Hi Michael, thank you for your time. For our readers, tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, what do you do for a living and what is your role at Kleen Freaks?
Let me introduce myself. My name is Michael Crawford and I am the owner and creator of Kleen Freaks. This is now my full time job, with my wife, who is also working pretty much full time in the business. It takes many hours of development, testing, branding, attending all the shows, doing all the social media, etc.
How did Kleen Freaks get started, and what made you want to make car valeting and detailing products?
I have been into cars and paintwork for as long as I can remember. My dad used to work for DuPont Car Paints and I spent all my summer holidays mixing paint and being in bodyshops.
Kleen Freaks was created due to my own ill health. Breaking my back twice and suffering from arthritis and fibromyalgia didn’t sit well with the products that were on the market. If I was waxing a car and it became too painful, that wax would need to be removed. There was nothing on the market that I could leave on. The only way to get that product was to make one.
Do you get to see a lot of nice cars? Does it make you feel proud of your company when you see your products being used on nice cars?
It does indeed make you feel proud to have your products on nice cars. Whether it’s a 60 year old Beetle, or a brand new LaFerrari, it’s good to see owners that appreciate the work you put into your products, and the results they can achieve themselves.
We do get to see our fair share of “nice” cars. We have been lucky to be involved in a lot of projects that we don’t even talk about, which helps us get more work because these customers like the discretion we show.
I answer every single text message, email, Facebook message – both on my own page and business page – Instagram comments and DM’s.
Working with other companies is a bonus. Take the likes of Fast Factory in London, who have always got an amazing selection of cars, or getting to look after the cars on the Cannonball Run. I could go on!
Can you give us some tips on how to keep our cars looking clean and tidy?
This is where I may upset some “experts”, haha. There is no right or wrong way to look after your car, only a set of procedures.
We try to keep things as easy as possible for our customers by letting the products do all the work. We put a big emphasis on a pre-wash with just water, you can remove so much dirt and grime, which in turn saves on the amount of product you use. This saves you money because we would normally spend 15-20 minutes just pre-washing.
Next up is the great bucket and grit guard debate. One bucket, or two? Grit guard, or no grit guard? We use one large, 25 litre bucket and no grit guard. Why do we do this? I’ll explain. It works for us, as we not only apply our snowfoam with a foam lance, but we also apply our shampoo the same way. This means we only need a rinse bucket.
Personally, we don’t have a grit guard because – to be honest – if people rinse their mitts at the top of the rinse bucket, all the dirt will sink to the bottom. If you have a grit guard, you’re more inclined to dip your mitt to the bottom of the bucket to rinse it, that’s where the problem occurs. As you lift the mitt, you create a current in the bucket that pulls the fine particles back to the surface – then, when you next rinse your mitt, it’s in dirty water. Not many people will agree with this, but it works for us.
The next question is, do you use a double sided mitt, single sided mitt, massive merino wool mitt, wash pads, synthetic wash pads, sponge, silicone sponge, etc! It’s all very confusing, and we can break it down easily for you.
All natural wash mitts/pads need to be cared for, so you can’t just chuck them in a bucket when you’re finished. You need to rinse them out so there is no detergent in them. They need to be air dried, they can’t be left in buckets with water, they can’t be used with some products, and some need to be brushed. A synthetic one is pretty much wash-and-go, but certainly NO SPONGES.
You can see how confusing this car cleaning lark is. Let’s simplify it. Get yourself some good snowfoam, shampoo, a wash pad, a drying towel, detailer spray and a wax/coating. All of these are available from our shop at www.kleenfreaks.co.uk.
Is there anything we’re probably doing wrong when it comes to making our cars look nice?
If you want to have your car looking nice, instead of spending a few hundred quid every year on getting your car washed at the local roadside “hand car wash”, get yourself the basics. If you spend the time doing it yourself, it will always look better.
What are you currently driving?
We don’t drive anything fancy, just a VW T6 Transporter work horse – and believe me it gets well used.
If money was no object, what would be your perfect car?
Now that’s a tough one. I am a passionate Porsche lover, so it would have to be a 356 Speedster. That’s a strange choice, I’ll admit, but I can’t get into a GT3 RS, even with comfort seats, haha. If it wasn’t a Porsche, it would have to be a Pagani Huayra, or – it’s a piece of art, but more recognisable – the new Ferrari F12 TDF, it’s an animal…
Who do you look to for inspiration in your line of work?
Our inspiration comes from many sectors, but there isn’t really one individual, or company, that we look to. Strangely, we take a lot of inspiration from nature and plants. Our hard waxes contain all natural wax and plant oils that we’ve researched with the help of the Royal Horticultural Society. Then, we also looked at the large cosmetics houses, because we treat paint like skin – as it should be – and this research is what led to our Moji Wax being created.
Do you have any plans for Kleen Freaks in the future?
My wife keeps telling me that I have one hamster wheel in my head, but it’s got fifteen hamsters all running in different directions, haha. I have so many plans for Kleen Freaks. We won’t just be stopping at a car care range, there is lots more to come…
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