silicone can produce or no other ingredient can perform better.

    One of the most commonly used features of silicone is its ability to lubricate (improve slip). The use of some types of silicone in a formula acts to make the product easier to apply and buff off. In this way, silicone lubrication helps reduce surface marring (scratches and swirl marks) induced from wiping with bad toweling or applicators. That's a benefit to you.

    Chemists also use silicones to create water-in-oil emulsions, reduce emulsion particle size, to stabilize emulsions, and to improve spreading and coverage of wax products. Most modern silicone formulas are water soluble (no oil or petroleum), and are completely inert. The best way to describe most forms of silicone is to think of it as a man-made wax ester. Silicone is created by the reaction generated when you combine fatty acids with polydimethylsiloxane (or other derivatives of the compound).

    The fear and confusion surrounding this single ingredient, silicone, is an ongoing problem. Some small car care chemical manufactures create fear, uncertainty and doubt in people's minds by claiming their products contain no harmful silicones, suggesting that silicone is harmful to the paint. This product hype and misinformation spread from person to person, generation to generation, and now-a-days on the Internet, exaggerates the myth that silicones in car care products are harmful. The fact is that the largest and most respected names in the paint and body shop industry, which include 3M and Meguiar's, use silicones in their car care products to make them better.

    The facts are indisputable. Silicone is part of the protective system in paint and helps the paint look better and last longer. Silicone cannot harm paint, let alone anything else it is formulated into, or sitting on top of, especially in the form of a coating of wax. Without properly blended silicones, waxes would be difficult to apply and would not have the high gloss and radiance we enjoy.
    Original Article

    Car Care Terminology for the Beginner.

    Just starting out in the detailing community?  Do you feel that Canadian Tire and Walmart do not have the selection or expertise that you want/need to protect and maintain your paint?

    Perfect.  You find a great website, watch a few YouTube videos, and now you are more confused than ever. 

    I will list common types of chemicals and their uses below.  Hopefully this will help you to navigate through the process of perfecting and maintaining your paint.  We will start at the beginning of the exterior, and then move on from there.


    Fall Out Remover

     A fall out cleaner chemically removes metal particles from the paint.  You will most often notice the tiny brown spots on a white or light colored car.  These spots are often referred to as brake dust, or rail dust.  Fall out cleaners, such as Iron Maiden, break down and liquefy the metal contaminants.  Fall out cleaners are relatively quick to use, and take most metal contaminants out of paint.  Why would you use a clay bar instead?  A claybar will remove all metal contaminants, and will also remove organic contaminants such as overspray and bug particles.


    Clay Bars and Clay Bar Substitutes

    Clay bars remove contaminants from your paint.  How do you know if your paint is contaminated?  If the surface feels rough there are usually contaminants in your paint.  Often even brand new cars are full of fallout from transportation.  Clay barring a car can take a lot of time.  You have to lubricate the section, using clay lube.  Next you glide the clay bar over the affected area.  Claybars have a consistency similar to playdough.  You will feel a slight pull as it removes the contaminants from the paint.  Often one pass is enough, but several may be needed to remove heavily over sprayed or contaminated cars.

     Recently clay mitts and pads have hit the market.  These do the same as a traditional clay bar, yet allow for ease of use.


    All Purpose Cleaners

    All-purpose cleaners are often referred to as APC, or degreasers.  An APC is a strong degreaser that removes oils and dirt from surfaces.  Most often you would use an APC before polishing and waxing a car.  It is also often used on wheels and engine bays.  Most all-purpose cleaners are a concentrate.  With a higher dilution they can be often be used on the interior as well.


    No Rinse (NR)

    No Rinse (NR) washes were designed for areas with limited water use, such as RV parks, Marina's, Apartment buildings.  They have gained popularity in the recent years as there have been several areas with water bans and restrictions.  The no-rinse wash is a concentrated soap.  You would apply with a sponge or foam cannon.  The wash, as per the name, does not need to be rinsed.  It will dry to leave a streak free surface. 


    A no rinse product works well on not so dirty cars.  If there is heavy mud or debris a traditional car wash is more effective.


