Free Auto Detailing Tips
Professional Tricks in Simplified Ways

My goal with these free auto detailing tips are intended for two type of situations:

  • A person with a new (or relatively new car) car looking how to take care of it
  • A person with a dirty car who finds themselves overwhelmed at the thought of trying to learn exactly what to do, as well as learn what might feel like an overwhelming amount of car care products to pick and choose from

If you are like most, you probably find yourself getting overwhelmed at the thought of learning all kinds of new information just to perform the basic requirements to keep your car clean, protect your investment, and retain the resale value of your car...without being overwhelmed by the thought of learning new products and complex techniques.

applying car wax using free auto detailing tips

Many people suddenly take a look at their car and realize how they have neglected their car and instantly become overwhelmed at the thought of trying to clean tier car to an acceptable level, without feeling so overwhelmed by the thought of learning the endless products and techniques.

Regardless of which position you find yourself, if you are new to the world of cosmetic car care it can be an intimidating proposition for most people.

Any person such as yourself often looks at their car, then looks inside their car and quickly freezes at the intimidating awareness of all the many materials your car is constructed with.

This moment becomes quickly daunting to most people trying to learn how to take care of each material and the product knowledge they must learn in order to get the results they are looking for.

Just know that you do not have to tackle everything at once. I always recommend you start with the very basics, get a handle on those, build some confidence in the process, then move forward based on you and your abilities.

Free Auto Detailing Tips:
Simple solutions you can do at home

Any trip down the car care aisle will make your head spin in circles as you are overwhelmed by the many brightly packaged products, all claiming to be the best!

Best free auto detailing tips

If you are like me, I go into anxiety mode just looking at all the brightly colored packaging of the endless choices in car wash soaps, car waxes, car interior shampoos, and the endless tire dressings.

  • Learn what you absolutely MUST do
  • Learn what you DON'T have to do
  • Zero hype (none of the hype and B.S. found on other sites)
  • Time saving tips (how to produce maximum results with minimal effort)
  • Learn how to replace the 100 products you have been told you need

Free Auto Detailing Tips:
Detailing Made Simple

Chances are you wouldn't be here if you didn't have some basic interest in restoring, maintaining, and adding some additional beauty to your car.

wheel detailing kit for auto detailing tips

You may have a new car you want to keep looking new. You may have an older car due for some cleaning and detailing due to deferred maintenance.

I will break this down for you as a person based on your needs and commitment to your car. regardless of whether you have a new car or a car with way too much dirt and neglect.

Free Auto Detailing Tips:
Car Washing

I will start here as washing your car is step one as this is the most basic of requirement, and also the starting point if you want to perform other duties of polishing and waxing of your car.

Basic Car Washing Kit

Chemical Guys HOL121 Best Car Wash Bucket Kit (11 Items)

  • For anyone looking to just perform a basic, quality car wash
  • Comes with quality products to wash car and clean wheels
  • Does NOT come with all eh necessary tools (like a wheel cleaning brush, detailing clay, etc. like the Ultimate kit below)
  • If you want to start out slowly, and build from the basics, this is the way to go

Ultimate Car Detailing Kit

Adam's Essentials Complete Car Detailing Upgraded Kit - The Essentials for Detailing by Hand - Clean, Protect, and Shine Your Entire Car - Retain The Value of Your Car with Proper Car Care

  • Contains 90% of everything you would ever need to maintain the health and beauty of your car
  • I love kits (or bundles)! 
  • Bundles save money by not having to purchase needed items separately
  • Save time by not having to source individual items separately
  • All from a company with a stellar reputation among professionals and enthusiasts

Daren's Tips: If you had to pick a single car detailing kit that delivers the most bang for your buck; this kit would be my free auto detailing tip to you!

Comes with the specific products needed for washing your car, decontaminating your car paint, cleaning your wheels, cleaning your windows, dressing your tires, etc.

ALSO comes with the tools necessary to use these many products to perform these necessary requirements.

The amount of money and time you will save through the purchasing of a quality and comprehensive detailing kit like this is more than most people can even appreciate unless you have spent the time and money trying to review and source all the products and tools individually.

Free Auto Detailing Tips:
Paint decontamination

Chemical Guy's detailing clay for auto detailing tips

Based on which of the kits above you may have chosen if you did, nether of them include any form of a dedicated car wax that you will want to apply to your car on a regular basis.

