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.
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.
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.