Detailing mitt captures shine in less time

Larry Edsall
Special to The Detroit News

A few weeks ago, a box arrived at my house. Inside were a half-dozen 23-ounce spray bottles of Eagle One’s Wipe & Shine Detailer and one of the company’s new Next Level Surface Prep Mitts.

I passed several of the spray bottles on to neighbors, each of whom just a few days later came by to tell me how amazing their cars looked after they tried the product, which contains a “hydrophobic polymer” designed to provide a “quick, deep shine between washes.”

Sometime later the public relations representative for Eagle One called to see how my test drive was going. I told him my neighbors’ reactions to Wipe & Shine, and he also asked about the prep mitt.

I’d been so impressed by my neighbors’ response to the detailer that I’d forgotten about the mitt, which, it turns out, was actually the new product Eagle One was hoping I’d test and write about.

So I did, and I am, and I can honestly report that the difference in the surface of your vehicle after using the mitt and detailer as directed is like the difference between driving down an ultra-smooth expressway and running off that pavement onto the rocky, bumpy shoulder, or even into the median.

“It creates the perfect, or as close to the perfect surface as you can get,” said Todd Mason, senior brand manager for the Eagle One and Car Brite Appearance Products produced by Lexington, Kentucky-based Ashland, the chemical company that also owns Valvoline.

Mason explained that the company set out to create a product that could replace the clay bar that auto detailers and ultra-finicky do-it-yourselfers use to extract the finest particles of dirt from painted, chromed, plastic or glass surfaces. The problem is that using clay is slow, and if you drop it on the ground you pretty much have to throw it away and buy a new bar, at around $25 per.

Ashland chemists and engineers developed a now-patented polymer that could be embedded into a microfiber cloth mitt that, when both the mitt and vehicle surface are wet with Wipe & Shine Detailer, uses static electricity to attract and then pull off contaminants.

Because of the technology and the size of the mitt, it takes much less time to clean a car than by using a piece of clay bar, and if the mitt falls onto the ground, you just rinse away the dirt and continue cleaning.

Mason said to think of a vehicle surface as having peaks and valleys. “We use the mitt to remove the peaks, the contaminants, and we use our polishing wax to remove the valleys, the scratches. Together it creates as close to a perfect surface as you can, which translates into shine.”

Mason said the system was developed for the Car Brite division, which sells car-cleaning supplies to dealerships and professional car detailers.

The Next Level Surface Prep Mitt retails for $25, and should last, Mason said, through 20-25 cleanings.

“The average guy washes his car 10 to 12 times a year at the most,” he said. “The average two-car family can do both cars all year long (with one mitt).

“And,” he added, “we don’t recommend you do this every time you wash your car, but only once or twice a year, because you do strip off some of the wax, so we recommend you always follow up with wax.”

To test the before and after difference, you can feel along a surface with your fingers. Or for an even more sensitive examination, you can slide a small piece of cellophane over the vehicle surface. The cellophane acts like a magnifying glass for your fingertips.

We used the mitt and detailer, our fingers and then the cellophane method and it was obvious where we’d used the mitt and where we had not, even on a car that had just come out of a high-end, hand-finished commercial car wash.

The Eagle One Surface Prep Mitt and Wipe & Shine Detailer (a bottle of detailer retails for $7) are available at auto parts retailers. For more information, including a video demonstration, visit the website.

Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at