What cleaning/maintenance products do you use?

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TX, USA
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2019 Mazda CX-9 GT
If this is redundant, please feel free to delete. A couple of products have been mentioned in other posts but hoping to have a consolidated thread.

Some background…I have had my ‘19 CX-9 GT for about 8 months now…approaching 13000 miles. Use it mainly for commute to work during the week (where I park it in an open parking lot under the wonderful Texan sun) and on the weekends it is basically our family hauler because I like to drive.

I have never been one to splurge on/care for my car aside from the basic exterior wash, interior vacuuming/wiping down, and regular, recommended maintenance. Having said that, this car and my wife’s car (’19 Acura RDX, 15000 miles) are basically our ‘first cars’ as adults so I’d like to take care of them as best as I can. After all, we spent a good chunk of change on them.

So this thread for me is a learning opportunity – not just about the interior/exterior cleaning/maintenance products that you all use/recommend; but also the order in which to use these products, which parts to use them on properly and any techniques that may be involved.

I am still not going to become obsessive about the appearance of my car (time restrictions, quite frankly)…but I’d like to do more than I did previously. Thanks!
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
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Contributor
:
Canada
:
'18 CX-9 Signature
Check this thread out. I started it hoping to achieve exactly what you're asking for, and I posted it in the Clubhouse as exterior car care for a Mazda pretty much is the same across all Mazdas. Unfortunately there hasn't been any discussion/participation in that thread since I started it last September.

In that thread, I list the products I use, my car wash process, and my towel washing process. Hope it's of some use.
 
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2016 CX-5 GT AWD
I use mainly Adam's Polishes products. US made in Colorado, something for everything you want to do to your car. I've only found one product of theirs I don't care for (can't remember what it is). Wash, clay, wax/seal, remove swirls, etc., etc...
 
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2020 CX-9 GT
I had Opticoat pro applied to my 2014 CX-5 for about $450 but a ceramic coatings have gotten so much more expensive now at closer to $1000.

right now I’m just using Meguiar’s hybrid ceramic wax after a hand wash. It’s super easy and surprisingly good for a spray.

I did just get a sun joe doc 3000 power washer and Matcc foam cannon to share with my brother to make washing easier. Also got a microfibre mitt on a long handle to make washing the roof way faster.
 
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YVR
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'10 3 +'19 CX9
Check this thread out. I started it hoping to achieve exactly what you're asking for, and I posted it in the Clubhouse as exterior car care for a Mazda pretty much is the same across all Mazdas. Unfortunately there hasn't been any discussion/participation in that thread since I started it last September.

In that thread, I list the products I use, my car wash process, and my towel washing process. Hope it's of some use.
@sm1ke Don't know how I missed this, although it was the start of the school year and a busy time. Between baby duty and... more baby duty, I will try to follow up with my products and routines. I wish I had more time to spend on the car care, throughout the year, but it's a challenge with a young family and being a teacher.
 
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TX, USA
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2019 Mazda CX-9 GT
Check this thread out. I started it hoping to achieve exactly what you're asking for, and I posted it in the Clubhouse as exterior car care for a Mazda pretty much is the same across all Mazdas. Unfortunately there hasn't been any discussion/participation in that thread since I started it last September.

In that thread, I list the products I use, my car wash process, and my towel washing process. Hope it's of some use.
Whoa, sm1ke. What a great write-up. Exactly what I needed. Problem is... I added everything to my Amazon cart and the total $ almost made me poop my pants lol. As a starter, what products should I start with? I need to first research if car washing in my driveway is going to be permissible by HOA. They bitch about everything. So I'm thinking 303 aerospace and may be something for the tires/wheels to begin with.

Just so I understand - is this the correct order - foam spray (non contact) > contact wash > clay bar > polish/wax?

Also thanks to everyone else for the recs. Foam cannons look fun to just play with hahah

A couple of questions too...

What is the difference between the polish/wax products you mentioned and the spray-on sealants/waxes?

When do you use the detailing sprays?

For interior detailing, can you use 303 aerospace protectant on the piano black stuff?

What about the leather seats?

Would I need to get separate leather cleaner/conditioner?

What the heck is a waterless wash?

Regarding pressure washers... Don't these actually cause damage to the paintwork/protections/films on the car? I have a full adult sized pressure washer as well as one 300 psi one I think.

While I'm at it... I also want to ask about clear bra/ppf... What do these options offer more on top of just cleaning/claying/waxing/sealing? It's crazy expensive for me to even consider on top of what I've already spent.

