Now that we’ve covered the why behind car detailing (you can check the blog post here), let’s cover the how. If you decide to opt for a professional service, Axioma can usually offer you a no-obligation quote within 24 hours, and all you have to do is fill in a straightforward form with a couple of pictures attached. In most cases, we can even carry out the work from your home or another convenient location!

how to detail a car

If you decide you want to go for the do-it-yourself car detailing approach, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips to make sure you’re able to do the very best job you can with it.

1. Assess your car thoroughly

Before getting started, you want to get a good idea of what work is actually going to be necessary. It might be less or more than you think, and to ensure your process is as efficient as possible give the interior and exterior a good look over. This will help you know what resources you’re going to need, and an idea of how much time you should set aside to get it done.

2. Take care of any damage to the paintwork

This should be your top priority during any car detailing, as it’s where most of your problems can arise if not taken care of. Chips or scratches can worsen over time, and also allow rust to set in. For a detailed guide on how to take care of this, make sure to check out our blog post.

3. Use car detailing spray or a clay bar

To begin the process of cleaning your paintwork, you want to make sure you’ve removed any bonded dirt. You can use a good quality car detailer spray or for even better results a clay bar alongside some clay bar lube. This will help you get anything that’s hard-stuck off the paint job, so you can begin a more extensive clean.

4. Use a proper car shampoo

Your paint job is your car’s first line of defence, but it needs the right level of care. If you don’t use proper car shampoo, you run the risk of causing more damage in the long run. You also want to consider using a two-in-one shampoo and wax, to give your paint job even better protection.

5. Regularly rinse your sponge

This is an easy step, but often an overlooked one. Small pieces of dirt can accumulate on your sponge during cleaning, and rubbing them against the paint job can cause further scratches and scrapes. If you can, keep a separate bucket of water on hand for dunking your sponge every couple of minutes, before reapplying your shampoo mix.

6. Dry off the car with a microfibre cloth

Once your car’s had a proper scrub, you want to dry it off. Allowing it to air dry is going to leave it looking streaky, and undo your hard work. Chamois cloths are often the mainstay for this, but they can actually leave smears as they are often treated with oils themselves. You’re much better off using a soft microfibre towel, but above all make sure to avoid using anything coarse or rough!

7. Use a plastic bag to check the exterior

After washing your car off, you’ll want to make sure possible sources of abrasion have been fully removed. If you put your hand inside a plastic bag, you can run it over then gently run your hand over the surface of your car exterior to feel for bumps of dirt and other nasties without smearing your nice newly cleaned paint job with finger prints.

8. Treat plastic trim before waxing

The plastic trim for your body work is going to be stained by waxes and polishes that you will want to be using on your paintwork, so you’ll want to make sure it’s protected first. By using a black restoring product on your trim before using polish and wax, you will get it looking good as new while also protecting it before your next steps.

9. Apply wax with a power buffer

If you want to get a really professional look with your car detailing, you’ll want to think about investing in a power buffer for applying wax. Make sure to cover the buffer with wax completely to avoid burning the paint, and use a soft cloth for wiping down at the end to get an even finish.

10. Clean your tyres

The tyres are what keeps your motor running smoothly on the road, and yet they’re all too often neglected. Check them for pits and brake dust buildup to get a good idea of their condition, and then shine them up with a good quality wheel cleaner and plenty of soapy water.

11. Wash windows inside and out

You want to make sure any streaks or smudges are completely gone from your windows by washing them on both sides. You can use an anti-glare glass cleaner for this, or alternatively, wipe the inside and outside of windows in opposing directions so you can tell which side of the glass streaks are on. Make sure to wind down door windows by an inch or two so you can get the very top clean as well!

12. Vacuum your carpets efficiently

Nothing holds annoying bits of gunk and fluff more stubbornly than a car carpet. To really make sure you get everything out, start by using a stiff nylon to raise the carpet fibres, or alternatively rub a nylon glove over it to generate static. Once that’s done, be sure you use a vacuum with a range of attachments to get into all those hard to reach places.

13. Remove any stains properly

Stains in your interior can be a real ordeal to get rid of, so make sure you’re using the right tools for the job. Try mixing a strong degreaser in a ⅕ solution with water for spot cleaning, or look to invest in a steam-powered cleaning gun to tackle difficult stains.

14. Fully deodorize your interior

There’s a reason that ‘new car smell’ is a thing, but there’s a way of getting this even if the car isn’t brand spanking new. Use a can of compressed air to clear your vents, then turn the fan to high and switch the system to recirculate mode or max A/C. Once you’ve done this, find the intake and spray a specialist deodorizer in, before leaving the car closed up for an hour. This will leave your car with a new, unique aroma that should fade before too long, leaving it fresh once more.

15. Lubricate squeaky doors and hinges with WD40

Your door hinges and hood latch can easily get gummed up with grime, making them squeaky and sticky. Give them a good spray of WD40 to loosen them up, followed by a liberal wipe of white lithium grease or motor oil, so they can retain their movement.

Final Thoughts

You’ve hopefully found this guide useful! Even though it sounds like a lot of work, remember that car detailing is always going to be more than worth it in the long run.

If you do decide you want some help from Axioma with this, be sure to get in touch for a quick and easy quote. We can guarantee high-quality professional support at a great price – at any place you’d like!