    Car Wash

    A true car or auto wash is safe to use over waxes and sealants.  It will not strip the waxes on the car, and will foam to remove dirt and grease. 


    Wash and Wax

    A wash and wax is a car wash, plus it has added gloss enhancers.  Wash and wax shampoos are safe to use on waxed cars, and they leave some additional short term gloss.  This product often has carnauba wax as an ingredient.  If the product freezes it may separate and need to be replaced. 



    Compounds are designed to be applied by machine.  Compounds are used to remove small scratches and swirls from the finish.  Most compounds require the speed and heat produced by a polisher. 



    A polish prepares the surface for a wax or sealant.  It removes minor swirls, cleans up the paint and makes it shiny.  A pure polish does not have any protection in the polish, just cleaners and often fillers.  A lot of polishes can be used by hand or machine. 


    All In One (AIO)

    An All in One product refers to polishing abilities, plus protection.  These products clean the surface, fill small imperfections, and give some protection to the surface. 



     A sealant is synthetic protection that protects your paint. A true sealant does not have any correction properties and is usually very thin.  Most sealants last anywhere from 6 months to 18 months.  Depending on the product, and the environment the vehicle is exposed to.


    Permanent Coating

    A Permanent coating is a coating that changes the paint.  Often there are ceramic particles in the paint that harden the paint slightly and help it reduce the frequency of swirls and small marks left from drying and everyday care.


    Paste Wax

    A wax is mostly a solid that is made from carnauba.  The carnauba is blended with other ingredients to make it soft enough to be applied to your vehicle.  A wax will give an amazing shine, and will last on average about 3 months.  A wax can be applied over a sealant or coating to add to the finish, but is not necessary.


    Quick Detailer (QD)

    A quick detailer is a spray wax that is designed to slightly clean the car and add some gloss in between washes.  It is in a spray bottle, and often can be used on plastics and metals as well.


    Still have questions?   Visit Ask Anything.  or contact us.


    Pad Selection

    Please refer to the chart below to help with the selection of our Lake Country Pads.  These choices apply to both the CCS and Flat pads in 4"5.5", and 6.5".

     Yellow Lake Country Compounding Pad, Porter Cable, DA Polisher, Orbital Polisher Yellow Cutting Foam - Use this pad to apply compounds to remove severe oxidation, swirls, and scratches. It is the most aggressive and is generally to   be used on oxidized and damaged finishes. Always follow this pad with an orange or white pad and a fine polish to refine the paint until it is smooth. Yellow pads are often used on gel coat or fiberglass, not usually on automotive paint.
    Orange Light Cutting Pad - Firm, high density foam for scratches and small defect removal. Use this pad with compounds and swirl removers. It’s a light cutting pad that will work on most light to moderate imperfections. Orange pads will need to be followed with a polish.
    White Lake Country Polishing Pad, Porter Cable, DA Polisher, Orbital Polisher White Polishing Pad - Softer foam, for the application of polishes, all in one products, and light compounds. This pad has very light cutting power making it  perfect for pre-wax cleaners. This versatile pad is used often used after the Yellow/Orange Pad to remove the haze
    Green Lake Country All IN One Pad, Porter Cable, DA Polisher, Orbital Polisher Green Polishing/All in One Pad - Use this foam to apply one-step cleaner waxes. It is a balance of polishing and finishing that is perfect for all-in-one product application.  An All in One Product refers to a product that both polishes and protects.
    Black Lake Country Waxing Pad, Porter Cable, DA Polisher, Orbital Polisher, the best wax application Black Finishing Foam - This waxing pad has very little polishing properties. It is recommended to use with a carnauba wax.  The black CCS pad is used to  apply thin, even coats of waxes, sealants, and glazes. 
    Blu Lake Country Paint Sealant Pad, Porter Cable, DA Polisher, Orbital Polisher Blue Finessing Pad - The blue paint sealant  pad has soft composition for applying glaze, finishing polish, sealants, and liquid waxes. The Blue foam is extremely soft and used as the final step in paint correction.


