Does Your Car Need Detailing? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

There’s a long list of reasons that you may want to detail a car. Perhaps you’re looking to sell your car and want to get the most cash out of it you can. Detailing will certainly make a good impression to a prospective buyer. Maybe you just bought a used car and it could use a little TLC. Regular detailing can also be used to maintain your cars condition. Keeping your car in its best shape will also increase its resale value.
 

Difference Between Car Washing And Car Detailing

Many people don’t realize there’s a difference between just washing a car and detailing a car. Detailing is a lot like it sounds. It’s a very thorough, deep cleaning process that gets into every part of the interior and exterior of your car. Detailing can also include everything from steam cleaning the upholstery to the use of fabric guard and UV protection to prevent further wear and damage.

Detail The Car Yourself

You could bring your car to professionals and pay them to get your car looking its best, or you can save some money and do it yourself. Simply make a plan, gather the necessary supplies and arm yourself with a little knowhow from informative sources and your car will look as good as new before you know it.

Get Your Car’s Exterior Looking its Best with the Right Supplies

First things first. Before you set aside time to detail your car you’ll want to make sure you have everything you’ll need to get the job done right. According to car detailing experts, there are a few essential items you’ll need to start detailing your car as a beginner. These include:

Car Cleaning Cloths

In the post, we recommend using microfiber. These really are the best because they are extremely absorbent and soft. Microfiber soaks up a lot of water, saving time while washing, and serves the dual purpose of making a great drying cloth. These clothes can be found everywhere from big box retail stores and auto supply shops to discount and dollar stores.

Recommended Top Car Cleaning Cloth

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 1

AmazonBasics Microfiber Cleaning Cloth - 24-Pack

A non-abrasive car cleaning cloth that is easy on the car.  It does not scratch the paints, coats or other surfaces.

It gives a lint and streak free cleaning result with, or without chemical cleaners.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 2

Viking Car Care Microfiber Applicator Pads - Blue - 6 Pack

Car cleaning cloth distributes waxes, protectants, polish and dressing.  Perfect for cleaning the car's interior and exterior.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 3

Meguiar's X2020 Supreme Shine Microfiber Towels, Pack of 3

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

Car Shampoo and Conditioner

Yes. Shampoo. Not soap. You should never use something like dish soap to wash your car. Besides having harsh surfactants and other chemicals that aren’t eco-friendly, detergents can leave behind a residue on your car, making it look dull. A car shampoo and conditioner is a two in one that is meant specifically for your car. These products are less harsh on the surfaces of your car and the environment.

Recommended Top Auto Shampoo And Conditioner

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 4

Chemical Guys CWS_301 Citrus Wash and Gloss (64 oz)

Citrus based wash formulated specially to outshine most of the car waxes.  This is a hyper-concentrated wash and particularly well suited to prepare the surface for the ultimate body paintwork.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 5

P21S 14500B Bodywork Shampoo, 500 ml

One of the most gentle car cleansing shampoo.  Formulated not to strip the car wax.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 6

Duragloss Rinseless Wash with Aquawax 128 oz

All in one rinse free car wash and also wax booster

A Car Washing Nozzle And Hose

Obviously having a hose to rinse your car is much easier than doing it with a bucket. You most likely have a hose but you should also have a nozzle with adjustable settings. You can find one at your local hardware store easily enough. Having a high- pressure nozzle will allow you to clean stubborn, caked on dirt on your tires and under the body.

Here are some in-depth reviews of the car washing nozzles, so you can easily pick one that works best for you.

Recommended Top Car Washing Nozzles & Hose

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 7

Viking Car Care 912600 8-Way Spray Nozzle

Made with non slip rubberized material that provide a good and firm grip even when it is wet. A good flow control knob and you can attach the nozzle to any standard hose.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 8

Car Wash Nozzle - Hose Nozzle - Fireman Style - Heavy Duty Brass

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 9

Gilmour 855012-1001 100Psi 160Deg Hose Nozle, Red & Black

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

Auto Glass Cleaner

Another item you probably already have under the sink is glass cleaner. Using a cleaner meant for glass is going to make your car look much better than just shampoo and water. Glass cleaner takes away streaks and spots easily and makes your mirrors and windows shine

