Beginners guide to a car detailing with Quick tips like a pro

For some time now you have been requesting to publish a complete Beginners guide to a car detailing article. But in order to fulfill their purpose, today’s our another motorvehicle website post, let’s face it. Car detailing is a very thorough, hands-on cleaning or a car wash deep cleaning  process. It ensures that the car is not just fresh, but in tiptop condition at all times. Detailing not only cleans and preserves the vehicle, but also protects it on a minute scale. The process can be divided into two categories: interior and exterior detailing.


If you’re new to detailing, then this guide will help you get started and learn how to do it like a pro! Read on for some beginner tips that will get your car looking better than ever with regular maintenance.

What is car detailing ?

Beginners guide to a car detailing - What is car detailing ?

Car detailing is a process done to clean, protect and refinish the car. It involves washing, detailing and waxing of the car. The process takes time and effort as it provides complete protection to your vehicle. What is the difference between cleaning and detailing:

Cleaning is usually performed on surfaces which are visible while detailing is done to give an additional care to various parts of a vehicle that are not visible when driving like interior, wheel wells etc.

Cleaning the Interior of Your Car

The first and most important step in detailing any car is cleaning up inside. This is often considered a priority because those who hire car detailing services want their interiors to be squeaky clean both inside and out. Professionals use steam cleaners, vacuums, and even snow foam in order to thoroughly clean the interior of a vehicle.

Beginners guide to a car detailing - Cleaning the Interior of Your Car

One thing is for sure; even if you use a more budget-friendly method such as a car wash, you should still do some basic footwork. Use quality car wash deep cleaning  supplies and don’t be afraid to get dirty!

Start by removing everything that’s on the floor of your car. This includes anything that’s in the way, as well as anything that’s got a potential to slide or fall (such as stuff piled up in front of the wheels).

few steps to clean a car interior:

step 1: Use a vacuum cleaner to clean the upholstery, carpets, and mats. If any stains were left behind by previous spills or even by pet accidents, use a small amount of soap and hot water to remove them.

step 2: Wipe the dashboard with a damp cloth (not too wet), being sure to also clean the center panel, vents, armrests, and air-conditioning controls. Once that’s done, use a soft cloth (or toothbrush) and soapy water to clean out all vents.

step 3: Use a vacuum again to clean the engine bay and under the hood. Use an old towel or cloth to soak up all the water, then throw it into the outside of your car so it doesn’t drip moisture onto any part of your vehicle.


step 4: Now that you’ve dealt with your engine, use compressed air to thoroughly clean the wheels, tires, rims, and hubcaps.

It’s important to remember that interior cleaning doesn’t have to be limited to cleaning your vehicle’s interior. One of the most attractive things about detailing services is that they can take care of everything for you.

Cleaning the exterior of Your Car

The next step in car detailing is cleaning the exterior of your vehicle. For this part of the process, you don’t need professional equipment. In fact, you don’t even need to rent a car wash! The key is to simply use some common sense and follow some basic steps.

Beginners guide to a car detailing - Cleaning the exterior of Your Car

To clean the exterior of your vehicle thoroughly, start by keeping it as dry as possible. This means taking a clean cloth and wiping off any greasy fingerprints on the body and engine panels or dashboards.

Go for additional levels of cleaning if you like. Use a soft, plush towel to wipe down the paint sealant as well. This helps to protect your car from rain, wind and other elements that can damage its finish. Using only a mild soap, clean the rubber wipers to get rid of any dirt and grime from them. For pick-up trucks and SUVs, it may be necessary to remove the wheels for a more thorough clean.

few steps to clean a car exterior:

  • Use a spray bottle filled with water and white vinegar.
  • Spray the exterior parts of your vehicle, including the tires, trunk and undercarriage, as well as all windows to help remove any dirt that may be present.
  • Run a small mop soaked in water over all of the car’s surfaces. This will help slough off any greasy dirt from its surface.
  • Take a soft towel and take care in towel-drying your vehicle as you go along.
  • The car’s dashboard and the rubber console bezels should be wiped down with a soft cloth after washing.
  • When your vehicle has been dried, use a microfiber towel to wipe off any remaining sets of fingerprints from the front and rear windows, headlights and taillights.

