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The Best Car Detailing Products For Beginners -
9 min read Friday 10 September 2021

The Best Car Detailing Products For Beginners

Starting off with the best car detailing products will always yield the best results - but you don't need every product ever made at first…

Making your first foray into the world of car detailing is just like being a beginner anywhere else - you don't need every bit of kit in the world to get started, but you will require a few tools in the arsenal to get you going.

Look it like this, without the basics you're like an apprentice mechanic without a set of spanners, or an electrician without a screwdriver. Never fear though, when it comes to the best detailing products and accessories for beginners, or even those just wanting to top up their detailing kit with the essentials, we've got you covered. And that's because simply having the right tool for the job can make all the difference.

So, first thing's first, grab yourself a pressure washer, a couple of our Detailing Buckets and a good quality Wash Mitt, and we'll fill you in on the rest...

Imperial Wheel Cleaner

In the car detailing world we always start the wash process with the wheels, this is to avoid spreading harsh contamination to the rest of the vehicle, especially the paintwork. Imperial Alloy Wheel Cleaner is the master here, this non-acidic formula is safe for regular use on all wheel finishes, and it contains powerful degreasers and cleaning agents that will cut through grime and brake dust in seconds. An easy-to-use, spray-on formula, Imperial is as essential for beginners as it is the professionals, simply spray a liberal amount over the entire wheel, watch as it breaks down the grime and rinse off. For severely contaminated wheels, Imperial has even more bite when it's brushed-in, so why not enhance your kit a little further, adding in a Barrel Brush and a set of Detailing Brushes for tackling the really tough stuff?

Citrus Power Bug & Grime Remover

Whether it's acidic bug splatter in the spring and summer, or salt and harsh road grime in the colder months, you should never be far away from a bottle of Citrus Power Bug & Grime Remover. This is our staple pre-wash cleaner and used to shift the toughest grit and grime, to eradicate the risk of dragging them across your paintwork with your mitt during the contact wash stage. In other words, using Citrus Power as part of an effective pre-wash routine is the only way to avoid inflicting swirl marks that will need to be corrected later.

The way it works is simple, you spray your Citrus Power over the vehicle (starting with the most heavily contaminated areas) and the special cleaning agents will chemically break down the grime, lifting it away from the surfaces and holding it in the solution. This allows contaminants to be rinsed away safely, without inflicting damage. Citrus is powerful stuff, too - you can tackle the heaviest grime - but crucially, it's also kind to previously applied waxes and coatings. This means it won't strip away protection layers during routine maintenance, either.

Lather Car Shampoo

Contact washing the correct way will always pay dividends in keeping your paintwork and plastics swirl-free. Using the right product is a huge part of this, and that's exactly why we developed Lather Car Shampoo. This super-concentrated formula not only creates a thick, lingering foam making it an amazing citrus-infused cleaner, but it's also classed as a lubricant. This means that any stuck-on grime will be broken down and lifted from the surface and suspended away from your paintwork on a slippery layer, helping it glide off during contact with your mitt and when rinsing. Again, this helps avoid the infliction of swirl marks.

Lather is a pure cleaner which contains no waxes or glossing agents, meaning it won't interfere with other detailing stages. Like Citrus Power, it won't strip any previously applied protection layers, either.

Apart from utilising Lather for the ultimate safe contact wash, it's also important to use the "two bucket' technique. This means one for your shampoo solution, and another to rinse out your mitt between passed to avoid contaminating your fresh shampoo with the grime that you've just wiped away. You should always wash your car in straight lines (avoiding circular motions) and tackle the cleanest areas (like the roof and bonnet) first to further enhance your chances of keeping your wash swirl free. It doesn't matter if you're a beginner or a pro, mastering the wash stage is always vital, but using these techniques, along with Lather, will get you there in no time.

Aqua Deluxe, Aqua Deluxe XL or Silk Drying Towel

It's clearly not a bottle product, but there's no doubt that having a dedicated microfibre drying towel, like our Aqua Deluxe microfibre car drying towel, Aqua Deluxe XL or Silk Drying Towel is an absolute essential. The point is that, drying your car after washing is one of the most crucial stages because tap water - i.e. the stuff that you've likely just cleaned your car with - will inevitably contain mineral impurities that, if left to dry naturally, will be left on surfaces in the form of water spots. If you're lucky you can remove these with a little Finale Quick Detailer, if you're not they may have to be polished out, so it's best to avoid them in the first place. It's actually one of the most common mistakes by beginners, so always remember to dry the whole car, including the shuts and the wheels!

The secret to keeping the drying process super safe is all in the absorbent microfibre, our drying towels actively soak up the water, along with the impurities, rather than merely push it around across the surface. This helps to avoid any abrasion and leftover watermarks.

