What are brushes
Written by: Vinnie van Rooij
Detailing brushes come in all types and sizes and can be used for several different tasks. In general, these are aimed at scrubbing but can sometimes also be used to reach an area that is difficult to reach with a microfiber towel.
Why use a detailing brush
There can be several different reasons why you might want to use a brush. You can’t reach a certain area very well (like air vents), you want to scrub an area (like cleaning a car logo with APC), you really need to scrub something to get it cleaned (scrubbing tyres) or to easily remove large amounts (cleaning the dashboard with a duster). Even though the tasks you are going to use it for can be many, detailing brushes have shown their worth in the world of detailing. The main advantage of a brush is the addition of air when scrubbing (creating foam, and agitating the solution), working a slightly larger area even though all the individual hair scrub the total area the same and the soft mechanical cleaning that is done by the soft hairs (in some cases).
Different types of brushes
There are many types of brushes, some have very hard nylon bristles, others are made from boar-hair and others can contain horse-hair or even synthetic fibers. The difference in brushes (apart from size) is often related to the job they are suitable for.
Soft, long hairs
These type of brushes are suitable for gentle tasks at sensitive surfaces. Removing dust from the dashboard, wiping slight dust from air vents, dusting off polished high-gloss plastic interior panels etc.
Soft, short hairs
When scrubbing is required on these sensitive surfaces. The shorter hairs make for slightly more stiff hairs. This allows the user to apply a bit more pressure before the hairs bend. This gives a little bit more scrubbing effect. This might also increase the risk of creating marks on very sensitive surfaces.
Long, stiff/thick hairs
Very suitable for rough work, like scrubbing tyres or cleaning wheelarches. These brushes should be used on surfaces where it is not very likely to cause surface imperfections by applying pressure or rough materials. These might not be suitable for paintwork and black gloss A-pillar covers. With care, these can be used to clean in the small crevice between a glued window and a body panel, or to clean a radiator.
Short, stiff/thick hairs
These brushes are mostly designed to scrub and rub. Do not use these on painted surfaces, or surfaces that can be easily damaged by a rough materials. They might be used when cleaning wheels and wheel arches, or cleaning the underbody of the car. But should still be used with care. They might be very effective, but are also very rough.
Apart from the type of hairs on a brush, the handle can also make a big different. A short handle will give you more control and will allow for more pressure, but will limit your reach. A longer handle will increase the reach, but make it less precise to use.
Well known brushes
A few examples of well known brushes that most detailer have in their kit are: (most have these in several different sizes)
- Wheel woolies
- Leather brush
- Paint brush (unused and clean)
- Rubber brush
- Tooth brush
- Hard tyres scrubbing brush
These are sometimes considerend to be part of the basic package of tools required to do the most common tasks.
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