The Best Auto Detailing Guide & Product Review for Beginners

When you’re new to the automotive scene, terms may seem confusing especially since many people keep using them to mean the other. One term that a lot of auto novices get confused about is car detailing services. It is also called auto detailing services by some. Those two terms mean the same thing, but they don’t mean just car washing (now that’s different!).

A car wash will simply remove dirt and grime from your car’s surfaces through soap and water. But car detailing offers a more thorough top to bottom cleaning that includes the interior and exterior of your vehicle.

That means your ride’s bodywork will get both wash and wax services among many others. Ask your local car detailing shop for their detailing package as there’s no one universal detailing service.


Find Out More About Auto Detailing Services


Avid Concours fans know how important detailing is, but the average car owner may not. By ensuring that your ride gets all the necessary maintenance, it needs like a vacuum, seat cleaning, wheel dressing and auto carpet cleaning services; you’re guaranteeing that it will have better longevity and durability in the long run.

With the many exterior and interior car cleaning services you can avail, you don’t need to worry about constant paintwork restoration and many other auto-problems. Plus, it’ll keep your ride super clean and amazing to look at.

Detailing isn’t just for cars. There are many other services you can avail of like RV detailing and boat detailing. Another amazing benefit from this kind of service is that detailers can offer you a complete professional detail package outside of their physical shop. Through mobile car detailing services, you can get your car detailed in the comfort of your home.

So, in this article, we’ll explore:


Interior Services


Many people can see the need to clean the outside of a car. That’s because the exterior blatantly shows how dirty your ride is, with all the scratches and surface contaminants stuck to it. But a clean interior is just as important as well! After all, that is where you’ll spend most of your time.

Having a detailer clean the inside of your car will give you optimal comfort in the long run and it’s more hygienic. Interior services like seat cleaning include shampooing and vacuuming all the upholstery to remove stubborn dirt and ugly stains.

If you have amazing leather upholstery and you’re scared that it might get ruined, fear not since many offer leather services to condition and scrub the grime off of it. You can ask for plastic and vinyl cleaning, as well as a thorough wash for the inside of your trunk.

Another service that isn’t as common but can prove vital to your car’s long lifespan is having your engine checked out. Engine detailing isn’t just for mechanics. Having a clean bay under your hood will help everyone spot and solve engine problems faster. Plus, it will increase your auto’s value if you’re planning to sell it.


Exterior Services


When it comes to cleaning the exterior, many people stop with just washing and paint protection. But that’s only a part of the entire car detail process. The first thing you need to do in car cleaning is to apply shampoo all over your automobile and rinse it off after to remove excess contaminants from your clear coat.

Next, use a compound, polish, or clay bar (or a combination of the three) for better oxidation removal and to fill in scratches. After, put carnauba paste on a clean microfiber pad and buff it on your coat of paint for an amazingly glossy finish.

Another service to consider is tinting. Applying window tint to your car will lessen the UV damage inflicted on your interior and it’ll give you a little protection from the sun as well. Just remember to follow the laws on how dark your tint can go.

But that’s not all. You can also ask for windshield replacement if you think yours isn’t performing at its best anymore. After all, the windshield is a vital safety component when driving your auto, and it’s important that it always works perfectly. You can ask your detailer to clean door jambs as well as wheel and headlights, too.


Cost of Auto Detailing

Of course, a professional detail package will cost you some money but if you’re not confident enough to do a complete detail or simply don’t have the time for it, then you should consider looking at car detailing prices first.

After all, you get so many benefits from this kind of service. From simple dirt removal to the most effective vacuum, you’ll surely get the best vehicle cleaning experience there is.

All you need to do is ask your local shop for their auto detailing price list for packages. If you want to learn more about car detailing, check out this very extensive training video created by Ammo over at Youtube. You’ll surely get all the information you’ll need.



Auto Detailing Price Guide

Car detailing prices vary from location to location, so it’s hard to put a general estimate on what the final price of a detailing service should be.

A mobile car wash price list would also differ from an auto shop’s because you’d have to take into consideration unique expenses, like gasoline for traveling to your house and other operating costs.

Regardless, here is the pricing you may be expecting to pay for auto detailing. However, it is good to note that these prices are only rough estimates and it will still be best to contact your own local detailing shop to be sure.

