Today’s technology allows detailers to obtain permanent correction using the most advanced tools, pads, and polish that were not available previously. The backbone to this system is a powerful large stroke orbital tool that removes most defects and was developed along with new pads and new polish for a system approach that allows even a novice detailer to obtain professional results.

Microfiber pad.

Special microfiber foam pads and conventional foam pads have been manufactured for these tools to withstand the high amount of friction heat that is produced by these tools. Polishes have been reformulated to offer adequate lubricity and effectively remove defects in one step. The powerful large stoke orbital machines are available from many tool manufacturers. These tools were first developed for use at car manufacturing plants in a smaller version and required a large air compressor to power them. Common sizes were 3” and 5” diameter used for spot correction. Dust nibs and sand scratches were easily removed in just four seconds per defect. Many finishes were saved from a multiple-step repair or the costly paint touchup that would have been needed without this system.


These systems soon became popular in body shops and the demand rose for an electrical powered tool with the same characteristics and a larger size to allow bigger surfaces to be buffed. Requiring no air compressor, these new electric tools could be used by all detail shops. As more manufacturers entered the market, the price was lowered making them more affordable to use. Time was saved and results were tremendous. Previously, multiple steps were needed to correct problems that now could be done in much less time. The overall finish looked much better because a higher gloss was obtained using this powerful tool.

Special heat-resistant microfiber foam pads and conventional foam pads are manufactured using the latest heat-resistant glues. These glues will not break down like previous adhesives and the pads are machine washable even with strong detergents and hot water. The pads last much longer and that results in a cost saving.

One-step polishes have been developed specifically for this system. They offer just the right amount of cut for major correction of defects and yet create results that have impressed even the most demanding customer.

Waxes and sealants can be applied for added durability resulting in an even higher gloss than the original finish from the manufacturer. Using the tool to remove the polish residue not only speeds up the process but also burnishes the finish resulting in a higher gloss and added durability. The end result is a remarkable high-gloss finish with ease of maintenance for the customer. This guarantees satisfaction that will ensure higher customer retention and will build referrals that will increase future business resulting in lasting success.


It is important to wear safety glasses, protective gloves that will grip the tool for added safety, and an apron tied to the back so the ties do not become tangled with the polisher. A new technique should be used to obtain desired results. Begin by starting on the hood of the vehicle because this will be the area on which you will spend most of the time. It is also the surface you can most easily inspect to see what you are accomplishing.

Use a polish applicator to dispense the polish evenly. Make an X on the pad using a fair amount of polish. Move the pad to the middle of the hood and apply medium pressure keeping the pad flat. Move the pad in a back-and-forth motion to spread the polish evenly before starting the polisher. Start the polisher at a slow speed with medium pressure and increase the speed of the polisher to the desired speed. Keep the pad completely flat and slowly move the pad to the next area to be polished.

Do not buff the polish until it’s dry. Leave the finish with a thin film of polish that can be wiped off later with a microfiber towel during the final steps. Continue to buff all flat areas. Inspect the pad often and use a nylon bristle brush to clean polish residue that has built up and could mat the pad’s surface and cause it to lose its effectiveness. Be careful with the electrical cord when buffing the sides and top of the vehicle. It can easily tangle in the buffer and harm you. During the buffing process the tool could hit protruding parts and cause damage to the vehicle.

To remove the leftover polish residue, take a microfiber towel and wipe off all of the remaining polish residue flipping the microfiber towel often to keep the microfiber towels surface as fresh as possible. Use all sides of the microfiber towel until you see that it is not removing all of the polish residue. Change the microfiber towel often. You may also want to have another microfiber pad available and several microfiber towels so you can continue doing another vehicle while the first batch of pads and towels are being cleaned and dried.


When finished, wash microfiber towels along with microfiber pads. Do not wash them with cotton towels or rags. Machine wash in warm water using a strong detergent. A cup of vinegar can be added at the beginning of the rinse process. Do not use a fabric softener during the drying process. Dry on low heat thoroughly before reusing. Another method is to clean microfiber pads by hand washing them with a strong detergent, rinse them in vinegar to remove the polish residue, then place them in the middle of a dry microfiber towel and tightly turn the microfiber towel to squeeze most of the moisture out of the microfiber pad. Now attach the microfiber pad to your polisher and run it at the highest speed for several minutes until the pad is sufficiently dry. A slightly damp microfiber pad is fine to use.

If you do use several different polishes, use a permanent magic marker to label each microfiber pad with what polish was used. You may also want to mark each pad each time it is cleaned so you know the number of times it has been washed. After several cleanings, inspect the microfiber pad for wear that could affect the performance. Inspect the backing plate to make sure it is not worn or has polish residue that could affect the ability to grip and hold the pad. Inspect the polishers cord to make sure it is in perfect condition. These steps are needed to achieve the results you desire. Perfection by you leads to satisfied customers and repeat business.

Dave Hornby is a 45-plus year veteran in the detailing industry as a manufacturer, distributor, and inventor. He was a founding member of the Professional Detailing Association (the current International Detailing Association), and holds multiple international patents on buffing products. Today as a consultant, he offers advice to professional detailers and suppliers to the industry.
Dave can be contacted via e-mail at