As a nice little pro tip, if you're looking for something a little smaller to make life easier when tackling those tricky wheel designs, try using an Ultra Plush Microfibre, which will absorb water in much the same way.

Tripple All-in-One Car Polish

Perfect for beginners, and utilised every day by enthusiasts and professionals the world over, Tripple is our all-in-one car polish that cleans, polishes and protects in a single application.

The great thing about Tripple is that this light abrasive is extremely easy to use to refine paintwork and clean away any oxidation. The special diminishing abrasives it contains are easily broken down, making it just as suitable for hand polishing as it is for machine work. And, because it's infused with Brazilian carnauba wax, it will even leave behind a protection layer durable for around a month. The ultimate polish for an enhancement, especially for those who like to keep their detailing super-speedy.

For more information on Tripple, along with our other polishes and compounds check out our article All Car Polishes Explained.

Glisten Spray Wax

This advanced, solvent-based spray wax gives a whole month's worth of protection as a stand-alone product, or can be used to extend the protection of previously-applied hard waxes, and top up the carnauba layer after polishing with Tripple. Not only that, but this one also leaves behind a super-high gloss shine that will make your paintwork look deeper and glossier than you ever thought possible!

But, aesthetics aside, why is it important to add protection after washing or polishing? Well, it's simply to stop the elements getting to your paintwork and ruining any effort you've already put in. Glisten Car Spray Wax, it has to be said, is the fastest way of adding a slick protection layer, and one of our best LSPs (Last Stage Products) for speed and simplicity.

Ideal for use on every detail - and that includes immediately after drying on maintenance washes - Glisten has been packed with an easy-on, easy-off wax emulsion, making it not only ideal for beginners, but for everyone else, too.

Suitable for use all paintwork and vinyl wraps (including matte or satin finishes), Glisten is also great for adding protection to all those hard-to-reach areas, like inside panel gaps and shuts. A quick spritz, spread and a wipe (with your microfibre towel) is all you need here… but go easy, a little Glisten really does go a long way!

Crystal Glass Cleaner

Leaving behind streaky, spotted smeary glass is a sure-fire way to bring down your whole detail… but that's exactly where Crystal Glass Cleaner comes in.

This finely balanced of distilled solvents can literally melt away the tough stuff, like greasy films, water spots, soiling and fingerprints, while remaining safe to use on the more sensitive finishes like vinyl tints and even polycarbonate racing windows.

What's great here is that the fast-flashing formula makes it virtually impossible to leave behind streaks as it effortlessly breaks down and lifts contamination, allowing you to quickly wipe it away. Simply spritz directly onto each section of glass, before wiping and buffing with a fresh cloth - that's it, and you can do this both inside and out. It's no wonder Crystal is one of our most popular products ever.

For the very best results we like to use Crystal with our Superior Waffle, a specially-engineered glass cleaning and buffing towel. This microfibre uses a special waffle weave design to lift and lock away debris, making getting that all-important smear-free finish easier than ever before.

Total Interior Cleaner

When it comes to the inside, Total Car Interior Cleaner really can do it all. In fact, this has to be one of the ultimate car detailing kitbag essentials for beginners, simply because one product can handle pretty much anything!

Suitable for use on all interior surfaces, from soft-touch plastics and vinyl, to leather, rubber, fabrics and carpets, Total is particularly ideal because it can be used time and time again without the risks associated with harsh all-purpose cleaners.

When it comes to dashboards, doorcards and plastic trims, simply spray and wipe to leave behind a natural, satin/matte finish. And, for carpets and fabrics, just spray, agitate with an Upholstery Cleaning Brush, and wipe with a fresh cloth. It really is that simple.

Total contains a powerful blend of cleaners that are perfect for intensive spot stain removal, but also great for the general cleaning of all surfaces, cutting through the worst contaminants - like makeup, mildew, suntan lotion, grease, coffee and even old dressings - while leaving behind nothing but a pleasant lime scent. The only general-purpose interior cleaner you will ever need!

Satin Tyre Crème

Looking for that perfect finishing touch? Of course you are, and they don't get any better than Satin Tyre Crème.

This all-in-one tyre dressing is unique because, no matter what car you use it on, you get to choose the level of gloss. It's actually the first "layer-able' tyre dressing, and this means that you can use a single application for a natural "as-new' sheen. Or you can continue to build up the layers for more of a show car-style, wet-look gloss.

This water-based cream also nourishes and conditions tyres from within, while utilising special UV-inhibitors to help to protect from browning and cracking in the future.

Apply yours with a Tyre and Trim Dressing Applicator or Tyre Dressing Spot Pad, and we'll guarantee that you'll be amazed at the results.


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