For this list, three states have been chosen (California, Arizona, and Texas) and prices are taken from some of the more well-known auto shops in those areas.

Car Wash
Exterior Wash – Basic
California: $29.99
Arizona: $14.99
Texas: $20.00

Premium Wash
California: $57.99
Arizona: $49.99
Texas: $40.00


Exterior Detailing
Hand Wax
California: $49.99
Arizona: $74.99
Texas: $49.99

Polish & Wax
California: $149.99
Arizona: $129.99
Texas: $79.99


Interior Detailing
Carpet & Upholstery
California: $89.99
Arizona: $59.99/each
Texas: $45.00+

Leather Treatment
California: $49.99
Arizona: $59.99
Texas: $45.00+

Complete Interior Detail
California: $159.99
Arizona: $139.99
Texas: $99.00+


Full Detailing
Complete Detail Package
California: $279.99
Arizona: $99.00+
Texas: $179.99


Additional Services
Engine Detailing
California: –
Arizona: –
Texas: $45.00+

Headlight Restoration
California: $59.99
Arizona: $55.00
Texas: –


Auto Detailing Supplies

But if you don’t want to go to your local auto detailing shop and want to get a first-hand experience doing the ultimate detail on your car, no worries! Just be ready to commit a lot of time and effort to finish this awesome project.

Most especially if you’re planning on spending little on machines as a manual hand wash and wipe down routine will take you longer to finish. Here is an in-depth list of detailing steps you can DIY.

With this decision comes the need for supplies (and you might need a lot). There are a lot of steps involved in a complete detail and most auto-parts require specific products to be used on them. For example, a specialized car shampoo will be needed for washing.

Then there’s the question of what type of polish and wax you’d want to use?

Should you go with liquid or paste, synthetic polymer or carnauba wax?

Cleaning out the interior will require you to buy products designed for leather, or plastic, or vinyl. Plus, you’d need a set of high-quality microfiber towels for most of those steps. The list goes on and on.

Good thing most of these items can be conveniently found in stores and online like Amazon. If you want an extensive catalog to buy from, check out at Detail King Auto Detailing Supplies, AutoZone or read this article – Best Auto Detailing Supplies.

For a quick reference, here are the best car detailing supplies that we think it’s excellent to have for your car detailing project:

Top 8 Best Car Detailing Supplies

1. Carrand AutoSpa Interior Car Detail Duster

AutoSpa 97372AS Interior Car Detail Duster
2,698 Reviews
AutoSpa 97372AS Interior Car Detail Duster
  • Long chenille microfiber
  • Grabs dust from all sides
  • Ideal for cup holders and pockets
  • Comfortable molded handle

If you’re someone who likes to keep your car super clean at all times and gets easily irritated at the dust gathering on your dashboard and console, this is the perfect car detailing products for you!

At approximately 6 inches, it’s a small and very portable duster that you can easily fit inside your glove compartment. Dust from anywhere you are, may it be at the grocery parking or even while waiting for the red light to change.

It’s an excellent choice for cleaning out your car’s side pockets and cup holders because of its amazing multi-direction grasp. Even its handle was designed for comfortable handling. Don’t be dismayed by its small stature because it can definitely do big things!

This duster is made up of microfiber material that’s sewn into a chenille. A chenille is soft, fuzzy fabric sewn into tight loops. Although usually sewn for beauty purposes, this chenille design allows you to get more dust.

You can even use it to clean your wheels. Its size fits perfectly into the sleeves and you can remove brake dust with it. So, that’s a lot of benefits in one tiny accessory!


2. Meguiar’s G55012 Classic Wash & Wax Kit

Meguiar's G55012 Classic Wash & Wax Kit
3,375 Reviews
Meguiar's G55012 Classic Wash & Wax Kit
  • BEST CAR WASH KIT: 8-piece car wash kit is...
  • DAZZLING CAR FINISH: Gold Class Car Wash...
  • PROTECT YOUR CAR'S FINISH: Quik Detailer is a...
  • BEST CAR DETAILER: Quik Interior Detailer...

Meguiar’s is a cult classic simply because they continue to give truly innovative and high-quality products to their customers.

You can have your own full detail package in the comforts of your home since this kit has everything you need.

Its shampoo not only washes but also conditions in one simple step. Plus, its amazing foam formula gently removes dirt and grime leaving your paint clean and sparkling.

