- Learn the basic must-haves that your Kit Bag or Crew Bag should never be without
- Master the processes involved and see how these products achieve the best results.
- See exactly what you need no matter your skill level.
- Mastering the basics, and knowing what you need to do so, will always take your detail to the next level.
- Building a great foundation is the only way to ensure the best, and most user-friendly kit.
- You'll save money by avoiding both ineffective products, and expensive mistakes.
When it comes to the ultimate detailing kit, it goes without saying that we've got you covered for absolutely everything your pride and joy could possibly desire. In fact, it's pretty clear that we stock the very best for every cleaning, correction and finishing process imaginable. But, if you're something of a novice, what are the essential items to get started on your journey to detailing enlightenment? What should be in your Auto Finesse Detailer's Kit Bag or Crew Bag right now?
Well, that's exactly where we're happy to help. We've picked out eight of our most popular products that are not only ideal for beginners, but a mainstay for enthusiasts and professionals, too.
So, whether you're looking to start building your kit from scratch, or simply making sure you're always packing the absolute essentials this season, then this collection of all-time great crowd-pleasers will put you on the right track…
Any detailer will tell you that you always clean your wheels and tyres first. This is because - as the only bit that actually makes contact with the road - they're generally the dirtiest part of the car. The key thing here is to avoid spreading this heavy grit and grime to the rest of the bodywork… especially after you've already cleaned it!
Alloy wheels also require particularly powerful chemical cleaning agents to remove the harsh contaminants most commonly found on and around them. Take brake dust as a prime example, this is essentially made up of metal shards and ceramic material that gets extremely hot, becomes airborne and gets stuck onto (and often embedded into) the surface. Dissolving and lifting these kind of contaminants tends to require more heavy-duty cleaning agents than you'll find in car shampoo, but it's still vital to use a gentle product that won't damage the wheel finish. The vast majority of alloys out there are only painted or powdercoated after all, and strong acidic industrial products can easily do more harm than good.
Imperial Wheel Cleaner is an extremely powerful chemical cleaner, but the acid-free formula is safe to use on all common wheel finishes. Simply spray liberally onto your wheels and watch as the degreasers and cleaning agents break down and safely lift the contamination away from the surface, ready to be rinsed away. For a little more bite on heavy soiled wheels - or to get into every recess of complicated wheel designs - you can also agitate Imperial with Barrel Brush, before following up on the faces with a Detailing Brush or dedicated wash mitt.
When it comes to ensuring that you don't inflict light scratches and swirl marks as you wash, giving your vehicle exterior a thorough pre-wash is absolutely critical. This is even more critical during autumn, winter and spring, where you'll find a higher concentration of salt, grit and other harmful contaminants on the road.
The idea here is simply washing your vehicle, before you physically make contact. This is to rid the paintwork of the worst contaminants and avoid dragging them across the surface with your mitt when you contact wash later.
At the very least, you should always rinse your vehicle down with a pressure washer from top to bottom. But, by far the best way to shift grime is to utilise a dedicated pre-wash cleaner to dissolve any heavy soiling, allowing it to be rinsed from the surface without making contact with the paintwork.
Our Citrus Power Bug & Grime Remover is safe for use on every exterior surface, and quickly breaks down dirt with a single application. Gentle enough to be used on every pre-wash, and safe to use on vehicles with previously applied waxes or sealants, so it won't degrade protection, either.
Getting the ultimate swirl-free wash is actually pretty straightforward when you know how. In fact, half of the battle is choosing the correct cleaning product because, to cut down on inflicting swirls, your shampoo has to act both as a cleaner and a lubricant. Our citrus-infused Lather Car Shampoo does both of these jobs, and this means that it's not just able to break down and lift any reaming grime, but it also lubricates large particles so they can slip over, and most importantly off of, paintwork without causing damage.
