How to Detail a Car Step by Step To Make It Look New Again

How to Detail a Car Step by Step To Make It Look New Again

How to detail a car step by step goes far beyond the normal vacuum and wash jobs that people do on their cars. Car detailing is all about paying attention to those tiny details that will make your car pop.

When car detailing, you need to start with the interior space so that you do not have to worry much about messing up the exterior space when detailing the inside.

This is how to detail a car step by step:

This car detailing guide will show you how to detail your car step by step. As aforementioned, you should start with the interior and then head over to the exterior space.

So, this article follows that order.

How to Detail a Car’s Interior Step by Step

Step One: Remove Floor Mats and Vacuum

The first thing you need to do is remove floor mats, then start vacuuming the floor, mats, upholstery, trunk, rear parcel shelf, and the dash.

After that, vacuum the carpet underneath, starting from top moving all the way down.

Step Two: Clean any Stains Using a Foam Cleanser

Apply a foam cleanser on the carpet or upholstery stains and rub it in with a damp piece of sponge or cloth. Allow it to sit there for a few minutes prior to drying it off using a towel. If the stains do not come out, you might want to repeat this process or use a more powerful cleaner.

After doing your last cleaner application, wash the region using a damp sponge, and then do the final blotting.

Step Three: Repair any Carpet Holes, Burns, and Stains

You can do this yourself by cutting the spot out and replacing it with a piece that you will cut from a hidden place like underneath the seat. You can use a water-resistant adhesive for this purpose to keep it down.

Step Four: Clean Rubber Floor Mats

When doing this, apply a non-slip dressing, which prevents the driver from slipping or sliding while trying to do crucial things like braking.

Step Five: Remove the Accumulated Dust on the Dashboard and Interior Doors

You can do this using detailing brushes or compressed air to eliminate that dust on the buttons and crevices of your car’s dashboard and interior doors.

Step Six: Wipe Hard Interior Surfaces

Do this using a mild all-purpose cleaner or an interior dressing product to finish it off.

Step Seven: Detail Car Air Vent Grilles

You can detail your car’s air vents grilles using detailing brushes. Do this if you are not planning to use liquids afterward. The best product for this purpose is a super-absorbent material such as a microfiber cloth, which easily picks up dust and dirt.

For this step, you can also consider spraying vinyl dressing onto the vent grilles, as this will make them look pristine.

Step Eight: Clean the Seats

A how to detail a car step by step guide would not be complete without cleaning the seats. This is an essential part of any car detailing process. However, one thing to note here is that you may be required to vacuum the seats or surrounding area again because this process will loosen up the dirt.

Car interiors with nylon and other cloths can be shampooed using a wet-vacuum extraction machine. After doing the extraction, you will want to dry off the cloth.

On the other hand, leather or vinyl interiors can be cleaned using a vinyl or leather cleaner, and then passed on softly with a leather brush. The cleaning product can then be wiped off using a microfiber cloth.

Step Nine: Condition the Seats

This step mostly applies to those individuals with leather car seats. If this is you, then you can condition them after cleaning with the product. Conditioning is crucial because it makes leather look visually appealing and firm so that it does not start to crack.

Step Ten: Clean Interior Windows

The final thing you need to do when detailing a car’s interior is to clean the interior windows. Start this process by first spraying glass cleaner on the windows and mirrors, and then wipe them clean. If you are dealing with a lot of buildup, consider using a 4-ought steel wool on the windows. If the gauge is made of plastic, consider using a plastic cleaner, as it will most likely do a better job.

Remember to use a microfiber cloth when wiping or washing. If you do not have that, consider using a lint-free cloth instead. These materials enable you to not leave any fibrous residue over the car’s interior.

How to Detail a Car’s Exterior Step by Step

Your car would not be in good condition if you do not detail its exterior. Here is how to detail a car’s exterior step by step.

Step One: Clean the Wheels

Start with brushing the wheel rims using a wheel cleaner or brush. It is good to first start with the rims because they accumulate the most dirt and grime. You might also need to leave the cleaning agent on it for quite a while before brushing. One thing to note about cleaning agents is that acid-based cleaners can be used on rough-textured alloy wheels but not on polished ones.

Step Two: Wash the Tires

The next thing you need to do is start working on those tires using a whitewall tire cleaner. You should apply tire dressing and then leave it to soak in. Afterward, wipe it off using a clean cotton cloth to achieve a matte look.

Step Three: Wrap Electronic Elements in Plastic

Consider wrapping any electronic components using plastic because after that, you will need to spray degreaser on everything, and then spray down with a pressure washer. You do not want the electronics to be affected in any way, and that is why it is crucial to wrap them in plastic.

Step Four: Cover Up Non-Metal Parts

To achieve a glossy look, consider dressing up non-metal areas of your car using rubber or vinyl protectant. Give the protectant a few minutes to soak in to achieve a matte finish.

Step Five: Start Washing the Exterior

After making sure that everything will be protected, the next thing you do is start washing your car’s exterior. You can do this using dish detergent or car wash soap.

Consider parking your car in a spot with enough shade, then use a deep-pile terrycloth microfiber towel to wash off any dirt and grime. Such a towel is important because it will help trap contaminants, preventing them from grinding onto the car’s surface.

When cleaning, consider using two pails – one with water and the other one with sudsy cleaner. After dipping the cloth into the sudsy water and clean a certain part of your car, dip the dirty cloth into the pail with water, as this helps prevent contaminating the cleaning pail.

Remember to work from the top down and do not allow the soap to dry off.

When you are done, ensure that you rinse off the car and no spots are left. Use a chamois or terry cloth to dry off the car, especially the glass area.

Step Six: Clean Exterior Windows

The next thing to do is clean the outside windows. Note that glass on newly detailed cars should shine and reflect, and not seem dull and grimy.

Step Seven: Remove Bonded Contaminants

Eliminate any bonded contaminants like sap on your car using a liquid clay bar.

Step Eight: Apply Polish or Wax

Polish helps your car achieve a glossy look and feel, while wax acts as a protectant.


If you were looking for information on how to detail a car step by step, then this article has, without doubt, cleared things up for you. Therefore, you should now be in a better position to detail your car on your own.