But before you wax your car, there is this stuff called air pollution (in the detailing community we refer to this pollution by the glorified name of industrial fall-out)

The air you breathe is filled with all kinds of particles (too small to really be seen) that settle onto your car paint. Some of these particles (tail pipe emissions, factory emissions, basic smog, etc.) will bond and etch into your car paint and glass.

It is not absolutely necessary to remove these bonded paint contaminants, but you would have to accept that you will officially be putting wax on top of these paint contaminants unless you do what is called paint decontamination.

If you want a complete understanding on the subject and more choices in clay bar kits you can see my page of detailing clay. But for now I will offer up a quality kit that will decontaminate your car paint, but not overwhelm you with endless options of the countless clay bars, and versions of decontamination "tools".

Chemical Guys CLY_113 OG Clay Bar & Luber Synthetic Lubricant Kit, Light/Medium Duty (16 oz) (2 Items)

  • There are many versions and types of clay bar or detailing clay kits
  • This is a simple and effective kit (you don't really have to overthink this area of the detailing process)
  • Many car owners want to skip this step they think is trivial. Don't underestimate not only how silky smooth decontaminating your paint will make it, but how much easier all your other car care tasks will be: car washing, car drying, car waxing, car polishing, etc.
  • You use this clay bar on a freshly washed car AFTER you have washed away superficial dirt

Darren's Tips: Detailing clay (most commonly called the clay bar or claying your car) is a very important step in your car detailing efforts. As part of my free auto detailing tips I can tell you from experience that most people are completely amazed at how their paint feels once they have washed, clayed, and waxed their car.

I could overwhelm you with endless recommendations in detailing clay or clay bar kits like the one's below, but I am going to keep things simple here.

Clay bar kits

If you choose to take the necessary effort to use a clay bar on your car, you are in for a treat.

Your car will feel like waxed glass and will put a smile on your face bigger than you have probably experienced in a very long time!

If you do get the Adam's Ultimate Detailing Kit then you don't need to get this detailing clay separately as the Adam's kit comes with detailing clay.

Free Auto Detailing Tips:
Waxing your car

Very few subjects of car care are more accepted, but also more frustrating sue to the endless choices in car waxes and the endless opinions from people who claim to be offering the best car wax for your car.

While I could do the same at my best car waxes page, I am going to keep things super simple here with my number one, top rated car wax I use both professionally and personally on my own cars.

CSI Q-7 Wax 16oz 62-204-P

"The best car wax is the car wax that makes it onto your car more often, not less often!"

  • The easiest to use wax that actually has wax in it (there are many easy to use car waxes that are simply made with silicones and have no actual carnauba wax in them)
  • Nano-emulsified (this means a very "tight" emulsion, which means a car wax manufactured to higher standards of engineering)
  • True waterborne technology (this means that the water molecule is the "carrier" for the other active/inert ingredients. This allows the water molecule to also be an insulator of the active/inert ingredients)

Free auto detailing tips for detailing BMW
  • because of the insulator capabilities of this car wax, you can use it in direct sunlight, on hot paint
  • Non-staining formulation (will not stain black trim but can actually be used directly on any of your cars black trim to maintain just like you would use this to maintain and protect your car paint)
  • My "go-to" car wax for over 15 years (this wax has only recently been made available to the public thanks to Amazon and the Internet
  • Body shop safe formulation (this product line was specifically developed to perform at the commercial level)
  • Easy on, easy off
  • Just spray onto body panel, wipe in with micro-fiber cloth, and wipe off with micro-fiber cloth (you can apply to entire car and then come back and remove. Or apply to individual sections and remove from section to section)

Free Auto Detailing Tips:
Car upholstery cleaning

If you took the time to read through my free detailing tips above which have everything to do with the exterior detailing, care, and maintenance of your cars paint, I want to cover the interior of your car.

Anyone looking into their car will quickly realize what appears to be a display of endless materials. materials you likely think will require special products and processes to clean and detail.

Free auto detailing tips to take care of car leather

Cleaning and detailing your car upholstery can seem more intimidating to people due to the endless materials in their car as well as the endless materials used to make modern day cars:

  • Cloth
  • Velour
  • Leather
  • Vinyl
  • Plastic

While cosmetic car care manufacturers will make dedicated products for virtually every material within your car, it can be made much more simple than what you will try and be taught or have lead to believe by the endless bad information circulating on the Internet.