Recommended Auto Glass Cleaner

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 10

Spray Nine 15022-6PK Fireplace Cleaner, 22 oz. (Pack of 6)

his glass wash concentrate makes over 12 gallons of water.  Quickly and effectively removes bugs and dirt. Glare and smear free cleaning.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 11

Instant Windshield Washer, 25 Tablet

Each tablet is packed with super concentrated formula that makes 1 gallon of top quality cleaner and is 3 times the cleaning power of ordinary wash. Removes bugs, road film, dirt and grime.
Eco friendly - helps to reduce the number of plastic containers in landfills.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 12

Full Crystal Kit - Bottle, Lid with Hose Attachment

Comes with 1 lb. Bag of Crystal Powder Exterior Window Cleaner for Glass and Screens. Cleans up to 80 windows.

The cleaning crystal is formulated to remove stubborn dirt, dust, and grime.

WD-40 Multi Use

Yet one more handy every day item you might have somewhere in your garage. You might not have thought of WD-40 as a something you’d need for detailing your car though. Apparently it can be used to clean dashboards and keep your metal surfaces shiny as well as rust free.

WD 40 Multi Us

Very effective in driving out moisture and remove moisture-induced short circuits. Also a very good corrosion inhibitor against corrosive elements and moistures to prevent rust.

Loosen and free up sticky and stucked mechanisms.  Removes grease, tar, gum etc you name it.

Long Lasting Car Wax

If you’re going to put in the effort to wash your car why not really make it shine? Besides, wax protects your car’s surface from things like temperature change and things like pollen, bug splatters and the like. Waxing your car is a major part of detailing and a nice finishing touch.

Recommended Car Wax

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 13

Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat – Ceramic Coating - Car Wax Spray

Car wash and wax are waterless. A perfect hydrophobic top coat polish and comes with polymer paint sealant protection. 


All In One - waterless wash, coat & shine without any streaking, smearing or scratching. It is gentle on the vehicle. Your car will be clean and shiny without the ugly streaks and drying smears.


Four wheelers, boats, motorcycles, automobiles - Safe for all surfaces

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 14

Mirror Shine - Super Gloss Wax & Sealant Hybrid Spray by Torque Detail

Takes only minute to apply.  Multi purpose can be used on all cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and even airplane!


Instant showroom shine and stay up to months of protection.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 15

CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant

Formulated with liquid carnauba to give a deep hydrophobic shine on the surface. 15 minutes is all it takes to achieve that super shine with no streak.


Works on all surfaces.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 16

Aero Cosmetics Wash Wax

The wash wax kit cleanse gently and leave behind a non-stick UV coating on the surface.  Simple to use - just spray and wipe dry. A 144 oz of the car wash wax can wash up to 36 cars or 57 cars if you wax as dry.


The kit comes with 1 full 16 oz spray bottle, 1 full gallon of Wash Wax All, 4 Microfibre towels, and a Product and How To Use guide.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 17

MEGUIAR'S G18216 Ultimate Liquid Wax, 16 Fluid Ounces, 1 Pack

Liquid Wax gives maximum synthetic protection to the car surface.  It's Thin File technology makes application easy even when wax in full sun.  It is easy to wipe off and will not stain non-painted trim pieces.


The formula helps amplify the reflection for a great depth and mirror like shine.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 18

Turtle Wax T-223 Super Hard Shell Paste Wax - 9.5 oz

A legend - cheap and good. Easy and off formula that last up to 12 months

Electrical Car Buffer

An electrical car buffer is recommended by the Detail Experts. Now, that may seem like a step to far for the casual DIY detailer but if you’re serious about maintaining your car you’ll want to invest in at least the most basic tools to make your new hobby easier. It could take a beginner some practice to avoid scratching your paint so it’s best to check out a tutorial first.

Recommended Electrical Car Buffer

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 19

BLACK+DECKER Variable Speed Polisher, 6-Inch (WP900)

Gives high quality finish with 6 Inch-Orbital Action Random orbit action.  It has 2 handles that give good and comfortable grip. It's 4,400 orbits per min makes it a perfect detailing solution from small car projects to large jobs easily.  


