Auto detailing is both a learned skill and an art, with each professional detailer having a preferred list of tools and chemicals they utilize to complete a top-notch detail. There are chemicals that address very specific needs, and ones that pull double duty, working on many different parts of an interior or exterior detail. Whether you’re just starting your auto detailing business or you’re a seasoned pro with years of experience, here is a list of the supplies that we think will keep your exterior vehicle detailing jobs looking fresh.
Most detailers begin by washing and detailing the exterior of the vehicle. For some vehicles, this can be as simple as a wash, but for more intricately detailed vehicles or deluxe detailing packages, additional chemicals and products will be required. Here’s what every detailer should have in their exterior auto detailing toolkit:
- Car Wash Soap. Having a heavy-duty car wash soap is the first step toward getting rid of exterior dirt and debris. Look for a concentrated soap that you can dilute to the appropriate strength, depending on the level of cleaning power needed for a particular vehicle. Many detailers choose to first power wash a vehicle, apply soap using a foam cannon, then use a wash mitt to really work in the suds after letting it dwell. Finish by rinsing the vehicle and giving it a good once-over to ensure there are no areas of stubborn dirt or grime. Note: never allow chemicals to dry on the exterior finish. That’s why we suggest starting by rining the car with water, and work in sections if you have to work in direct sunlight.
- Degreaser. Having a powerful degreaser in your arsenal of chemicals goes a long way. Again, look for a degreaser that you can dilute to your preferred strength, depending on what you’re using it for. Choosing the right degreaser for the job means that you’ll be able to use it for multiple applications, including:
- Wheels and tires
- Bug removal
- Engine bay
- Equipment cleaning of microfiber towels, tire brushes, wash mitts, and more.
- Tire and Wheel Cleaner. Having a dedicated tire and wheel cleaner isn’t a necessity, but if you can work it into your routine, it will make detailing easier and more efficient. Finding a concentrated cleaner that pulls double duty for both tires and wheels is a huge benefit. Dilute it to the appropriate strength, then apply the cleaner to wet tires, wheels and wells and allow it to dwell before using a wheel brush to scrub around the area, focusing on stubborn spots of brake dust or bugs. Rinse well and allow to dry before applying tire dressing.
- Tire Dressing. Apply tire dressing to clean, dry tires for a water-resistant shine that lasts. There are many different types of tire dressing or tire shine, and each has its benefits. But for a long-lasting sheen on your tires, you should look for a high flash solvent-based tire dressing. One common misconception is that solvent-based tire dressings can cause problems on tires if the solvent chews through the rubber. However, with a high flash solvent, the silicone in the tire dressing can effectively adhere to the tire. Meanwhile, the solvent flashes off immediately, leaving you with nothing but shine for days.
- Wax. The last step in a standard exterior detailing job is to wax the vehicle to protect the surface and give it a glossy shine. It provides added durability against weather, and environmental and industrial contaminants.
There are so many other chemicals and products that you could include in your toolkit, but as a baseline, these are what every detailer should have. Finding products that work for a variety of needs will allow you to keep fewer chemicals in stock while still providing an extremely high level of service. For the most efficiency, focus on filling your detailing kit with concentrated chemicals so you have control over dilution and cleaning efficacy.
About Superior Products
Superior Products manufactures, sells, and distributes a full line of professional automotive appearance and industrial chemicals. A family-owned business since 1994, we manufacture all of our products at our facility in South Roxana, Illinois. We pride ourselves on the quality of our products, which are all 100% made in the USA.