English English Nederlands Nederlands Deutsch Deutsch Italiano Italiano Español Español Français Français 简体中文 简体中文 Português Português Русский Русский
    DetailingWiki Newsletter
    Get free and automatic updates on new articles
    We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!


How to manual wetsanding

Written by:

Wetsanding isn’t very difficult in the steps you need to take. It’s the technique that makes the difference. When mastered, wetsanding can give very good results, but it is also very risky and should be done with great care.

The steps for wetsanding

When wetsanding, you want to remember a few basic rules: don’t use to much pressure, don’t try to go as fast as possible, and keep the lube coming.
The steps themselves aren’t very difficult.

  • Put your wetsanding papers in a bowl with clean water. Leave them to soak for a few hours before using them
  • Wash, clay and decontaminate the surface before starting
  • Use your paint depth gauge to see how much paint you have to work with
  • Make sure the surface is clean enough for polishing
  • Tape of surrounding areas and edges that you don’t want to sand
  • Make sure you have plenty of water and/or lube to use as a lube
  • Take your least rough wetsanding paper (often 3000 grit or higher) out of the bowl with water
  • Wrap the wetsanding paper around a block of foam or similar
  • Wet the surface with plenty of water
  • Rub the wetsanding paper softly over the surface, with very little pressure
  • Make long strokes of at least 10 inches, if possible more
  • Look at how it affects the paintwork, and see if this is good enough
  • Is the wetsanding paper rough enough, continue using it. Not rough enough, go up 1 step
  • Rinse away the milky water/paint-mixture from the surface and wipe dry with a microfiber towel to check the result
  • Rinse the wetsanding paper clean, and continue wetsanding
  • It is totally dependent on the grit and the surface how many passes you have to make
  • Continue sanding, rinsing and adding water till you’re happy with the result
  • When done, use a cutting polish to bring back the shine. Work your way up from cutting to polishing and finally finishing

The technique

Wetsanding isn’t easy to master. You need to feel whats happening, and understand what you are feeling. Without this experience it is very difficult to judge what you need to do. Applying more pressure might be needed, but you need to know for sure. Although it is difficult to put this experience in words, this list might help you to know what things to start with.

  • Always start with as little pressure as possible, and see how that goes and feels
  • Always use enough water to rinse the sanding paper and the surface
  • Keep the wetsanding paper wet at all times
  • Start out with the least rough sanding paper
  • Always try to apply even pressure while sanding (a block of hard foam might help)
  • When judging the result, rinse with plenty of water and wipe dry
  • When wetsanding, the surface will show complete wetting and hardly any sheeting
  • It is important to keep your sanding papers wet
  • Try to prevent sanding to much on corners, the paint is often more thin here
  • When sanding headlights, look carefully at how evenly matte the surface is becoming
  • Don’t try to rush it, this job takes time but the results are worth it. Rushing it will not improve the result

Although you can read a lot on the subject, it is a job you need to get a feeling for. The feeling for sanding is difficult to master. Some go to a professional detailer for special courses on wet sanding.

Different related articles

  • What speed setting when machine polishing
    Different jobs require a different speed setting on your polish machine. Although they can differ slightly per machine, the settings are fairly general per action. Knowing the right speed setting can make the difference between half results, and proper results....
  • 2 stage polish
    When you polish a surface, the level of imperfection defines how much work it will be to achieve a perfect finish. This can either be a 1 stage polish, a 2 stage polish or even a 3 stage polish. Different types of stages needed define slightly what pads and/or polish you are going to need, and might give an indication of the time-frame needed....
  • Cartec bv
    CARTEC bv is one of only a few Dutch detailing products manufacturers and is based in Benthuizen, The Netherlands. The company mainly operates within The Netherlands and Belgium, but the brand has been seen outside of these countries winthin Europe. The products are offered both in large packaging and smaller, consumer based, bottles....
  • How to remove dried up polish
    Dried up polish can be very unattractive. It is also a hardened substance that can cause surface damage when rubbed over the paintwork. Although the detailer should have removed this, it can be encountered on some jobs. Dried up wax residue can generally be approached in the same way....
  • What is overspray
    Overspray is caused by the mist that is created when spray painting a surface. The tiny paint particles are light enough to float around in the air, when they land they slowly start to harden and become overspray. Overspray can be removed safely in many cases....
  • Calculate RPM when changing pads
    In some cases, you feel comfortable with a certain speed (rpm), and feel that this works best with a certain product. However, not all your pads are the same size and you want to know what speed setting you need to maintain the same speed....

Links to this article

There are no external links to this article. Yet.

Stay up to date with our free newsletter
Always be the first to know about new updates, articles and other informative content.
Don't miss out, opt in!
We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!