Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
Car detailing has become an increasingly popular activity among car owners. As the pandemic has kept a lot of car washing facilities closed and car valets continue to increase in price, it’s no wonder motorists are getting more involved with the cleaning of their vehicles.
Car detailing is an art. It requires a lot of attention, precision, care and time. For some, it can be a truly therapeutic activity.
To give your car the love it deserves, you will need the right car detailing tools and products to get the job done right. Creating your own professional car detailing kit will arm you with the right tools and products to detail your vehicle, just like the pros. It will require some initial investment but compared to paying for regular car washes and car valets, you will save a fortune in the long run.
Here’s how you put a pro car detailing kit together.
Emmert Wolf once said that “a man is only as good as his tools” and he wasn’t wrong. Every labourer and artist needs the right tools to get the job done right.
A good pressure washer will allow you to make your car detailing process effective and efficient. They’re completely safe for use on vehicles and won’t damage your paintwork. Pressure washers are highly effective and can be used for more than just rinsing, as we will discover later in this post.
Alloy Wheel Brush
An alloy wheel brush will allow you to clean the dirt even in the most awkward and difficult places, mainly the spokes, rim screws and the barrel. Your alloy wheel brush will make easy work of removing dirt and grease so you can expend less energy.
Detailing Brush Set (Exterior and Interior)
Detailing professionals will typically have two or three sets of detailing brush sets. One set will be for the wheels, another for hard-to-reach places on the exterior and another set for the interior. Detailing brushes are the perfect tool for cleaning very small and difficult-to-reach areas of the vehicle.
Snow Foam Lance
If you’ve ever taken your car to a professional valet, you may have seen them spray the vehicle with white foam that covers the car like snow. They do this by attaching a snow foam lance to the end of their pressure washer. The snow foam is formulated to pre-clean the car by lifting dirt and grease from the paintwork, ready for rinsing.
Sponges are one of the most iconic tools for cleaning a car, which is ironic considering they shouldn’t be used at all. Sponges cause minor scratches to your paintwork. Instead, use a car wash mitt designed specifically to protect the paintwork.
Buckets With Grit Guards x 2
One bucket simply isn’t enough. Professional detailers will always have at least two buckets with grit guards fitted to them. This allows them to use one bucket for the car shampoo and then another for rinsing the wash mitt. Rinsing in a separate bucket avoids dirt particles getting mixed into the shampoo bucket, which when clung to your wash mitt will cause minor scratches to the paintwork.
Not essential, but they do make quick work of the drying process and eliminate the risk of water spots on the paintwork. A car dryer will blow the water straight off the surface of the paintwork. You can use drying towels, but your job will be a bit more challenging and will take a little longer. Please don’t use your leaf blower to dry your car as it fires small dirt particles at your paintwork causing minor damage.
Microfiber cloths are handy for picking up dirt particles and grease. They’re much better at this job than regular cloths, and they’re less likely to scratch your paintwork. You should aim to have a big bunch of microfiber cloths, as they can be used on the exterior and interior.
Sealant and Wax Applicators
When it’s time to apply sealant or wax to your paintwork, it’s important to use a purpose-made applicator because it will ensure that you distribute the sealant or wax safely across the surface of your car. If you want to get serious with your wax, you could even buy an electric wax applicator for the best quality application.
You can’t just use any cloth or your microfibre cloths in your car windows. You need purpose-made glass cloths to ensure you do an adequate job at cleaning the windows without leaving marks and water spots.
When choosing products for your car, it’s easy to opt for the cheapest available. But, you should reconsider this if you want to treat your car with the love and respect it deserves. Not all car products are created equally, and they’re not multi-purpose. Always buy high-quality detailing products for your car. They will last longer and do a better job.
Using a designated wheel cleaner is essential because it’s specially formulated to deal with incredibly tough dirt and grease that refuses to budge. Your car pre-cleaner or shampoo will not suffice.
Snow foam is used along with a snow foam lance to spray your car with a thin layer of pre-cleaning foam that looks just like snow. The foam is formulated to help lift dirt and grease from the paintwork ready for rinsing.
Please don’t use washing up liquid! You must use proper car shampoo to clean the paintwork of your vehicle effectively. It will help remove any last bits of dirt and grease when used in combination with a wash mitt.
Tar and Glue Remover
For any tough bits of dirt and grease that refuse to budge from the paintwork, you can use a tar and glue remover. It is typically a spray you can use on the affected area, leave for a couple of minutes and then rinse.
Iron Fallout Remover
This special product helps remove iron particles and contaminants from your paintwork and wheels by dissolving them on contact. It is highly potent but safe to use on paintwork, wheels, glass and trims.
A car sealant protects all the hard work you have done cleaning the paintwork and removing contaminants. It will help to protect your car against bugs, bird droppings, road salts and all the other common elements while on the road.
Wax is the final product needed for the car exterior. You don’t need to use it every single time you wash the car, every two to six months is enough to keep paintwork protected. Always follow the recommendations on the container. In the short term, the wax will make your car glow like new. In the long run, it will stop the paintwork from fading and will act as a defence against minor scratches.
Fabric Cleaner or Leather Cleaner
Depending on the type of interior, fabric or leather, you will need to get the appropriate cleaner. Each one is formulated especially for the type of material. The car seats and car mats are the most susceptible to wear and tear over time, so treat them well.
People often forget how much time is spent inside their car. Just like any room, it quickly gets contaminated with pollutants and bacteria. So it’s vital to keep everything inside clean to avoid getting sick.
Car Window Cleaner
Windows need a proper window cleaner that has been formulated to clean glass. The inside of your windows is victim to film build-up caused by interior chemicals that are leached from the car’s vinyl, rubber, plastics and leather. Keep them clean.
Finally, the last piece of your pro detailing kit is an air freshener. Try to buy a pack of natural air fresheners that do not contain chemicals such as volatile, organic compounds. Natural air fresheners are safer and work just as well as their chemical counterparts.
And there you have it. Above is everything you need to create a pro car detailing kit. Now all you have to do is actually clean your car. Make sure you stay safe and well protected whenever working on your car and good luck!