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11 Must-Have Auto Detailing Supplies [Buying Guide]

Thinking of At-Home Auto Detailing? Set Yourself Up For Success With These Top Products

Best Overall Choice

Meguiar's Gold Class Car Wash

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Best Budget Choice
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MR. SIGA Microfiber Towels

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Best Premium Choice
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Porter Cable 7424XP Variable Speed Orbital Polisher

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The world of automotive detailing is a deep rabbit hole of products, expertise, and opinions (wanted or otherwise). If you’re new to the game and just looking to get started detailing your car at home, the good news is that you don’t need to be an expert to achieve professional results. You just need the right auto detailing supplies and a little bit of know-how.

11 Auto Detailing Supplies to Keep in Your Garage

If you’re hoping to achieve a professional level of shine from your car’s finish, your best bet is to invest in a handful of high-quality items to get started. These eleven top automotive detailing supplies come from some of the top brands with proven results and are a great place to get started. With these eleven supplies on hand, you can keep your car looking showroom new and/or car show ready.

Best Overall Choice

1. Meguiar's Gold Class Car Wash

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Meguiar’s is one of the most trusted brands in car care and their Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo & Conditioner comes highly rated as one of the best car wash soaps for tackling tough contaminants.

This powerful and deep-cleaning product is engineered to clean and condition paint in one easy step. The specially designed formula includes a foaming agent that powers through dirt, dust, and stubborn road grime. The rich paint conditioners clear away debris for a deep, glossy shine.

This premium pH-balanced car wash soap can be applied with a foam cannon or with a wash mitt and bucket of water and is specially formulated to help give you a streak-free finish with no water spots. A thorough car wash is the necessary starting point for auto detailing, and with Meguir’s Gold Class car wash, you can rest assured you’re starting with a sparkling clean exterior.

2. Chemical Guys Medium Clay Bar

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If you’re getting more serious about your car cleaning routine, a high-quality clay bar is arguably one of the best car detailing supplies you can buy.

A clay bar is essential to keeping your car’s surface free of contaminants, but it can also be intimidating to anyone new to auto detailing. Low-quality clay bars are often abrasive, which can actually cause more harm than good to your car’s finish if you are not careful.

This medium clay bar from the Chemical Guys is exactly the high-quality, user-friendly clay bar that you want when starting out. Not only will it remove all the contaminants from the surface of your car but it will also make waxing a breeze. This clay bar can also remove overspray from your detergent and all traces of dirt, road grime, and contaminants in your finish that your soap or shampoo might have left behind.

Chemical Guys has engineered this bar with “Flex-Clay” technology making it easy to remove even the most stubborn brake dust or caked-on grime. This great all-purpose clay bar is non-abrasive and safe for use on all car surfaces including chrome, glass, fiberglass, and aluminum.

3. Aero Cosmetics Wash Wax ALL

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The Aero Cosmetics Wash Wax ALL was initially designed for airplanes. Designed to be used either as either a wet or waterless wax, the formula is designed to gently clean and protect the exterior of your car.

This spray-on wax cleans and protects without leaving a sticky, unsightly film. Instead, it creates a non-stick protective coating that shields your car’s finish from harmful UV rays.

Plus, Wash Wax ALL goes on easy; simply spray it on your car’s exterior and wipe dry using a clean microfiber towel. It is safe to use on all parts of your vehicle, both inside and out, including paint, gel coat, plastic, chrome, glass, leather, and vinyl.

When choosing your car detailing products, it is always important to consider the environment. This long-lasting wax is designed from an eco-friendly, alcohol and ammonia-free formula that is water-based and 100% biodegradable.

Best Budget Choice

4. MR. SIGA Microfiber Towels

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When choosing applicators for your various auto detailing supplies, the most trusted option is always a quality microfiber towel or dedicated microfiber wash mitt. You’ll find having a large stack of clean microfiber towels on hand makes your life a whole lot easier when it comes to cleaning your car.

This 12-pack of microfiber towels are ultra-soft and highly absorbent. Made of a polyester/nylon blend, they are designed to capture dust, dirt, and grime while being soft enough to protect delicate surfaces from scratches.

They are also entirely affordable and reusable—simply toss them in the washing machine with a microfiber wash and they’ll be good as new for your next car detailing session.

Best Premium Choice

5. Porter Cable 7424XP Variable Speed Orbital Polisher

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If you’re looking to up your car detailing game with an orbital polisher, the 7424XP Variable Speed Polisher is one of the better car buffers on the market. It is as popular with professionals as it is with car enthusiasts, thanks to being remarkably user-friendly and safe to use on any finish.