After wash, it’s time to do some waxing. The liquid wax in this set has gentle cleaning agents that will add another layer of shine to your paintwork.

For an express detail job, the Quik Detailer will give you lightning fast results. Now you can protect your ‘just waxed’ look by simply spraying and wiping off the product. That’s such a hassle-free innovation!

Even interior cleaning becomes a breeze with the Quick Interior Detailer on-hand. It can clean the consoles, plastics, vinyl, rubber, and metals found inside and will remove dust, fingerprints, and so much more with no problem at all!

Plus, you get a thorough clean because your tires will have their own special cleaner that will get rid of pesky and stubborn road residue!


3. Porter-Cable Speed Polisher

PORTER-CABLE Polisher, 6 Inch, 4.5 Amp, Speed Dial 2,500-6,800 OPM, 5” Counter Balance (7424XP)
  • The Car Polisher Is 4.5 Amp, Ac Only
  • The Variable Speed Polisher Features...
  • Random Orbit, Swirl-Free Sanding/Polishing...
  • Includes 5-Inch Proprietary Counter Balance...

While it’s perfectly fine to polish and wax by hand, you can always use a speed polisher to make the buffing job easier.

Seriously! polishing by hand is very tiresome. Hence, an electric polisher is one of the best car detailing products to invest in.

This polisher works in a random orbit allowing for a swirl-free finish which is highly ideal if you’re working on your vehicle’s beautiful finish. The last thing you want is swirl marks ruining all your hard work.

This electronic machine can do 2,500 orbits per minute up to 6,800 orbits per minute so it’ll definitely give you better results than the typical hand polish job you can do. Not to mention, it’ll require less effort to use.

It weighs at about five and a half pounds which is feels acceptably durable yet still light enough to operate with no problem at all.

You can even position the handle differently so left-handed people rejoice because this is the polisher that will give you maximum comfort and control.

It comes with a 6-inch wide polisher pad so make sure to remember that if you need to buy replacement pads. Plus, it has a 4.5 amp motor so you know it can handle your workload efficiently and easily.


4. Invisible Glass Premium Glass Cleaner

Invisible Glass 91164 19-Ounce Cleaner for Auto and Home for a Streak-Free Shine, Deep Cleaning...
21,195 Reviews
Invisible Glass 91164 19-Ounce Cleaner for Auto and Home for a Streak-Free Shine, Deep Cleaning...
  • INVISIBLE GLASS CLEANER: See why Invisible...
  • CLEAR DRY FORMULA: There’s no streaks, no...
  • DEEP-CLEANSING FOAM: This unique foam...
  • TINT SAFE: Invisible Glass cleaner instantly...

Aside from the obvious reason that it’ll make the overall appearance of your car better, your ride’s glass parts play an important role in keeping you safe while driving.

That’s why a glass cleaner is a super important product to have in your detailing arsenal. This product is the number one glass cleaner for automotive and boat detailing for a good reason. It gives first-rate results!

Most products in the market are created with soaps, scents, and other additives that will create residue more often than not. Streaks and spots occur because of this.

Unlike those brands, Invisible Glass is formulated specifically to dissolve the residue that comes from the interior, leaving your windshield and mirrors crystal clear.

But not only that! It can also break down smoke haze, environmental debris, icky bird droppings, and road residue. Say no more to pollutants because Invisible Glass will get rid of that for you.

Don’t worry if you have a window tint. It’s ammonia-free so it’s safe to use even if you’re already done with tinting your window. Just make sure not to use it on polycarbonate plastic as it doesn’t work for those.


5. CarGuys Tire Shine Spray

CAR GUYS Tire Shine Spray | The Perfect Shine | Durable and User Friendly Tire Dressing | Long...
6,376 Reviews
CAR GUYS Tire Shine Spray | The Perfect Shine | Durable and User Friendly Tire Dressing | Long...
  • ✅ CAR GUYS Tire Shine is a non-greasy, dry...
  • ✅ Quick & Easy to Use! – Everyone is...
  • ✅ Long Lasting Product – The bottle will...
  • ✅ Why choose CAR GUYS? – We Care About...

Another great car detailing products from an equally great brand is this tire spray from Car Guys.

This product is formulated with Nano polymer additive that increases its performance. So, you can get the amazing wet black shine that showroom cars have with the added benefit of a highly durable UV protectant shield.

