Detailing Car Exterior

This article is a continuation of my earlier article on the Detailing Car Interior. In this article we will focus on washing the exterior of your car, the way detailers do. We will not be covering the waxing part, that is probably for a later article.

The article is broken down into three parts:

  • Steps indicating in which order to clean
  • A how-to guide on everything that needs to be done
  • Products that you will need to get the job done

The intention of this article is to provide a helpful guide to maintain your car in a good shape until you feel the need to get a professional detailing service done.

The cleaning steps

  • Wash the wheels
  • Pre-rinse the car to remove loose dirt with Pressure Washer at about 1100psi
  • Pre-wash the car with foam
  • Hand wash the car using two bucket method
  • A final rinse of free-flowing water (nozzle off the hose), allowing the water to sheet off the car. This makes drying much faster.
  • Dry your car with a Car Dryer / Air Gun / Microfiber Drying Towel
  • If you see any dry spots on the paint/glass/rims, spray a bit of Detailer Spray on that area and wipe it down with the Microfiber Drying Towel
  • Remove scuff marks, if any
  • Protect & shine the tires

The how-to guide

Washing the wheels

  • Take a wash bucket and put the grit guards inside them
  • Rinse the bucket out
  • Fill it with Car Shampoo and water
  • Put the following items into the bucket to soak:
    • Wheel Well Cleaning Brush
    • Tyre & Rubber Brush
    • Wheel Woolies
    • Detailer’s Brush for cleaning lug nuts & breaks
    • Wash mitt dedicated for wheels
  • Perform the following steps for each wheel and always wash from top to bottom:
    • Rinse the wheel off with the Pressure Washer
    • Spray Wheel Cleaner on the wheel, breaks and inside the wheel
    • Spray Tyre & Rubber Cleaner on the tyre
    • Use the Tyre & Rubber Brush to clean the tyre
    • Spray All-purpose Cleaner on the wheel well
    • Use the Wheel Well Cleaning Brush to clean the wheel well
    • By this time we would have allowed enough time for the Wheel Cleaner to do its work, so lets use the Wheel Woolies to wash the wheels
    • Rise off the wheel
    • Use a Detailer’s Brush to clean the lug nuts and breaks
    • Use a small Wheel Woolie to clean behind the breaks
    • Use the Wash Mitt and Wheel Woolies to wash the wheel
    • Rise the wheel off completely

Foam wash

  • Add a bit of Car Shampoo into the bottle and mix it up.
  • Release the pressure from the Pressure Washer before connecting the Foam Cannon to it.
  • Test out the foam cannon against the floor before spraying on the car.
  • Spray the car with foam to create a thick layer of foam around the car.
  • Wait for the soap to come off the car
  • Remove the Foam Cannon from the Pressure Washer.
  • Rinse the car off with the Pressure Washer

Hand wash with two bucket method

Preparing the buckets

  • Take two wash buckets and put the grit guards inside them
  • Rinse them out
  • First bucket is the rinse bucket: Fill it with water
  • Second bucket is the soap bucket: Fill it with Car Shampoo and water
  • Use a dedicated wash mitt for the car that is not used for wheels.

Washing the car

  • Use the wash mitt to wash the car.
  • After every few panels, rinse the mitt in the rinse bucket.
  • If you see dirt in the mitt, push it against the grit of the rinse bucket.
  • Then soak it back into the soap bucket before continuing with the wash.
    Start with roof, front wind shields, one of the side windows and back windshield.
    Rinse the wash mitt as mentioned earlier before you continue.
  • Rinse off the car with the Pressure Washer

Removing scuff marks

  • Put Hand Polish on to a Foam Applicator Pad
  • Apply it gently on the surface area
  • Leave it in for few mins
  • Wipe it off with the Microfiber Drying Towel

Protect and shine the tires

  • Apply Tyre Shine on to a Microfiber Applicator Pad
  • Spread it around each tyre


I’ve tried to stick to locally available top-rated popular brands but you are free to choose whatever works for you.

Products for general cleaning

All-purpose Cleaner x1 Repco
Meguiar’s Heavy Duty 710ml
Pressure Washer x1 Bunnings
Ryobi RPW140-G 1800W 2000PSI
Foam Cannon x1 Repco
Meguiar’s Snow Cannon Kit
Car Shampoo x1 Comes with the Foam Cannon kit
Car Body Wash Mitt Super Cheap Auto
Turtle Wax Microfiber Dual Action Gorilla Glove
Microfiber Drying Towel x1 Repco
Meguiar’s Supreme Shine Drying Towel
Microfiber Applicator Pad x2 Repco
Meguiar’s Hand Applicator Pad Twin Pack
Wash Bucket 2x Repco
Repco 20L Bucket
Grit Guards 2x Repco
Repco 20L Bucket Dirt Guard
Hand Polish Repco
Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Polish 473ml
Detailer Spray Repco
Meguiar’s Quick Interior Detailer 473ml

Products for wheel cleaning

I couldn’t get hold of Wheel Woolies locally so I’ve opted for small wheel washing brushes that would do the same job.

Wheel Cleaner Repco
Meguiar’s Ultimate Wheel Cleaner
Wheel Wash Mitt Super Cheap Auto
Turtle Wax Microfiber Wheel & Trim Gorilla Glove
Detailer’s Brush Repco
GV Tools 2 Piece Parts Cleaning Brush Set
Small Wheel Washing Brush Repco
Bowden’s Own Flat Head Brush
Wheel Well Cleaning Brush Repco
Bowden’s Own Big Black One
Tyre Shine Repco
Meguiar’s Endurance Tyre Shine Gel High Gloss 473ml

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