14 Must-Haves In Your Car Detailing Kit

14 must-haves in your car detailing kit


Whether you’re a car owner or someone who wants to start a car detailing business, the plethora of cleaners, tools, and equipment you’ll find in hardware stores can get you overwhelmed. 

You might end up spending precious dollars on things you won’t need. 

Today, we’re listing down the car detailing arsenals you can’t do without.

And some that aren’t necessary but can make your work faster and more efficient. (you can save up and invest for these later) 

We’ll list down: 

  • Basic tools
  • Interior cleaners
  • Exterior cleaners
  • Interior equipment
  • Exterior equipment

If you want a comprehensive list of all the things you’ll need to clean both the interior and exterior of your car or your client’s, this post is for you. 

Must-Have Basic Tools For Car Detailing

1. Wash Buckets With Grit Guards

The traditional way of washing cars requires 2 buckets: 1 for soap and water, another for rinsing contaminants stuck on the mitt or towel. 

car detailing kit wash bucket


Others recommend using a third bucket, dedicated to washing tires and wheels which has more road grime and dust. 

However, there is a car detailing equipment I’ll tell you about later that would only require you 1 wash bucket. 

2. Microfiber Towels

Microfiber towels can be used both for applying car cleaners and for drying the surface after rinsing. 

car detailing kit microfiber towel


However, if you want a car cleaner applicator that doesn’t easily slip from your hand because of the slippery soap, you might need the third tool on the list. 

3. Detailing Mitts

You’ll need high-quality detailing mitts when applying car cleaners on the car’s surface. It needs to be of great quality to avoid damages like scratches and swirl marks, especially on the paint finish. 

car detailing kit wash mitt


Basic Tool That’s Not Necessary But Makes Work Efficient

Bucket Dolly

A bucket dolly makes your bucket more mobile. It’ll make it faster and easier to move the bucket around without straining your back. 

Interior Cleaners For Car Detailing 

1. All-Purpose pH Neutral Auto Shampoo

This cleaner is useful both for the interior and exterior. For the interior, you can use this for the plastic and vinyl parts like the dashboard and consoles. 

Recommended Reading: Top 7 Automotive Shampoos For Ceramic Coats

2. Leather Cleaner

If you want to keep your leather seats in their best condition, you can use a specialized cleaner for this car part. 

A leather cleaner doesn’t just clean the surface but also protects it to minimize damages. 

Recommended Reading: 5 Rules For Keeping Car Seats In Good Condition

3. Carpet And Upholstery Cleaner

For more aggressive stains and dirt on the headliner and built-in carpeting, a carpet cleaner will work better than the all-purpose auto shampoo

Recommended Reading: 4 Practical Tips To Clean Floor Mats And Car Carpets

Exterior Cleaners For Car Detailing

*The all-purpose pH-neutral auto shampoo was already mentioned earlier. For the exterior, you can use this cleaner to wash the paint finish and the wheels. 

We recommend a cleaner with a neutral pH since it doesn’t strip additional protective layers like wax can ceramic coat. 

1. Degreaser

This cleaner is mainly used for greasy parts like the engine bay. But it can be used on the wheels as well. 

Recommended Reading: 5 Steps In Detailing Your Engine Bay

2. Auto Glass Cleaners

Auto glass cleaners are specially made for car needs. Windshields and windows often get in contact with tar, sap, and bug guts. 

Recommended Reading: How To Remove Bug Guts And Splats From Your Car

Auto glass cleaners are more powerful than home glass cleaners. It can remove the contaminants common on the road. 

3. Trim Restore

This chemical is great for giving back the rubber and plastic parts of your car its dazzling pristine look. It also helps in preventing it from developing more damages and fading. 

4. Clay Bars

A clay bar is rubbed on the paintwork before applying wax or ceramic coat. 

It helps even out the surface by removing the tiny protruding contaminants not removed when the surface was wiped with the all-purpose cleaner. 

5. Wax

Applying wax on the paintwork protects it from minor scratches and brings back its glossy look. Whether it’s in liquid, spray, or paste form, it also acts as a sealant for the paintwork. 

6. Tire Black

Applying tire black can bring the shine back on your tires. But some argue they hurt your tires. 

Tire black will hurt your tires if:

  • You don’t apply it according to the instructions provided
  • When you don’t wash your tires regularly
  • When you let your car bake under intense heat

But if you avoid doing these 3 things, you can avoid damaging your tires. 

Interior Equipment For Car Detailing

1. Car Cleaning Gun

A car cleaning gun is attached to an air compressor. The powerful oscillating tube inside the nozzle removes stubborn dirt and stains on the headliner, carpet, upholstery, and consoles. 

car detailing kit car cleaning gun


It blows off dirt and dust stuck on the carpets and headliner and traps it on the nozzle so it won’t fly off everywhere. 

If you have a car cleaning gun, there won’t be any need for fancy detailing brushes anymore. It cleans the nooks and crevices even in the tightest spaces of the interior. 

It isn’t just useful for the interior parts but also for the wheels, engine bay, hood grilles, and door corners, and trims. 

Exterior Equipment For Car Detailing

1. Polisher Pad Attachments 

These are the product applicators when buffing polishers and wax on the paintwork. 

Exterior Equipment That’s Not Necessary But Makes Work Efficient 

Mechanical Polisher 

I put mechanical polishers in this category because you can always apply wax or polish by hand. It just takes longer to finish. 

However, if you have a mechanical polisher, buffing will not only be faster but also efficient. 

car detailing kit mechanical polisher



As a recap of all the tools you’ll need for your complete car detailing, here’s a checklist to help you out.

14 must-haves in your car detailing kit infographic


If you have all these tools at hand, you’ll be able to detail your car inside and out efficiently without going back and forth to the hardware store. 

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