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What is Auto Detailing, and Why is It Better than a Car Wash?

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Calendar Icon April 3, 2022

What does auto detailing do?

  1. Cleans Exterior
  2. Corrects
  3. Protects
  4. Cleans Interior

Many people think that having your car washed or detailed is the same thing — but this is not the case. In many ways, auto detailing goes above and beyond what car washing can do. And, auto detailing involves special products and methods to ensure your vehicle looks practically flawless, inside and out.

But what is auto detailing, exactly? In this article, we cover all that auto detailing does to your vehicle, and how it is better than a car wash.

Cleans Exterior


Auto detailing does more than just clean the exterior of your car — but this is where the process starts. Though it must be said that even during this initial cleaning phase, detailing goes a cut above a normal wash.

Professional car detailers will use a cleaning agent — such as our Car Shampoo — to carefully and meticulously clean the entire exterior surface of your vehicle. This includes everything from your mirrors, hood, windows, and more. This ensures that all debris and contaminants such as oil stains, brake dust, bird droppings, bug residue, and more are removed.

Hard-to-remove stains within your engine can be treated with the special chemicals in our Degreaser BC. As the name suggests, our product is designed to remove grease, oils, and other contaminants in your engine. This will ensure that every nook and cranny within your engine compartment is thoroughly cleaned.

Once your car is fully cleaned, it is dried using microfiber towels and compressed air. Auto detailing will also deal with any abrasives, such as sand and dirt, to prevent them from doing damage to your paint during the cleaning and drying process.

Other detailing services applied to the exterior to improve the cleanliness and look of the car include headlight polishing, bumper repair, engine pressure cleaning, and more.


After your car is washed and dried, your car will be thoroughly inspected to find any flaws in its paint job. This will determine if your car needs any paint correction. This is the restoration of the original paint finish — helping it look brand new again. Paint correction sometimes involves machining and tooling the paint surface.

The paint on your car typically has two layers: a colored base coat and a hard, transparent clear coat. While the outer clear coat layer is made of durable plastic that can withstand the elements and hold its glossy sheen for years, several factors can cause it to become dull. For example, poor wash techniques, abrasion, and using poorly-equipped automatic car washes can all dull the outer layer of paint.

Fortunately, even deep dents and scratches on your paint can be fixed with detailing. After contaminants are removed, the detailer may decide to use tooling to remove imperfections and a polishing wheel to buff out any scratches.

At this point, detailers will use machine glazing to correct minimal defects in the paint. This will return your car’s paint surface to a pristine condition – vibrant and glossy.


When your car is cleaned and the paint is corrected of any flaws, it is time for the last step for the exterior: applying protection and gloss. To protect the newly fixed paint, a detailer will typically add one of three types of coating: wax, sealant, or ceramic.

These products form a thin, waterproof layer on top of your car’s paint. Aside from shedding water from the paint, it also prevents contaminants and harmful UV rays from affecting it. Ceramic in particular is very durable and creates a strong chemical bond with the car paint to form a nano-ceramic shield over your clearcoat.

Afterward, you can also apply special products to give your car a nice, glossy shine to it. You can apply a gloss product, such as Tire Black. This is made from our Silicone Oil, and not only gives your tires a black and glossy look, but also provides long-lasting protection from drying, cracking, fading, or deterioration.

Cleans Interior


Car detailing does not only pay attention to the exterior but also the interior of your car. A dirty interior cabin can come with all sorts of problems, such as bad odor, stains and grit, hazy windows, and more. All of these can cause operational problems within the car’s interior.

To prevent this, cleaning the interior is more than just washing with water and soap. Detailers use specialized interior protectants, which keep your vehicle’s surfaces looking fresh and new. These products are made of Silicone Emulsion, which is non-greasy, easy to apply, biodegradable, and uses no harmful solvents or alcohol to clean your interiors.

After, a glass cleaner is used to leave your windows sparkling clean. To clean the leather components of the car, a leader soap, saddle soap, and leader cleaner is used. Lastly, the whole interior goes through another round of vacuuming and wiping to clean up any residue. Depending on your preferences, you can also apply a special perfume or deodorant to leave a fresh, appealing scent.

Key Takeaway

So, what is car detailing?  Simply put, it is the art of thoroughly cleaning and restoring your vehicle to a good-as-new condition. While car washes can do the trick in a pinch, car detailing uses products and methods that are much more precise and labor-intensive, benefitting your car in many ways.

Interested in getting your car detailed? Get your automotive detailing supplies from Oktakem! We sell high-quality products on our online website, which you can order here, and through Shopee — click here to see our store in Shopee!