Maintenance Tips, Tricks And Hacks For Your Vehicle

What Is Detail Spray and How To Use Them Properly (Explained!)




Though detail sprays are nothing new to the detailing industry, many car owners still don’t fully understand them. If you want your car’s paint to look shiny and flawless all of the time, learning more about detail sprays may be beneficial for you.

In this blog post, I’ll cover what a detail spray is, how to use them, and which brand of detail spray is the best on the market.

Key Takeaway

  • Detail spray, also known as quick detailer, is a product used in car detailing to enhance the shine, provide light surface cleaning, and offer a protective layer to a vehicle’s exterior.
  • To use a detail spray, simply spray it evenly onto the surface of your vehicle and then wipe it off with a clean, dry microfiber cloth, working in a linear motion to prevent swirl marks.

What Is Detail Spray

What Is Detail Spray and How To Use Them Properly (Explained!)

Detail sprays are wax or polymer-based products used to enhance car paint gloss, make the surface feel slicker, and safely remove light dust particles. While these functions of a detail spray remain unchanged, many have additional features like paint protection (similar to what wax would do), extended duration, water-repellent properties, etc.

After washing your car, it’s likely that there will be some smudges left behind when the paint dries. Don’t worry; using a detail spray with just two or three quick sprays and wiping away with a clean towel will eliminate these marks and give your paint an amazing gloss and shine.

Professional detailers often divide detail sprays into three categories: winter detail, summer detail, and car show detail spray. The distinction between these three lies in their features.

Winter Detail Spray: A concentrated water-repellency formula. When applied, your car’s exterior will become hydrophobic and will repel water for up to eight washes, giving it a glossy shine while also improving water repellency. These treatments not only make your vehicle shine but also function as an effective water deterrent.

Summer detail sprays are more focused on giving your car’s paint a shiny sheen than they do on water repellency. In essence, these treatments will protect your paint job from UV rays while giving it a nice sheen.

Car show detail spray is designed with one goal in mind – how your car looks. Not only does it give off an incredible gloss and some protection, but most of all they prioritize aesthetics. Once applied, your paintwork will appear wet all the time!

See also: Griot’s Garage G-9 vs. Porter Cable 7424XP – Which One Is Better Polisher?

What Is The Purpose of Detail Spray?

The purpose of a detail spray, also known as a quick detailer, is to enhance the appearance and protect the surface of a vehicle. It’s often used between major washes to maintain the car’s shine and cleanliness.

The spray works by lifting up light dust and dirt from the surface, making it easy to wipe away without scratching the paint.

In addition to cleaning, detail sprays also leave behind a thin protective layer that can help shield the car’s surface from harmful elements like UV rays, bird droppings, or acidic rain.

Moreover, they add gloss and depth to the paint, making the color look more vibrant. It’s a convenient and effective tool for quick touch-ups, keeping your vehicle looking its best at all times says The Chemical Guys.

How To Properly Use a Detail Spray

Are you thinking of using a detail spray or have you already used one, It’s likely that you haven’t used it properly.

These products have been around for two decades now, yet still, many people don’t know how to properly use them. So what should you look out for when using your detail spray?

1. Do not use it in between washes

When purchasing a new product, it is only natural to read the instructions. Unfortunately, this is not always the case with detail sprays. Many instructions state that these can be used between washes for light cleaning of cars – will this clean my car effectively?

Yes, but using a detail spray between washes will cause swirls in its finish. There can be no two ways about it – there simply are no shortcuts here!

No matter what kind of detail spray you own, if not used after a proper two-bucket car wash method, your vehicle’s surface will be scratched. While driving your vehicle, much road dirt and debris collects on its paint; some particles are so small that they may go undetected.

The problem arises when you apply your detail spray and then wipe it with a microfiber towel. Dirt and debris on the car paint can scratch it, necessitating you to have it polished. That is why it is essential to only use detail spray after thoroughly washing and drying your vehicle.

2. Wash and dry your vehicle first

When using a detail spray, the ideal and proper method is after your vehicle has been washed and dried. Applying the detail is relatively straightforward; the tricky part comes when knowing when to use it.

Many people make the mistake of using it on dirty cars or washing their cars and then applying the detail spray after drying – both are incorrect!

When applying a detail spray to your vehicle, the proper way is when the car has been washed and thoroughly dried. To do this, first wash your car using the two-bucket method: soak your mitt into one bucket with soapy water then scrub away the dirt on the surface of the car with it.

Afterward, rinse out the mitt in another bucket with soapy water; once cleaned, soak it again in the first one.

Once you finish washing your vehicle, it is time to dry it off. If you are washing in your driveway and don’t need it to dry quickly, let it air dry naturally.

On the other hand, if going through a self-operated car wash where people wait in line behind you, use a microfiber towel with clean water on it to completely dry your car. No matter which method you choose, make sure your ride is completely dry after each pass!

See also: Should I Remove Old Wax Before Waxing Car? (Answered!)

