10 Most Essential Car Detailing Secrets

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When it comes to getting professional-quality car detailing results at home, the old adage that you need the right tool for the job holds true. While professional car detailers no doubt possess a high level of skill and experience, what they also have is a wide array of specific tools that enable them to get to those hard-to-reach areas. With these tools, they can get those difficult-to-clean spots shining like new. To help you make your car look like it just rolled off the dealership lot every time you wash it, we've put together our list of the 10 most essential car detailing secrets.

​Comparison Table


Car Detailing FAQ

Before we delve into our list of the 10 Most Essential Car Detailing Secrets, we think it would be helpful to go over some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) we get about car detailing.

What Is Car Detailing? How Is It Different From Just Washing My Car With Soap and Water Like I Always Have?

What Are Some Things I Can Do to Transform My Car Washing Experience into a Car Detailing One?

What Common Supplies Are Needed to Detail My Car?


How We Reviewed


To put together our list of the 10 most essential car detailing secrets, we consider aspects such as price, ease-of-use, performance, and reliability. The 10 items that made our list all stand out in several if not all of those categories.


Overall Price Range

The prices of the products on our list range from about $​ up to almost $​$$, meaning that even if you are on a modest budget, there is room for you to up your car detailing without breaking the bank.


What We Reviewed

cleaning car

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  • Chemical Guys CWS_1010_64 Car Wash Shampoo
  • CarGuys Plastic Restorer
  • CarGuys Super Cleaner
  • AutoRight SteamMachine C900054.M Red Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner
  • SUBANG 11 Pieces Car Cleaner Brush Set
  • S & T 968601 Assorted Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
  • Chemical Guys ACC_326–TORQ Foam Blaster 6 Foam Wash Gun
  • Mop Mob Leak-Free Chemical Resistant Spray Head and 32 oz Bottle
  • Car Washing and Detailing Power Brush Kit
  • Chemical Guys ACC_100.1 Professional Bucket Dolly

Chemical Guys CWS_1010_64 Car Wash Shampoo

Features

This specialty car wash shampoo from Chemical Guys is a must-have for your car-detailing kit. With a special formulation that combines continually foaming bubbles with special slick-wash lubricants, the Chemical Guys car wash shampoo raises dirt and debris off your cars finish before washing it away, reducing scratches and producing the ultimate clean. With just 1 ounce of car wash shampoo sufficing for 5 gallons of water, the 64-ounce size available on Amazon could last you for years.

Pros

  • Scratch-free formulation raises dirt and debris off of the car's finish before sliding it off with slick-wash lubricants
  • Compatible with foam guns and foam cannons
  • An inexpensive way to up your car detailing game
  • pH balanced not to strip wax coatings
  • Cleans all exterior surfaces, including paintwork, rubber, vinyl, glass, and plastic
  • Powerful enough for cleaning wheels and rims

Cons

  • More expensive than other car wash soaps
  • PRICE
  • where to buy

​This can be found in Amazon for $.

CarGuys Plastic Restorer

Features

If the elements have taken their toll on your vehicle's plastic, rubber, and vinyl parts, the CarGuys Plastic Restorer is just to the trick to bring them shining back to life like new. Able to be used on interior and exterior surfaces, the CarGuys Plastic Restorer not only restores, but it also seals and protects, and it is powerful enough to last months after a single application. Especially if your vehicle is closer to being a classic than straight off the lot, the CarGuys Plastic Restorer is a great tool to have in your car detailing toolbox.

Pros

  • Works on plastic, vinyl, and rubber surfaces
  • Can be used on interior and exterior surfaces
  • Lasts months with a single application
  • Not only restores, but it also seals and protects

Cons

  • Newer cars may need a plastic, vinyl, and rubber protector but not a restorer, making this product more appropriate for older cars
  • PRICE
  • where to buy

This product can be found on Amazon for around $​ for the 8-ounce size.

CarGuys Super Cleaner

Features

This spray-on all-purpose cleaner delivers professional-level car detailing results and can be used on leather, vinyl, upholstery, even carpet, making a perfect cleaner to keep in the trunk for dealing with those emergency spills.

Pros

  • Can be used on virtually any surface
  • Combats a wide range of tough-to-get messes, from grease to tree sap
  • Does not leave a glossy finish

Cons

  • On the expensive side for a multipurpose cleaner
  • PRICE
  • where to buy

This product can be found on Amazon for around $​ for the 18-ounce size and about $​$ for the 128-ounce (1 gallon) size.

AutoRight SteamMachine C900054.M Red Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner

Features

If you want to give your car detailing that next-level, professional touch, the AutoRight SteamMachine might be just the thing. Unlike a vacuum cleaner, the AutoRight SteamMachine cleans your car's surfaces with scalding, 290-degree-Fahrenheit steam that separates dirt, grime, grease, and other stains from interior upholstery, dashboards, carpets, upholstery, even leather, and windows, delivering a higher level of clean.