    For a glossary of frequently used terms when correcting or polishing please read our blog on Car Care Terminology.  

    How DO I Wash My Car?

    Many of us enjoy the benefits of a freshly hand washed car. However, without proper knowledge you may be doing more harm than good. Washing a car improperly will induce micro-marring known as swirls or spider-webbing.

    The cause of this damage is due to foreign particles trapped in your washing materials. This can happen several ways, such as:

    • Improper storage of materials when not in use
    • Improper materials such as using Dishsoap* (See bottom note), old T-Shirts etc.
    • Improper washing techniques which lead to further damage in the drying stage


    The following materials are recommended for proper washing:


        STEP 1

        When washing a car try to do it in an atmosphere where the paint surface is not hot to the touch.  Shade or garages are the best locations.  Overly high temperatures cause the water and soaps to evaporate too quickly, not giving them a chance to remove the necessary dirt particles.

        If possible work from top to bottom in a downward angle.

        STEP 2

        Start by thoroughly spraying the entire vehicle with a nozzled hose or pressure washer.  Pay particular attention to heavily soiled areas, trying to remove as much dirt as possible in this stage.

        STEP 3

        Use a Soap/Shampoo specifically designed for washing automotive paints. These Soaps/Shampoos have special oils and lubricants in them that are specially designed to lift and remove foreign particles. These Soaps/Shampoos are also very low on the PH scale and will not strip previous waxes.

        STEP 4

        Start by washing the wheels, this will prevent any brake dust, or harsh wheel cleaners from contaminating a freshly washed panel.

        STEP 5

        By using two buckets you greatly reduce the possibility of tracking dirt into your wash mitt. Your soapy water will also stay much cleaner.

        Simply fill one bucket with your soap/water mixture and the other bucket with just water.

        After every application of soap/water dip and shake the wash mitt in the water bucket. This will loosen and clean the wash mitt BEFORE applying more soap/water to the mitt. The Soap/Shampoo solution will stay much cleaner and the majority of dirt will stay in the water bucket. You can also use a special Grit Guard Bottom. These provide a screen or false floor in the bottom where loose particles fall beneath. This makes it impossible to come in contact with these particles when re-entering the wash bucket for more soap.

        STEP 6

        Scrub the vehicle from top to bottom, try to follow the contours of the vehicle or any distinct body lines.

        By doing this, mishaps are much less noticeable. By washing in a circular motion any mishaps will be visable at all angles and much more noticeable. Rinse often! After every application of soap, rinse the vehicle before going back for more soap.

        STEP 7

        After you are finished washing, do a final rinse on the entire vehicle.  For the final rinse remove the hose nozzle. Start from top to bottom, and with the flowing water inches away from the surface, sheet off any remaining or misses of debris/soap.

        This sheeting rinse will pull materials down and leave much less water on the surface. There will be little water beading with this technique making it much easier and quicker to dry.


        Example of sheeting water

        Example of beading water

        *NOTE: Using dishsoap regularly to wash a vehicle will strip your protective waxes. The high acidity will also dry out any plastic/rubber trim over time. However, there is a certain time you DO want to use a dishsoap! There are times you would like to strip off your current waxes and try a new product.  Dishsoap will remove these waxes and leave your paint surface bare and ready for another wax application or polish. Dishsoap will not remove synthetic waxes such as Klasse.

        What Do I Need to Start My Own Detail Bay?

        Starting your own detailing shop can be a great experience and an opportunity to turn your hobby into a profession. Professional detailing has been around long before the automobile, detailing goes way back to the horse drawn carriage where resellers would hire professional detailers to refinish the carriages for resale.

        A combination of increasing values of automobiles and a decrease of spare time for today’s busy people adds up to a great opportunity to make a career in detailing. Auto detailing is also a great compliment to other auto services such as a garage, rental cars etc. One of the most frequent questions we get here is “I want to start a detail shop, what do I need?”. This can be a very hard question to answer in an email. A question like this can be answered in a book but we will try our best in this article!

