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Audi Detailing

One of my high school jobs growing up was working at an car detailing shop – it was the toughest job I ever had, but it was awesome to see just how much of a difference the right products & 5-8 hours of your time can make on even the most neglected cars. Ever since my job detailing cars, I’ve been more and more of a “neat freak” when it came to cleaning my own car, but recently I’ve stepped up my detailing game to the next level by purchasing a number of high-end detailing products to use on my car.

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After having my car professionally detailed a few months ago, I realized that the cleaning products I bought from local auto stores just weren’t cutting it. The detailer made my car look incredible – the best it had ever looked, even better than when I bought the car (used) 3 years ago. I wanted to maintain the amazing finish my detailers had achieved, and even improve upon it in some areas if I could, so I knew it was time to invest in some quality detailing products.

Audi S4 Car Wash

Here are the products I’ve been using, and highly recommend so far. I’ve been getting all of my products from Detailed Image as they have a nice selection of high-end products and their prices seem to be as good as anyone elses – they also run lots of daily/weekly/monthly specials & sale items so you can get some really nice stuff on the cheap.

Interior Car Cleaning:

  • Leather Care – I use Leatherique Pristine Clean to clean off the seats on a regular basis, and I use Rejuvinator Oil every few months to restore & cracks or stress marks that appear on the side bolsters or other areas of the seats. The combination of these two products has helped turn my Platinum Silver (almost a white color) Recaro Seats into looking like they’re several years newer than before I started treating them.
  • Interior Cleaning – I recommend 303 Aerospace Protectant. I previously used Einszett 1Z and it stripped off the paint on my buttons for the radio and AC controls, so I recommend you avoid Einszett at all costs. 303 seems to be friendly on the material and buttons and leaves a nice finish.
  • Vacuuming – I picked up a Bissell Little Green ProHeat to clean the carpeting in my car – it’s essentially a mini carpet extractor that heats the water then extracts it for a very deep carpet cleaning, much like a professional detailer would use only not quite as powerful (a professional carpet extractor costs well over $1,000)

Exterior Car Detailing Products:

  • Quick Detailer / Spray Wax – I use Chemical Guys Synthetic Quick Detailer as an everyday “spray and wipe” solution – if I see a little dust, or some light mud or something else I don’t like, I’ll spray this and wipe off and it leaves the paint looking great.
  • Wheel Cleaner – I use SONAX Wheel Cleaner Full Effect since its regarded as the best-of-the-best in wheel cleaners. It does a great job and is advertised as being very gentle on wheel finishes. I spent quite a bit of money on my wheels, so its important they look their best and stay in great shape so I can sell them later down the road for a new pair.
  • Tire Shine – What good is clean wheels without shiny tires? I like TUF SHINE Tire Clearcoat as its a “permanent” tire shine that lasts months at a time, and doesn’t smear or fling off the tires and onto the car or wheels. It’s nice to not have to reapply tire shine every time I wash the car!!
  • Wax – I really like P21S products for a hand wax solution – it’s very easy to apply and makes the paint look super brilliant and wet. You don’t need a buffer and you don’t have to apply much pressure either. I try to do this twice per year, maybe more or less depending on if I’m going to a car show or think my paint needs it. I do both steps, starting with the Paintwork Cleanser then moving to the Concours Carnauba Wax after.

Towels & Stuff:

  • Microfiber Towels – I really like Detailed Images DI Microfiber All Purpose Towels – they’re much softer & thicker than the stuff you typically see at the stores. I have 5 or 6 of these that I’ve marked for different purposes (one for leather, one for interior cleaner, one for spray & wipe, etc) that I store in a storage bag to keep them clean and dust-free.
  • Drying Towel – once I’ve washed the car off, this Waffle Weave Drying Towel is what I use to dry the car – it’s awesome. It totally cuts down on how long it takes to dry the car and doesn’t leave behind any hairs or fibers behind. So much nicer than the cheap microfiber towel I was using before, or the chamois cloth I had before that.

I plan on writing posts reviewing before & after pictures of each product to show just how effective they are – so stay tuned for that. If you’re not into detailing, or have never tried professional detailing products – I suggest you give it a shot. With how much money you probably spend on your car, these kind of products will make everything look their very best.

 

About the author: Nick Roshon

 

Nick Roshon is a blogger who is passionate about Audis and European cars in general. He owns a 2006 S4 and before that had a 2006 A4. His driving experience includes numerous track days throughout California, Nevada and Arizona. In his day job, Nick is a digital marketer and lives in San Diego, CA, USA.

 

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31 Comments

  1. I used to really be into detailing the mustangs I used to own and used a various amount of cleaning supplies but found that I always trended toward Meguiars products. They were defiantly more on the pricey side but I could pick them up at any local store and did a good job that lasted.

    Thanks for sharing what you use though since I know your car is always in tip-top-shape. Do you use anything to protect your headlights from getting hazy looking?

