What you’ll need (more or less – it’s what I’ve found works the best for me after 7 years of car detailing.)
Dawn – Dishwashing Detergent
Meguiar’s – Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo
Car Wash Mitt
Meguiar’s – Hot Rims Wheel Cleaner
Wheel Cleaning Brush
California Dry Blade
Meguiar’s – Ultimate Chamois
Mother’s – Clay Bar and Detailing Spray
Microfiber Applicator Pads (6)
Microfiber or Terry towels\rags (8-10)
Meguiar’s – Deep Crystal System Paint Clealer (Step 1)
Meguiar’s – NXT Tech Wax
Meguiar’s – Deep Crystal System Polish (Step 2)
Meguiar’s – Deep Crystal System Caranuba Wax (Step 3)
Meguiar’s – Gold Class Endurance Tire Gel
Meguar’s – Gold Class Leather Cleaner\Conditioner
Glass Cleaner, aerosol
All told, that should set you back about $125 or so.
Try to do all this with the car cool, in the shade.
1. Begin by thoroughly washing down the exterior with Dawn dishwashing detergent and a clean, soft wash mitt. Dawn does the best job of removing any old wax, along with gently cleaning the paint. Dawn also has the nasty habit of drying out plastic parts and trim, so don’t use it often. Dry.
2. Spray a small area (about a square foot) with the Mother’s Detailing Spray, and gently rub the Clay Bar over that area. Repeat with the entire exterior, paying especially close attention to the hood, roof, and trunk of the car – these receive the most contaminants of any area of the car’s paint. After every two feet, knead the clay bar, turning it over on itself to keep from rubbing with the same area.
3. Apply the Paint Cleaner to a small section at a time – do NOT allow to dry, wipe off immediately with a clean towel.
4. Wash the car again, to remove all the gunk from the clay bar process. Clean the wheels with the wheel cleaner, making sure not to leave the cleaner on the wheels for longer than about half a minute – otherwise it may eat through the wheel coating. Dry.
5. Apply the NXT wax to a small area at a time, allowing it to dry to a haze before buffing it out.
6. Apply the Deep Crystal Polish to a small area at a time, do not allow to dry, wipe off immediately with a clean towel.
7. Apply one or two coats of the Caranuba Wax, allowing it to dry to a haze, then wipe off with a clean towel. (Caranuba Wax is what causes the oh-so sexy beading of water)
8. Apply the tire gel, waiting at least 10 minutes for it to set before applying another coat.
9. Thoroughly clean the interior and exterior of the windows and windshield (I usually use several clean, white terry rags along with a good, aerosol window cleaner – DON’T use generic, it’ll be cloudy) Rain-X should be applied to a cool window surface, let dry to a haze, then remove by sprinkling the surface with water and drying it off.
All in all, a good, thorough detailing should take you about 7 or 8 hours. I do this once a year, before winter. I’ve tried Zaino, but was just never as happy with the shine as what I got with the Meguiar’s products – I’m happier applying a new coat of wax every six months if it looks better, and I think it does.