• Home
  • How To Properly Detail A Car | A Step-By-Step Guide To Professional Car Detailing | Ralph Brothers

Professional Car Detailing Tools

An essential part of learning how to properly detail a car is assembling the necessary professional car detailing tools. Some old bath towels and a dirty sponge aren't going to cut it. You need the right detailing supplies to wash the vehicle's exterior and clean the interior. This includes products to maintain your vehicle's hard surfaces and soft surfaces. To ensure the best car detailing process, you'll want to have on hand:

  • A water hose with good pressure
  • Three buckets with grids
  • A high-quality car shampoo
  • Bug and tar remover
  • A wash mitt
  • Microfiber towels

Professional Car Detailing Process

Learning how to professionally detail a car requires time and care. But once you have the following steps down, you'll be able to maintain your vehicle for years to come. Before beginning, make sure your car is in a well-shaded area to prevent the water spots that can occur when a vehicle dries too quickly.

1. Pre-Rinse

Pre-rinsing is crucial in professional car detailing because it helps loosen debris and gunk, making the washing process easier. Start at the top of the vehicle and work your way down, taking time to rinse each section thoroughly. This is also a good opportunity to apply the bug and tar remover.

2. Wash the Exterior

Starting at the top, use the two-bucket method to wash the exterior of your car. Clean each section separately, making sure to rinse your wash mitt in the clear-water bucket after each pass. Don't forget to wash the door jambs and door wells, where dirt and debris frequently accumulate.

3. Dry the Exterior

Again, starting at the top, use microfiber towels to dry the car, including the door jambs and door wells. Instead of towels, you can use compressed air or a dryer for a touchless experience as part of your professional car detailing process.

4. Decontaminate

Learning how to properly detail a car includes knowing how to use a clay bar to remove any contaminants that are left on the vehicle's surface after washing. You'll want to separate a section of clay that fits within your first three fingers and then work the clay until it's pliable. Spray one section of the car down with lubricant and then carefully glide the clay over the vehicle's surface, using a new microfiber towel to clean up the excess lubricant. Fold the clay over and work it with your fingers again and then move on to the next section of the car. Do not lay the clay down on the floor, ground, or workbench because it will become contaminated, and you'll have to throw it away. Make sure to clay the headlamps, tail lamps, and windows along with the painted surfaces of the car (including the door jambs and door wells).

5. Prep

Use a post-clay spray to remove any remaining residue. You can check for contaminants by running the back of your hand over the vehicle's surface — it should feel silky smooth. As an optional step, you can re-wash the car to ensure that all of the residues is removed.

6. Inspect

Your next step in professional car detailing is inspecting the car's paint. Use a high-powered LED light to inspect the car's surface and identify any paint imperfections or swirls. You can also use a dedicated Xenon lamp instead of an LED light.

7. Polish

Polish the car's surface with the appropriate compounds and an orbital buffer to work out any paint swirls or imperfections.

8. Protect

Surface protection is another critical component of professional car detailing. Spray the vehicle's surface with synthetic paint sealant and then apply a layer of carnauba wax for further protection. You usually need a cure time of 12 hours after the application of the sealant and again after the wax.

9. Vacuum the Interior

Learning how to detail the interior of a car is as painstaking as learning how to detail the exterior of a car. Again, you'll want to start at the top and work your way down, beginning by thoroughly vacuuming each car seat and then the car floor.

10. Address the Fabric

Check the material on your car seats and select an appropriate cleaner. Be careful — some leather cleaners do not interact well with synthetic materials. Scrub the fabric methodically but carefully, paying particular attention to any stubborn spots.

11. Clean the Instrument Panel and Door Interiors

The next step in your professional car detailing process will be to brush the console and doors and clean any debris. Then use an appropriate cleaner and microfiber towels to wash down the rest of the car's interior. Use a spray specifically designed for cars to clean the windows.

12. Wash the Carpet

Vacuum the carpet again and then use the carpet cleaner to thoroughly clean the car floor.

13. Clean the Wheels

Professional car detailing includes cleaning the wheels. Fill the third bucket with a wheel cleaner and then remove each wheel. Use the appropriate tire brushes to wash hard-to-reach spots. Dress each tire carefully.

14. Treat the Windows

Apply a protective coating to the windows, headlamps, and tail lamps using a non-abrasive sealant.

Trust Ralph Brothers' Professional Car Detailing Supplies

Knowing how to properly detail a car can help you protect and maintain your vehicle for years to come. Properly detailing a car requires more than just knowing the correct steps. You also need the right products. You can rely on Ralph Brothers for the best professional car detailing supplies to meet your needs. Start shopping today or contact us with any questions you may have.

Contact Us