Car detailing Quick  process

The car detailing process begins with a wash and vacuum of the exterior, followed by the removal of debris and waxing. Interior carpets are usually vacuumed and washed while the dash, seats, door panels and other


frequently touched surfaces are cleaned and wiped down with a microfiber towel. It is recommended to apply wax on the whole exterior while wheels, tires, undercarriage and other dirt-prone areas should be polished using a

polish or compound. After the car is dried, it’s time to apply tire dressing to the wheels and protecting agents like paint sealant or wax to the painted parts.

The car detailing process is normally performed by professionals but enthusiasts and first-time users can also learn how to detail a car without the need to invest on the high-end products. Here are some tips on how you can get started.

Quick tips to detailing your car:

Car detailing is not as difficult as some may think. In fact, you can even do it yourself with just a few basic tools and products. All that’s needed is a keen eye for detail and good sense of color coordination.

  • Here are some quick tips to detail your car right away:
  • Something to clean the interior (microfiber towels, vacuum)
  • Windex or similar glass cleaner for all the windows (windows inside and out)
  • Tire dressing for tires and wheel wells
  • Protection for the whole vehicle (filler, paint sealant, wax) and tires (tire shine or dressing) if you want maximum protection. You can choose from swirl removers or protectant sprays. If you want maximum protection .
  • Something to clean the exterior (cloth, sponge, microfiber towel)
  • A wax for the whole car for maximum protection
  • Something to clean the wheels (cloth, sponge, microfiber towel)
  • Drying towels
  • A couple of hand or power sprays or sprayers (air fresheners or laundry stain removers) to keep your car smelling fresh and clean. You can get these at any home improvement store. And a few waxes for wheel and trunk/boot wells.
  • UV protectants for leather seats.
  • Something to clean and shine the tires (tire shine spray or dressing, cloth or sponge)
  • Glass cleaner for the windows on the outside of the car (there’s probably some on your dashboard or center console you can use)
  • After the car is dried, it’s time to apply tire dressing to the wheels and protecting agents like paint sealant or wax to the painted parts.

The top equipment you will need for auto detailing

Beginners guide to a car detailing - The top equipment you will need for auto detailing

* Vacuum.

* Dashboard brush and bucket.

* Carpet cleaner and shampooer.

* Scrubbing pad with pumice stone .

* Vacuum tray, vacuum bag, and sealer .

* Flexible scraper for dried-on residue .

* Wash mitts or dish gloves for hand washing exterior windows, mirrors, and car seats (or interior surfaces) .

* Rag towels or old cotton clothes to dry windows and chrome after washing .

Some other basic tools you will need: 

* Rags and sponges for interior cleaning, 

* sponges for wheel cleaning .

* Spray bottles of water, glass cleaner, and car shampoo .

* Sledgehammer for breaking up cement deposits. 

* Safety glasses to protect eyes from chemicals .

You will also need some additional tools for specific detailing jobs. To remove tree sap from a vehicle, use turpentine or paint thinner on the rag. Paint thinner is also a good adhesive remover.

All purpose cleaners should be used to take off grease, oil, grease pencil marks, crayon and the like from leather areas. If leather cleaning is necessary use a good quality leather cleaner and a shoe brush to work in the cleaner then wipe off with a damp rag.

tips: Use warm water as cold water may damage your paint/finish. Use only mild soap for washing (i.e., dish soap) and rinse thoroughly. Using soap  attractants (i.e., wax, polish) can cause contaminants to stick to your vehicle. The following recommendations are based on the auto detailing industry’s best practices and procedures. In the United States and Canada, auto detailing is generally considered.

When should I get my car detailed vs. when just to wash it ?

When the car is dirty, it may be better to just wash it with the standard household-type washing mitts and wipe off. But if you want to look your best – you might want to get the car detailed.

Common reasons for detailing:

Different companies also offer different types of detailing services. There are mobile detailers and detail shops. Mobile detailers are more convenient, because they come to you, but sometimes it’s better to go to a shop and let the professionals do the work.

There are two main types of detailing such as interior detailing and exterior detailing .