Sorry for my cluelessness guys! Thanks!
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
Moderator
Contributor
:
Canada
:
'18 CX-9 Signature
Whoa, sm1ke. What a great write-up. Exactly what I needed. Problem is... I added everything to my Amazon cart and the total $ almost made me poop my pants lol. As a starter, what products should I start with? I need to first research if car washing in my driveway is going to be permissible by HOA. They bitch about everything. So I'm thinking 303 aerospace and may be something for the tires/wheels to begin with.

Just so I understand - is this the correct order - foam spray (non contact) > contact wash > clay bar > polish/wax?

Also thanks to everyone else for the recs. Foam cannons look fun to just play with hahah

A couple of questions too...

What is the difference between the polish/wax products you mentioned and the spray-on sealants/waxes?

When do you use the detailing sprays?

For interior detailing, can you use 303 aerospace protectant on the piano black stuff?

What about the leather seats?

Would I need to get separate leather cleaner/conditioner?

What the heck is a waterless wash?

Regarding pressure washers... Don't these actually cause damage to the paintwork/protections/films on the car? I have a full adult sized pressure washer as well as one 300 psi one I think.

While I'm at it... I also want to ask about clear bra/ppf... What do these options offer more on top of just cleaning/claying/waxing/sealing? It's crazy expensive for me to even consider on top of what I've already spent.

Sorry for my cluelessness guys! Thanks!
LOL, yeah I didn't buy everything in one shot, just added to the shelf in the garage a bit at a time. To start, I would definitely clear driveway washing with the HOA first. Until you are cleared, I'd pick up some 303 - you can use it for the interior, and I also like using it as a tire and trim dressing too. You'd just spray it onto an old rag and then wipe it onto the tire or black plastic trim (but not the gloss black panels between the windows).

Just so I understand - is this the correct order - foam spray (non contact) > contact wash > clay bar > polish/wax?
IMO, yep, this is the correct order. Something I like to do is wipe the residue off after clay barring a section, just so that the residue doesn't dry on the panel.

What is the difference between the polish/wax products you mentioned and the spray-on sealants/waxes?
So I need to clarify a bit here. The product I mentioned in the thread I linked is an "all-in-one" type of product that has some polishing capability, and also leaves protection behind like a wax. Typically people will buy a polishing product first, apply it and wipe it clean, then apply a wax or sealant to protect the finish. Also, polish isn't really necessary if your car's paint doesn't need correction, or if you just want to protect the paint from UV damage. Have a look at this pic:



If your paint looks like the left side, there's no need to polish, and you can skip to applying wax for protection.

When do you use the detailing sprays?
Detailing sprays are typically used in between your normal car washes. Things like bird poop, fingerprints, bug guts, or anything that would require spot cleaning on the exterior. You would take your detailing spray and a microfiber cloth, then spray the spot to be cleaned. Spray the microfiber once or twice, then gently wipe away the dirt. The detailing spray acts as a lubricant, and helps prevent hardened dirt from scratching the paint when you wipe it away. Always clean bird poop and bug guts off the car as soon as you can. The organics in those can etch away at unprotected paint and cause chemical stains that are hard to remove.

For interior detailing, can you use 303 aerospace protectant on the piano black stuff?
I do, but I try not to touch the piano black stuff as much as possible. Piano black is the bane of my existence. It will scratch with even the softest microfiber towel and the gentlest touch. Sometimes wiping the area clean can't be helped, especially when other people drive my car and spill Coke on the shifter panel - when that happens, I use 303 or a detailing spray and the softest microfiber I have.

What about the leather seats?
I use 303 for the leather seats as well, but only as protection. To clean my napa leather seats, I've just used warm soapy water and a microfiber towel. Others have had great experiences with leather cleaners from brands like Zaino and CarPro.

Would I need to get separate leather cleaner/conditioner?
You can.. I have different leather, so I don't use any, but Leatherique and Zaino come highly recommended from what I've read. There are quite a few other options as well, and on top of that, there are products that provide leather protection as well, like CarPro CQuartz Leather. Personally, on previous cars, I've gotten by just fine with an over the counter leather cleaner/conditioner from Meguiar's.

What the heck is a waterless wash?
I like to call this the lazy person's car wash, aka my favourite kind :ROFLMAO: Basically, it's like doing a spot cleaning with a detailing spray, only you're doing the whole car with a waterless wash solution. Usually I'll do a waterless wash if the car is just dusty, or if the car happened to sit out in the rain and now has some water spots. But if the car is driven in the rain, or its got bits of mud or dirt caked on, I'll give it a full contact wash instead.