It comes with a 10 foot cord, perfect for large surface.  It also comes with a foam applicator bonet and 2 polishing bonnets.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 20

XtremepowerUS 18v Portable Orbital Cordless Buffer Polisher

It comes with a 1 10 inch form, 1 terry cloth, a microfibre, both the front and rear handles and a DC 18V,3.35A,3300RPM

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 21

WEN 10PMC 10-Inch Waxer & Polisher in Case And Extra Bonnets

This is a super high performance motor with 120-V and 0.75-amp permanent magnet motor. It can do 3200 orbits per min. It is insulated with high impact housing.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 22

Griot's Garage 10813LNGCRD 6" Dual Action Random Orbital Polisher with 25' Cord

This beast apply wax in 1/4 of the time and quickly and safely removes swirl marks and scratches. It has adjustable loop handle and comes with a 25 feet power cord.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 23

WEN 6010 6-Inch Waxer/Polisher

Ergonomically designed to fit comfortably into palm with good grip. High performance motor with 4000 rpm. It comes with a 6 inch applicator bonnet and a 6 inch cloth bonnet.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 24

Presa Turbine All-in-One Dual Action DA Random Orbital Polisher Kit with Polishing Pads and Chenille Glove, 6"

It is light weight but packed wiht power - 600W and 1500-6800 OPM. Designed to have lesser vibration using counterbalance bearings. It comes with the following accessories - Soft pad, medium pad, hard pad, microfiber cloth, wash mitt, carrying bag

Start with the Big Stuff to Save Time and Effort

Before you start washing, vacuuming and getting into the smaller parts of detailing your car you’ll want to do some prep work first. Now that you have your supplies, get them in order near your work area. Use a caddy to stay organized.

Take a look at the outside of your vehicle and see if there’s any major dirt and debris just spray it off now. This will make doing the shampooing much easier and less messy.

Don’t Forget The Garbage Bag

One item not on the above list is garbage bags. You’ll probably need them for any forgotten items or garbage floating around in your car. Put those gym shoes, that sweater and any thing else you want to save in one bag. Then use the other for garbage like food wrappers, cups and other trash that may be floating around.

Finally, put loose change and smaller items in a container, and remove all the paperwork in your glove compartment. The goal is to have all these items out of your way to make a thorough cleaning as smooth as possible. Now remove the floor mats and do a quick vacuum with the largest attachment to grab major debris, kind of like you did for the outside. Then you can move on to the thorough cleaning.

Don’t Forget those Details that Make Your Interior Shine

All that prep work on the interior served a purpose. With everything removed from your cup holder, door panels and glove box it’s easy to see into those neglected spaces and get them clean.

You may want to invest in some more items specifically for your interior. These items include things like green scrubber pad and small handle brushes to deep clean the dash and steering wheel vinyl and get into small spaces.
There’s also an abundance of cleaning products out there for your car interior including upholstery cleaners and other specialty products.

The car experts at Napa have some great, easy to follow tips on products and techniques for cleaning your interior.
The goal with cleaning the interior is not only to get it clean, but to protect it from further wear just as you would with the exterior. Once you’ve meticulously cleaned every surface until it gleams and vacuumed all dust and debris you should protect that investment in your time.

Use an upholstery protecting spray on all your carpeted and upholstered surfaces. Include your floorboards and the carpets and even inside your trunk. Just make sure whatever you use is recommended for your upholstery type.
It’s also important to use a protectant on the vinyl of your car, such as the dash and steering wheel. Most of these types of protectants are meant to prevent UV damage. Many of these products come in sprays as well, making them easy to apply.

Recommended Protectant & Restorer

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 25

MEDS ReNu Pro (RPK4) Automotive Trim Restorer Kit - 4 oz

The volume is ideal for large trucks or just more cars (10 cars). Helps to restores faded bumpers, mirrors, fender and running board. The protecting layer can last up to 12 months.

It is easy wipe with no need for spray guns.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 26

Mothers 05302-4 Protectant - 1 Gallon, (Pack of 4)

Protects the plastic, vinyl, rubber and fibreglass from UV. Easy use trigger spray.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 27

Shine Society Interior Cleaner, 100% All-Natural Extra Strength Formula

A cleaner that is for "everything". It disinfects while cleaning and is formulated to kill bacterial, germs and allergens. Great for family that have small kids. It also has a pleasant citrus scent. Make with all natural ingredients. Safe for the young and old.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 28

Nu-Vinyl NV-200 7.75 oz

One of the cheapest in the market. One step formula and easy to use. No rubbing and buffing require.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 29

Nu-Vinyl NV-200 7.75 oz

One of the best DIY leather and vinyl repair kit. Perfect touch up and repair your leather and vinyl. Great for scratches, tears, holes and rips.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 30

Coconix Leather Care PRO Professional Leather & Vinyl Repair Kit Black

Gives a professional result and new look on genuine leather, synthetic or premium upholstery.

