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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!

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COMMON DILUTIONS

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
Edited by The Shine Doc

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Doc,(Dylan)  can you dilute Leather Conditioner? I have a bottle about 1/4 full and it is hard to squeeze out. Great thread by the way! Thanks.

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Doc,(Dylan) can you dilute Leather Conditioner? I have a bottle about 1/4 full and it is hard to squeeze out. Great thread by the way! Thanks.

I've tried and haven't been overly happy with the result, but I'd still recommend you try. Go 1:1 or 2:1 with a small amount and see what you think.

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Dylan since I notice I don't use as much Undercarriage Spray I've been wondering what's a good dilution substitute using VRT aka what makes it nice and spray able? 1:1?

 

Also I love the 6:1 pre soak dilution for Rinseless, good top as I think the pre soak mixture should be stronger than 16:1 based on my experience with another juice out there.

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Awesome thanks DvK I'll start with 1:1, I just don't use it enough (IUCS) and prob could use the sprayable VRT in more places than wheel wells/undercarriage.

 

Don't forget to list DWC 1:1 as a Paint Decon/Iron Cut! 256:1 is still the ratio for rinseless washing right?

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Awesome thanks DvK I'll start with 1:1, I just don't use it enough (IUCS) and prob could use the sprayable VRT in more places than wheel wells/undercarriage.

Don't forget to list DWC 1:1 as a Paint Decon/Iron Cut! 256:1 is still the ratio for rinseless washing right?

I believe rinseless washing is 2oz to 5 gallons, but using 1oz to 2 gallons is of course better in terms of slickness and I never needed more than 2 gallons for a car.

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If 16:1 is sufficient for waterless washing, why is a stronger dilution needed for a rinseless wash pre soak?

My guess is you are presoaking because whatever is on your paint, you feel is too much for waterless alone.

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My guess is you are presoaking because whatever is on your paint, you feel is too much for waterless alone.

 

My thinking on it is if waterless is safe to remove light contamination with a dry towel, that waterless wash plus a towel soaked in rinseless solution should be sufficient. They even demo the rinseless wash without using any presoak (which I am too afraid to try). 

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Great post about dilution rations.  I am not throwing off on anyone here (people in general) but alot of people do not understand dilution ratios.  I am use to telling people put X part water and X part what your putting in.

 

I have been using the following:

 

1:1 All Pupose Cleaner (around the house some)

1:1 Super VRT

 

These work great in these ratios.

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I believe rinseless washing is 2oz to 5 gallons, but using 1oz to 2 gallons is of course better in terms of slickness and I never needed more than 2 gallons for a car.

 

I use 1 oz per 2 gallons of the other brand's pink juice, as its more concentrated.  For Rinseless I use about 1.5 oz per 2 gallons.

 

The 6:1 pre-soak is an interesting one I'll have to try.

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Don't forget to list DWC 1:1 as a Paint Decon/Iron Cut! 256:1 is still the ratio for rinseless washing right?

 

Added to the original post. Thanks!

 

I believe rinseless washing is 2oz to 5 gallons, but using 1oz to 2 gallons is of course better in terms of slickness and I never needed more than 2 gallons for a car.

 

Correct. The 2oz to 5 gallons recommendation is a general guide, but if we're being honest who fills their 5 gallon bucket all the way to the top? 1oz to 2.5 gallons is the same, and you can go lower or higher on the amount of RW you add to suite your needs. I've used much more on dirty cars and far less on ones that are not that dirty.

 

If 16:1 is sufficient for waterless washing, why is a stronger dilution needed for a rinseless wash pre soak?

 

At 16:1 I wouldn't recommend more than just dust removal, if you're doing a pre soak you are likely dealing with some more serious dirt grime and 'chunks' of stuff. More product = more lubrication, more cleaning, and better cling to the surfaces being pre-soaked.

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Hey Dylan, for the OCD customer (like myself) is there a nice template that Adam's uses around the office that this can be copied and pasted into? I'd like to print a few copies and laminate them. 

 

Not trying to make more work for you but if its simple and can be downloaded from the forum or website that would be awesome sauce.

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At 16:1 I wouldn't recommend more than just dust removal, if you're doing a pre soak you are likely dealing with some more serious dirt grime and 'chunks' of stuff. More product = more lubrication, more cleaning, and better cling to the surfaces being pre-soaked.

 

To clear a few things up (for myself), I believe I read else ware on the forum that waterless is actually rinseless just diluted out to 16:1? When you speak of a rinseless pre-soak that would refer to hitting like bird droppings before proceeding with a rinseless wash? I guess I figured that would be a given to clear up any large amounts of gunk before proceeding with a delicate rinseless process. Thanks

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To clear a few things up (for myself), I believe I read else ware on the forum that waterless is actually rinseless just diluted out to 16:1?

 

Not true. Waterless and Rinseless are entirely different formulations and chemicals. Waterless, if you recall, has been a part of our line for a long time while RW is a little more recent of an addition. To put it into perspective -

 

Diluting Rinseless Wash 16:1 gives you a waterless washing product.  Concentrating Waterless Wash would not give you  Rinseless Wash though.

 

 

When you speak of a rinseless pre-soak that would refer to hitting like bird droppings before proceeding with a rinseless wash?

 

Pre-soak could be used for a number of things really... I use it on the front end, and lower rockers of almost everything thats dirty enough to justify it (breaks up bugs and road grime) and I do it before both rinseless and traditional washes.

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I've tried and haven't been overly happy with the result, but I'd still recommend you try. Go 1:1 or 2:1 with a small amount and see what you think.

Thanks Doc! Will give it a try.

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