Is Detailing Bad for Your Car? The Definitive Answer

Some people simply have cars, which are just tools to get them from place to place, and then some people love, maintain, and cherish their vehicles as part of the family. That second group gets its cars detailed, a deep cleaning process that goes beyond a simple car wash.

Car waxing tool on red car

Detailing can be good for your car, but detailing a car with the wrong cleaners that have harsh chemicals can damage your car’s finish. A quality detailing will make it cleaner than it might have been when you bought it. It will certainly be cleaner than if you drove it through the car wash.

Let’s look at what car detailing includes and how a lower-quality detailing job might cause more problems for you and your vehicle.

The Detailing Process

Man wiping the car

While not every detail job is identical, most car detailing companies offer similar services. A complete detail job will cover the inside and outside of your vehicle, though you can opt for one or the other.


If you wash your car by hand in your driveway with a washcloth, some dish soap, and the garden hose, you’ll get the dirt off. However, you will open your car’s finish to the possibility of getting damaged.

There are dissolved minerals in your water (and some water is harder than others), and the soap you’re using is an abrasive. Sure, that’s what you need to get the dirt off, but abrasive cleaners and hard water can conspire to chip or scratch your paint job.

Plus, washing your car in direct sunlight can cause the water drops to dry too quickly, leaving behind water spots that have the potential to become permanent.

A detail job done by a professional will get your car’s exterior clean with chemicals formulated explicitly for washing a paint finish safely, and a hand-dry will ensure you have no lingering water spots.

A detailer will also examine your finish and, with your permission, make some corrections to it. If you’ve got a little scratch, sure, you can buy a paint touch-up pen from your local dealership, but fixing a blemish on your car consists of more than just painting over it like you were using Liquid Paper.

Another option you have is Carfidant Black Car Scratch Remover. It comes with paint, solvent, and a buffer pad to allow you to repair minor scratches. It will take some work on your part, but it can undo some minor damage to your car’s paint.

However, a deep scratch is more than Carfidant can handle, as the product is intended for small repairs. A good detailer will fix those more significant scratches and give you the option of adding protective coats to your car’s paint.

All the work going into an exterior detailing job goes far past simply spraying your car down on a Saturday afternoon. Detailing your car can keep it looking great for longer.


How often has your windshield fogged over, revealing streaks from the last time you tried to clean the glass with Windex? Cleaning the glass inside your vehicle isn’t exactly easy. If something splashed on the glass, you could easily remove it, but it is tough to thoroughly clean the glass without leaving those telltale streaks.

A detailer can do it, though, and do it well.

But there are so many other spots in your car that can harbor dirt and debris while also being hard to clean. Having the interior of your car detailed will get all that stuff.

Most of us have eaten at least one meal in our cars. Try as we may, we probably dropped some morsel at some point, and it fell between the center console and the seat and became lost forever.

Similarly, many people have sat down in their car seats while being sweaty or dirty, leaving behind oils, sweat stains, and maybe even mud.

If yours is a cloth interior, removing food stains and smells, dirt, and odor-causing culprits takes more than just running a vacuum hose over the seats. And we haven’t even mentioned the rugs in the floorboards— dead grass, gravel, dirt clods— the nap of which can hold fast to those dirt particles.

An interior detailing job will involve cleaning your seats with the appropriate treatment, whether they’re cloth, vinyl, or leather. Nobody’s throwing anything in the washing machine, and no detailer worth his salt will spray a garden-variety degreaser on your leather seats.

Rather, your seats will feel new in the aftermath, and if you had grease stains where that onion fell out of the back of your burger, they’ll be gone.

Your clean car seats will go well with the carpets that you’ll have the option of having shampooed, and your dashboard and other hard interior services will be clean. Detailers may even use steam cleaning, which deep cleans and disinfects.

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Use Armor All Car Protectant Wipes as a maintenance tool, sure. They quickly and effectively remove dust and light dirt, and they help your interior surfaces ward off dust. But a detail service will clean your dashboard more deeply and may offer you the choice of a protective coating.

If you’ve dealt with a smell in your car (no idea what it is or where it is), an interior detail job will find it and eliminate it.

Finally, a detail professional will get at all those nooks and crannies in your car where you’ve noticed dust, hair, or dirt lodged, but you can’t get it out because you don’t have a cotton swab in your wallet.

Want your car to look and feel new? A detail job will do that, and they can even add a scent to your car’s interior (even “new car smell”).


It’s called “detailing” for a reason, as the service professional providing the detailing pays attention to the details. Washing your car twice a month in the drive-through car wash can keep your vehicle looking clean, but it won’t get at all the details.

First published on Sep 1, 2022 by

That’s what a car detailer does, and when you use that service, you make your car cleaner and healthier. Furthermore, as long as the detailer knows what they’re doing, detailing will not damage your car.

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CarCareReport dot com first published this article on Sep 1, 2022..

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