So you want to start mixing and diluting products for various uses, but you're not sure how to decode the ratios? Not to worry - the Shine Doc has got you covered! Dilution and mixing can be a very important part of a good detailing regimen, whether its to reduce the strength of a cleaner for more delicate needs or reduce the shine of a dressing, its key to know how to properly read dilution recommendations.
WHAT PRODUCTS CAN BE DILUTED?
Virtually any chemical can be diluted in one way or another, but things like wax for example won't be diluted often. Other products like Super VRT, Leather & Interior Cleaner, or Rinseless Wash will be things you dilute all the time.
CAN I USE TAP WATER TO DILUTE THINGS?
Yes and no, it really depends on the product you're mixing and what its purpose will be. Typically any product that has an 'optical implication' should only be mixed with distilled water. By optical implication we're talking about products with a visual impact on reflection, clarity, etc. So for example Super VRT can be mixed with regular tap water as the clarity of your tires or trim isn't an issue. On the other hand Rinseless should (ideally) be diluted with distilled water to reduce the chance for streaking when its used as a waterless spray.
DEFINING 'PARTS' IN A DILUTION
The term 'parts' are used in simplified dilution ratios that allow the user to calculate a dilution ratio regardless of the size of the bottle or batch you are mixing. Simply put 'parts' are a basic way to break down a mix and scale it to whatever amount you need or want.
In a dilution ratio your first number is always the water and the second number is your chemical, so for example:
If you were trying to create a dilution of Car Wash at 4:1 it would read 4 PARTS water and 1 PART car wash. Because the ratio is a simplified dilution you can apply it to something as small as a 16oz bottle or as large as a 5 gallon bucket. As long as you know the parts you can create any batch you need at the identical dilution ratio.
HOW PARTS MAKE UP A TOTAL YIELD
With the parts understood we can discuss how those parts add up to create your total yield. The total yield is the amount of the finished mixture you will create with your dilution. Simply put, the sum of the parts equals the yield. Sticking with our 4:1 mixture for Car Wash from earlier -
4 parts water and 1 part car wash equals a total yield of 5 (the sum of the parts)
If you were using a dilution of 20:1 your total yield would be 21. If working with a dilution of 10:1 your total yield is 11, etc, etc.
DETERMINING YOUR BATCH SIZE
Your batch will be dictated mostly by the container you intend to mix in. Keep in mind that most bottles are not defined by 'full to the top' as almost every bottle manufacture leaves an air gap at the top to reduce spillage. If your bottle doesn't have markers or a gauge to indicate sizes use a measuring cup to determine where the fill lines should be and mark them with a sharpie.
CONVERTING YOUR RATIO TO OUNCES
So now we know what parts are and how they add up to the total yield. You also know that your batch size will be dictated by your container, but how do we break the formula down into ounces and start mixing? We need to convert our parts to ounces. Lets say we're going to mix 32oz of our Car Wash solution at 4:1 to clean a set of delicate aluminum wheels:
BATCH / YIELD = OUNCES PER PART
Remember BATCH is the size of your container, or the amount you wish to make in ounces and YIELD is the total number of parts in your dilution ratio so in our example:
32oz / 5 = 6.4 ounces per part
Now that we've determined our ounces per part we can plug that number back into the original ratio and determine exactly what we need to create our mixture in the correct batch size
4 PARTS WATER x 6.4oz = 25.6oz
1 PART CAR WASH x 6.4oz = 6.4oz
Double checking our math by adding it together you can see we have a total of 32oz of mixture being created at our desired dilution.
TIP: PRE-MIX LARGER BATCHES
Armed with all this new found knowledge of dilution how can you make it even more effective? Try pre-mixing larger quantities of your most commonly used ratios for refill purposes. Diluting directly into the bottle, while convenient and easy does present a challenge - if you are almost done with your mixture and need to refill it how can you accurately measure when there is already liquid in the bottle to contend with? By mixing gallon or larger batches to then refill your spray bottles you can eliminate the guess work and the need to mix for 128oz of use.
So the next time you exhaust a gallon container don't toss it out! Mix up a batch of your most commonly used dilution and have it ready to go whenever you need it!
Below you'll find just a few suggestions on various dilutions to use your Adam's products at. If you have a dilution ratio you like for a product reply here and we'll add it to the list. The beauty of diluting products is you can find a variety of needs and new solutions for products you may not have thought of before.
- All Purpose Cleaner
- 8:1 - delicate aluminum wheels or trim
- 4:1 - bug or tar pre-treater, door sills, kick panels
- 1:1 - coated/painted wheels,
- Super VRT
- 1:1 - spray on low gloss tire dressing
- 2:1 - spray on detailer for vinyl soft tops/tonneau covers
- 3:1 - quick detail spray dressing for matte vinyl wraps
- Rinseless Wash
- 16:1 - waterless washing spray
- 64:1 - clay lubricant
- 6:1 - pre-wash/pre-soak solution
- Leather & Interior Cleaner
- 8:1 - delicate surface interior cleaning
- 3:1 - moderate soiling
- 1:1 - general coated leather cleaning (when no stains are present)
- Deep Wheel Cleaner
- 1:1 - paint decontamination/removal of ferrous metal
- Chris@Adams, LFairbanks, Captain Slow and 24 others like this