Everything you need to detail your car’s exterior like a pro (without breaking the bank)

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Remember the day you first picked up your car from the dealership? How shiny it was? Chances are that unless you’ve had it detailed since then, it just doesn’t have that same sparkle anymore. And if you’ve ever considered getting your car detailed, it can be downright expensive even for just the exterior. 

So instead of paying for an expensive, professional exterior detail, just do it yourself! Here’s everything you’ll need. To make it even better, all of your subsequent details will be even cheaper since you’ll have everything handy!

Car Detailing Kit (Brushes, Applicators, etc.)

EVBOYS 16-Piece Car Detailing Kit, $32.99

EVBOYS 16 Pcs Car Detailing Kit




For any sort of exterior detailing project, no matter how deep you’re diving into the process, you’ll need to have an assortment of brushes and applicators. Sure, you can buy these all separately, but you’ll save money by simply buying a car detailing kit that has a bunch of different tools included.

This 16-piece detailing kit from EVBOYS comes with everything you need to get started detailing your car today. It includes 5 different size soft-tip brushes, steel wire brushes, mini dusters, power scrubber attachments, and more. 

Car Wash Soap

Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Foaming Car Wash Soap, $14.99

Mr. Pink Foaming Car Wash Soap, 64 oz., Candy Scent

Chemical Guys


If you were to ask anyone on the street what they needed to clean the exterior of their car, I’d be willing to bet that the most common answer is soap. And that’s exactly right! Before you can do anything else to detail the exterior, you need to make sure the car is clean and ready to go.

But you don’t just want to grab some dish soap from under the sink and throw it in a bucket. Instead, get high-quality car wash soap that’s designed specifically for this purpose. With Mr. Pink Foaming Car Wash Soap from Chemical Guys, you’ll be ready to go. But there’s an even better option than putting it in a bucket and filling it up with a garden hose.

Foam Blaster 

Chemical Guys Torq Foam Blaster 6, $44.65

Torq Foam Blaster 6 Foam Wash Gun

Chemical Guys



This one goes hand in hand with the soap from above, since a Foam Blaster is without a doubt the best way to apply foaming car wash. Sticking with the same brand, the Torq Foam Blaster 6 from Chemical Guys is the ideal tool for covering your car in soap in no time at all. 

With this foaming car wash soap gun, you can take advantage of the cleaning properties of foam soap without risking damage to the paint underneath. The vast majority of scratches and swirls seen in automotive paint is from improper cleaning (typically from moving the abrasive dirt around with a brush or sponge).

Simply spray the foam all over, let it work it’s magic, then rinse it off. It’s that easy!

Clay Bar Kit

Mothers California Gold Clay Bar System, $20.32

Mother California Gold Clay Bar System




One of the best secrets about detailing the exterior of your car is to use what’s known as a clay bar kit, like this one from Mothers. And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like — rubbing a bar of clay on the exterior of your car. With the right type of clay and associated spray, a clay bar is the perfect tool for removing embedded foreign debris from your car’s paint job.

A clay bar kit alone can give your car that showroom shine and leave the paint silky smooth, without even having to add a layer of wax. Keep in mind that you want to make sure the exterior is clean first, as you don’t want to be rubbing abrasive dirt around and potentially scratching your paint!

Plastic/Vinyl/Rubber Restorer

Carfidant Trim & Plastic Restorer, $16.99

Carfidant Trim & Plastic Restorer




While we tend to focus on the metal body panels more than anything else while detailing our cars, there is actually quite a bit of plastic, rubber, and vinyl as well. This typically comes in the form of black trim around the doors, windows, wheel wells, and more.

Over time, this trim starts to naturally fade and degrade in the sun, but thankfully it’s easy to restore with the proper solution. Simply apply this restorer, wipe the trim pieces down, and you’re all set. They’ll look brand new again while also being able to resist fading and degrading a bit more for the time being.

Car Wax and Wax Applicator Pad

Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax — 16-ounce, $17.86

Meguiar’s G210516 Ultimate Liquid Wax, 16 oz




Mothers Yellow Microfiber Applicator Pads (6-Pack), $7.99

Mothers Yellow Microfiber Ultra Soft Applicator and Cleaning Pads




If you do think back to the day you picked your car up off the lot like I suggested at the start of this article, I’m willing to bet that your car’s shine is what sticks with you. I remember seeing my new car for the first time when I was standing outside with the salesman. Bliss. It hasn’t looked that shiny since!

Well, you can get your car looking like that again with a coat of wax. Waxing your car is the single best way to make it look like it just rolled off the showroom floor. There are all different sorts of wax out there, but Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax is among the easiest to use. Just grab a pack of wax applicators, follow the instructions, and you’ll be in that state of bliss again.