Whether you clean your car once a month or once a week, at some point you may have asked yourself, “what is car detailing?” and wondered how it differs from a car wash. Simply put, a car wash provides a very surface level cleaning, while car detailing is considerably more thorough and focuses attention on restoring the interior and exterior of your vehicle, while also removing scratches and blemishes. Find out what the car detailing process entails and how you can do it from home in Cincinnati, OH, below!

What Are the Necessary Items for Car Detailing?

If you’ve chosen to detail your car at home, you’ll need to gather the following items:

  • Microfiber cloths
  • Washing mitts
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Canned air
  • A variety of small brushes (such as a paintbrush)
  • Window cleaner
  • Car-safe cleaner
  • Carpet stain cleaner
  • Upholstery cleaner
  • Surface protector for vinyl and leather surfaces
Buffing the top of car hood

Exterior Car Detailing Steps

Follow these step-by-step instructions to detail your car’s exterior:

  • Rigorous Exterior Wash: Clean the body of your car with water, a car-safe washing solution, and microfiber cloths. Household detergents like dish soap should be avoided, as they can strip the wax on the surface of your vehicle. Dirt and sand can quickly collect on your cleaning cloths and scratch your exterior paint, so you should be sure to swap them out frequently. When your vehicle is completely clean, dry it off with clean towels.
  • Clean the Wheels: With the same solution you used for your car’s body, or with a solution made for car tires, get to work on cleaning your car’s wheels. Remember to get into every last groove, using a small brush if necessary.
  • Wax the Exterior: If you wish to wax your car, now is the time to do so. When you’re finished, remember to wipe off any excess wax with a small brush.

Interior Car Detailing Steps

When you move on to your vehicle’s interior, make sure to spend time on the following areas:

  • Carpeting: Vacuum your carpeting to get started. If there are stains you’d like to get rid of, a common stain remover and brush should do the trick.
  • Door Interior: Mix a solution of soap and water to clean the parts of your doors that don’t have any carpet, then dry them off with a cloth. Next, open your doors and take special care to clean the metal and plastic components of the door jambs.
  • Windows: Using a window-cleaning solution, wash the inside of your car windows and rearview mirror. To avoid streaks, be sure to dry everything completely.
  • Upholstery: Vacuum your seats, then use your stain remover and brush again to get rid of any stains. After cleaning your seats, let them air dry with the car doors open to keep mildew from forming.
  • Steering Wheel Column: Use a cleaning solution to rid your steering column of dust and stains. After it dries, apply a surface protectant.
  • Dashboard and Center Console: Use your cleaning solution to clean the surface area of your dash and console, then let it dry and use a small brush to clean out the cracks and crevices.
Polishing car steering wheel

For Expert Car Detailing, Turn to Tom Tom Gill Chevrolet

Would you prefer to leave car detailing to a professional? The experts at the Tom Tom Gill Chevrolet body shop and collision center can help! Contact us for information on pricing or to ask how you can earn unlimited car washes and more with the Tom Gill Advantage.


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