My free auto detailing tips will now help guide you through the process of cleaning, shampooing, and detailing the interior of your car so you can get professional results with minimal effort.

Free Auto Detailing Tips:
Car upholstery cleaning

When it comes to the interior of your car, one of the best free auto detailing tips I can offer is this:

"Your car interior can be very intimidating as you look and observe all the many materials. Just know I can help guide you through this and help you get the results you are after!"

I totally get it!

The inside of your car is filled with many materials that scare many people at the thought of trying to clean all these materials.

But continue to follow along as I break down the essentials car upholstery cleaners, tools, and steps that will take the scare factor out of detailing and cleaning the inside of your car.

Car Upholstery Cleaner:
Ready to use (RTU)

Adam's Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner - Easy to Use and Effective on Even The Worst Stains - Safe, Non-Toxic and Hypoallergenic (16 oz)

  • Perfect for anyone who thinks they have limited use for an upholstery shampoo
  • Ready to use (no mixing and no separate sprayer bottle needed)
  • Safe for virtually ANY material within your cars interior (talk about a simplified approach; the ability to clean all the materials in your car with a single product)
  • For use on carpeting, cloth seats, velour, headliners of any kind, car leather (yes; even your car leather), plastic door panels, dashboard, etc., etc.
  • Spray, scrub, and mop up

Darren's Tips: I love this upholstery shampoo! Very effective for all your car interior cleaning needs. (can even be used to clean car leather, or yo can opt for dedicated car leather cleaners and conditioners below)

One of my most important free auto detailing tips when it comes to cleaning and shampooing your car upholstery is to do light, repeat applications until you achieve desired results instead of heavy applications of any car upholstery cleaner.

Car Upholstery Cleaner:

Chemical Guys CWS_103 Foaming Citrus Fabric Clean Carpet & Upholstery Shampoo (16 Oz), 16. Fluid_Ounces

  • I love concentrates (More economical and the ability to custom blend to suit your needs)
  • This is a very popular and highly effective car upholstery shampoo
  • safe and effective on virtually any of your car interior materials
  • Custom blend to suit your needs (I always recommend reading directions as a starting point for any product)
  • You will need a separate sprayer bottle to mix this into

Car Upholstery Cleaner:
Sprayer bottle

Chemical Guys ACC151 Secondary Container Dilution Bottle with Heavy Duty Sprayer, 16 oz., 1 Pack

  • Use to mix ANY concentrate you may already have, or to mix the Chemical Guy's upholstery cleaner concentrate
  • branded spray bottle by Chemical Guy's
  • The exact sprayer head I use professionally

Free Auto Detailing Tips:
Car upholstery cleaning tools

Detail brushes for free car upholstery detailing tips

What good is finding the best car upholstery cleaners if you don't have the right tools!

Don't underestimate the power of the right scrub brushes and detailing brushes to go from good to great. From marginal results to professional results!

I will cover what I consider the essentials of tools you will need to clean and/or detail the inside of your car.

From vacuuming to scrubbing, to moping up your dirt and grime with the right detailing and cleaning cloths.

Car Detailing Vacuum

RIDGID 50313 4000RV Portable Wet Dry Vacuum, 4-Gallon Small Wet Dry Vac with 5.0 Peak HP Motor, Pro Hose, Ergonomic Handle, Cord Wrap, Blower Port

  • The updated version of the exact vacuum I have used both professionally and personally for decades
  • These vacuums are work hostesses and just keep on sucking (literally)
  • Lifetime guarantee!
  • The last dedicated detailing vacuum you will ever need
  • Forget about the over-sized vacuums many people are lead to believe they need (you just don't)

Darren's Tips: While this vacuum itself is all you need and then some for cleaning and detailing your cars interior (also a general utility vacuum separate from your traditional household vacuum cleaner), it is lacking on what I call more detailed vacuum attachments that will prove very useful in actually detailing your car versus just basic vacuuming.

See the accessory hose kit below as my "go-to" vacuum hose accessory kit for much more thorough cleaning or for the finer detailing of your cars interior.

