Car Detailing Equipment List

Best wax for black cars with scratches

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So you’ve decided you want to take good care of your car.  Welcome to the club.  I’ve been obsessing over black cars for more years then I’m ready to admit.  Keeping a black car or any dark color clean and shining is not something to be taken lightly.  It needs plenty of TLC to keep it at it’s best. 

My site aims to teach you the proper techniques but you might also like to learn about some of the best and most useful products on the market.  

There are so many products out there that it’s really difficult to chose.  You could spend hours reading the labels on bottles trying to work out what does what and which products work best together.  I’ve been there and I’ve done the reading.  I’ve stood in stores for hours at a time reading and comparing and talking to the store workers to get as much information as I can.  I’ve watched hundreds of hours of youtube videos and read dozens of blogs.  And this blog aims to share with you all the information I have learned.

This post will provide links to products that I believe are among the best you can get.  I’ll receive a commission from any products you buy provided you buy them after clicking on one of my links.  Don’t worry, there is no extra cost to you.

The products I mention are aimed at the amateur detailer who wants to work on his or her own car at home. But I have also seen many of these items used by professionals.

Best Car Wash Buckets with Grit Guard

There are a few products every beginner must own.  Buckets and wash mitts are important so lets start there.  You need at least two buckets if you intend to use the two bucket method.  And a third bucket for doing the wheels. There are other methods you can also try.  Please read my blog post on washing your car to learn the proper techniques available to you.  These techniques are VITAL to keeping a car looking its best.  

All buckets are probably the same but you should get them with a grit guard because if you buy them together you are more likely to get a grit guard that fits properly in the bucket.  A bucket with a lid is great because you can keep your mitts or towels clean and dry between uses.  This bucket from Adams has everything you need.

Get Yourself a Bucket Dolly

A bucket dolly to go with your buckets will make it easier to move them around.  Check out this one from Chemical Guys

I’ve written a list of shampoos I recommend, but remember it’s usually cheaper to get the bigger container so watch the prices.

Pressure Washer

My pressure washer recommendation is for and electric pressure washer. In inexpensive but well made washer is availble from Sun Joe. Click here to read my review.

You have a choice between gas powered or electric.  Gas powered are noisier and give off fumes.  Fumes are not good for you if you are working in an enclosed space.  With regards to pressure I recommend at least 1200 psi.  My washer is 1200 and it’s just the right amount of power.  Electric power washers are usually cheaper and quieter but less powerful.  The Karcher K1800 has 1800psi.  You can of course also use it to clean your driveway and deck.  You should also get a compatible foam cannon.  For example make sure you get a foam cannon that fits the Karcher washer system such as AutoCare Professional Adjustable Foam Cannon Gun Snow Foam Lance Adapter Soap Dispenser for Karcher Pressure Washer

Karcher also have a great reputation for gas powered washers.  A good example on Amazon is Karcher G2700 Gas Power Pressure Washer.  Be careful with very high powered washers.  For example if you have a 2000 psi or more washer you can still use it but keep a good distance from the surface.  Most high powered washers come with different nozzles. Use a nozzle that fans out the water as much as possible.  Remember that you are better off using something like a clay bar to remove stuck on dirt such as tree sap.

A foam cannon or foam lance generates tons of suds when used with a good quality car shampoo.  They help to remove some more dirt without touching your car which helps to prevent scratches.

A foam cannon will spray soap and water under high pressure at your car.  It connects to your pressure washer so make sure you get a compatible one.  The foam will stick to the dirt and work it’s magic. Usually you need to give it 5 or 10 minutes to soak in.  Then spray off and a lot of the dirt will have softened and will be removed along with the suds.

Things for Cleaning Tires and Wheels

A well made tire cleaning brush will help you deal with the hard to clean areas in wheels.  You should get various size brushes the will fit between the spokes and reach around the back of the rims.  

Regular washing of your wheels will keep help to prevent iron deposits from brake dust from sticking to them.  A small set of brushes called wheel woolies are ideal for reaching between and around the various gaps in your wheels.  A lug nut brush lets you quickly clean around the lug nuts. Mud sticks like hell to tires so a special tire brush is useful.  

Drying Your Car

A car dryer is another useful product to own.  It’s used to blow dry your car and get water out of all the hard to reach areas.  Drying properly will help prevent water spots. Microfiber drying towels are also important in car detailing.  Don’t just use old rags or bath towels to dry your car because they’ll scratch it. Read my blog post on how to dry your car.  If you have a leaf blower you can use that instead.

A detailer spray is a great tool to help you dry your car and top up the shine.  You can use to to remove bird poop too. Read my post on how and when to use them.  I recommend you use this one from Chemical Guys because contains their high gloss sealant and is easy to apply. Click here to see my list of bust buys.


Many products stain your skin and some quite badly.  Some waxes for black cars contain dye to help hide scratches.  These also get under your fingernails and are hard to remove. Some products are acidic or corrosive so obviously read the label to see if you need gloves or even eye protection.   A clay bar can also stain your skin.

Step ladder

If you are having trouble reaching the roof of your car a small step ladder is useful and safe.  Get a lightweight two or three step ladder that easy to move around.

Microfibre towels

Microfibre towels are the only type of towel that should touch your car.  They lift dirt away from the paint because dirt sticks to the microfibers.  A regular towel or rag will just push dirt around the car and wont lift it off so you’ll end up with scratches.  

Read my review of my favorite large towel for drying your car safely.

Microfibre towels can also be used for applying wax and buffing.

Waffle Weave microfiber towel

These towel cost a little more but offer even greater soakage.  They are great on glass but can also be used on the entire car. A large microfibre towel can be used to pat dry an entire car.  A car that has been fully cleaned can be pat dried. A car that is slightly dirty will need to be wiped so smaller towels are better in my opinion.  Also if you are using a detailer spray you will need to use wiping action so smaller microfibre towels are better for this.

Wheel cleaner spray

Iron deposits can be hard to remove so a de-iron spray is ideal.  These tend to have a strong smell so use them in a ventilated area.  And also make sure you wear gloves. Read my review here of the one I use.

Tyre dressing

It's almost impossible to fully remove some stains from tires so the solution is a tire dressing.  You don't want a tire dressing that sprays all over your car when you drive. Tire dressings are available in two types.  Glossy and matt. Read more here.


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