The cookie settings on this website are set to 'allow all cookies' to give you the very best experience. Please click Accept Cookies to continue to use the site.


Glossary of Terms

ABRASIVE: Any material or substance, a particle suspended in a liquid, used for grinding, polishing or compounding paint e.g. as sandpaper, emery, or pumice.

ACID: A compound usually capable of neutralizing alkalis. This corrosive material has a pH value of less than 7. Typically used for wheel cleaning.

ADHERE: To cling to. Stick fast. Of two or more dissimilar substances to be united by a molecular force acting in the area of contact. 

ADHESION: The act of clinging to as in "adhere".

ALKALINE: Various bases that neutralize acids. Typically the pH value is greater than 7.

APPLICATOR PAD: A soft pad used to apply coatings, sealants, waxes or anything related to applying car-related products to a vehicle's exterior or interior surfaces.


BACKING PLATE: The plate that is attached to a polisher in which polishing pads are affixed via hook and loop

BASE COAT: A first coat of a surfacing material like paint. It is the layers of paint below clear coat and on top of the primer.

BEVELED EDGE (PADS):  Foam pads with rounded edged corners.

BIODEGRADABLE (GREEN FRIENDLY): A substance capable of decaying through the action of living organisms. Organic decomposition.

BRAKE DUST: Iron residue / ferrous oxides deposited on wheels from brake rotor and pads.

BRUSH: A specialized detailing tool consisting of bristles, hair or the like set in or attached to a handle, used for cleaning, polishing, etc.

BUSINESS PRO-GRAM: A business program designed to offer discounted products to all types of professional businesses with an active / verifiable website, FaceBook page, Instagram feed, other Social Media, State Business Registration Number or other means of validating an active status

CCS PADS: Lake Country Mfg patented buffing pad made up of groups of closed foam cells on the surface preventing the absorption of polishes or waxes.

CLAY BAR: A soft elastic, malleable resin compound which is formed into a block (bar-shape) for distribution. It is designed to safely remove contamination from smooth and non-porous automotive surfaces such as glass, clear coat, etc.

CLEANER: Can be a synthetic or organic liquid or substance made to remove dirt or contaminants.

CLEAR COAT: The final coat applied on top of paint (typically automotive paint) to preserve or protect it.

COATING: A product that is applied to the top of paint providing a barrier from marring, contaminants, etc.

COMPOUND: A thick cream-based product that contains abrasive ingredients made to remove defects like scratches, marring, etc. in the paint or clear coat.

CONCENTRATE: A product in pure, dense form that requires water to be added.

CURE: The process for paint or coating to set up / dry / harden over a period of time. 

CURE TIME: The length of time in which paint or coating was initially applied until it is set up / dried / hardened.

CUTTING: The process in which the top layer of paint or clear coat is removed either by polishing or compounding with a buffer.

CUTTING PAD: A pad used with a buffing tool to remove surface flaws found on paint or clear coat.

DRY SANDING: A method used to sand (paint) without water. Detailers use this technique for safe removal of paint imperfections.

DRYING:  To remove moisture or condensation from an area.

DUAL ACTION BUFFER (DA): A polisher that oscillates and rotates removing paint imperfections. Can be used to preserve or protect an area's surface.

GREEN CLEANING SOLUTION:  "Green cleaning refers to using cleaning methods and products with environmentally friendly ingredients and procedures which are designed to preserve human health and environmental quality."

GSM (GRAMS PER SQUARE METER): "GSM is the measurement used for microfiber towel density. As density increases in a towel so does its thickness, weight and number of fibers. The more microfibers in a towel, the better it absorbs and cleans. By using grams per square meter instead of the actually weight of the towel it allows us to set a standard in which we can compare different towels of different sizes." See this video below explaining GSM in detail:

HAND APPLIED: Correcting paint or to apply product by using an applicator or pad by hand.

HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS: A dangerous liquid posing a significant threat to harm the environment or the health of those exposed to it without proper protection from contamination.

HAZE: Lacking clarity, usually describing the appearance of the clear coat. A common effect of aggressive machine polishing that can be removed with a finer pad and polish combination.

HEADLIGHTS: A powerful light at the front of a motor vehicle allowing visibility in dark conditions.


High End Detailing

Hook and Loop

Iron Remover



Leather Treatments



Material Safety Data (formerly Material Safety Data Sheet) / MSD

Metal Polish

Metal Wax


MICROFIBER: Microfiber is synthetic fiber finer than one thread. The most common types of microfibers are made from polyesters, polyamides (e.g., nylon, Kevlar, Nomex, trogamide), or a conjugation of polyester, polyamide, and polypropylene. Microfiber is used to make cleaning products such as microfiber towels and cloths as well as many other products on the market. The shape, size, and combinations of synthetic fibers are selected for specific characteristics, including softness, toughness, absorption, water repellency, electrostatics, and filtering capabilities.

