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Hand Car Wash Equipment List: 10 Tools to Buy for DIY Car Care

Hand Car Wash Equipment List 10 Tools to Buy for DIY Car Care

Hand Car Wash Equipment List: 10 Tools to Buy for DIY Car Care

If you plan to clean your car at home regularly, a hand car wash equipment list will give you a good idea of what you need. To help you out, we have listed the recommended equipment for DIY auto detailing. You can buy these tools and items from supermarkets, auto detailing supplies shops, or online. We have also included a steam cleaner on the list to help promote a greener hand car wash.

If you’re interested in our innovative water-saving wash process, download our Eco Wash Benefit Guide:


DIY Hand Car Wash Equipment

Instead of always paying for car wash services, investing in auto detailing equipment can help you save money in the long term, provided you know how to hand wash a car. Also, second hand car wash equipment is an option if you want to buy on a budget. Overall, having the right car wash tools means achieving a high-quality car wash experience. You don’t have to buy everything on the list. Here are recommendations:


Invest in two buckets for a safe and efficient washing process. The two-bucket method involves using one bucket of soapy water to wash your vehicle and another bucket of clean water to rinse your washcloth or mitt. This method helps prevent dirt from transferring between the buckets, minimizing the risk of swirls and scratches.

Buckets are widely available, so shop around for the best buy. For example, Auto Drive 4 Gallon Wash Bucket with Grit Guard Screen is available at Walmart. If you already have buckets, you can buy the grit guards separately.

Car Wash Kit

If you’re new to the do it yourself hand car wash, an auto detailing kit is a good idea. For example, Chemical Guys sells a variety of kits to get you started. One of them is the Best Car Wash Bucket Kit, $99. It includes a heavy-duty detailing bucket (4.5 gallons), car shampoo and conditioner products, and a premium microfiber wash mitt and towels.

Car Wash Equipment Tools to Buy for DIY Car Care – Car Wash Kit

Vacuum Cleaner

Make auto detailing tasks quicker and easier with a car vacuum, which removes dirt, dust, and debris from your car interior. With so many models on the market, check out our best car vacuum buying guide to help you decide which appeals most.

If you’re undecided about buying equipment but still want to clean your car, visit a self service car wash. After you’ve paid, you can access the professional car wash tools and cleaning supplies you need. This will give you an idea if DIY car washing is your thing.

Carpet Cleaner

Your carpets will eventually need deep cleaning to eliminate deep-seated dirt and stains, especially if you have pets in the car. However, mold and mildew thrive if carpets don’t dry fast enough after washing, resulting in bad odors. But you can avoid this problem by using specialty carpet cleaning equipment to clean and dry your carpets faster and more effectively.

Car Wash Tools to Buy for DIY Car Care – Vacuum Cleaner

Prices and models vary. For example, Bissell SpotClean Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner is $175. However, you can pay over $1,000 for professional-design models. Alternatively, you can invest in a steam cleaner below. It cleans upholstery and carpets without saturating the material and fibers.

Steam Cleaner

If you want to use water-saving car wash equipment, a steam cleaner is an excellent choice. Steam cleaning uses minimal water compared to traditional automatic car washes, making it an eco-friendly option for car washing. It also reduces the need for chemical cleaners, which can harm the environment.

DetailXPerts uses steam cleaning equipment to clean and sanitize surfaces and paintwork. Our machines quickly and effectively loosen and dissolve dirt and grime, reducing the time and effort required for cleaning. We can offer a full service car wash when your car needs thorough cleaning.

Car Wash Equipment – Steam Cleaner


A buffer is useful if you need to remove swirls and minor scratches from your car paint. Buffing with a polishing pad can also enhance your paintwork to create a showroom shine. However, you must use this equipment cautiously; otherwise, you’ll do more harm than good. Your choice includes electric and manual buffers.

Modern buffers are user-friendly car wash tools with variable speed settings and comfortable grips to make the polishing process easier and more comfortable. Lightweight designs include Porter Cable Random Orbital Polisher, $139.

Car Wash Tools – Orbital Polisher

Ultimately, the best buffer for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences, so take the time to research and compare different models before making a purchase.