3. Get a clean microfiber towel and start spraying

Once your vehicle is completely dry, take a microfiber towel and spray some of the detail sprays on. Make sure you go panel by panel so you can keep track. Start with the hood, then side panels, then doors – it’s that simple. Finally, wipe away any residue with the microfiber towel.

You don’t need to go heavy on the spraying. I usually do five or six sprays for the hood and two or three for side panels and doors, focusing more on areas with smudges or streaks. You have two options: direct onto your working surface or into a microfiber towel – it’s entirely up to you which way works best for you!

Is Detail Spray The Same As Wax?

No. Detail spray and wax are two distinct products. The former acts as a lubricant when wiping away dust, fingerprints, or light contaminants from your vehicle surface while wax provides extra protection for the paint finish.

Each detail spray has its own distinct advantages but they all share one thing in common: they serve as the missing link between washing and waxing.

If you want your car’s shine enhanced, use a detail spray. With this product, you are working with what already exists; adding gloss and making your ride shine even brighter. Plus, some detail sprays even have water-repellent qualities which come in handy on rainy days!

However, if you want to add an extra protective layer to your car paint and shield it from sun damage, dirt, and oxidation, wax is the answer.

Wax adds a clear coat over the top layer of paint, acting as a shield that keeps out UV rays and dirt while leaving the actual car paint underneath unharmed. While wax may deteriorate over time, the original coat beneath remains unchanged.

See also: Can You Wax Your Car Too Much? Yes

Can You Use Detail Spray on a Wet Car?

Yes, you can use detail spray on a wet car. In fact, some detail sprays are designed to be used specifically on wet surfaces.

Using detail spray on a wet car can be helpful after washing your vehicle, as it can aid in drying and prevent water spots from forming on the paint.

The detail spray helps to break the surface tension of the water droplets, allowing them to be easily wiped away with a microfiber towel.

Not only does this method enhance the shine of your car, but it also adds a layer of protection to the paint.

However, always ensure to read the instructions on the product label, as usage may vary between different brands and types of detail sprays.


Q: How is detail spray different from regular car wash soap?

A: Unlike regular car wash soap, detail spray is not intended for deep cleaning or removing heavy layers of dirt. It is a quick and convenient solution for touch-ups between washes. Detail spray is typically used to enhance the shine and gloss of the paint and provide a protective layer.

Q: Can detail spray be used on all types of surfaces?

A: Yes, detail spray is safe to use on various surfaces including painted metal, chrome, plastic, glass, and even vinyl wraps. However, it is always recommended to check the product instructions or perform a small test spot on an inconspicuous area to ensure compatibility.

Q: How often should I use detail spray?

A: The frequency of using detail spray depends on your car’s exposure to dirt and environmental elements. However, it is generally recommended to use detail spray every few weeks or whenever you notice light dust or smudges on the surfaces.

Q: Is it necessary to wash the car before using detail spray?

A: Detail spray is not a substitute for a proper car wash. It is best used on a clean and dry surface. If your car is heavily soiled or covered in mud, it is recommended to wash it using a car wash soap and then apply detail spray for additional shine and protection.

Q: How do I use detail spray?

A: To use detail spray, simply spray a small amount of the product onto the desired surface. Then, using a clean microfiber towel, gently wipe the area in a back-and-forth or circular motion until the dirt or smudges are removed and the surface appears glossy. Avoid applying excessive pressure to prevent scratching.

Q: Can detail spray be used on a hot or sunny day?

A: It is generally recommended to avoid using detail spray on hot or sunny surfaces. High temperatures can cause the spray to dry too quickly, making it difficult to achieve a smooth finish and potentially leaving streaks. It is best to apply detail spray in a shaded or cool area.

Q: Will detail spray damage my car’s paint or clear coat?

A: No, detail spray is specifically formulated to be safe for use on automotive paint and precise coat finishes. It is designed to enhance the shine and provide a protective layer without causing any damage or harm to the paintwork.

Q: Can detail spray be used on a matte finish?

A: Detail spray is generally not recommended for use on matte or satin finishes. The ingredients in detail spray can potentially alter the appearance of matte surfaces, causing them to become glossy or uneven. It is best to use products specifically designed for matte finishes.

Q: Can detail spray be used on interior surfaces?

A: While detail spray is primarily designed for exterior surfaces, some products can also be used on certain interior surfaces like plastic trims or leather seats. However, it is essential to check the product instructions and suitability for specific interior materials before using detail spray.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, detail spray, often referred to as quick detailer, is a crucial tool in car detailing that serves to enhance your vehicle’s shine, provide light surface cleaning, and add a protective layer to the exterior.

Its use is straightforward – you need to spray it evenly onto your car’s surface and then gently wipe it off with a clean, dry microfiber cloth, moving in a linear motion to prevent causing swirl marks.



Vide Polowenski, Senior Mechanic

The information in this article is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest mechanic SOPs.

Please take the time to leave a comment if this article has helped you in any way, you need additional help, or you have a suggestion.

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