RIDGID VT2534 6-Piece Auto Detailing Vacuum Hose Accessory Kit for 1 1/4 Inch RIDGID Vacuums

  • Longer hose is extremely convenient and useful for reaching into your car while leaving he main vacuum outside your car
  • Especially useful extension hose and attachments for mini vans and trucks
  • From bigger detail attachments for vacuuming larger areas of your car/truck/van, to smaller detail attachments for those hard to reach areas

Darren's Tips: When you start adding up all this equipment and products just to clean and/or detail your car it can get expensive quickly. Many of you will try and vacuum your car with your household vacuum. While many household vacuums now come with more useful accessories and longer hoses, you will still struggle to use your household vacuum to clean and detail your car.

free car upholstery detailing tips using detailing vacuum

If you are a beginner, you will most likely underestimate how important vacuuming in general is (specificity to all those proofs materials in your car) which only mans having the right kind of vacuum is that much more important.

It's not about the power of a vacuum specifically that makes a dedicated detail vacuum so important, it is far more about a vacuum that is not only made for these types of vacuuming jobs, but a vacuum designed for use on these types of jobs.

Trust me when I say (this is directed specifically to any true beginner) that cleaning and detailing your car takes a lot of energy. While there are many of us (yes; me specifically) that finds cleaning our cars therapeutic, most people consider it a necessary evil.

And because of this it is a job made up of many smaller jobs that are easily kicked down the road. Down the road over and over until your car is a disaster and you are faced with a daunting challenge you might feel completely incapable of tackling.

And this is the very specific reason having the right products, the right tools and breaking the process down by starting with the basics is so important.

Because you are going to want to keep kicking this can down the road and the problem is only going to grow!!

Car Upholstery Scrub Brushes

Upholstery Cleaner Scrub Brush Set Cleaning Brush and Horsehair Detailing Brush for Car Interior, Seats, Boat, Couch, Sofa and Carpet

  • My favorite upholstery cleaning brush set
  • Not labeled for automotive use, but perfectly suited for all your major car upholstery cleaning and detailing
  • Comes with a soft, natural horse hair brush and a stiffer, synthetic scrub brush
  • Use the natural hair brush for more delicate surfaces or materials: car leather, headliners, velour, etc.
  • Use the stiffer synthetic brush for more durable materials: floor mats, cloth seats, plastic door panels, etc.
  • I have used these and they are the most versatile scrub brush set I have come across so far

Fine Detailing Brush

Detail Factory Ultra-Soft Detailing Brush Set

  • For anyone looking to enhance their arsenal of detailing tools
  • These brushes are super fine and ideally suited for anyone dealing with ultra fine and/or delicate areas of detailing
  • Ideal for anyone super fearful at dusting delicate areas of your car
  • I love these brushes and are only part of my very comprehensive line of detail brushes
  • Just like the brush set above you can dedicated specific brushes for specific jobs (I simply use a permanent marker to segregate them as needed)

Micro-fiber Detailing and Cleaning Cloths

Kirkland Signature Ultra High Pile Premium Microfiber Towels, 36 Count (Pack of 1), Yellow - 713160

  • I only use micro-fiber cloths for any and all detailing and cleaning duties
  • Micro-fibers are the winning combination of features: softer than any other type of cloth, more absorbent, and lint free!
  • When it comes to much of the detailing duties, you don't have to over-think your micro-fiber cloths
  • You can spend far more on micro-fiber cloths and some duties of detailing certainly justify spending serious money on serious micro-fibers, but for now, I highly recommend these
  • So inexpensive I almost treat these as disposable cloths

micro-fiber cloths for cleaning and detailing

Darren's Tips: I use these virgin micro-fiber cloths for the more delicate tasks of detailing (applying wax, removing wax, apply quick detailers to the paint, cleaning car leather, etc.

Once they start being used and going through the washing process, I down-grade these cloths to more dirty jobs of detailing and cleaning until the point where I collect them in my garage for dirty clean-up of spills and dirty work where I know longer even want them near my washing machine.

Free Auto Detailing Tips Summary

Learning free auto detailing tips

We are buried in choices when it comes to proper paint care. Many people express their frustration by being overwhelmed by so many choices and so many other free auto detailing tips.

It is my attempt with these free auto detailing tips, to offer a simplified approach of proper paint care that not only covers the required basics, but if followed will provide a level of visual enhancement most people lack the ability to get.

If you did nothing else but the above recommendations, you would be ahead in knowledge and results of 98% of people out there with regards to proper car paint care.


Darren Priest

  1. Home Page
  2. Auto Detailing Tips
  3. ››
  4. This Page