Interior detailing is when a person takes a high-quality interior cleaner, hand wash the car with it, and wipe down all the interior surfaces with microfiber towels. Then they would buff out the leather seats and dashboard to get them back to their original shine.

on the other hand the Exterior detailing is when the person takes a high-quality exterior cleaner, hand wash the car with it, then use a pumice stone to get off all the dried on marks on its body and clean any oil from its engine.

Advantages of car detailing:

  • Car will again look like new.
  • More durable and better protection.
  • Discoloration may be removed.
  • All details will become visible and the car will look clean.
  • The car may even smell better, especially if it was detailed with a special scent of cleaner or wax used.

The most common finishes on car interiors are vinyl and leather. Both have benefits and disadvantages. Vinyl is better for a single touch up, but it can get very hot in direct sunlight with the curtains open and it scratches easier than leather. Leather is also more expensive, but it’s easier to clean and stays cleaner longer because of its natural oils. It can last decades with proper care.

The best way to thoroughly clean car regularly

Remove dirt, rust and other loose particles from the vehicle with an already-prepared car wash.

Remove old and leftover wax from the vehicle with soft cloth.

Apply new wax or sealant or both to paint on all usable areas of the vehicle that were not removed during mechanical cleaning steps.

Clear bugs remain from headlights, taillights, left side window, front door handle and other metal surfaces using rubbing compound with a clean cloth. Remove excess wax and dirt from the dashboard with cloth and water.

Dust vehicle interior with soft cloth or thoroughly dusted with finely ground duster. Never use sticky, dusty sprays on leather seats.

Clean window of power window glass  Wipe off all dust, wax, or dirt on the glass with dry towel or spray cleaner. Use squeegee to remove excess water spots onto the freshly cleaned window surface if needed.

Soak plastic and other materials in cleaner if needed, in order to remove old wax, dirt and dust. Use a scraper to remove all remaining plastic material from the clean window.

Final Step: 

Use soft cloth to wipe the car interior clean of excess wax or sealant that may have remained on it. Let the car air-dry completely before using again.

Take care of your car. Don’t fall or sit in your car. If you do, and it causes a dent in the paint, you will notice that wax is flaking off. Wax comes off because it isn’t solid enough to stand a dent.

auto detailing mistake you should avoid

Do not clean your car when it is raining. Rain will dilute the cleaner and make it less effective.

Also, do not use a pressure washer or hose. This is always a bad idea because it could damage your paint. Always use a damp cloth and be gentle!

Be aware of the environment. Too much sunlight (or direct sunlight) can cause fading, discoloration and cracking. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can also weaken the bond between paint and finish, and make new paint bubbles.

Be careful about touching your car when it is hot or cold. Hot or cold temperatures can weaken the clear coat or paint on a car that contains clear coat, like most newer cars do.

Many people have a tendency to go overboard with the detailing and try to clean everything. If you are going to detail your car, then that means you are only going to clean the things that need cleaning. Do not just try and clean rocks from the road. Not only is this a pointless task but it could also damage your car in the process.

Do not wash your car. Even though you are cleaning the dirt from your car’s surface, a clean paint job may seem to look better to you than a dirty one. However, if you wash your car it will leave more contaminants on the surface, which may lead to fading or cracking over time.

Never use dishwashing liquid. Dishwashing liquid is an extremely strong solvent, which will remove all the wax from your car. Use a car shampoo instead.

If you want to remove the wax from your car, do not use water to do so. The water will leave contaminants on the paint’s surface, which can cause damage. Instead use a clay bar and wash again using soap and water only after using it.

Always make sure the wax you use is designed to be used on the type of paint you have. Waxes can be either sealants or protectants. Sealant and protectant waxes are different (protectant has a higher level of protection). Do not mix them.

Never let your car get too hot. When your car is hot, it is more vulnerable to damage when it’s being washed or waxed because hotter temperatures weaken the clear coat or paint on a car that contains clear coat, like most newer cars do .

Be cautious of the kind of wax you use. There are many types that you can purchase over the counter or in your car wash. Do not use one of these unless it is specifically designed for a particular car. If you do, your paint job will be ruined if there is any contamination on your paint.

