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10 effective cleaning products that’ll keep your car looking pristine

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During winter, the extent of cleaning your car probably consists of removing snow and salt so you can actually see where you’re going — but during warmer seasons it’s all about attention to detail.

Dirt, pollen, tree sap, bird droppings, and normal road build up are just some of the many things that can prevent your ride from looking its best.

Instead of constantly spending money at the car wash, you can create an arsenal of products that will keep your car in pristine condition — and in the long run, you’ll save a lot of money.

I own three classic BMWs: a 1991 325i convertible, a 1991 318is, and a 1993 525i wagon. With each of them being more than 25 years old, I do my very best to maintain and preserve their appearance and these are the products I use.

Whether you’re a meticulous enthusiast preparing for a car show or an average person trying to care for your car, these are the products you’ll also want at your disposal. You’ll find everything from car wash soaps and waxes to leather cleaners and microfiber cloths — plus a few other unexpected picks.

Chemical Guys Snow Foam Car WashChemical Guys CWS_110_16 Honeydew Snow Foam Car Wash Soap and Cleanser (16 oz)From Amazon

If your at-home car washes include using liquid dish soap from the kitchen, you’re doing it all wrong. Chemical Guys’ car wash eliminates dirt and grime with a pH-neutral formula that’s safe on all surfaces of your car. It has a foaming agent for maximum suds and a fresh honeydew scent.

Chemical Guys Microfiber Wash Mitt

Chemical Guys MIC_493 Chenille Microfiber Premium Scratch-Free Wash Mitt, Lime Green

From Amazon

To go along with the right car wash soap, you need the right cleaning tool. The Chemical Wash mitt easily cleans your car without scratching your paint. Its made of an extra plush, soft, and absorbent microfiber material, and is easier to control than a towel.

303 Touchless Sealant (wax alternative)

303 Touchless Sealant - SiO2 Water Activated Paint & Glass Protection - Spray On, Rinse Off - Lasts 2X Longer Than Wax - Deep, Wet Shine, 32 fl. oz....

From Amazon

Waxing your car with traditional paste wax can be a long and tedious process. If you want the protection and shine of wax within minutes, 303 Touchless can provide it. The spray uses a SiO2 (silicon dioxide) base to create a hydrophobic and UV barrier on paint, and it’s also safe to use on windows and wheels. It made my car shiny, smooth, and repelled water longer than other waxes I’ve used.

SuperClean Degreaser

Super Clean Tough Task Cleaner-Degreaser, 32oz

From Walmart

SuperClean Degreaser has a multitude of cleaning uses, so it comes in handy for many of your car detailing needs. I wouldn’t recommend using it at full strength on your paint, but it works wonders cleaning built-up oil, grime, or dirt on your engine bay, under-body, or exhaust pipes. When diluted, it does a great job at cleaning carpets, floor mats, and chrome pieces as well.

Brush Hero

Car Wheel Brush, Premium Automotive Detailer and Tire Brush Cleaning Kit for Bikes, Engines, Trucks, Boats, Equipment, Exhaust Tips, Premium Water-Powered...

From Amazon

Described as “the ultimate detail brush,” the Brush Hero is perfect for cleaning car parts — most specifically tough to reach areas like wheels. It features a rotating brush head that is powered entirely by water pressure from a standard garden hose. I recently had the opportunity to try it out and experienced amazing results.

Mother’s California Gold Clay Kit

Mothers 07240 California Gold Clay Bar System

From Amazon

Even after washing your car meticulously, there’s still dirt and debris that you just can’t get off. That’s where claying your car comes into play. The Mother’s California Gold Clay Kit comes with two clay bars, Instant Detailer spray, and a microfiber cloth. Simply spray a liberal amount of detailer on the car and use the clay in a sweeping motion. At first, you’ll feel some resistance (that’s all the fine dirt and debris). Once it’s all clean, your paint will be looking and feeling like glass. Whether your car is relatively new or decades old, you’ll definitely notice a difference.

Turtle Wax Microfiber Towels

3pk 12

From Target

If you thought using old t-shirts and bath towels as rags was an ok idea, it’s really not. Although you may not be able to see it immediately, they can scratch the surface of your paint. Microfiber cloths are a safe and effective way to detail your car without creating damage. Instead of using the same dirty cloth over and over, this 12-pack ensures you’ll have a bunch of clean cloths at your disposal.

Zymöl Cleaner Wax

Zymol Z503A Cleaner Wax - 16 oz.

From Amazon

One of the most important, but often-skipped, steps to having an immaculately clean car is a decent coat of wax. Unlike thick waxes that take a lot of time to apply, Zymöl Cleaner Wax goes on easy and it works exceptionally well. Derived from a 120-year-old German formula, the wax cleans your paint (though not as a full car wash replacement) and is gentle and safe. For as long as I can remember, I’ve seen my dad use Zymöl on his cars. I’ve tried several other waxes for my own, but this is the one I’ve consistently come back to.

Armor All Extreme Tire Shine Gel and Applicator

Armor All Extreme Tire Shine Gel, 18 Oz, Car Cleaning and Auto Detailing

From Walmart

While most tire shines dry up and wear away after a day or so, Armor All Extreme Tire Shine lasts for weeks. The gel formula adheres to your tires to create a durable shield from the elements. It’s also a great way to avoid messy over-spray on your wheels and fenders that you’d expect from a traditional tire shine.

Black & Decker Dustbuster Auto Vacuum

BLACK+DECKER dustbuster Handheld Vacuum,

From Amazon

Cleaning the inside of your car is just as important as cleaning the outside. With a cordless design and multiple attachments, the Black & Decker Dustbuster Auto Vacuum is perfect for reaching every part of your interior. Its compact design makes it easy to store in your trunk, too.

Read also: 2021 How to Sell a Car


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Written by senhaji

senhaji ’s obsession with cars passed the “unhealthy” mark long ago. From classics to modern performance cars, he loves anything with four wheels, especially if there’s an interesting story attached. When he’s not writing automotive news articles for High Gear Media, Stephen can often be found combing through local car shows for something he hasn’t seen before, and sharing the results with anyone on the Internet willing to pay attention. Stephen has a Master's degree in History from Clark University. He currently lives in Connecticut.

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  1. You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for the topic and found most guys will agree with your website. Lissie Claire Damalis

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