Microfiber Detergent

Microfiber Pad

Mobile Detailing

NEOPRENE: Neoprene or polychloroprene is a family of synthetic rubbers that are produced by polymerization of chloroprene. Neoprene exhibits good chemical stability and maintains flexibility over a wide temperature range. Also, it is oil-resistant used chiefly in paints, putties, and applicators.

One Step Polish

Orbital Buffer

Orbits Per Minute

Overlapping Passes




Paint Cleaner

Paint Preparation


Polishing Pad


POLYAMIDE: Polyamide is a type of synthetic fabric that contains water-repelling properties that make it an ideal material for microfiber towels. These fabrics are comprised of several types of plastics, which have complementary chemical properties. The plastics found in polyamides are called polymers. There are two main types of polymers in polyamides that contain water-repellent properties. Polymers contain polarized ends that have negative and positive charges. The charged ends attract water molecules which in turn promotes the effective absorption of microfiber.

POLYMER: The term polymer is commonly used today in the plastics and composites industry, and it is often used to imply the meaning of "plastic" or "resin". Polymers are both man made and are naturally occurring. 

PRE-WASH: The method of removing contaminants such as tar, grease, etc. using tar removers, degreasers, and related chemicals prior to the normal wash process

Professional Detailing: Also known as "auto-detailing", is a paid service in which expert detailers will do an in-depth cleaning, polishing and reconditioning to the interior and exterior of a vehicle. 


Quick Detailer


THE RAG COMPANY DIFFERENCE: The Rag Company offers the finest quality microfiber cleaning, detailing and facial/spa products at retail pricing. Unfortunately, a majority of online retailers and big-box stores are flooding the market with cheap and much less effective microfiber products.  As a consumer it's important you understand that not all microfiber is created equally: 

  • SPLIT MICROFIBER - All microfiber products from The Rag Company have gone through a micro-replication splitting process to create even more surface area on the fibers. The equipment to do this is very expensive but necessary to produce the thirstiest, most effective microfiber in the world. Because of these additional splits, microfiber from The Rag Company is able to absorb 7 times or more of its own weight in liquids and is extremely effective at cleaning and wiping dust, dirt, water, grease, oils, etc.  Cheaper microfiber towels don't go through this process and lack the additional fiber surface area to be even close as effective as towels from The Rag Company. 
  • YARN QUALITY - It's widely recognized that the finest microfiber in the world comes from South Korea. The Rag Company's highest quality detailing, cleaning and facial/spa/bath towels are manufactured with the highest AA-Grade Hyo Sung fiber yarn made exclusively in South Korea. The manufacturing process to produce this yarn is more expensive, but it results in towels with the highest absortion rate, antibiotic action, and dryability available in the marketplace. 
  • FABRIC DENSITY - Most microfiber towels from The Rag Company have over 300,000 fibers per square inch. Cheaper towels can have less than half that density (<100,000) resulting in a much lower absorbency capability. In general, the higher the density count, the more effective a towel is at drying and cleaning. 
  • POLYESTER / POLYAMIDE RATIO - Quality microfiber typically falls within a ratio range of 70/30 to 80/20 - all products from The Rag Company are within this range. Polyamide (nylon) is more expensive to produce than polyester. Many cheaper towels are made from 100% polyester and lack the composition/blend necessary for effective cleaning and drying. 
  • QUALITY CONTROL - Many mid-quality manufacturers produce their fabric in Korea and then ship it to China to be made into towels and other products. This enables them to utilize higher quality Korean fabric and then take advantage of cheaper Chinese labor, but they lose the ability to fully control quality processes from end-to-end. In general, the best quality microfiber manufacturers produce both their fabric and their products in South Korea at a single facility where quality is closely monitored throughout the entire process. All of The Rag Company's highest quality microfiber detailing, cleaning and facial/spa/bath products are manufactured this way.  

Don't be fooled - just because a product is labeled "microfiber" doesn't give you enough information to make a fully informed purchasing decision.  Be a wise consumer and, at a minimum (if available) check the label for product quality and composition information including weight (grams per square meter) and polyester / polyamide ratio (typically between 70/30 & 80/20). Many microfiber manufacturers and sellers won't include that information in hopes that you'll think all microfiber is the same. The Rag Company proudly posts the content of our products and are extremely confident that you'll find our products to be among the very best available anywhere.

Rail Dust

Random Orbital Buffer



Rinesless Shampoo

Rinseless Wash



SCRATCHES: Defects below the vehicle's surface that mar the appearance with linear grooves.

SEALANTA type of synthetic protectant, usually polymer or resin based, with durability that is usually longer than that of a wax, but less than that of a coating. It also enhances the appearance of paint.






Need help? We're available at(208) 888-6821 - Email us
to top
The Rag Company BBB Business Review The Rag Company BBB Business Review IDA Member International Carwash Association Sema Member Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce Buy Idaho