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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is to anyone, but I have my suspicion that Rip will be the first to jump on it!

When I used the Meguires products they were numbered 1/2/3

1=paint cleaner
2=polish
3=wax

The applications were applied on order of courseness (is that a word). Just like sanding, start with course paper finish with fine.

I was always under the impression that the "cleaner" was more course than the polish. The cleaner would remove the larger contaminants and scratches, the polish would then remove the marks from the cleaner and the wax would seal the job off.

Why then would you use a polish (fine) before a cleaner (course). The net result is the polish is too fine to clean and remove large scratches and the cleaner (course) would leave you with course marks in the paint.

Does that make sense?

Happy polishing, or is it cleaning?!?!
 

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From Steve at the wax test:
- We all use the Griot's #3, too, and while it's a great product, the P21S
cleaner really added some extra "ooomph" to our test panels, and our test
vehicle (we put it on Rob's Audi).

- When we prepped the panels with our Meg's stuff, they looked great. We
applied the P21S cleaner over the panel and said, "no way! this stuff is
incredible"

- The surface will feel extra, extra smooth after you clay, #3 & P21S clean
it.
You won't believe the difference (we couldn't).

- We're not sure what type of voodoo they're using with that product, but it
has worked great for us so far...
I'm assuming after reading the back of the P21S Paint cleaner bottle that its a finish prep right prior to waxing, since it calls out to use wax afterwards. It claims that it removes swirls, so any "micro-swirls" that your polish missed, would be cleaned up by the P21S paint cleaner.

My thinking as well as Steves is this:

Claybar~ to level at high spots, contaminants on the surface.

#3 Polish~ Leveling the clear coat to remove major swirls.

P21S Paint cleaner~"Feeding" the clear coat (and possibly taking care of any "missed" micro-scratches/swirls)

Wax~Protection of the finish, and the freshly "fed" clear coat from the P21S paint cleaning stage.
 

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I might add too, that polish is also like a paint conditioner. Depending on the product, it also can feed oils to the paint. Machine Polish #3 claims "to do away with 50% of solvents, and can be cleaning up with water"...so the P21S paint cleaning step is more of a "finish polish", than a "leveling" polish that Machine polish #3 is.

Incidently, when you hold up a bottle of Machine polish #3, there is no layering effect, in other words, no oils.(Water based) When you hold up P21S paint cleaner, you will see separation of the oil(shake it up well!)...the P21S is basically feed this into the clear coat when rubbing in.
 

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Chipster,

To put it in the simplest terms, a paint cleaner is a product that removes surface imperfections (like swirls) and stains through the use of cleaning solvents and abrasives.

A polish is a product that shines up your paint and like Ripsnort said, feeds your paint with nutritive oils. A polish in the strictest sense does not contain any cleaning agents or polishes. It will not remove any marring left over from the cleaner. However, it will fill in or cover up any imperfections.

The meguiar's 3 step is one of the few products out there that actually preps your paint with step 1) a true cleaner with very little polishing agents, step 2) a true polish with very little cleaning agents. And no, you would never want to use a cleaner right after using a polish. That would be counterproductive.

With that said, let me tell you that most paint prep products being sold today are combination cleaners and polishes. Eg. 3M Swirl Mark Remover contains abrasives (aluminum oxide) as well as filling agents and oils to polish your paint. The same can be said about P21S paint cleanser (has much less abrasives though...almost none) and meguiar's #9. However, there are exceptions. Meguiar's #7 is a true polish (with very little cleansing agents) and 3M Finesse-It 2 is a true cleaner (with very little polishing agents).

Using the P21S paint cleanser right before waxing is fine. Because it is a combination cleaner and polish, it can also be used as a step right after using a stronger abrasive to clean up some of the left-over haze or mico-swirls, or it can be used as a first step (on paint that's in good condition) followed by wax.

Hope I didn't confuse you even more than you originally were!
 

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Good illustration JP, the only thing that really doesn't show is if you move up a notch in machine polish, and using a cutting pad for leveling the clear coat surface, then you effectively remove all the deeper swirl marks, and will even remove some of the shallow scratches.
 

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JPinTO said:
Here is a couple of good pictures illustrating the difference between cleaner & polish & wax.
Excellent post. I went to the Blackfire site and read it. It looks like a Zaino type polymer which promises light refraction characteristics of wax, for those who want that. Do you recommend Blackfire?

--gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ripsnort said:
Good illustration JP, the only thing that really doesn't show is if you move up a notch in machine polish, and using a cutting pad for leveling the clear coat surface, then you effectively remove all the deeper swirl marks, and will even remove some of the shallow scratches.
Ripsnort,

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are not actually removing the deeper swirl marks, you are removing a level of the clear coat consequently beinging it down to the same level as the swirl marks/scrathces. Isn't that true.

The only other way to remove the scratches would be to fill them in, and I don't think a buffer is doing that, unless the polish is actually filling in the scratches...:dunno:
 

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Chipster said:


Ripsnort,

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are not actually removing the deeper swirl marks, you are removing a level of the clear coat consequently beinging it down to the same level as the swirl marks/scrathces. Isn't that true.

The only other way to remove the scratches would be to fill them in, and I don't think a buffer is doing that, unless the polish is actually filling in the scratches...:dunno:
Correct, you are in effect removing clear coat. Thats why its recommended from the pro's I've spoken with to use a polish no more than twice a year. And, if your car is not heavily oxidized, to use the finest granular polish. Swirls are generally very shallow. Scratches are the ones that will go deeper, and the deepest even a porter cable will not remove. Shallow scratches, and swirls will be leveled though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You ever hear of anyone repainting the clear on their car?

I mean if the polish removes the clear you could not need to repaint the color just the clear....

The paint shop would probably just color sand the clear and reshoot it...
 
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