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

What Is Detail Spray and How To Use Them Properly

  • Detail spray is a polymer-based product designed to enhance the gloss of car paint.
  • Do not use a detail spray in between washes.
  • Wash and dry your vehicle first.
  • Spray the detail product and then wipe it off with a clean microfiber towel.

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!

How To Properly Use a Detail Spray

Are you thinking of using a detail spray or have you already used one, there’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 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 spray 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 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!

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-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.

Igor Iwanowski

I am a certified Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) mechanic since 2018. I specialize in Brake systems, dashboard warning lights, EGRs, general engine problems, EVAP and Emissions issues.

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