• A key point in detailing like a pro is to use professional grade products. If you use shabby equipment and products, the results will be shabby. No detail (no pun intended) is unimportant. Try to wash the car in shade and when the car metal is cool to avoid drying soap and water spots. Use a clean bucket. Use soap specifically designed for auto paint (dish or laundry detergent are harshly abrasive and will strip the finish on your car). Use a sponge instead of a tee shirt or rag. Use clean water to wash the auto body and new water for the tires (even better, use separate buckets for the auto body and tires). Rinse the car from top down. Get an animal skin chamois for drying the car. I cannot stress this enough. Yes, it costs $15-20 bucks but the results make all the difference in the world. I mean it. In addition, a chamois cloth lasts a long time if maintained properly (after every third wash or so, just soak it in Ivory liquid for a few minutes, wring out and dry flat). Use good quality polish and wax. Use clean cloths for waxing and polishing. I very strongly recommend using what are called diaper cloths for these steps. You can find these at any auto parts store, Wal-Mart etc. They are very soft, lint-free and no plies like terry cloth that can potentially create swirl marks in your clear coat. Finally, you must, not should, MUST address the tires if you want a truly detailed ride. Shiny tires really bring out a car's overall look. Finally, when cleaning glass (both inside and out), a neat and economical method is to use newspaper instead of paper towels or cloth. Newsprint paper is soft, absorbent and best of all, lint free and readily available. No, the ink does not run.
  • Learn what the pro's do and use by reading and learning from such sites as Autopia and Detailcity.From another answer given , i do not recommend a sponge to wash as it is not able to absorb enough dirt, compared to a quality wash mitt and might cause scratches if the surface has dirt on it. I also recommend a sythetic chamios to a natural one, because it will absorb dirt better and will not strip wax. Better yet is a waffle weave microfibre. Diaper cloth is ok but not better than 100% cotton terry cloth because you want the terry loop to trap any dirt away from the surface. Again use quality micro fibre it will not scratch a clean surface.
  • I agree with the first answer but also suggest a vacuum. Not your household vacuum - a shopvac or similiar is needed. These are noisy, yes, but they have lots of suction and available parts that are good for fur, wood chips, and little things that get lodged in materials. I used a vacuum - and ONLY a vacuum for 3 straight hours and got my car spick and span. No water, no chemicals. Then again I'm very particular about who gets in and how clean everything stays. Use good products, and treat it like what it is - yours. Spend some money now and it will pay off.

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