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A beginners guide to decontamination

One of the questions we get asked a lot is what is decontamination and why should I do it? Decontamination is one of the most important steps in the preparation...

One of the questions we get asked a lot is what is decontamination and why should I do it?

Decontamination is one of the most important steps in the preparation of your vehicle, it doesn’t matter if the vehicle is used or brand new it most likely will benefit from this process.

What is decontamination?

Decontamination is the process of removing bonded foreign particles from the surface of your vehicle, these particles can be in the form of road tar, iron deposits, tree sap, or any other industrial or natural contaminant that cannot be removed through the normal wash process.

Is there only one form of decontamination?

No, we classify decontamination into 2 categories Chemical decon and Physical decon.

Chemical decontamination is a process that involves using a chemical product alone to soften/dissolve/remove unwanted particles from the surface.

This process is usually done after a full safe wash and usually comprises of Tar removal using Just the tonic, this is an important step as tar can conceal other particles beneath, so we need to remove the tar before moving onto any further steps.

Following on from the tar removal, we move onto Fallout removal using Purple Rain v3. Purple rain v3 is a chemical product designed to remove iron particles and industrial fallout! This product although mostly used for the removal of fallout and stubborn brake dust from wheels is also perfectly suited to dissolving and removing fallout from the other surfaces of the vehicle, simply apply and watch as it reacts with the iron particles and turns purple. ( Always read the instructions).


Physical decontamination.

This is the process that most people would think about when talking about decontamination and involves the use of a clay bar or clay mitt to physically pull contaminants from the clearcoat that have become embedded over time.  The clay bar process requires the use of a lubricating product such as Berry Blast Quick detailer to allow the clay to glide over the surface whilst still being in contact with the rough contaminants sticking up and so physically removing them as the clay moves backward and forwards over them.

Clay bar decontamination is an essential part of preparing your vehicle for machine polishing work, if machine polishing is carried out without this step then you can run the risk of both damaging your machine polishing pads and inflicting damage to the clear coat of the vehicle by catching sharp particles in the pads surface causing scratches and swirls.

My car is brand new/I’m not going to machine polish!

Clay bar decontamination is not just a process that should be carried out prior to machine polishing! If you have a brand new vehicle there is a good chance that at some point this vehicle has been standing in a compound somewhere for an extended period of time or has been transported by road/rail thus picking up airborne or transport-related contaminants! If you want the vehicle to look its best with paintwork that is as smooth as glass then I would still recommend this process. This process is also useful for the removal of a previously applied protection that is failing before thinking of applying a new layer or a different product!

So hopefully this has given you guys a bit of an insight into what decontamination is, why we do it and how it can improve the appearance and feel of your car’s paintwork!

Remember guys this and many more processes are demonstrated and covered hands-on during our Back to Basics and One to One courses!

Check out the tuition section of the website for further details.




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