        Where to start

        Start detailing for yourself, family members and friends. Get an idea of what you are getting yourself into. Many assume detailing is easy money, IT IS NOT! Detailing is a skill and takes many years of practice to learn techniques and problem solving. It is also hard on the body and requires decent physical shape. The simple fact is you will not be successful if you are inexperienced! Starting a detail shop cold turkey without any experience is a recipe for failure. Keep in mind, a customer is paying good money and they will scrutinize your job. Good news travels fast but bad news travels faster!

        What do I need?

        This question is answered with a question, what services do you plan on offering? A full blown detail shop that offers services from interior shampoos and steam cleaning to paint correction will require much more equipment and knowledge than a person that only offers interior vacuuming, exterior washing/waxing and so on. I will separate this into two groups below, Cleaning and correction. I will also keep this as simple as possible. There is no set package that will accommodate all detailers trying to start a shop; this is why we do not offer full detailing product packages.

        Exterior Cleaning

        It is possible to run a successful detail shop without offering polishing. Many customers are simply looking for a good interior cleaning/shampooing and exterior wash and wax. Below are the different steps of an interior/exterior cleaning with a few different products (In no specific order) that can be used on each step. Products are for reference but can be substituted for any product of your choice that performs the same job.

        Exterior Prewash. One of the most used chemicals we use in our detail shop is an All-Purpose Cleaner (APC). We use properly diluted APC’s as a prewash on every vehicle; this removes grease, wax, oils, loose dirt etc. We also spray this onto wheels, wheel wells, and engine bays. APC’s are then rinsed off with a pressure washer before we hand wash the vehicle.

        Examples of products needed:

        Examples of products needed:

        Examples of products needed:

        Examples of products needed:

        At this point you have yourself a clean dry vehicle. If you are equipped and skilled for paint correction this would be your next step. If not you will at least want to offer waxing/sealing to protect the vehicle.
        • Waxing or Sealing. We won’t get into a “Which wax is best?” debate, let’s just say you will need to have a few different selections of waxes or sealants on hand for your customers. Most customers who daily drive their vehicles are looking for long term protection as they may only detail their car once a year, in this case sealants are preferred.

        Examples of products needed:

        Paint Correction and Clay Bar

        For paint correction (Swirl removal, scratch removal stain removal etc.) You will need a good electric polisher, Several pads, and compounds. For clay barring or decontamination you can use a good clay bar or a liquid chemical.

        Examples of products needed:

        You should not need more than three different grades of compound as most jobs should not require more than two steps of correction.

        Additional supplies needed.

        Above are the basics you will need to fully detail and correct the exterior of a vehicle. Although there are many specialty products and tools you can purchase you need to start with the basics and add to your products as you come up with different needs.

        Interior Detailing

        Interior Fabrics, Plastic and  Leather. Although the interior contains many materials and different textures it is possible to complete interiors with just a few products thanks to multi-use products that are now available. Below is a list of products you will need.

        Examples of products needed:

        • Hot Water Carpet extractor, Mytee HP60 or 8070. This is the most valuable tool to any detail shop. In most cases the hot water alone will remove all dirt and grime from interior carpets and seats. It can be used together with cleaning chemicals to amplify its effectiveness. Although it is a large initial investment it quickly pays for itself and I cannot imagine running a detail shop without one. For low volume shops the 8070 is fine, for higher volume go for the HP60.
        • Chemical Guys Inner Clean, Griot’s Garage Interior Cleaner

        The above products can do 95% of the interior! They work on plastic, vinyl, rubber, leather, and fabrics!

        • Dedicated Leather Care. Although you can use multi-use cleaners on leather it is a good idea to have a dedicated cleaner and conditioner for leather. If you want to use a multi-use cleaner on leather you will still need a leather conditioner.

        Examples of products needed:

        Examples of products needed:

        Examples of products needed:

        In summary, the above is a great start to what you will need to start a detail shop. Your final chemical collection will start to get tailored as you start detailing. It is unlikely you will first purchase products and love them all the first time around.. Everybody has different opinions and preferences, different detailers here at eShine use their own favorite products.