Car Polishing Buffer Pads

If you’re using an electric buffer, you’ll need an assortment of buffer pads. For instance, compounding pads made of firm foam are designed to remove heavy defects such as scratches, swirl marks, and oxidation. However, be mindful of using electric buffers without prior experience.

Buffer Pads

Buying a polishing kit is a cost-effective way to stock up on supplies. For example, ZFE 3 Inch Drill Polishing Kit, $15.99, contains a variety of polishing pads.

Auto Detailing Supplies

If a drive through car wash doesn’t thoroughly clean your vehicle, take the matter into your own hands. But you’ll need various detailing supplies to give your vehicle a showroom-shiny appearance. You can buy products separately or as a kit, which can sometimes be cheaper. For example, check out Meguiar’s Ultimate Kit, $99. Or, if you like the idea of a waterless car wash, you can buy cleaning formulas that you simply spray on and wipe off.

Check out our guide to our car wash supplies list if you need to stock up on cleaning products and other recommendations.

Auto Detail Cart

Organize your cleaning products and accessories in an auto detailing cart or trolley. This piece of car wash equipment is ideal for carrying bottles, tools, buffers, polish, wax etc. Popular designs usually include robust storage trays, tool-hanging trays with hooks and wheels to make it easier for you to move them around.

Download Eco Car Wash Benefit Guide_Interior Car Detailing Prices

New or Second Hand Car Wash Equipment

DIY car washing is a popular pastime if you enjoy driving a clean and well-maintained vehicle. As a result, there is demand for auto detailing tools. However, it can be expensive. Let’s look at the pros and cons of buying new and used tools and accessories.

Pros of Buying New Car Wash Equipment

New equipment is available online and in-store. So, you can buy it when you need it without waiting for someone to sell it second-hand. Here are more pros:

  • Brand new equipment will be in the best possible condition. I.e., machinery will come with all the attachments and manufacturer’s supplies. Therefore, you don’t need to waste time hunting down missing attachments or pieces.
  • Most new equipment comes with warranties, giving you peace of mind. The warranty is usually for a set amount of time, during which you can return and replace the equipment if any problems arise.
  • You know the equipment’s history because you’re the first owner. So, there’s no wear and tear caused by previous usage.


  • The main drawback of purchasing new tools is that it’s more expensive than used items.
  • It isn’t a good investment if you don’t have time to wash your vehicle regularly.
  • Warranties are only for a limited time, so you may incur maintenance costs at some point.
  • Like any new equipment, it will depreciate over time.

Pros of Buying Second Hand Car Wash Equipment

If you’re unsure if DIY car washing is for you, don’t rush in and buy everything new on your hand car wash equipment list. Buying second-hand is an option. However, shop around as you would with new purchases to ensure you get the best deal.

  • Second-hand car wash tools are usually more affordable than new ones. If you do your research, you should be able to find good-quality items. This way, you can save some money while still getting your hands on the tools you need.
  • Depending on where you source the equipment, you might get useful information about its history of usage and reliability. These details may help you make good purchasing and user decisions.
  • It is a more environmentally friendly purchase if you can put the equipment to good use instead of it ending up in a landfill.


  • Since second hand car wash equipment has been used by someone else, wear and tear might mean not perform as well as expected.
  • Depending on the state of the machinery, it may need more regular maintenance than new models. If this is the case, used equipment can work out more expensive over time.
  • Older equipment won’t feature the latest technological improvements.


Using a hand car wash equipment list ensures you have all the necessary equipment when you need it. A list also helps you stick to a budget, preventing unnecessary spending on non-essential items. Equally important, you can customize your list to suit your preferences. For example, if you buy a steam cleaner, you don’t need a separate carpet cleaner. Note that the prices we’ve mentioned may change, depending on retailer.

It’s a good idea to visit a self-service car wash before investing in tools, including second hand car wash equipment. This way, you’ll know whether you like cleaning your car. Bear in mind that this task requires patience and attention to detail. If you prefer to leave the job to the professionals, we can help. Our trained detailing team operate from fully equipped mobile vans. Simply schedule an appointment at your convenience.

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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