Impress Your Passengers by Going the Extra Mile

If you really want to do a bang up job of cleaning your car’s interior than there are a few important things to remember before you go to the effort of applying all those protectants. If your upholstery has stains or if your car is older and never been detailed before, there’s a few extra things you can do to really make it look and smell like new.

Removing Stains

Obvious stains make your car look dingy and uncared for, even if it’s ultimately clean. There is no way your car can look it’s best with a bunch of stains your upholstery.

Luckily, there are some amazing spot stain removers out there on the market today. Banishing those stains is often as easy as a spray and a bit of scrubbing. Just make sure to test the product on an inconspicuous spot first to make sure it doesn’t fade or damage the upholstery fabric.

There are also a lot of tips and tricks on online sources,like Angie’s List,for using everyday household products to beat stubborn stains.  With some effort and maybe a little experimentation you can get rid of those stains for good.

Recommended Car Stain Remover

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 31

Star brite Mildew Stain Remover - 22 OZ SPRAYER

Easily remove mildew stain without heavy scrubbing. Designed for simple to use spray on, scrub and rinse off stains. Can use on surfaces such as fiberglass, vinyl upholstery, awnings, rubber, plastic.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 32

Puracy Natural Laundry Stain Remover, Enzyme Odor Eliminator, Free & Clear, 25 Ounce (2-Pack)

Formulated to removes all types of stains fram any washable fabrics and will not ruin the fabrics. It's plant based ingredients make it safe for kids and pets. A few sprays is all you need to remove the stain.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 33

TriNova Interior Quick Detailer - Stain Remover, Dashboard Cleaner and Protectant, Car Vinyl, Rubber, Leather Cleaning tool. 18oz

Provides quick clean - just spray and wipe to clean of the dirt and grease. It also protect the surface from UV rays that is the primary causes for cracks and fading. It is anti-statics and thus prevent dust and the buildup of residual.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 34

3D Upholstery & Carpet Shampoo - 1 Gallon

Formulated with advanced biodegradable formula that is able to deeply cleanse carpets, fabrics and upholstery. Particularly useful for any tough spots and stains. The cleanse brings out the original beauty with it's optical brightener.

A Powerful Deep Clean With Handheld Steam Cleaner

You’d be surprised how much dust and dirt gather in your upholstery fabric over time. Vacuuming alone won’t remove this deep down dirt. You’ll need a shampooer or steam cleaner. Renting equipment is a good option for this, though there are some affordable machines on the market that you may want to consider.

Steam cleaners even work on leather upholstery and vinyl. Unlike shampooers, steam cleaners use heat to soften and loosen dirt before pulling it out of fabric. A shampooer recirculates water and shampoo from the machine to the fabric.

It’s up to you which to choose but a steamer is more versatile and may be worth the small investment.  Steam cleaning your car’s interior is actually fairly easy with the right attachments and techniques and it adds a nice finishing touch.

Turn Heads With That Sparkling Clean Exterior

Here’s the part you’re probably really interested in—An exterior that turns heads. If you’re putting in all the work to detail your car, you want others to see it, right? Newly waxed and buffed paint, gleaming tires and sparkling windows are definitely going to get noticed. There are a few things you can do to really make your car stand out.

Don’t Overlook the Tires

Let’s start from the bottom up. According to Detailing Spot,tires are often overlooked but play a critical role in the overall appearance of your car. In their detailed piece on tire detailing they explain why detailing your tires is important for their care too. “Considering the fact that tires are in continual contact with the road and suffer from adverse effects of road tar, dirt, grime, water, salt, brake dust, grease AND ultra violet radiation (UVR), ozone, and oxygen, it is understandable that they require great care. Over time, tire rubber simply degrades.”

