car-detailing-must-buys

Must-Have Detailing Products & Tools for Professional Results

With the right tools at your disposal, you'll be well on your way to achieving stunning results and showcasing your passion for automotive perfection, we wish you the best!
Exploring the World of Clay Bar Treatment & Decontamination Reading Must-Have Detailing Products & Tools for Professional Results 10 minutes Next What is GSM? Your Essential Guide to Towel Weight

Automotive detailing is an art form that requires precision, skill, and the right set of tools and products. Whether you are a professional detailer or an avid car enthusiast looking to achieve showroom-worthy results, having the right arsenal of products and tools is essential. In this blog, we will explore the must-have items for the detailer's toolbox, enabling you to achieve professional-level results and elevate your car care game no matter what the project is in front of you!


Quality Exterior Cleaners

detailing-must-haves-wheel-cleaning

A quality exterior soap and exterior cleaner such as wheel cleaners or degreasers can make a huge difference in how you are able to get cars to work. Quality Soaps will make a huge difference in effectively cleaning automotive paints without using a detergent found in many dish soaps. Also know if you would like to use a soap to clean the surfaces for a later paint correction step or a soap that cleans and leaves a wax surface behind (great for avoiding water spots!).

Wheels are often overlooked but play a significant role in the overall appearance of a vehicle. A high-quality wheel cleaner designed for specific wheel finishes is essential. Look for non-acidic formulas that effectively remove brake dust, road grime, and contaminants without damaging the wheel's surface.

When looking at quality of products be sure to see how well they can be used and always try to find the right dilution of chemical, or the right product for your next job. Every car is different and there is a chemical out there that can clean every surface. Start with effective products, and try to use as few different chemicals as possible. 


Quality Interior Cleaners

quality-interior-cleaner-all-clean

For a pristine interior, stock up on specialized interior cleaning products. Interior have become increasing complicated over the last 10-years and will probably not stop anytime soon. Look for a solid APC or all-purpose cleaner that can do-it-all for many interior surfaces such as vinyl, plastic, and some leather. In some cases you will want to look into specific vinyl and leather cleaners or 2-in-1 cleaner plus dressing, those are the best for light cleaning with added protection. 

Car interiors come with microfiber seats and headliners that are best cleaned with a microfiber specific cleaner or an APC that foams onto the surface to lift the dirt up. fabrics and carpets in vehicles are come of the toughest areas to clean on a car because of the variety of stains you will encounter. Using a foam sprayer to apply chemical can help avoid the need for an extractor, however in some cases an extractor may be your only option. 

Additionally, consider investing in interior dressings and protectants to preserve and rejuvenate surfaces while providing UV protection. Again, we stress that the 2-in-1 cleaners can sometimes be a great option for cleaning and protecting all at once, what a timesaver!


Glass Cleaners

detailing-must-haves-car-windshield

Crystal-clear windows and mirrors are crucial for a spotless finish. Choose a streak-free glass cleaner that effectively removes dirt, fingerprints, and haze. Pair with a glass cleaning towel and you have a combination that will leave flawless windows on any vehicle! Try for the ammonia-free formulas to avoid damaging window tint or sensitive surfaces!

Glass cleaners are important to use after a dressing or protectant step as they can take away and help with dressing overspray that happens during the cleaning/dressing step. Glass cleaning is one of the most important parts of the car detailing process as it is what customers will see every time they get behind the wheel following a detail.


Detailing Brushes

detailing-brushes-in-use

Detailing brushes come in handy for cleaning hard-to-reach areas and delicate surfaces. There are a variety of sizes and styles of detailing brushes that can help you handle any job. Aim for more natural boars hair or horse hair brushes for interior cleaning jobs and fine detailing work with APC cleaners. On the exterior look for synthetic bristled brushes that are specifically made to be effective in cleaning a vehicles paint as well as brushes that excel around the rims and tires of a vehicle. While on the hunt for brushes always check out pet hair removers as well!

No matter what brushes you buy, try to invest in a set of detailing brushes with different sizes and bristle stiffnesses to handle any job you come across. These different styles of brushes are perfect for cleaning grilles, emblems, vents, and interior components, ensuring no nook or cranny is left untouched!


Foam Applicator Pads

Foam applicator pads are essential for applying various detailing products. Foam applicators are best used when applying dressing to interior surfaces as well as ceramic coatings and waxes to exterior surfaces. These pads provide even and controlled product application to prevent blotching or un-even application. Always go for high-density foam pads that are durable, easy to clean, and gentle on delicate surfaces when you look for applicators. The nice part of applicators is many of them are cheap and easy to add to your detailing toolbox. Special applicators have now come out with a barrier-technology that prevents the product from soaking through the applicator, great for dressing and coating jobs!


