I was asked a while back to do a review on some of Mother's detailing products. I have an extensive detailing background from an amateur standpoint. I also have been involved in the development of some other detailing products for a different company so I've had a LOT of detailing products pass through my hands over the years.
I was presented with a lot of products to review and I decided to break this up into several parts. One reason was because some of the products Ive sent, I cant review them on my own vehicle, like the leather dressing. I have cloth seats in my car. That being said, here is how I have decided to approach this review.
Initially, in this article, I will be covering the products used in an exterior detail. I am doing a more indepth review to cover the various sealants they sent me but I thought to get us started I would cover the foundation of a good exterior detail and how the Mother's products played into it.
For starters, I cleaned the wheels using the new Mother's All Wheel & Tire cleaner accompanied with the Mother's Fenderwell Brush.
I thought that the wheel cleaner did a good job at removing brake dust and grime. I used the fenderwell brush to also scrub the tires and rims however I felt like the bristles of the brush were a little too soft to be effective as a tire/rim cleaner. Using it for fenderwells, it worked very well but I have to question whether a dedicated brush for the fenderwells is needed for anyone except the hardcore detailer. With a little agitation from the brush, the All Wheel & Tire Cleaner worked very well. For an "off the shelf" cleaner, I was impressed with this stuff.
Here's a before shot of the nasty wheels.
And here's an after. This is just with light brushing.
After cleaning the tires and wheels, I moved on to washing the car. For this, I used the Mother's Car Wash Bucket, the Genuine Lambwool Wash Mitt and Mother's California Gold Car Wash.
Not really a whole lot to say about the bucket. Mother's advertises it as coming with a lid. Mine did not. It would have been nice if it had a grit guard in the bottom but alas, no such luck. So.. its a bucket. It holds water and soap and a sponge.
The Lambswool Wash Mitt I found to be great at holding soap and I did not notice any marring or scratching from using it. Generally I like to use microfiber sponges for washing but I have to say, this mitt did a good job.
The California Gold Car Wash also surprised me. I found it to be very good at removing tar and bug guts. I wasn't real impressed with the lubricity of the soap but I guess that goes to show that there isnt a lot of silicone in the car wash. A lot of companies add silicone to their car washes to enhance lubricity but they usually leave behind a film after you dry the car. I did not notice that with the Mother's Gold Car Wash. Meguiars NXT Wash has always been my "go to" wash for off the shelf stuff. Car wash is one of those things that Ive never really found the boutique brands to be much better than the off the shelf stuff. In this case, given the great job the Mother's wash did with handling tar and bug guts, that will definitely play into my decision next time I'm buying a bottle of car wash.
After finishing up the wash, I left the car wet and moved on to the clay portion of the exterior detail.
For those of you that detail your car and don't use clay, you are doing your car's paint a disservice. Claying removes debris that has embedded itself in the paint that washing and even polishing won't remove. The Mother's kit comes with a microfiber towel, 2 clay bars and a bottle of Showtime Spray Detailer. Even on new cars it's beneficial to clay the paint because it removes rail rust and other contaminants that get on your paint's surface while it's in transit to the dealership. The Mother's kit also comes with 2 clay bars and honestly, you can cut them in half and do a whole car with half a bar. That gives you 4 clayings per box. Claying is a pretty easy process. Spray detailer onto the paint to lubricate the surface and rub the clay over it. Knead the clay bar periodically so all the dirt doesn't end up in one spot. Wipe the spray detailer off with the included microfiber cloth and congratulations, you just clayed your vehicle.
If you're really interested in knowing how good a job you did, you can use the sandwich bag trick to find out. Get a plastic sandwich bag, the thin kind, not the ones with the ziplock strip but the thin, old school ones with the foldable flap. Spray detailer on the surface of the paint, put your hand inside the plastic bag and feel the surface with your fingertips. If you still have paint contaminants, you'll be able to feel them through the plastic. This is exceptionally useful if you've never done any claying. After you clay a few vehicles, you'll get the hang of it and the sandwich bag technique is not really needed any longer.
At this point, you have a prepared paint surface for either buffing or waxing. Normally I would buff the paint next however my car really didnt need it. That being the case, I decided to move on to the wax portion of the detail. I took a unique approach here. I decided to do everything on the car except the hood with Mother's FX Spray Wax.
I'm a huge fan of one step systems and have been waiting for a quality spray wax to hit the over the counter market. Compared to the other 1 steppers I've used, this aint it. Duragloss Aqua Wax is the same kind of product and IMO lasts longer. I got about 3 weeks of beading out of the FX Spray Wax before I noticed the tightness of the water beads fading. Aqua Wax gives about twice that amount of time on a properly prepped car. That's not to say the Mother's stuff is bad, it's not. It looks good, it beads well for a few weeks and it adds some slickness to the paint surface after application. For something quick and easy, it's tough to beat. For long lasting protection, like something for over the winter, this isn't going to cut it, however.
I also decided to test the durablity of the the FX line of waxes. Mother's sent me the paste and liquid versions of their FX SynWax. This is ongoing and hopefully I will have a report on this in a couple of weeks. What I did is split the hood of the vehicle into 3 parts. One part I did with my control wax, Collinite 476. Collinite 476 is my "go to" wax for over the winter detailing. It does't pop quite like most other waxes but it has incredible durability. It will be interesting to see how the two SynWax products hold up against the Collinite.
After finishing up the exterior (for now), I went ahead and put the finishing touches on with Mother's FX Tire Shine.
This is another product that I was very impressed with. It leaves your tires looking dripping wet but has minimal sling if you follow the instructions. Spray the tire down as evenly as possible, leave the stuff on the tire for 10 minutes or so and wipe the tire down. This tire shine leaves an exceptionally glossy appearance, which I happen to like. I found the tire to stay GREAT looking for about 3 days and GOOD looking for a couple of weeks. For tire shine, I think this is about on par with everyone else. I always hear about tire shine that lasts for months but those people must have lower standards for tire shine than I do because a couple of weeks is usually about average.
One thing I would like to point out about the tire shine, store it somewhere warm. Everything has an "optiumum storing temperature" on the label but with this stuff, its really something to pay attention to. I left a bottle in my car and it basically coagulated into a gel.