Regarding pressure washers... Don't these actually cause damage to the paintwork/protections/films on the car? I have a full adult sized pressure washer as well as one 300 psi one I think.
IMO it depends on the condition of the paint and how the equipment is used. I keep the nozzle of my 1800 psi pressure washer at least a foot or two away from the paint at all times. I have PPF on the front 1/4 of the car and a couple of vinyl stickers on one of my windows and haven't had any issues using a pressure washer yet.

While I'm at it... I also want to ask about clear bra/ppf... What do these options offer more on top of just cleaning/claying/waxing/sealing?
PPF offers more physical protection, on top of UV protection. It will protect the paint from things like rock chips, minor bumps and scrapes much, much better than a wax or sealant, which is more of a UV and chemical protector. Partial hood and fenders, plus full bumper and side mirror caps would have cost me about $750-$1000 if I had been the one to pay for it. Mazda paint is on the softer side, which means that it is more prone to rock chips than some others, but it will also depend on how you drive and where you drive. If you drive on the highway, I would definitely recommend a clear bra/PPF for at least the hood and the front bumper.
 
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2016 CX-5 GT AWD
Another thing I do is use an air cannon to assist in drying. Pressurized, filtered air blows nearly all remaining water away (not much because I have excessive beading of water) so there is very limited touching of the finish with a towel. Less chance to induce swirls or micro-scratches if you don't touch.
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
Moderator
Contributor
:
Canada
:
'18 CX-9 Signature
Another thing I do is use an air cannon to assist in drying. Pressurized, filtered air blows nearly all remaining water away (not much because I have excessive beading of water) so there is very limited touching of the finish with a towel. Less chance to induce swirls or micro-scratches if you don't touch.
Oh yeah, that's a great tip that I forgot to mention. I have a Worx WG520 electric leaf blower that I sometimes use to blow the majority of water away.
 
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TX, USA
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2019 Mazda CX-9 GT
Thank you guys!

OK so I bit the bullet and purchased 303 aerospace protectant. So far I like it! My interior seems new again and you're right - it seems to have good dust repellent properties! I ended up using it on the wife's car as well. Next up I'm going to try the black trim on the outside of the vehicle.

Still working on finding out whether driveway washing is allowed in my neighborhood so have held off on purchasing all the other stuff for now.

Regarding tire and wheel cleaning...Am I wrong in thinking this is purely a cosmetic thing? Or is there actual benefit to this? I've seen videos and it seems you're only cleaning the outer face of the tire so was wondering if there is actual benefit with longer lasting tires etc. I'll still try this. Don't think this will be a problem for the HOA.
 

sm1ke

Work In Progress..
Moderator
Contributor
:
Canada
:
'18 CX-9 Signature
Regarding tire and wheel cleaning...Am I wrong in thinking this is purely a cosmetic thing? Or is there actual benefit to this? I've seen videos and it seems you're only cleaning the outer face of the tire so was wondering if there is actual benefit with longer lasting tires etc. I'll still try this. Don't think this will be a problem for the HOA.
I believe it's mostly a cosmetic thing. Tire dressing is like the sprinkles on top of the icing that's on top of the cake, lol.

If you use 303 as a tire dressing, it does help to protect against UV (resulting in a lower risk of the tires cracking). The only problem with using 303 on tires is that it loses the glossy, shiny look faster than an actual tire dressing. Also, in order to get the shiny, glossy look, you have to apply multiple coats (2-3). A single coat will get the tires looking like they were brand new (assuming you cleaned them with a nylon brush beforehand).
 
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TX, USA
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2019 Mazda CX-9 GT
Hahah, got it, thanks! It is so easy to get carried away with this 303 stuff. Yesterday I almost ordered a 128 fl oz container yet I have a full bottle at home already. Everything on this forum is trying so hard to make me justify 'unnecessary' purchases to the Mrs. Either that or finding efficient ways to hide Amazon packages :p
 
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2009 Mazda CX-9 GT
Regarding tire and wheel cleaning...Am I wrong in thinking this is purely a cosmetic thing? Or is there actual benefit to this?
For the most part, yes. There are claims of UV protection, so if you live in a hot sunny climate there could be some benefit there. Other than that, just a nice clean semi-shiny tire.
 
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