Really getting your tires clean will require their removal. You can go as far as cleaning the undercarriage thoroughly but that requires a garage and equipment and isn’t totally necessary if you don’t have those pro-level tools available.

The simple and effective version just requires a tire iron and jack to get the tire itself off of your vehicle. Once that’s done, you’ll use plenty of soap and water to wash your tires one by one. Go ahead and let the tires soak for a few minutes before scrubbing them. Then rinse and repeat the process. Remember, tires are going to be the dirtiest part of your car.

After the tire is washed and rinsed you can move on to the wheel wells and brake calipers of the car. Repeat the same process for these.

Now that the tires, wheel wells and brake calipers are clean it’s time to add protectant, called dressing. This can be sprayed on and left to soak in before buffing off with a dry cloth. Then you’ll wax your tires. Finally, you will repeat the process of protecting the tires with dressing.

Getting your tires looking their best and protected against wear is a bit of a tedious process but take it step by step and you’ll have it done before you know it.

Recommended Tire Cleaning Kit

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 35

TriNova Tire Shine Spray No Wipe - Automotive Clear Coat Dressing for Wet & Slick Finish - Keeps Tires Black - with Rubber Protector

TriNova Tire Shine Spray protec and gives your tires the shine. It offers additional protection with their repel dirt and grime forumula. It also gives a long lasting shine.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 36

TAKAVU Master Wheel Brush

Simple to use. A bucket of water and the whell tire brush is all you need to clean the tire. Designed with flexibiity to reach difficult spots and in between wheel spokes. Great for both the car enthusiasts and professionals.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 37

Chemical Guys TVD_108_16 Tire and Trim Gel for Plastic and Rubber

It restores and renew old, faded tires, bumpers, trim and rubber. The oil-based gel dressing is highly refined that allow you to penetrate deep to give that super shine. It also get absorb and dry quickly.

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 38

Duragloss 701 Whitewall Tire Cleaner - 22 oz

Easy to use cleaner

Car Detailing – Time To Give Your Ride A VIP Treatment 39

303 Products Rubber cleaner & rejuvenator

This rubber cleaner gives a good preparation for conditioning or tire shine. Helps stop and remove tire browning.

Make Your Car Look Like it has a Fresh Paint Job

By waxing and buffing surface of your car, you’ll make it freshly painted. It takes a little extra effort as well, but the results are well worth it.

After washing the car with the shampoo mentioned earlier, it will be ready to polish and wax. Remember that list at the beginning? This is the part where all those recommended tools come in handy.

You’ll also need:

While the order seems obvious, there are some little details you don’t want to overlook. Popular Mechanics has a good basic guide to follow for this. And remember that video link at the top about how to use an electric buffer.  Oh, and don’t forget to really make your windows sparkle by finishing up with a good glass cleaner.

Solve those Stubborn Smell Problems

Now that your car is meticulously detailed and thoroughly gone over with a steamer it smells like new too, right?
Let’s hope the answer is yes. But if moisture has been allowed to sit for any time and you have mildew or even mold, there may yet be some work to do.

What about cigarette smell? That is a real tough one. But it is possible to get those odors out with some effort. Let the pros from Turtle Wax help with that.  Or take the advice this pro detailer from Chemical Guys gives in this helpful video.

Do Your Own Auto Body Paint Like A Pro

Paint the car yourself and experience the pride of DIY.  Get the car showroom shine for under $200.  Learn from the auto paint professional.  With the skills, you too can start a auto painting business from your own garage.

Time to Get Car Detailing!

There you have it! Everything you need to know about detailing your car like a pro.

car paintWe’ve covered everything from washing your windows to getting into the nitty-gritty and cleaning your tires. You’re armed with the resources and information to get your car smelling great, looking new and impressing friends with your detailing skills.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the whole process. Just take it one step at a time, starting with the big stuff. Then, all those last minute finishing details will seem like nothing at all. Maybe you could even talk some friends into helping, if you don’t mind sharing the glory.

Well, what are you waiting for? The weekend? That seems valid. Just don’t wait until next weekend, or the one after that. Do it this weekend. Make a day of it. Then celebrate your efforts with a drive around town to show off your work. While you’re out, stop at the beer store. Then get home, sit back and admire your car in the sunshine with a beer in your hand. You deserve it.

Sending
User Review
0 (0 votes)

Contents