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How to Detail like a Professional

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by Toytuner, May 30, 2013.

  1. Toytuner

    Toytuner Well-Known Member Donated!

    So i figured since i do this for a living i would do a step by step walk through of professional detail.

    Getting Started:

    You dont need to spend $250 bucks to get a really amazing detail on your car. You can do it by yourself with some basic supplies and an afternoon of your time. I do this for a living so if anyone has any questions after going through this how to, PM me and i will help however i can.


    -2 empty spray bottles (I get mine from the dollar store)
    -1 liter of Armor All or your favorite protectant. (I slightly dilute the armor all so it flows better and doesn't glare and collects less dust.)
    -1 liter of All Purpose Degreaser. I Get my degreaser in bulk, its made by LA's Totally Awesome and most dollar stores like Dollar Tree and dollar General. Its super cheap and it works better than most automotive degreaser, plus it wont kill you lol. But you can always pick up some degreaser in the car washing isle at a parts store too.
    -AMMONIA FREE window cleaner. If your windows are tinted you MUST USE AMONIA FREE. Amonia will ruin your tint. So it just easier to use amonia free as a rule.
    -Vacuum with a wedge attachment for getting into hard to reach places
    -Several Cold Beverages of your choosing i prefer mine to be of the Alcoholic Persuasion.
    -10 Cleaning cloths. I used terry cloth and microfiber. Pre wash any cloths you buy from the store, and DO NOT use any detergent or fabric softener, it will cause streaking.
    -Compressed air and blower nozzle, if you dont have access to an air compressor, you can use a Can of Air that you use for blowing out your keyboard.
    -a tooth brush and a hand scrub brush,the kind you would usually use for cleaning dishes or the bathroom floor.
    -A well lit area. If its nice out, do this outside, you will see things far better than if you are indoors.

    Getting Started:

    1. Start by rolling down your windows, opening your doors and trunk/hatch.
    2. Throw away all trash and those mcdonalds bags stuffed under your seat(yeah you know that they've been there for a while lol!)
    3. Use air to blow out all the debris from underneath and from the all consuming space between your center console and seat and between the seat and door sill. Odds are they will be some change down there! Blow out the door pockets and the interior door handle well.

    4. If your doors have any scummy build up on them in high use areas like the door handle, window controls, locks or where you place your arm on the door when cruising with the window down, you will need to degrease these areas and scrub them with your tooth brush and wipe them clean and dry with a cloth.

    5. Next you will need to spray the hell out of your vinyl areas on your door panel, door sill, weather stripping and, the edges of the door itself. Don't worry about using too much, the better the coverage the better the end result. Once you have achieved total coverage then you can begin to wipe these areas down. Dirty areas like the door edges might need a second coat. You dont really notice it but these are some of the dirtiest areas, because they arent truly inside or outside of the car so they never get cleaned.
    (door edges)
    (door sill and striker plate)
    (weather stripping)
    (Dont be shy about using the Armor All)

    6. Use your compressed air to blow the "armor all" across the panels and into the hard to reach areas. The air helps move the armor all and allows better coverage than just wiping it off with a cloth.
    (Using the air to blow the armor all in the vents is the best way to get them totally clean)
    (Dont forget to get all of the small places that you might overlook)
    (Get the center console good, the bolster and lumbar adjustment is a scum trap so it will be full of nastyness, as will the coin holder, which i dont have mine is a touchscreen switch now.)
    (Be careful around your head unit, you dont want to soak it in armor all, it could damage it. I usually just hold a towel over mine when i spray the heater controls and surrounding area. blow the armor all into the cracks and crevices and wipe it down, till its shiny and fresh looking, like this.)
    (I noticed some scummy grossness on my map light so i used a little degreaser on a cloth and scrubbed it off.)
    (DO NOT USE DEGREASER ON YOUR GAUGE CLUSTER, When spraying armor all on the cluster and then using air hold the cloth over the trip reset button, so you dont get any inside the cluster.)

    7. Repeat these steps on all other interior panels.

    8. After you have finished the previous steps you can then vacuum your carpet. The reason you do this step later on is so that anything you blow around during the protectant phase doesnt need to be vacuumed up again. Be thorough when vacuuming, i spend about 10 to 15 minutes on each side of the car. Here's a little pro secret. If you have a little dog hair in the carpet and it wont come out, lightly misting it with windex will cause the hair to curl and make it easier to vacuum!
    *Make sure you are staying quenched with those cold beverages!*

    9. After the interior is done, you can move to the outside.Use the degreaser on your tires and scrub them with your brush. the degreaser cuts through road grime and strips off old tire shine and brake dust. I wont tell you to use it on your rims unless they are a stock or a painted wheel. chrome and polished aluminum wheels sometimes dont respond favorably to degreaser. Washing and drying a car is self explanatory i guess so you dont need my help here....*Jeopardy theme plays*...dont forget the tire shine!!!

    10. Waxing a vehicle is something that alot of people struggle with, usually because they dont directly follow the instructions of the wax. I use several different kinds of waxes and polishing compounds depending on the finish of the car. If you have any questions what kind of polish to use heres some helpful tips.
    *Shiny paint with no oxidation- Use a wax
    *Somewhat shiny with slighty oxidation- use a more aggressive wax
    *dull paint with a hazy oxidation- use a fine cut polish followed by a wax
    Anything more severe than that you will need a professional help
    Dont wax out in the hot sun either, turtle wax ICE is the only wax ive ever seen that had favorable results in direct sun, but its really only for already glossy paintjobs and is great for car shows.

    11. Lastly Do your windows, even though you washed it, it never hurts to gives the outside a good cleaning just to be sure that they are immaculate. Do not forget the most missed item in 95% of all details done. THE MIRROR ON THE VISOR!

    If you spent some time and really dove into this project without cutting any corners your car should be as clean as it was the day it left the dealership in the late 80's. Nothing looks better than an ultra clean 4th gen that someone took the time to make sure it was perfect.
    Thanks Guys, any questions on cleaning things or how to do certain things PM me and ill be glad to help.

  2. MattC

    MattC Well-Known Member Donated!

    Good writeup, thanks :thumbsup:
  3. Toytuner

    Toytuner Well-Known Member Donated!

    thanks man
  4. invinciblejets

    invinciblejets Well-Known Member Donated!

    Wow I cleaned my door sills and such a difference!

    Just adds to the effect of clean makes a big difference!

    Nice tutorial
  5. 187flatliner

    187flatliner Seat Breaker Donated!

    <<<free details for life, i only wash my car.
  6. CelicaSteve

    CelicaSteve Well-Known Member Staff Member Super Moderator Donated!

    Excellent ! MFs ( microfibre cloths) = man's best friend. :D
  7. Toytuner

    Toytuner Well-Known Member Donated!

    its always overlooked but it makes such a difference. its the hallmark of a quality detail

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