It is advertised as one of the safest car buffers available because it features a random orbit, heat overload protection, and variable speed options, all of which protect you and your car from damage.

These features make the 7424XP an ideal car buffer for beginners. The dual-action random orbital polisher moves the buffer pad around the spindle similar to how the Earth moves around the sun. This action makes it an immensely effective car buffer that is easy to use and powerful, yet not so powerful as to burn the factory finish on your vehicle.

6. Chemical Guys Goat Boar's Hair Detail Brush

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This Chemical Guys detailing brush is one of the few detailing brushes that work as effectively on exterior surfaces as it does on interior surfaces.

This versatile brush is gentle enough to use for intricate interior detailing and durable enough to hold up to tough grease or oil in engine bays. This brush is so versatile that you can even use it to clean brake calipers, grilles, grates, and even wheels and engine components.

The brush is made from soft boar’s hair bristles to ensure no surface, including paint, will be scratched or marred. The bristles are chemical-resistant and work great with Chemical Guys cleaner and degreaser products.

It also includes a durable plastic handle with zero traces of metal, which prevents even the tiniest of scratches from forming on your car’s painted surfaces. We’d recommend ordering two brushes so you can have one dedicated to interior cleaning and one for exterior jobs.

7. TriNova Tire Shine Spray

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If your auto detailing supplies list does not include a tire dressing, then your list is incomplete. The TriNova Tire Shine Spray is one great option, designed to give your tires a dark, shiny finish.

Not only does this spray make your tires look good, but it also helps protect them from excessive dust build-up and premature wear and tear. It is engineered with advanced coating protection which not only will protect your tires from deterioration but fight signs of aging too. It even repels dirt, dust, and grime.

The spray goes on easy and you’ll love its long-lasting effect. Unlike other tire dressings, it only requires one application to provide a high-gloss shine that lasts longer than many other auto detailing tire shine products on the market.

8. Sonax Upholstery & Carpet Cleaner

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Sonax is the upholstery cleaning powerhouse of the automotive world and one of the best auto detailing supplies you can buy to help clean and protect the interior of your car. Sonax’s upholstery cleaner is specially formulated to power through grease and grime and is just as effective on caked-on mud and dirt as it is stains and residue.

Sonax is effective on dirt and grime because it foams on contact with the upholstery. The foam expands and fills in the porous surface of the upholstery, enabling the cleaning foam to cling to the dirt and grime. When you wipe it away, you are left with a spotless surface.

The foaming agent also eliminates the microscopic particles left behind by other cleaners to help effectively eliminate odors. If you have kids, dogs, or simply a dirty interior, this cleaner will help restore and deodorize your interior. Note that if you have a leather interior, you’ll want to shop for a separate leather cleaner for your interior.

9. Meguiars Perfect Clarity Glass Cleaner

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If you’re looking for a high-quality glass cleaner, Meguiar’s Perfect Clarity Glass Cleaner delivers a spotless, streakless, showroom-shine for glass so clean you’ll forget you are looking through a window.

Specifically engineered to keep glass cleaner for longer, this great glass cleaner reduces the time and effort you’ll put into cleaning your windows. Simply spray on and wipe it away to leave glass crystal-clean and residue-free.

This cleaner also includes dust repellent technology which prevents dust from clinging to any glass surfaces. It also includes a unique lubricant that reduces friction between the glass surface and your microfiber towel ensuring zero residues are left behind.

10. Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum

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The Dirt Devil Scorpion is a great handheld car vacuum for cleaning your car’s interior. It has a 7-amp motor, and this little vacuum is exceptionally powerful and compact.

It comes with a 16-foot power cord and 2.5-foot detachable hose so you can easily get to the most stubborn dirt and dust build-ups in all the tough-to-reach places in your car. The vacuum only weighs 3 pounds and can easily be stored in the trunk of your car.

The Scorpion comes with a quick-flip crevice tool and a reusable filter, making use and upkeep quick and easy. This is one auto detailing tool you will be happy to have in your kit.

11. Chemical Guys ProBlow

Chemical Guys Pro Blow

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A final step in any good car wash and/or detail is to get a spot-free dry on the vehicle. The boutique car detailing supply company Chemical Guys recently released its corded dryer/blower, which works really well and is a bargain price.

