How to Dilute Detailing Chemicals

February 20, 2016 William Russell

Easily dilute and mix your detailing supplies

Properly diluting your chemicals is as important to a weekend warrior as it is to a professional detailer. It is crucial to getting the right results with whatever product you are using. Too high of a concentration, you can risk damaging the surface, too low and you might not get any results at all. And in the case of quick detailers or clay bar lubrication, with too low of a concentration you also risk damaging the vehicle.

This is going to be a very brief and simple explanation of how to calculate the exact amounts of product and water that you need in any dilution ratio. This way, you can get it right, every time. Keep this formula in your phone and you can do the calculations on the fly.

Know your Parts!

A lot of weekend warriors and those who are new to detailing get confused with parts. Part is simply a name substitution. Instead of saying dilute 1 ounce to 2 ounces of water. You can substitute ounce with Part and it can mean any unit of measurement. But remember, the unit needs to be the same across the entire equation.

For example, we are working with a 1:3 dilution ratio. Generally the ratio is CONCENTRATE to SOLVENT so at 1:3, we need one part concentrate (the detailing product) and 3 parts water (the solvent). Like we said before, the units need to match. So this means 3 ounces to 1 ounce, 3 gallons to one gallon, but never 3 ounces to 1 gallon, or any combination of units. If the first part is ounces, the second part must be ounces. Get it? Good.

Math Formula for Diluting

x / y = z

x= Total number of product you desire (16oz spray bottle, then this number is 16. 32oz bottle, this number is 32)

y= Total number of parts for dilution (1:3 means 3 parts water, 1 part chemical. 1+3=4 total parts for dilution)

z= Amount of liquid (in ounces) required per part.

Diluting detailing chemicals

A Quick Example

Say we are working with Meguiars APC. We want a dilution ratio of 1:4 so we can degrease these old engine. We are working with a basic 32 ounce spray bottle.

x = 32 ounce spray bottle, so 32

y = 4:1 dilution ratio, so 4+1 = 5

z= we will find out!

32 / 5 = 6.4

So we will need to add 6.4 ounces of Meguiars APC to the spray bottle and follow the rest with water to get a perfect 1:4 dilution ratio.

Try it yourself! Using this simple forumla you can dilute your chemicals 1:20, 1:4, 1:3, 1:10, or any ratio you need.  Throw in some numbers of your favorite detailing product and see if you have been doing it wrong the whole time, or exactly right!


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1 comment

  • Omar

    May 27, 2017

    This was a great article. Too be honest I have done it wrong for so long. For example, if it asked for 3:1ratio, I would put 3 equal portions of water & 1 equal portion of the chemical. This is nice to know as I am planning on degreasing the wheel wells of my car and to clean the engine area.

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