Pros

  • A unique addition to your car detailing kit that will help produce those professional-looking results
  • Available for about the cost of one professional detailing, meaning it can pay for itself after just a couple of uses
  • Can also be used on interior surfaces throughout the home or office
  • Comes with 11 brushes, attachments, and accessories to fit any job

Cons

  • A somewhat specialized piece of equipment that is not necessary for car detailing, but is nice to have
  • Some car detailing enthusiasts may prefer to use chemical cleaners rather than steam cleaning
  • PRICE
  • where to buy

This product can be found on Amazon for around $​$.

SUBANG 11 Pieces Car Cleaner Brush Set

Features

What separates simply washing a car from car detailing is the level of attention to, well, detail. This 11-piece set from SUBANG gives you all the tools you'll need to clean every nook and cranny of your vehicle to spit-shine perfection, making it look like it just came from a professional car detailing.

Pros

  • A variety of brushes of various sizes and shapes perfect for cleaning those hard-to-reach areas
  • Brushes feature high-quality natural boar hair
  • Can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces as well as wheels
  • Includes wire brush for removing rust and other hard-to-get blemishes
  • One of the less expensive ways to up your car detailing game

Cons

  • Some users may already have their own collection of preferred brushes and rags
  • Buying car detailing tools individually rather than in a set allows for greater customization to suit your needs and preferences
  • PRICE
  • where to buy

This product can be found on Amazon for around $​.

S & T 968601 Assorted Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

Features

These microfiber cloths are soft enough not to scratch delicate surfaces, and they come in a pack of 50 for just $​, making them versatile, soft, and expendable rags, always a good thing to have on hand for any car detailing enthusiast.

Pros

  • Microfiber won't scrape delicate surfaces
  • Lint-free means it won't leave behind more debris as you clean
  • Machine washable
  • Streak-free

Cons

  • Car detailing enthusiasts can be quite picky about their rags, brushes, and towels, and these might not suit all preferences
  • Some users may prefer to use old cloths or towels for rags rather than purchasing new ones
  • PRICE
  • where to buy

This product can be found on Amazon for around $​$ for a 50 pack. A 25 pack also is available on Amazon for around $​.

Chemical Guys ACC_326–TORQ Foam Blaster 6 Foam Wash Gun

Features

One of the more fun toys you can add to your car-detailing repertoire, a foam wash gun also helps produce those professional-level results by delivering a steady flow of fresh suds with the water pressure of spray nozzle.

Pros

  • Using a foam gun delivers powerful cleaning without grinding debris into the paint as with a sponge or rag, which causes scratches
  • Adjustable to create foams of various consistencies and concentrations for use on different surfaces (e.g., wheels versus windows)
  • Easy (and fun) enough for a child to use, helping to make car detailing day a fun experience the whole family can participate in

Cons

  • More expensive than the old bucket-and-a-rag method
  • Only works if you have a garden hose within reach of your car
  • PRICE
  • where to buy

This product can be found on Amazon for around $​$.

Mop Mob Leak-Free Chemical Resistant Spray Head and 32 oz Bottle

Features

This combination of heavy-duty, chemical-resistant spray heads and 32-ounce bottles from Mop Mob are a must-have for the serious car detailing enthusiast, as they allow for the mixing of one's own unique blends of cleaners. Or, buy in bulk to save money and then pour the contents of larger containers into these more manageable sizes.

Pros

  • Allows for the mixing of one's own unique blends of cleaners
  • Commercial-grade, chemical-resistant components

Cons

  • Some people may already have spray bottles on hand that will suffice
  • Many cleaning products come in their own spray bottles
  • Cheaper, non-commercial-grade spray bottles are also available
  • PRICE
  • where to buy

This product can be found on Amazon for around $​$ for a 5 pack or about $​ for a 4 pack.

Car Washing ​And Detailing Power Brush Kit

Features

This power brush kit from Drillbrush uses the power of your home drill to clean and buff your car, delivering that professionally detailed look. Just plug the long-reach extension and replaceable white scrubber brush in the power drill you already own, and voila, your very own power brush.

Pros

  • Brings the performance of a power brush into the home at a very affordable price (if you already own a power drill, that is)
  • Especially useful in hard-to-clean areas like wheels and rims

Cons

  • Must already own a power drill or purchase one separately
  • We wish it offered a wax-buffing attachment
  • Using brushes can scratch paint more than a foam gun because brushes rub in the dirt rather than separating it before rinsing it away
  • PRICE
  • where to buy

Chemical Guys ACC_100.1 Professional Bucket Dolly

Features

This bucket dolly will have you looking and performing like a car detailing pro as it wheels your bucket around with you, eliminating the need to pick it up and carry it.

Pros

  • Eliminates the constant need to pick up and move the bucket
  • Elevates bucket to reduce bending
  • Hold buckets sized 3.5 gallons to 7 gallons
  • Can support up to 300 pounds of weight with heavy-duty molded plastic and strong castors

Cons

  • Costs many times more than the buckets themselves
  • Expensive for just a bucket dolly
  • Quality might be overkill for some users (who needs a bucket dolly that can hold 300 pounds?), meaning less costly competitors may be an option
  • PRICE
  • where to buy

The Verdict

When it comes to producing professional-level car detailing results at home, no single, magic product will suddenly have people asking where you get your car detailing done. As our list shows, however, there are a wide variety of helpful tools and accessories that, when used properly, can have your car not only looking like new but staying that way for miles to come.