It has a built-in 10-foot cord for the 1,000-watt motor. Thanks to its compact design it weighs a feathery 3.3-pounds. The motor is rated at a powerful 8.5-amps. Since it is designed for car detailing, the end of the nozzle comes with a protective rubber tip.

Another way to accomplish a spot-free car after a wash is to use a leaf blower. Check out our guide for this time-tested method using a tool you might already have at home: Learn The Leaf Blower For Car Drying Method & Find The Best Car Detailing Blower.

How to Choose The Best Auto Detailing Supplies

The best auto detailing supplies combine effectiveness and affordability. Nobody should have to break their bank account just to detail their car. High-quality products are also safe and easy to use and should provide long-lasting protection for your car’s surfaces.

Determining what you need to achieve an expert level auto detail is as easy as examining your vehicle’s features. If your car’s exterior includes any metal such as chrome, stainless steel, or aluminum, be sure to purchase an automotive metal polish to bring out the maximum shine from your wheels, bumpers, and any other metal accessory bolted to your car’s exterior.

Auto detailing supplies that you may want to consider include:

  • Car soap, shampoo, or foam wash
  • Clay bar
  • Car wax
  • Microfiber towels
  • Car buffer (orbital or rotary)
  • Detailing brushes
  • Tire cleaner & shine
  • Metal Polish (chrome, stainless steel, aluminum)
  • Glass cleaner
  • Squeegee
  • Car vacuum
  • Upholstery cleaner (vinyl, leather, etc.)
  • Brake dust remover
  • Hose
  • Sponge
  • Bucket & grit guard
  • Foam cannon

auto detailing supplies

Complete auto detailing kits and car wash kits are also available for purchase if you want to remove some of the guesswork (and save some money) by purchasing a complete kit instead. However you decide to detail your car, it is always important to remember that an artist is only as good as their tools. Purchasing high-quality auto detailing supplies will pay dividends back when you slide behind the wheel of your beautifully polished vehicle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I purchase auto detailing supplies?

The cost of professional detailing supplies and services can climb quickly. Buying your own car care products wholesale or otherwise is the best way to save money while keeping your car’s finish in tip-top shape.

How long does it take to detail a car?

This will depend on the level of detail you want to do and your level of skill. To be on the safe side, plan for a couple of hours to clean your car thoroughly inside and out.

As you get more proficient with your tools and products and if you keep up with regular detailing, it should take less time as you’ll have a cleaner car to work with from the start.

Are there any detailing supplies that are environmentally safe?

Yes. Though normal soaps and detergents are not extremely harmful to the environment, customers looking for more environmentally friendly options do have some options to choose from.

Soaps and solvents that are able to break down in water are available, and these products can be washed away with no damage to the groundwater. Look for biodegradable products and those labeled eco-friendly.

You can also wash and detail your car on a platform that won’t allow the soap and water to run out onto the ground. Water reclamation systems can then take in the soapy and dirty water to filter and reuse.

How can I take care of my auto detailing supplies?

Taking care of your supplies is important as you will always want to utilize clean tools to wash or detail your car Always wash your tools after use to ensure they are ready for the next time.

Detailing towels can be machine washed but remember not to wash them together with other clothes or towels because the microfiber will collect the lint and they will become useless.

Finally, mixing tools, buckets, and applicators during the cleaning process will lead to cross-contamination and undesirable results. Keep your buckets, brushes, mitts, and other equipment separate and clean for best results.

Can I use dish soap instead of a car wash or shampoo?

We do not recommend using dish soap to wah your car. Dish soap contains harsh detergents that are designed to remove every little bit of oil, fat, or grease from your dishes. These harsh chemicals may damage your car’s finish.

Can I use an all-purpose cleaner for my interior?

You may be tempted to use an all-purpose cleaner for the interior, but this is not a good idea. These products are not pH balanced and can leave white residue on the fibers. Once the product dries, the fibers will become stiff, and the residue will stay in the fibers forming a white stain.

Always read the instructions on any product before applying it to your interior. You can also spot test the product on a small section of your upholstery or leather to make sure it won’t stain or discolor the fabric.

Kristen Arendt
About Kristen Arendt

Kristen is a writer and editor based in Colorado. She came to motorsports by way of her husband's passion for track days, autocross, and fast cars and is now the proud co-driver of two E36 325s and an overland-in-the-making Lexus GX470. She is a volunteer driving instructor with the BMW CCA Rocky Mountain Chapter and enjoys any event that involves getting behind the wheel or navigating from the passenger's seat.