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Car Wash Supplies List

Hand Car Wash Supplies List

Car Wash Supplies List

Using a car wash supplies list is the easiest way to build your own auto detailing kit. It means you have all the essential items to hand when washing your vehicle, saving you time and effort. Our list includes all the essential items, plus a few suggestions on green cleaning. But feel free to swap, delete, or add items to customize your car wash list of supplies based on your car and preferences.

If you’re interested in our eco-friendly car wash process, download our Eco Wash Benefit Guide:


Hand Car Wash Supplies List

Buying car detailing supplies makes a lot of sense If you want to take the DIY approach instead of relying on car wash services. Moreover, referring to a list keeps you organized during the hand car wash process, ensuring you don’t overlook any steps or products. Here is what your car wash supplies list should include:

  • Car shampoo
  • Glass cleaner
  • Interior cleaner
  • Leather protectant (for leather upholstery)
  • Microfiber car cloths
  • Microfiber drying towels
  • Clay bar
  • Polish
  • Wax
  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • Tire brush
  • Interior car detailing brushes

Refer to our car wash equipment list for items such as a car vacuum cleaner and buckets.

Car Cleaning Products for Specific Areas

You’ll need various cleaning products for different parts of your car. For example, car shampoo, tire dressing, glass cleaner, degreaser, leather protectant, etc. Investing in one of each enables you to tackle dirt in specific areas, such as your car engine, underbody, wheels or windows. Here are tips for the best buy products and home remedies:

  • Car wash shampoo: Look for biodegradable, eco-friendly options free of harsh chemicals. For more auto detailing tips, see our guide on how to hand wash a car.
  • Glass cleaner: Buy a non-toxic, ammonia-free glass cleaner for streak-free windows.
  • Interior cleaner: Remove dirt and dust with spray on, buff off best car interior cleaner.
  • Leather care: If you have leather upholstery, clean and protect it with a high-quality product, such as Leather Honey.
  • Tire dressing: Chemical Guys VRP Vinyl, Rubber, and Plastic Shine and Protectant can be used on both tires and other exterior surfaces, such as trim and rubber seals.
  • Degreaser: Try Gunk car products such as the Original Engine Degreaser for stubborn grease buildup.

You can also include eco-friendly home remedies on your car washing supplies list for greener cleaning. For example, baking soda mixed with a bit of water can help loosen and remove dried-on bugs and tar from your car exterior. Apply the paste to the affected areas, let it sit for a few minutes, then gently rub and rinse.

Vinegar effectively breaks down dirt and grease. It’s also a natural disinfectant and deodorizer. And you can use equal parts vinegar and water to clean car windows and glass surfaces. Spray the solution onto a microfiber cloth, then wipe windows for streak-free results. As with any home remedies, always do a spot test first.

Alternatively, if you want to create your own waterless car wash, add waterless car wash cleaners to your list. These products lift and dissolve dirt from your car exterior without the need for rinsing.

Download Eco Car Wash Benefit Guide_Interior Car Detailing Prices

Hand Car Washing, Rinsing, and Drying

You can create your own DIY full service car wash with the right supplies. For instance, stock up on high-quality microfiber cloths for washing, rinsing and drying your vehicle. These durable cloths can withstand multiple washes, making them cost-effective. Here are tips on how to get the best out of them:

  • Color code your microfiber cloths for different areas of your car, such as one for the body, one for the windows, and one for the wheels. This helps prevent dirt from moving around and reduces the risk of scratching sensitive surfaces.
  • After use, rinse the microfiber cloths with clean water and allow them to air dry.
  • Avoid washing microfiber cloths with fabric softener or bleach, as these can damage the fibers and reduce their effectiveness.

A drive through car wash might be quick, but you don’t always get an immaculate finish. Hand washing your vehicle takes longer but the attention to detail is worthwhile. For instance, you can use microfiber towels to dry the exterior. These towels are highly absorbent and can hold up to seven times their weight in water. They’re perfect for soaking up dirt, grime, and cleaning solutions, leaving your car’s surface clean and streak-free.

Equally important, microfiber cloths are incredibly soft and gentle, making them safe for paint, glass, and plastic. Unlike other materials, such as a soft cloth car wash, they won’t leave micro scratch marks or swirls. For more tips, see our post on microfiber car cloths for car interior.

Clay Bar Treatment

If your car paint feels rough to the touch after DIY washing or visiting a brushless car wash, a clay bar can remove stubborn contaminants. This car detailing item is a clay-like substance with a slightly abrasive texture that helps lift road tar, dried-on bugs, and tree sap from the car exterior. It also helps deep clean and prepare the paintwork for the next steps, such as polishing and washing.

Removing Imperfections From Paintwork

If automatic car washes have left their mark on your vehicle or your paintwork is starting to look a little unloved, a high-quality car product can help. Go for one that restores the shine and smoothness of car paintwork by removing imperfections such as swirl marks, light scratches, and oxidation. It can also enhance a wax treatment by creating a smooth surface for better results. Here are a couple of recommendations:

  • Chemical Guys VSS Scratch and Swirl Remover eliminates scratches, swirls, and other imperfections while leaving a high-gloss finish. It works well on clear coat, and you can apply it by hand or with a machine polisher.
  • Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound removes light to moderate imperfections such as swirl marks, scratches, and oxidation.

Wax to Protect Car Exterior

A car wash items list for a do it yourself car wash includes wax. Applying this product to car paintwork provides a protective barrier against UV rays, water spots, and minor abrasions. There are different types of car wax, including natural and synthetic waxes. For example:

  • P21S Carnauba Wax, made from pure Brazilian carnauba wax, gives car paint a gorgeous, deep shine. Moreover, it’s easy to apply and buff off, leaving a durable layer of protection.
  • Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax is a synthetic polymer wax that provides long-lasting protection and shine. According to Meguiar’s, it goes on butter smooth and comes off just as nice.


Your car wash supplies list is a simple yet effective way to get the most out of your car washing. In summary, different parts of your car require different cleaning agents and tools. Therefore, a well-prepared list ensures you have everything you need to effectively clean every surface for the best results. Moreover, if you’re particular about the products you use on your car, having a list ensures you consistently use the same high-quality supplies for each wash.

However, you need to commit to DIY car washing if you plan to invest in cleaning supplies. Otherwise, you risk wasting money on items you only use a few times. If you prefer to schedule a professional hand car wash, our auto detailers use steam to clean your car. Our water-saving methods are tough on dirt but gentle on the planet.

If you’re interested in our green car wash process, download our Eco Wash Benefit Guide:

Download Eco Wash Benefit Guide_Get Consistent High-Quality


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