Lather is purely a powerful, highly-concentrated cleaner that contains no waxes or gloss enhancers, this means that it won't interfere with any other stage of your detail, either. It's also pH neutral, so it won't strip off any protection you may have applied the last time you detailed your vehicle, making it perfect for use every time you wash.
A couple of other great tips for swirl-free contact washing are to use two buckets - one containing your diluted Lather Car Shampoo solution, and another with clean, plain water (to wash out your dirty mitt before going back for more shampoo). And to always start at the top of your car, washing in straight lines and tackling the cleaner parts first. This will stop you from dragging grime from the dirtier areas to the clean ones.
We can never say this enough - always, always dry your car after every detail. This is because tap water - the stuff you're likely using in your pressure washer - contains minerals that will leave deposits if left to air-dry. These problems are only compounded in hard water areas.
The good news is that our Aqua Deluxe Drying Towel (and our larger Aqua Deluxe XL Drying Towel) is the answer here, and the only way to quickly dry your vehicle without inflicting scratches or swirls. Constructed from deep-pile, 1200gsm microfibre, this super-soft, super-absorbent towel soaks up the moisture straight off the surface, rather than simply attempting to push the water off and risk inflicting defects that will need to be rectified later.
When it comes to like to deep-cleaning, enhancing and protecting your paintwork Tripple All-in-One Polish is a product that's impossible to beat. Engineered to complete all three tasks in a single application, this really is the ultimate one-step solution for amazing results on any colour in minimal time.
Tripple can be applied by hand or machine and contains special diminishing abrasives that deep-clean paintwork, removing light defects and oxidation. Packed with swirl-filling glazes, this product is also infused with Carnauba wax so it leaves behind not just enhanced paintwork, but also a protective layer that lasts for over a month. This makes it great for use as a stand-alone finishing product, or as the perfect base for another wax-based protection product.
Adorning your paintwork with as much protection as possible is one of the most important concepts in detailing, otherwise how would you safeguard all your hard work when you've polished your car to perfection? Having sufficient protection is also designed to block out the elements, helping to prevent early-onset corrosion and paint oxidation. And that's before you even get to the part about enhancing the look of your vehicle.
Of course, there are many schools of thought on the best products to choose for different applications, along with much debate in detailing circles about the attributes of waxes, paint sealants and ceramic coatings with regards to shine, durability level of protection.
One thing that never goes out of fashion though, is the warm glow of a wax, so a great place to start is with our Radiance Carnauba Crème. This non-abrasive formula gives the sort of deep, glossy finish associated with a Carnauba-based hard wax, but in an economical, "easy-on/easy-off' cream form.
This non-abrasive formula can be topped up on every subsequent maintenance detail and offers durability of up to 3-months.
Never underestimate the power of a top-notch glass cleaner, simply because nothing lets down the impact of an otherwise great detail like streaky, smeary glass. In fact, it's an all-too-common oversight, which is a huge shame, because Crystal Glass Cleaner makes this process easier than ever.
This highly-concentrated blend of distilled solvents, quickly dissolves grime, fingerprints and greasy films, allowing them to be wiped away. Guaranteed to give a sparkling finish to all exterior and interior glass surfaces, Crystal is always one of the crucial final steps to any detail, and infinitely handy in between washes for removing light soiling and offering the best all-round vision.
Whether it's buffing away any smears and fingerprints, using as a drying aid to mop up the last moisture after your wash, or simply for giving your vehicle a quick once over to eradicate watermarks, light dust or left over compound, polish and wax residue, Finale Quick Detailer is a master multitasker, and one that's comes highly recommended to keep in your kit at all times.
This non-streaking, water-based formula can be used on all surfaces including paint, glass, hard plastics and brightwork. And its sweet maraschino cherry scent makes it a pleasure to use when perfecting the last stages of your detail.
Finale is also infused with carnauba, making it an impeccable finisher and perfecter, and what's more, it needs nothing but a quick spritz and a wipe.