The Almighty Q-Tip

QTipIf you’re not buying Q-tips once every 5 years from Costco, you should. What looks like a two inch stick with cotton balls on each end is actually a detailer’s best friend. Most commonly known for their ability to remove waxy buildup from your ear canals, the Q-tip is a key component to any spotless detail. As for specific uses, well that’s what this article’s all about. Check out the many ways you can put these little guys to work in your garage and let your detailing speak for itself.

Clean up excess wax

If you’ve ever used a liquid carnauba or a traditional paste wax then you know what I’m talking about when I say chalky residue. If you haven’t, when a wax cures it dries. As this happens, the excess “hazes” up and creates a white chalky substance that gets harder and harder to remove. Q-tips are perfect for removing this unsightly excess from crevices, trim, hinges, and more.

Remove tire conditioner from grooves

Whenever you apply tire conditioner, chances are a little bit is going to find its way into the groove between the rim and the tire. This extra conditioner can cause unwanted “tire sling” that not only looks terrible, but gets harder to remove from paint as time passes. Not to worry. Q-tips are perfect for preventing this sloppy mess and you’ll find that a single Q-tip can make all the difference in a better wheel/tire detail.

Condition plastic air vents

Some people use vent brushes, but I like saving those for dusting. Q-tips are disposable, small, and a great way to condition inside those pesky air vents. As you can imagine, you’re not about to get an applicator or your hand in there to turn those faded grey vents back to black. The Q-tip, on the other hand, is perfect for the job.

Around & inside emblems or badging

Whether it’s waxy buildup or just a fleck of dust, it can be pretty hard to get inside a Kia emblem (for example). Some, like Mercedes or BMW, are easier than others and don’t really pose a threat, but that AMG logo on the back of that new SLS roadster? Terrible to clean. Enter the Q-tip, whose cotton ends make for accurate application, drying, or removal of virtually any substance ranging from metal polish to car wax. Problem solved.

Leather seams

After conditioning leather, the seams can play home to product buildup. Not to worry. After you’ve conditioned and are ready to let the leather soak up the nutrients provided by the leather cream, grab a Q-tip and dry up any excess that may have found its way into the seams of your seats. It’s easy to overlook, but it can really make you a better detailer.

There you have it… Q-tips, another secret to a better detail. Like I said, it wouldn’t be a bad idea go to Costco (or whatever wholesale discount store is near by) and pick up a pack of a couple thousand. They’ll last for years and now that you know they can help detail your car, they won’t just sit in your bathroom cabinet. Score.

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