The easiest way to understand how a polish works is to think of it as liquid sandpaper. A polish is generally comprised of an abrasive dust suspended in a liquid to form a slurry or a paste. The liquid constituent acts as a lubricant. Different abrasive dusts are used depending upon the intended substrate to be polished. These dusts are selected based on their particle size and on their hardness.
Polishes for Aluminum:
Fresh machined aluminum parts—wheels, billet parts, sheetmetal skins—have a natural beauty. Unfortunately, raw aluminum also has a natural characteristic of growing an aluminum oxide coating when exposed to air. This oxide layer is porous and when other contaminants are present, this oxide layer grows with a mottled appearance and is very difficult to remove.
The finest and easiest-to-use polish we have seen yet is a product called “Heavy Metal.” This cleaner is comprised of an abrasive dust carried in a solvent into which a wax emulsion is dissolved. The product is water-thin making it easy to apply. Through the abrasive action, lubricated by the presence of the solvent, the oxide layer is effectively removed. The abrasive and oxide residues are wiped away leaving behind the wax layer to protect the surface from immediate re-establishment of the oxide layer.
Polish For Glass:
Have you ever tried to remove water spots from your window glass? Did you have any luck? Aside from the minor mineral deposits a stray sprinkler may leave on glass, the more insidious effect is actually an etching action resulting from the mineral-laden water drying in direct sunlight. Neither solvent, nor acid nor ammonia-based window cleaner will touch this damage. There is only one way to remove these spots—polish them off.
The more resourceful among you have probably tried one of the various forms of rubbing compound or polishing compound normally used on auto paints. Needless to say, you were disappointed with the results. The reason you were unsuccessful is that these polishes contain very soft mineral abrasives—typically talc. Glass is just another name for silicon dioxide which is very hard—harder than stainless steel. To polish something this hard requires an abrasive even harder.
The professionals in the glass business have what you need but never tell you about it. Glass polish uses ground up abrasive dust of a much harder variety than that found in rubbing compound intended for paint.
We have tested several glass polishes and carry the one we have found to be the best of the best and the easiest to use.
Unlike polishes that work by abrading the surface, cleaners remove unwanted contaminants by chemical action. Specialty cleaners rarely contain abrasives, substituting instead; specific chemicals intended to react with and remove various contaminants characteristic of the particular substrate. Additionally, these formulations generally also include various surface additives such as waxes, oils or other protectants.
Mineral Deposit Cleaner:
Both Lime-Away and CLR used to be very effective household cleaning agents for removal of various mineral deposits and even as brighteners for stainless steel surfaces. They were effective because they contained a small percentage of the traditional and effective metal brightener, phosphoric acid.
Due to environmental fever, and probably pressure from special interest groups, the makers of these products—both large corporations with deep pockets and national distribution—relented and removed the phosphoric acid (the environmental concerns of phosphates in the water) replacing it with various and less effective substitutes including sulfamic acid, glycolic acid, acetic acid, citric acid, and gluconic acid.
By popular demand, we have reformulated these cleaners to return to the original recipes and now make them available as our own “Mineral Deposit Cleaner.”
Cleaner/Polish For Plastics
Plexus plastic cleaner was originally formulated for aircraft windshields and, in fact, is specified for the B1 bomber. We have used it on everything from helicopter bubbles to helmet shields, from convertible top rear windows to naugahyde upholstery. Nothing else comes close to its subdued gloss, its scratch hiding properties, its anti-static properties, and its longevity.