Car Detailing Tools for Beginners

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Car Detailing Tools for Beginners


Your Cars Interior Deserves to be Clean! Here are The Best Car Detailing Tools for Beginners!

Has it been a while since you have had a complete interior detail done on your car? Has it been a while since you have personally cleaned the interior of your vehicle? Maybe you are reading this because you have never done either. Well, no matter what situation you are in, at The Detail Nerds, we want to ensure your car is as good as new: even if we are not the ones that clean it for you. This article contains the best car detailing tools for beginners!

Keeping the inside your car might seem daunting, but it does not have to be! In this article, we are going to help make it simple for you! After reading this, if you still do not want to do it yourself, then give us a call and schedule a complete interior detail with the best in West Michigan!

Please keep in mind that the condition your vehicle is in can not only increase or decrease the value of it, it can also increase or decrease the cost of getting a complete interior detail. Think about it, interior detailing takes a lot of product, time, and elbow grease. If you bring your vehicle to a professional detailer and it’s trashed, the interior detail price is going to rise quickly. We once had a vehicle come in with an interior that was neglected for years. The owner wanted to sell it but was too ashamed of the condition to list it or bring it to a dealer. We agreed on a price of $775 for just the interior, and to this day, I still feel like I under-quoted. Ok, end of rant. Keeping your car clean will help maintain its value and interior detailing costs down.

For the convenience of the reader, we have split this guide into two sections entailing the details regarding tools and products separately.

Tools You Need for Interior Car Detailing at Home

So first, let’s talk about the tools will need to do the job!

Some of the items needed may surprise you. Many should not!

  • Microfiber towels
  • Hot water extractor
  • Shop-vac/Vacuum
  • Spray bottles
  • Brush set
  • Lily brush (great for removing pet hair)
  1. Microfiber Towels:

Microfiber towels are a must have for anyone that intends to do their interior car detailing at home. These are made of highly absorbent material and can be used to clean all kinds of surfaces including leather, vinyl, plastics, and glass.

You will need a high absorbent weave microfiber towel once you clean your vehicle’s interior pick up any dirt/debris and cleaning agents. The fibers in the towel catch any dirt that may be on the surface of your interior. It gets trapped in the fibers and pulled out. Please make sure you never use a towel on dry surfaces, as the debris you are trying to remove could cause scratches. Always spray the cleaner on your towel before wiping.

We recommend these towels for interior detailing. They last forever!


2. Hot Water Extractor:

For cloth seats, flooring carpet, and floor mats, you will want a hot water extractor. This tool will also come in handy for stains on household carpets and furniture. Large amounts of dirt and grime are trapped over time in the carpet and cushioning of your car. A standard vacuum can only lift the dirt and loose soils from above the surface. If you are looking for a deep interior cleaning or to remove stubborn stains such as coffee or soda, then; you want a hot water extractor.

A hot water extractor is a combination of hot water getting sprayed onto/into the surface and a powerful vacuum to pull the water and stains out. With hot water extraction, you can remove all kinds of stains and dirt from carpets and seats. Please be mindful that these only work as well as the cleaning product you are using. You could have the best professional extractor in the world, but without the correct product for the stain, you will only get so much of it out. 

For a cheap entry into the Hot Water Extractor market, we suggest Bissell extractor. This extractor will work for your vehicle and those pesky stains inside the house! Check out our article here where we break down the three extractors we use in our business daily!


3. Shop-Vac/Vacuum:

You cannot keep your vehicle interior clean without a good vacuum. If you must pick only a vacuum or hot water extractor, please get the vacuum. A good vacuum gets the dirt out of the flooring and seats. It is also a critical component for getting all those pesky crumbs out.

There is only one vacuum we recommend. This vacuum has a smaller housing with higher horsepower which, creates a ton of lift. We use these units in our shop for smaller vehicles! Check out the Rigid Wet/Dry Vacuum. Click here to check out our post about the best Ridgid vacuum for car detailing!

4. Spray Bottles:

You might be wondering why you need a spray bottle, but it is the essential tool to hold the cleaning agents. For the proper application of the cleaning mixture, you need to have 2-3 spray bottles.

For some decently priced bottles, check these out on amazon. We also use these in the shop. Headed to your local big box store soon? Most of these home improvement stores will have spray bottles in the cleaning area.



5. Brush Set:

Vacuums, as mentioned above, are the ideal tool to pick up all the clutter from your car. But for the hard-to-reach areas in your vehicle, including vents, gauge clusters, cup holders, etc., you might need a brush set. We also use drill brushes for agitating stains with our cleaning solutions. Most stains need more than just a spray, time, and extracting. They need to be agitated!

Be careful when using brushes on any surface. You can quickly scratch plastic, vinyl, leather, and glass if you are too hard or get something in your brush that will cause scratches.

Crevice Brush Set and Drill Brush Set



6. Lily Brush:

If you are a pet lover and love to travel with your little ones, then no interior car detailing at home warrior can live without a Lily Brush. Trust us on this product! If it were not for this tool, we would not quote cars with major pet hair issues.

Having the right tools save you a lot of time and promise excellent results.

Products Needed

We have discussed the tools you will need for interior car detailing at home, now lets cover the cleaning products you will need.

Glass Cleaner:

You are not going to get far down the road with a dirty windshield and windows. For your safety and everyone else on the road: please make sure you keep your windows clean! It also makes your car look better.

You do not have to overthink things when purchasing a glass cleaner. Almost any automotive glass cleaner will work. We suggest Meguiar’s Glass Cleaner. It not only is streak-free, but it smells amazing and is safe on window tint. **Pro-Tip – Spray your window cleaner directly onto a microfiber towel and wipe the window or dash. Then, using a clean microfiber towel, wipe again. This tip will almost ensure you have a streak-free glass after every clean.

All-Purpose Cleaner:

All Purpose Cleaner or APC is a must have. It will loosen stains and get all the leather, vinyl, and plastic in your car looking clean again. There are a million different all purpose cleaners out there for interior car detailing. We suggest the following two.

Chemical Guys APC and Meguiar’s APC

Carpet and Seat Shampoo:

In any vehicle, carpeting and seating are probably the most used and soiled objects.

There are various shampoos available in the market which are highly effective in removing all kind of stains and odors from your vehicle. Even if you got the toughest stains, a good mixture of cleaning shampoo agitated with a brush and pulled out with a hot water extractor would be enough to get rid of it all. Spray your shampoo onto the area you intend to clean, let it dwell for 1-2 minutes, agitate with brush/drill brush, and remove with your hot water extractor. If you have just a vacuum, switch it to wet mode and vacuum up the excess shampoo/moisture.

We like Chemical Guys Fabric Clean


After giving your car a thorough cleaning, it’s now time to add a layer of protection to everything. You can purchase a high-quality protectant from the market for your dash, plastics, and vinyl.

The protectant layer will safeguard the surfaces from UV sunrays, from drying out, and stains.

Try one of these protectants – Meguairs or Checmical Guys

Cleaning your car is essential to keeping it looking new and maintaining its vaule. We have given you a detailed list of the items you may need if you want to try interior car detailing at home. These tools and products should give you a sparkling and spotless car interior without draining the bank.

If you have any questions about working on your car at home, give us a call. We have helped many people with DIY projects on their car. At The Detail Nerds, we are here to help!

Disclaimer – As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Any income earned from these commissions allows us to continue to research and find the best products for you to use!

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