High-Quality Microfiber Towels

the-1500-drying-towel

Microfiber towels are a detailer's best friend. Look for high-quality microfiber towels that best fit the project that you are working on. Some towels are plush and therefore gentle on surfaces yet highly absorbent. Microfiber edgeless towels are perfect for wiping away polish, removing wax, and drying surfaces without leaving streaks or scratches. Glass towels are specific for glass surfaces, they excel in leaving a scratch-free and streak free surface. Drying towels are specific in drying vehicle surfaces without needing to worry about leaving a scratch! Whichever towels you use, try to invest in a variety of sizes and types that can cover you for each and every job you come across!

There are a variety of companies that sell microfiber towels. Two of the best that we have seen on the market are The Rag Company and Autofiber. These companies have revolutionized the detailing world when it comes to high-quality detailing towels. Always make sure to take care of microfiber towels the best you can to ensure they last as long as possible. 

Microfiber Care Guide


Clay Bar or Clay Mitt

To achieve a truly smooth and contaminant-free surface, a clay bar or clay mitt is a must-have. These tools effectively remove bonded contaminants such as brake dust, industrial fallout, and tree sap from a vehicle's surface. They create a clean canvas for further polishing and protection. Remember to use a suitable clay bar friendly lubricant to prevent marring the paint surface.

These products are only essential for a complete cleaning or if you wish to apply any type of wax or coating over the surface. It is extremely important to clay or decontaminate the surface before doing any paint correction. Not claying a surface before paint correction or coating application will only provide further problems down the road. 


Quality Polish and Compound

 

quality-compound-and-polish-image

A comprehensive selection of polishes and compounds is vital for correcting paint imperfections. While pads and polishers are important, the right compound is essential to any paint correction job.

Compounds will help in removing the heavier scratches and swirl marks in a vehicle's surface. Important to note that this is usually where one would start with heavier marred surfaces. Compounds vary from one-steps with sealers to one-steps with the option to move into a two or three-step job. Remember to select the right one before moving to polishes, you do not want to use a one-step with a sealer because it will limit your ability to get further scratches out!

Polishes will help in removing lighter scratches, refining the finish, and enhancing gloss of the vehicle's paint. Important to note here that some polishes can get the job done without the need for a compound, depending on the vehicle and its paint. Polishes with sealants are just the same as the compounds above, make sure this is the last step you are doing to a vehicle so you can prevent further issues in paint correction!

Look for reputable brands such as 3D, Stinger, RUPES, Concept Chemicals, that offer a range of cutting and finishing products to address various paint issues. 


Dual-Action Polisher

gear-driven-da-polisher

A dual-action polisher is a game-changer when it comes to achieving flawless paintwork. Many will argue for rotary polishers and the effectiveness they have with removing heavy scratches do to the sheer power of the polisher. However, Dual Action [DA] polishers are the beginners ticket to paint correction.

These versatile tools combine rotary and orbital motions, reducing the risk of paint damage while effectively removing swirl marks, scratches, and oxidation. It is virtually impossible to burn paints today, dependent on each vehicle, and dual-action-polishers only add to the ease of use in paint correction. Don't forget to pickup pads as well with a polisher, you can't effectively do a job without them! 

Choose a reputable brand [RUPES or FLEX] and ensure the polisher has variable speed settings to cater to different detailing tasks.


Coatings, Sealants, & Waxes

To protect your hard work and maintain a glossy finish, coatings, sealants, and waxes are essential. Coatings or Sealants provide long-lasting protection against UV rays and contaminants, in some cases ceramic coatings can last 5+ years, so you have a value to offer a customer that will LAST! Waxes enhance gloss and add depth to the paintwork, but they are more of a temporary solution when compared to coatings. Consider using spray coatings for durability and protection and target waxes with natural carnauba for a warm and rich finish.


A well-equipped detailer's toolbox is the key to achieving professional-level results in automotive detailing. By investing in high-quality products and tools, you can effectively correct imperfections, protect surfaces, and enhance the overall appearance of your vehicle. Remember to choose reputable brands, prioritize quality, and maintain a thorough and systematic approach to detailing.

Always do your own research before purchasing any products, aim for products that work well and are worth the money you pay for them, buying one brush for $35 once every 3 years is far better than buying the $7 look-alike brush 10 times over the same timeframe! With the right tools at your disposal, you'll be well on your way to achieving stunning results and showcasing your passion for automotive perfection, we wish you the best!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.