Plus, it comes in a handy spray variety so after a hard day’s work of cleaning, waxing, and drying other parts of your auto, you’re only left with a quick spritz on your tires.

If you don’t like the wet black look that most award-winning cars have and prefer something subtler yet clean at the same time, don’t sweat it. As long as you use the microfiber applicator that comes with this product, you can choose the level of gloss you want your wheels to have. Isn’t that convenient?

You can even use it for faded trims, rubber, vinyl, and plastics so that you can restore them to their former shining glory. Talk about multi-purpose!


6. ThisWorx Car Vacuum

ThisWorx Car Vacuum Cleaner - Car Accessories - Small 12V High Power Handheld Portable Car Vacuum...
252,469 Reviews
ThisWorx Car Vacuum Cleaner - Car Accessories - Small 12V High Power Handheld Portable Car Vacuum...
  • PRACTICAL: A mini vacuum for car or truck...
  • POWERFUL: This hand held vacuum is made for...
  • STRONG SUCTION: The cyclonic force and strong...
  • CAR CLEANING KIT: Includes 3 attachments for...

This car vacuum is an excellent place to start when thinking of getting equipment to help you with cleaning the inside of your car.

By using this vacuum to get rid of the mess, you’ll be guaranteed professional results. This vacuum actually works with a powerful 160w motor that allows it to have such a strong suction. Couple that with its sturdy metal turbine and no trash would be left behind.

You will be able to reach all the nooks and crannies inside with a long 16 feet power cord. It’s hose and nozzle set also allows you to change nozzles depending on your current need. You can interchange smaller and larger nozzles any time you want.

It’s highly innovative, as well. You can use it to clean up either wet or dry dirt, and cleaning it out is an easy task because of its transparent trash compartment.

It even comes with its own bag that fits all the parts you need easily. Now, you can store it or bring it with you anywhere you go. It even has an additional HEPA filter so that’s one less thing to buy for a while!


7. Lexol Leather Deep Conditioner

Lexol Leather Conditioner, Use on Furniture, Car Interiors, Shoes, Handbags, Accessories, 101.4 Fl...
748 Reviews
Lexol Leather Conditioner, Use on Furniture, Car Interiors, Shoes, Handbags, Accessories, 101.4 Fl...
  • Preserve, strengthen, and beautify your...
  • Protects leather from cracking and premature...
  • Made with tiny, microscopic droplets of oil...
  • Use on leather car upholstery, shoes, boots,...

Cleaning leather seats can be hard. There’s a chance that you’ll strip off the essential oils in your seats. Never fear, this deep conditioner will restore the much-needed oils.

By applying this to your seats, you’re making it look classically beautiful while ensuring it of prolonged life.

You can even use this on other leather items hanging around. It isn’t just specifically for automotive use!

Handbags, sporting equipment, luggage, belts, and many more can benefit from the amazing conditioning job this product offers.

It even has an odorless and non-greasy formula. How convenient! Just remember that it’s not designed for suede, glove, and napped leathers.


8. Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam Car Wash Soap

Chemical Guys CWS_110 Honeydew Snow Foam Car Wash Soap (Works with Foam Cannons, Foam Guns or Bucket...
  • 10 plus YEARS OF HAPPY CUSTOMERS – Chemical...
  • A WHOLE NEW LEVEL OF FOAM – The key to a...
  • BUCKET, FOAM GUN OR CANNON – Whether you...

This honeydew foam car wash soap from Chemical Guys can remove stubborn surface contaminants and pollutants like dust, dirt, and grime. With its pH-neutral formula, it can gently lift and get rid of pesky residue without damaging your paint.

You can also use it on all types of surface finishes like rubber, vinyl, glass, and plastics so you don’t need to worry about harming your vehicle.

With one full cap to five gallons of water ratio, this product will surely last you for a long time. This is great if you’re trying to save more money.

Not only that, but it also has a soft and fresh honeydew smell that most car shampoos don’t have. Just remember that this kind of shampoos needs to be used through a foam gun connected to a pressure washer.

  • Updated April 7, 2019
James Evans

As a passionate outdoorsman and an automobile enthusiast, James spent most of his time in his garage tinkering with cars and bikes. During his free time, he loves to hike and blog about the things that he has done to keep his ride in tip-top condition.

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