The squeegee is a rubber handheld tool that is dragged over the surface, wiping off the water from the surface it is used on. The blade is usually made from (synthetic) rubber and is fairly flexible on its own. The use of the squeegee is a popular topic of debate because of its potential of creating surface imperfections.
Why use a squeegee
When a surface is covered in water (whether it is glass or any other surface), the removal of this moisture will either require a type of towel or a device that uses air to blow away the water. Both approaches are labor intensive and require tools that can be expensive. The rubber squeegee can be dragged/wiped over the surface, wiping off the liquid without much effort. Due to its low cost, it is a cheap and fast solution for drying certain surfaces. When used correctly, it will also decrease the risk of lines where the water wasn’t removed completely. Squeegee’s can be used on paintwork and glass, and (to an extent) on different surfaces. It can even help in wiping off surface moisture on fabric or floormats. The household version of this product can even be used (dry) to wipe off animal hair from carpets.
Different types of squeegee
In general, there are 2 types of squeegee’s used in car care: the large one, and the small one. The large one can also be called a “drying blade”, and had a substantial larger rubber blade attached to the rigid frame. The smaller one resembles (or is the same as) the household version with a plastic handle and a thin black rubber strip attached to it. The drying blade is most often used on paintwork, due it being more flexible and following the curves of the bodypanel better. However, it not uncommon to see people using a household squeegee on the paintwork as well.
Controversy on the use of a squeegee
The use of a squeegee has raised many eyebrows and is a popular topic for debate on many different online discussion platform, including social media. The disadvantage that is generally mentioned, is the fact that a squeegee doesn’t absorb any dirt on the surface. This means that any contamination on the surface is dragged over the surface by the squeegee, potentially creating swirls in long, straight lines. This is the opposite of what a detailer is trying to achieve by using his knowledge for proper/careful car cleaning.
The counterargument is usually that the user should be aware of this, and the squeegee should only be used when the user is confident that the surface is absolutely free from contaminants, and that there is nothing on the surface that will be dragged over the relatively soft paintwork. The use of a squeegee on paintwork that didn’t get a full decontamination is usually discouraged and seen as an improper technique or use of the product.