  2. Cleaning your headlights regularly will prevent them from getting hazy or fogged over, but here are some products for a really good one: http://goo.gl/trrxW using this write-up: http://goo.gl/Tg71O

    Or you could go the simplier route and use a kit like this from Amazon: http://goo.gl/ED8gm for $10 which isn’t nearly as good, but will still make a big difference.

  3. Wow, I didn’t realize what a difference that all the products can make.

  4. Pingback: Holiday Gift Guide for the Audi Lover | Nick's Car Blog

  5. Nick, thanks for the great tips. I didn’t see you say what you like for regular exterior wash. Any thoughts?

  6. I use Maxi-Suds and a Gilmour Foamaster II gun – works great!

  7. Hi Nick, I just bought a new audi A4 and would like to keep it looking good. Since all the products you mentioned can be costly, what specific products should I buy now to protect my investment? Perhaps there are some items you can recommend so I can get a car care kit together. Thanks!

  8. Lynn – the best thing you can do is just to wash your car regularly – so car wash soap, a sponge/mitt, and microfiber cloths to dry. I try to wash once every two weeks or more. I’d recommend the Leatherique products for your seats, as neglecting those can cause cracking and staining. And once every 6-12 months I’d recommend a good wax or polish to keep the paint protected. Cheers!

  9. Thanks Nick for letting me know I don’t have to spend a fortune to keep my new Audi clean and in good shape. As far as the wheels, do I just wash and hose them off. How do I get inside the wheel well to clean out grit? Thanks for you speedy reply. Lynn

  10. Lynn – if you stay on top of the wheels, you should be fine with cleaning them with regular car wash soap. Use a seperate sponge/mit for those though so you don’t get wheel grime on your paint. If you have trouble getting the dirt loose then pick up some wheel cleaner like SONAX…

  11. Thanks again Nick! I never knew there was so much involved in keeping a car in showroom shape! I was wondering if I wash the dirty cloths I use for each particular part of the car in the washer together or separately? Also, can I use regular clothes detergent or do I need to purchase another type of detergent to wash the cloths?

  12. Thanks again Nick! I never knew there was so much involved in keeping a car in showroom shape! I was wondering if I wash the dirty cloths I use for each particular part of the car in the washer together or separately? Also, can I use regular clothes detergent or do I need to purchase another type of detergent to wash the cloths?

  13. Hi Lynn – I do a separate load for all of my towels and microfiber cloths. I think normal detergent is fine but I picked up some microfiber detergent just in case. Check that out here: http://www.detailedimage.com/wax.php?id=19305&url=detailedimage.com/Chemical-Guys-M31/Microfiber-Cleaning-Detergent-P181/16-oz-S1/

  14. You provide such valuable information, Nick. Thanks so much. I will try the wash.

  15. Hi Nick, Well I am back again for some more of your valuable information which I appreciate so much!\
    What is the best glass cleaner for the side windows, windshielf inside and out? Thanks!

  16. Lynn I would just go with whatever you have around the house, I’ve tried fancy glass cleaner and I didn’t really notice a difference over Windex…

  17. Hi Nick. What do you use to clean the interior, like the deck, anywhere besides the leather seat. We bought an Audi X5 when our baby arrived. Sometimes we gets stains or milk here and there .. What do you suggest to clean it? I bought the Armorall cleaning wipes to wipe the deck and by the door. Do you have any recommendation? Thanks

  18. I really like 303 Aerospace Protectant for cleaning the reset of the interior, plastics, etc. It works great, protects the interior, and doesn’t leave any residue or shine like Armor All does: http://www.detailedimage.com/wax.php?id=19305&url=detailedimage.com/303-M2/Aerospace-Protectant-P12/16-oz-S1/

  19. Best. Audi. Thread. Ever. Just bought a B7 titanium, but holy.. Nice ride and advice! If you ever need an Audi rider, let me know 😉

  20. Thanks Jonathan and enjoy your new B7!

  21. Great explain the Audi detailing..I’m a little obsessive about keeping my car clean, I have some experience detailing cars as a job but I’m by no means a professional, yet. I absolutely love Meguiar’s, it’s pretty much all I use, but I’ll post on this anyway. My paint was in rough shape when I bought the car, it would barely even shine. Now, my car is glossy even when it’s covered in dirt. So I’d say, I’m doing okay in the detailing department and I am only mentioning products that worked for me and I think would be safe for ANYONE to use, even if your paint sucks like mine did. I’m also picking products that don’t cost an arm and a leg. They’re not the cheapest, but in my experience, you get what you pay for with detailing products.

  22. Nick – do you have any suggestions for regular cleaning of the dashboard and entertainment area? I got the leatherique for my seats, but it seems a little expensive to use weekly on my dashboard which gets fuzzy quite often.

