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How to perform an indoor wash and show car detail -
5 min read Monday 22 June 2020

How to perform an indoor wash and show car detail

It goes without saying that, some vehicles are a little more "specialist' than others. We often come across situations where enthusiasts face the challenge of detailing their weapon of choice with a minimum of water, in many cases this includes doing the job indoors where a hose and pressure washer isn't an option anyway.

It could be for a car that's been driven to display at an event, an off-the-wall vehicle that may not lend itself to a traditional pre-wash and contact wash procedure, or just quick, relatively effortless maintenance of the pampered motor you have locked away in your garage… you know, the one that's never been out in the rain. Then again, maybe it's a case of not needing to get your pride and joy soaking wet to achieve a show-stopping finish, because it's simply not dirty enough. Whatever the reason, we've got you covered here.

The truth is that performing an effective wash and finish, with hardly any water, is relatively straightforward. And, although this sort of procedure shouldn't be carried out on any really grimy car - or a vehicle that needs a full detail, decontamination and correction - to be honest, you'll find that many enthusiast-owned specialist vehicles never get that way in the first place.

So, here's how you can achieve a perfect, and relatively quick, show finish, with a minimum of water, and just a few of our detailing essentials…


As with any detailing any car, the wash stage is the most important for keeping paintwork swirl-free. We'll reiterate that this minimal water wash can't be carried out on a heavily soiled vehicle, purely because a full pre-wash isn't being utilised to safely loosen grit and grime. You'll only need a single bucket here, so if you think your car needs a two-bucket wash, it's too dirty. For very light soiling and road film though, using the correct products means that dust and dirt can be gently lifted away from surfaces with an extremely low risk of marring.

Finale isn't just a fantastic quick detailer and drying aid, it makes an amazing lubricant, too. Around 50ml for every litre of fresh water you're using (in a clean bucket) is enough to create a slick solution that's able to lubricate and form a barrier between contaminates and paintwork. The idea is that, once lubricated, any grime can be simply wiped away with your wash mitt.

Unlike a traditional contact wash, one where you'll want to create lots of suds in order to help dirt run off the surface, the process here is to simply wet your mitt enough for it to glide over the surface, and then to use it without squeezing or wringing out on the vehicle. What's even more important of course, is to wash a panel or so at a time, and immediately follow with an Aqua Deluxe Drying Towel to mop away any excess solution. To avoid streaking and water marks, never leave the panel long enough for the solution to air dry.

Start with the least contaminated areas - the "top half' and the upward facing panels, and then move on to the bottom, starting with the front, and then the sides, and finish on the rear.

When it comes to wheels, in this case we'd clean those last using the same solution and a detailing brush.


This stage will always depend on the specific application. There are however, a few essentials we'd recommend keeping in your mobile kitbag to get you out of trouble in any situation…


Very often light paintwork imperfections are even more obvious under indoor lighting, but that's nothing Tripple, our popular all-in-one cleaner and polish, won't be able handle. Using Tripple on a microfibre Polish Pad allows you to target specific areas to cut away light scratches and drying marks. Don't forget that, once polished, it's best to reapply any protective layers or gloss enhancers.


Again, personal preference is a key factor here. How you choose to finish your paintwork often comes down to the products you like to use and how much time you have, along with the colour of your car, how much protection you're after and the desired level of gloss.

Obviously, the Morgan we drafted in is a little on the special side, so we treated it to a couple of layers of our top-end hard wax, Desire. But there's all sorts of products you may enjoy using to finish up your show-winning shine, including Ultra Glaze, Glisten Spray Wax, Radiance Carnauba Crème or any one of our other amazing hard waxes. Don't forget that Finale is also great for it's original intended use - as a quick detailer. This will help you add gloss and remove any fingerprints you may have picked up along the way.


Chances are that, any car that's only had light use will already have a super-clean interior, but that doesn't mean that you can't take the finish to the next level with our infinitely popular interior dressing, Spritz. Either spray directly onto plastic, vinyl and rubber surfaces, wiping away to reveal a classy matte finish, or directly onto a fresh micro fibre to touch in any more awkward parts.

If any actual cleaning is to be done of course, a double dose of our Total Interior Cleaner and Wipe Out Interior Disinfectant is a combination that's hard to beat. Got leather seats? Well, we've got Hide Leather Cleanser and Hide Leather Conditioner for those, too.


No immaculately clean car is complete without a few trick finishing touches. First up, the glass, where you can quickly remove any smears or fingerprints with our Crystal Glass Cleaner. And then the tyres… because, well, what wheel and tyre combo doesn't look the part with a fresh coat of our Satin Tyre Dressing?

Finally, a spot of Mercury Metal Polish to clean up exhaust tips and other metal parts will never go amiss. Although, if you have a load of shiny under-bonnet parts, or indeed, a Morgan Three-Wheeler sporting a chrome S&S V-twin engine up front, the polishing process may take a minute or two longer.



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