1. Buckets If you’re sick of fighting dirt stains, water swirls and paint scratches, you need a pair of quality car washing buckets, each with dirt a screen that traps dirt and grime in the bottom of the bucket. These screens prevent little dirt pieces from sticking to the sponge and scratching up your car paint. Furthermore, most car guys and gals will want to use the two-bucket car wash system when auto detailing.
2. Car wash hand mitt Can’t forget about the obvious! Big, squishy car wash mitts are essential to auto detailing. They’re non-abrasive, super-absorbent and they make that great THWAAP when you slap them on your hood. Straight-line cleaning motion ensues, and all feels right in the world.
3. Applicators and brushes There are hundreds of uses for these brushes, and they come in many different types and sizes. They also come in different grades of coarseness, so the brush you use to scrape dirt off your tire will be different than the one you use on your paint. A must-have for car care.
4. Foam cannon If you want to be as thorough as possible when auto detailing, a foam cannon is a sure-fire way to cover the most surface area in as little time as possible. They get your vehicle shampooed front-to-back, so you can sponge them down quickly. Not to mention, they’re fun to use and will impress your friends (or the cute neighbor). Don't have access to running water?
5. LED auto detailing light Detailing vehicle interiors and engine compartments can be a struggle in low light. LED lights are specifically made to clamp or magnetically attach to your vehicle. Detailing is precision work, and low light is your enemy. Get an LED lamp for the perfect clean.
6. Vacuum and blower These dirt-removing tools are standard auto detailing equipment. Before you wash or wipe down your interior, you need to clean the interior of all that crud. A portable vacuum/blower will do you wonders, and they’ll get all the stuff that a simple sweeping will miss, especially on vehicle carpet.
7. Plastic razor blades Steel razor blades are fine for removing old stickers from glass, but they can damage paint and chrome. Plastic blades are the craftsman’s choice for auto detailing. Never risk scraping, scratching or damaging any part of your vehicle ever again. These plastic blades are cheap and long-lasting too.
8. Drying tools At the very least, a good car wash requires a good drying. Chamois is a fabric preferred by many experienced DIY’ers because it’s an absorbent material that won’t leave streaks or residue. At the very least, you’ll want to use a microfiber towel in order to prevent water stains; these seemingly innocent-but-ugly stains contain trace amounts of mineral deposits that can corrode paint if left unattended.
9. Auto detailing belt One of the perks of DIY work is that you look busy enough doing something you love that people will leave you the heck alone. Stop getting pulled away to do boring activities with people you don’t want to hang out with and get busy! Get an auto detailing belt and stuff it full of your tools. It’ll make your work faster, easier and more ergonomic, and no one will confuse your important detailing and washing for mere time-wasting.
10. Rolling work seat Your choice of work seat is critical. It should be adjustable-height, comfortable and easy on your back. You’ll have your vehicle lifted up on your car lift, no doubt, so your rolling seat will give you easy access to the wheel wells, brake rotors/pads, hard-to-reach parts, etc.