  23. Hi Jen – I wouldn’t really recommend Leatherique for dash and interior pieces anyway, just seats. I really like 303 Aerospace Protectant for interior, dash, and random plastic and vinyl bits: http://www.detailedimage.com/wax.php?id=19305&url=detailedimage.com/303-M2/Aerospace-Protectant-P12/16-oz-S1/

  24. I just purchased a used 2012 Audi A4 wagon. I need interior cleaning advice and product name regarding the “walls” and “ceiling”, which is a very light grey, tight weave material of some kind, not plastic as it does absorb liquid and can fray. The fabric has taken on normal use and dirt, and I’d like to clean and restore it back to new if possible. What product would you recommend and what cleaning tool should be used with this product, something that won’t destroy,fray the fabric or leave “water marks.” If there is a protectant product that can be used afterwards, let me know – or is there an “all in one” product? I honestly did try to get my questions answered by perusing your website as well as “Detailed Image” (where I purchased just about every product you recommended), but I am still unclear on a good cleaner, tool, and protectant for this particular interior material. Thank you for your advice and time. Vic

  25. What you’re referring to is the headliner, and it’s really tough to clean for exactly the reasons you mentioned. The dealership cleans it using a steam cleaner using just water, you have to be really careful as any harsh chemicals could seep through and damage the glue holding the headliner in place. A lot of places just recommend a damp towel for spot cleaning, and some woolite for areas that really need it.

  26. Hi. Stumbled across your site as I was researching how to care for my S5.

    What would you recommend to scrub off bugs and other hard debris without scratching the paint? Tree sap is another one that I need to understand how best to remove from the finish.

    How do you best protect the finish from parking in the sun all day? Is wax enough?

    What do you do with rock chips and scratches?

    Thanks for the advice?
    Matt

  27. Great questions, answers/ideas below:

    What would you recommend to scrub off bugs and other hard debris without scratching the paint? Tree sap is another one that I need to understand how best to remove from the finish.

    First of all, don’t scrub! Let the chemical soak in and do the hard work. Usually spray detailer can remove these if you let it sit for a little bit (but don’t let it dry). If the sap or tar is too stubborn for normal cleaning products, try a product made for bugs & tar like this one: http://www.detailedimage.com/wax.php?id=19305&url=detailedimage.com/Chemical-Guys-M31/Bug-Bugger-Tar-Remover-P277/16-oz-S1/ – again, let the chemicals do the work, if you scrub hard you will etch it into the paint.

    How do you best protect the finish from parking in the sun all day? Is wax enough?

    If you can’t find covered parking, then yes that’s your best bet, along with regular washing. The damage to your paint is actually from fallout (small deposits of iron/rust) that bake in the sun, so washing your car weekly (or close to it) and clay bar + polish/wax will keep too much fallout from building up. When you see cars where the clear coat has burnt off, this is from fallout basically rusting through it, so the trick is to keep the car clean so contaminants can’t eat through your clear coat.

    What do you do with rock chips and scratches?

    Cry a little. Sometimes you can get them to go away or look less worse with a good polishing compound, but ultimately it’s an envitable part of driving. If your car is still pretty new you can get a clear bra done to protect against damages.

    Thanks for the advice?

    You’re welcome!

  28. Thanks. What clay bar product do you recommend? Do you have some good guidelines for a clay bar application and a hand wax? For example Do’s and Dont’s, special techniques etc?

    Thanks again,
    Matt

  29. Hey Matt – here’s everything you’d want to know about clay baring: http://www.detailedimage.com/Auto-Detailing-Guide/Clay-Bar/

    There is also clay bar mits which make it go a little quicker and easier, although a little more expensive: http://www.detailedimage.com/wax.php?id=19305&url=detailedimage.com/NanoSkin-M54/AutoScrub-Fine-Wash-Mitt-P701/

  30. Hi Nick! Your forum is AMAZING. I want to know what do you think is the best type of car wash soap I can use for my Audi S5? Also do you have a suggestion in the best product to detail chrome mufflers? Or whatever type of metal the mufflers are?

  31. Hey Ryan,
    Thanks for the kind words! I use a Gilmour Foam Gun and Chemical Guys Maxi Suds for washing, links below:
    Foam Gun: http://www.detailedimage.com/wax.php?id=19305&url=detailedimage.com/Chemical-Guys-M31/Maxi-Suds-P224/16-oz-S1/
    Maxi Suds: http://www.detailedimage.com/wax.php?id=19305&url=detailedimage.com/Chemical-Guys-M31/Maxi-Suds-P224/16-oz-S1/

    For the exhaust tips, I’ve been using a metal polish. The trick is hitting the tips with a degreaser while you’re washing them, so when I spray my wheels with Sonax Wheel Cleaner I hit the tips of the exhaust too so it can start to break up the build up and thus there is less to polish off. Staying on top of the tips very wash really helps. If they’re already really bad, you may need to use something like steel wool to get them in a better shape if chemicals won’t do the trick, just go light so you don’t take off the clear coat. Here is the polish I use once you’ve got all of the debris removed: http://www.detailedimage.com/wax.php?id=19305&url=detailedimage.com/Optimum-OPT-M36/Metal-Polish-P291/8-oz-S1/

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