So You Want to Learn How to Detail a Car?

24th February 2016

Detailing a car is different from just cleaning it; detailing is the process of making a car look like you just bought it.  Detailing means leaning your car’s interior and exterior through a process that usually requires a fair amount of time.

Two methods of getting your car detailed exist: You can have a professional do it or you can do it yourself.  Professionals generally do a good job but it’s cheaper to do it yourself. If you are looking to keep your car in tip-top shape, detailing is important in either case. However, here’s a guide to detailing a car yourself! We hope you enjoy it!

Before you get started, vacuum all the floor mats, and upholstery.  Use a narrow vacuum nozzle to get into all the seating cushion cracks and between your seats. On a five-passenger car, we estimate it will take about fifteen minutes to get the vacuuming job done.

Now for the official detailing process:

Step One – If there are stains or ground in dirt on your seating or carpets, apply a foam cleanser and rub it into the needed areas.  After soaking for a few minutes, use a dry cloth to blot the moisture up and allow for drying.

Step Two – Apply a good conditioning to any leather seats.  Take your time and work the conditioner into all seat stitching and cracks that are in your car.

Step Three- Wipe hard interior surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner and then use an interior dressing, such as Armor All, to give the surfaces a good shine.  This step makes your dash and instrument panel look really good.

Step Four – Clean your windows and mirrors with a spray on cleaner that you know will work well.  A professional detailer’s method is to use single-edge razor blades and 4-ought steel wool for cleaning off stubborn gunk from the glass.

Step Five – Clean wheel rims with a wheel brush and wheel cleaner or degreasing product.  Allow the wheel cleaning product to penetrate wheel rims for 30 seconds to 1 minute before you brush the wheels. After you clean, you can apply a metal polish or special wheel surface enhancer to give your wheels a polished look.

Step Six – Wash your tires with whitewall tire cleaner, then apply tire dressing to get a nice glossy look.

Step Seven – Spray degreaser on the engine and related parts and allow for sitting for 15-20 minutes.  Then wash off using a garden hose, or what may be better:  a pressure washer.

Step Eight – Wash your car’s outside with a car washing soap , not a soap that you wash dishes with!  Dishwashing soaps can be too harsh for today’s car paint jobs so they should be avoided.  Also, use a deep-pile terrycloth towel which will trap contaminants so they will not grind into your car’s paint surface.

Step Nine – Apply a polish or wax using an orbital buffer.  Go by the instructions  on your polish or wax container.


Do your detailing in the shade or on a cool day. When the hot sun shines on a car, such as the exterior paint or interior dash, are too hot, the fluids you use for cleaning will quickly dry out which makes the detailing process harder.

Article Courtesy of: Hoffman Chrysler Jeep Dodge

Corey is an all round tech guru who has worked at some major blue chip companies. He started Poweronemedia to share his views and knowledge with the rest of the blogging world.