Skip to main content

Car detailing is as much time-consuming as it is crucial. How often you should get your car detailed varies from vehicle to vehicle, depending upon the wear and tear you put on it. As per experts, you should get your vehicle detailed once every 4 to 6 months.

Numerous shops offer car-detailing services. However, doing it at home can be cost-effective in the long run. Buying the required equipment is just a one-time investment, while paying for it twice or thrice a year can be more expensive.

What is Car Detailing?

Some people often confuse the term “car-detailing” with “carwash”. A car wash refers to just getting some dirt off your vehicle using some soap and water. On the other hand, detailing is a more thorough cleaning of a car’s interior and exterior. It may even include vacuuming and polishing.

Equipment Required to Detail a Car at Home

  • Pressure washer (optional)
  • High-pressure hose attachment
  • Engine bay cleaner
  • All-purpose cleaner for cars
  • Wheel cleaner
  • Tire black
  • Interior cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Microfiber wash mitt
  • Wax
  • Brushes
  • Microfiber towels
  • Drying towels
  • Vacuum

Give it a Good Wash

Giving the car’s exterior a good wash is one of the most important detailing steps. First, make sure that you’ve cleaned the heavily soiled spaces, such as engine bays, so the chance of debris transferring onto the paintwork is minimum.

You must work on heavily-soiled areas first if they are to be included in the washing procedure. Apply the all-purpose cleaner to the vehicle and let it sit there for a while before pressure rinsing it. You can also apply the all-purpose or citrus cleaner through a snow foam lance. The thick foam will grasp onto the dirt, removing almost everything.

Now choose your favorite shampoo, and use it to clean any dirt still left on the vehicle’s exterior. Once done washing, dry the car with a drying towel.

Wheels and Tires

Next, start with the tires and wheels first, as they come in contact with the road’s surface. Using a wheel cleaner and a bucket, rub the solution into the surface of the alloy with the mitt. Then, rinse and dry with a towel.

Next, clean the tires with an all-purpose cleaner and a stiff brush. You can even apply wheel sealants to protect them against road salt and prevent the building up of the dirt. You can also use tire black for that black shine.

Detail the Undercarriage

Parts such as the steering rack have excess grease on them. Spray a degreaser for penetrating action and in-depth foaming. Let it rest for some time, then spray a cleaner over it and rinse.

After that, dry the undercarriage. Drying is one of the most crucial parts of cleaning an undercarriage as it will prevent rusting. Get rid of the water in the spaces such as bush suspension using heated air. To protect the bushes and rubber parts, use a lubricant.

Clean the Engine Bay

Get Rid of Accumulated Dirt

If you’ve been driving the vehicle before detailing, ensure that the car’s engine has cooled down. A hot engine will give blisters to your hand and may even fail the purpose of the degreaser. Get rid of any dirt or debris with a brush.

Take Precautions Before Degreasing

It would be good to take precautions when working with frail parts. So, you must protect the exposed electrical parts and air intake with a plastic bag. Even if you don’t use water, the moisture from the formula might be a risk.


Spray the engine bay cleaner, making sure to cover all the spaces. Leave the formula there on the engine so that it can affect the grease and dirt. Next, scrub them away.

Dry the Engine

Use microfiber towels to wipe the engine dry. Before you uncover those delicate parts, make sure there is no moisture left. Dry the difficult-to-reach spaces using an air compressor.

To get gloss on the engine, you can use an engine protectant. Apply it using a microfibre cloth and not directly from the spray bottle to avoid over spraying it accidentally.

Now take off the plastic covering and start the engine to check whether it’s running properly.


There are 2 steps of decontaminating. The first one is to remove any impurities, such as road tar, using the chemicals.

The second step is physically getting rid of any particles bonded to your car’s paintwork. It is done using clay bars.

Polish the Exterior

You can polish your ride either with a machine or by hand. You can utilize a polish wax to remove some oxidation on the surface and get the shine back.

If you want to do something extra, you can go for polishing using a machine. In this procedure, you will be removing very thin layers of clear coats to discard any scratches.

Clean the Interior

The second last step is to clean the interior. Start by removing the trash. Take out all the trash that the vacuum cleaner cannot pick up. Ensure everything from cup holders to console boxes and door cubbies.

After that, take out all the mats and carpets and wash them using a stiff brush and a car wash soap. You can also utilize a wet-dry vacuum to draw out as much water as possible so the carpets can dry faster.

Vacuum the interior of the vehicle to get rid of smaller particles. You can use paintbrushes or make-up brushes to dust off the particles in hard-to-reach places.

If your vehicle has leather seats, utilize a vacuum crevice tool to eliminate dust particles and grime from the stitching. Then clean the seats with water and soap. After that, you may use a leather conditioner, which helps get the shine back.

If your car has cloth seats, start by vacuuming them. Then for stains, use oxygen-based bleach and water. Before removing the residue, let it sit for an hour.

Next, use an all-purpose cleaner. Scrub it into the fabric, then wipe it away with a wet microfibre towel. Finally, let the seats air-dry.

Why is it Important to Detail Your Car After Off-roading?

There are numerous reasons why cleaning your vehicle is important after off-roading. If you don’t clean it because you think that you’ll get it dirty again in no time, then read along.

Prevents Wheel Imbalance

Not giving a much-needed cleaning session to your car may result in numerous problems. After off-roading, a glob of mud can cling to the tires. If you leave it like that, they will dry out and can result in imbalanced wheels. So, next time you take it out, you will experience a rough and uneasy drive. It can also affect your fuel economy.

Prevents Overheating

While off-roading, your vehicle can get mud stuck in every part. It can even gather onto the radiator, clogging its fins. It will hinder airflow, leading to the possibility of overheating.

Protects Your Car from Rusting

Your vehicle may come in contact with caustic chemicals while off-roading. They can collect in the corners and cracks of your car. If you don’t clean or get those chemicals cleaned, they may cause rust to form.

Rusting on important parts of the car, like the undercarriage, can cause the damage you wouldn’t want.

In conclusion, detailing your car after off-roading will protect it from numerous problems and bring out its best appearance.