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

  • Krauss tools
    Krauss Tools is a German manufacturer of several detailing and bodyshop related tools and machines. The company creates, sells and develops several different product under their own label and for other manufacturers....
  • 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....
  • The best coating
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    It is often asked on detailing fora and social media: "what is the best coating". Off course there is a difference between certain products and brands, but it is important to know what you are asking. In this guide I will try to explain what the problem is with this question unless it is asked more in-depth....
  • Polished cars stay cleaner
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    A polished car will stay cleaner for longer, and will in fact be much easier to clean, even without protection added. This is due to a surface that so smooth that dirt has less chance of getting caught in the microscopic hills and valleys....
  • What is marring
    Marring is a superficial surface imperfection most commonly seen after claying. It is slightly similar to a combination between swirls and holograms....
  • Zaino
    Zaino is an American manufacturer of automotive detailing products. The headquarters is located in America, but the products are being sold throughout Europe and the rest of the world with the possibility to ship worldwide. ...

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!