Interior, Exterior and Engine Car Detailing Supplies You'll Need

November 4, 2013

Don't get stuck in the middle of a car detailing job due to forgotten supplies. Use this checklist of car detailing supplies to stock up ahead of time.

Car Detailing At Home

To give your car a show-quality appearance, you need car detailing supplies. Detailing a car requires a thorough cleaning, polishing and waxing to prepare it for car shows, to preserve the car and for your own personal satisfaction. There are basically three components of detailing: the exterior, interior and engine.

8 DIY Car Detailing Tips >>

Exterior Detailing Supply List

  • Specialty detergent for washing cars and removing surface particles
  • Wax remover
  • Detail clay: a clay bar cleans contamination such as tar, animal droppings, etc.
  • Waxes and sealants (liquid or paste form) to use by hand, or with a machine
  • Applicators, special cloths and specific polishing pads as needed
  • Products to clean and protect rubber seals and moldings
  • Polish for chrome, aluminum and stainless steel (wheels and trim)
  • Window glass cleaner
  • Black trim cleaning and protection products (if your car has black trim)
  • Tire cleaning and protection products (also used for windshield wipers)
  • A soft detail brush for removing contaminants without scratching

Interior Detailing Supply List

  • A car vacuum
  • Upholstery cleaner (for vinyl, cloth, leather)
  • Cloths and a soft brush for cleaning
  • Upholstery protector (for leather, vinyl or fabric)
  • A hand brush for hard to reach places
  • Carpet cleaning product and stain remover
  • Polish for nonporous surfaces (such as chrome)
  • A stiff bristled brush for removing ground in dirt
  • A product to clean and protect dashboard, steering wheel
  • Window cleaner (for glass and mirrors)
  • Detergent and a cleaning brush for floor mats

Engine Detailing Supply List

  • An air compressor or hand brush for removing debris
  • Engine degreasers
  • Cleaners for the engine compartment (citrus or water-based is suggested)
  • A hose (avoid high pressure hoses, or use with extreme care)
  • A cover to protect engine from getting wet
  • Plastic bags with tape to cover electrical devices
  • A small detail brush for cleaning crevices
  • A long-handled parts brush for heavy soil
  • Detailing towels and some terry cloth
  • Vinyl protectant spray for rubber hoses and plastic parts
  • Engine protectant to coat hoses, wires
  • High-quality detailing spray for shine
  • Sealant for long term coating protection
  • Polish for aluminum parts
  • Bright colored paint or chrome, optional for key parts

Where to Buy a Detailing Clay Bar >>

Beautifully restored and polished cars create a stunning display, especially when applied to vintage and exotic cars. Detailing can also make a profound difference in an average car's appearance. It is especially important for protecting your car and its value for many years to come.