Always check to see if your car can be safely washed before taking it to the car wash detailing.

Basic step by step guide on how to detail a car or car wash detailing

here are all the tools and supplies you’ll need:

  • Disinfectant spray.
  • Microfiber towel .
  • Bucket bucket of water and bucket  of clean water. 
  • Foam brushes/sponges .
  • glass cleaner or clay bar .
  • Degreaser .
  • Clay bar polish (optional) .
  • Polishing compound  and microfiber towels.
  • Leather cleaner .
  • Oxi clean (or other car wash deep cleaning  agent).
  • Aluminum cleaner (optional) .
  • Automatic car scrubbing machine.
  • Leather conditioner (optional) .
  • Spray wax (optional) .
  • Car shampoo (optional) .

briefly, there are more items such as leather conditioners, leather cleaners, etc. there are more detailing supplies you may need such as sealants and cleaners but they are not necessary.

Basic step by step guide on how to detail a car

1. Disinfectant spray: spray car down and wipe off excess soap.  This will burn off any surface wax and leave a dull and dirty look on the car.  Wipe it down with a microfiber cloth and let the disinfectant evaporate naturally (not in direct sun)

2. Spray the car down lightly: so that it doesn’t get into any crevices. And wipe off excess lubricant.  For example, it’s best to only use one spray for all the panels, but you can use 2 sprays for the trunk section. Do not wash your car with any soap that is designed to wash rubber.  If you do this will leave your car with residue buildup on the surface of the car and other rubber parts such as headlights which could cause premature wear on those parts.  It’s best to mix a little bit of dish detergent and warm water together to dissolve any wax on the car’s surface.

3. Water and soapy water : to clean the car with.  Do not use soap.  The dirty water and the soapy water will remove any contaminated surfaces on the vehicle. Dry with a microfiber cloth, then a clean one, then another one to make sure it’s completely dry.

4. Take out your clay bar:  and put it on some paper towels.  Make sure that the surface you are working on is clean and dry.  Rub the clay bar according to the instructions on the packaging.  This will help remove any wax or dirt from between your car’s paint and clear coat.  Rinse off with water and dry with a microfiber towel.

5. The Clay Bar & Polishing compound will take off the clear coat layer: in seconds. Perform the same steps as above for your clay bar except you are going to use a polishing compound instead of wax.  Polish your paint with a microfiber towel, and then buff with a clean one.

6. Polish and clean body panels: Use the clay bar and polish on all panels including: hood, doors, trunk and tailgate (other than the wheels) in your vehicle.

7. Clean windows: Glass cleaner should be used to clean the glass.

8. Clean interior: Interior paint is not milky, it’s just a little dirty.  You can use baby wipes or alcohol to clean it with.  Do not use soap and water as it will leave a residue on the interior of your car and will ruin the look of the car.

9. Clean engine bay: Use de-ionized water and some degreaser to remove any dirt and dust on your engine bay or engine itself.

10. Clean windshield: Spray the glass and let it sit for a few minutes. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe off any of the glass cleaner to see if there are any scratches or spots that need attention. If so, polish and clean with a microfiber towel to remove them.

11. Lubricate your car with just enough oil to move smoothly: 10W30 or 20W50 is about right for you car.  This step is optional, but it is recommended to lubricate your car at least once a month.  Use mineral oils as needed such as WD-40 or liquid wrench.

12. Shine your wheels: Use a machine (or something like it)  to shine your wheels to make them shiny and clean. Also use a spray wax on them if you have one, but this is optional.

13. Touch up paint scratches: If you see any scratches on your car or if you have some touch up paint, then it’s time to use it now.

14. Top off fluids: Make sure everything is topped off as needed, i.e.: antifreeze, oil and transmission fluid etc.  It’s not a bad idea to do this every couple months if your car is running hot or has a leak somewhere.

16. That’s it, you’re done.  These are the last few steps of detailing your car, after you have cleaned all these areas depending on what they look like may need to be addressed.  You can choose to have your car painted or polished if you have time and money.  If your car is under warranty then buy a new one, if you don’t want to buy a new one then wait until after the warranty has expired.

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