Written By
Published Dec. 17, 2020

Detailing sprays, quick detailers (QDs), spray waxes — call them what you will — are some of the most versatile products you can have in your car care arsenal. They’re super easy to use yet make all the difference in the look of your car. They elevate the shine of the exterior tremendously and make cleaning dirt, dust, and smudges a piece of cake.

So, if you’re looking for an effortless way to make your car look like it’s just been washed and waxed, or to quickly clean it and make it out-of-this-world glossy, look no further than the detailing spray. Of course, there is no one detailing spray that can help you do all that — in fact, the market is absolutely saturated with different detailing spray products, all claiming to be the best but all with different price tags.

To help you find the best detailing spray and save you time, effort, and money from testing out different products, we’ve prepared this top list of the best detailing sprays on the market.

The Best Detailing Spray

One of the best quick detailers on the affordable side, the Meguier’s Ultimate Quick Detailer does it all – it enhances wax protection, removes dust and fingerprints, produces deep shine and leaves a brilliant dark finish. Talk about versatility!

Incorporating hydrophobic polymer technology, this detail spray not only protects your paint finish between washes, but also repels water, meaning your vehicle can survive heavy rains without any smudges. It makes cleaning up light dust and fingerprints easy, while delivering a high surface tension with deep gloss and slick, dark finish. Of course, this QD is safe for all paint types, so no worries there. It’s also easy to use – just shake the product, spray it onto the problem area, clean with a towel and you’re done.

Key Features
  • Enhances wax protection
  • Removes dust and fingertips
  • Produces hydrophobic coat
  • Leaves glossy, ultra-dark finish
Specification
  • Brand Meguier’s
  • Model G14422
  • Weight 1.1 lbs

The Meguiar’s Ultimate Waterless Wash and Wax justifies its name — with a no-scratch formula that gently washes and adds wax protection, this product may indeed be the ultimate detailer as it leaves behind a shiny, glossy barrier that protects your car for days.

The formula features an advanced polymer chemistry that helps create a reflective, synthetic wax barrier. It’s also spot-free with high-lubricity, meaning it will never scratch the car surface while cleaning it. As a bonus, the formula is waterless, meaning you don’t need a hose, bucket, or even rinsing when using it, which makes it ideal for car owners who live in apartments or in areas with water restrictions. Importantly, this car wax polish is safe for all surfaces, including glossy paints, clear coat finishes, polished metals, glass, chrome, and plastic trim.

Key Features
  • Washes and adds wax protection
  • No-scratch formula
  • Produces glossy, shiny wax protecting barrier
  • Waterless formula, easy to use
Specification
  • Brand Meguiar’s
  • Model G3626
  • Weight 1.19 lbs

One of the most popular detailing products on the market, the CarGuys Hybrid Wax Sealant produces a deep shine and slick surface like no other sealant. The product is safe to apply to every surface of the vehicle, meaning you don’t need to worry about the product damaging your rubber, windows, or anything else for that matter.

The formula works at the nano level and features a patented polymer additive to bring shine and reflection to any car. And does it bring that deep gloss! With just a tiny bit of effort, you can take your car from ok-looking to perfection all neighbors are jealous of. And you can forget about the rainy, dirty days — this sealant produces a slick hydrophobic finish that keeps the car clean-looking and glossy even during and after rain. To use it, all you have to do is spray the product on and then wipe it off.

Key Features
  • Produces slick hydrophobic finish and deep shine
  • Provides durable UV protection
  • Safe for the entire car exterior
  • Quick and easy to use
Specification
  • Brand CarGuys
  • Model FBA_HW-18OZ-KIT
  • Weight 1.46 lbs

If you’re looking for the ultimate shine, check out the Chemical Guys’ gloss spray. Although the product is marketed as a QD too, we found this to work best as a shine and gloss booster.

The product works at a nano-spec level and bounds to surfaces to leave a streak-free gloss and slick and non-stick finish. It’s easy to use as all you have to do is spray it on and then wipe it off to boost your car’s shine. Of course, the formula is safe to use on various surfaces, including all painted surfaces, wheel, plastics, headlights, and glass. It’s particularly good for glass actually, as it gently cleans and protects against sun staining and water spots.

Key Features
  • Produces high gloss and shine on all surfaces
  • Provides long-lasting UV protection
  • Makes detailing faster
  • Easy to use
Specification
  • Brand Chemical Guys
  • Model WAC_808_16
  • Weight 1.1 lbs

You can say goodbye to rusty brakes and dirty wheels with the Adam’s Deep Wheel Cleaner. This stuff is super-tough on brake rust but gentle and safe on wheels of all types, including chrome, powder coated, clear coated, and painted wheels.

This formula dissolves stubborn brake dust and metallic contamination, making it perfect for brake maintenance. At the same time, it cleans perfectly but gently various types of wheels, bringing shine and that freshly-cleaned look to your car. To leave the guesswork out of detailing, the product changes color as it works – just spray it on, allow it to do its magic (it will turn deep purple), and lightly scrub and rinse or hose off. As the manufacturer advises, if you’re using the product for the first time, it’s best to test it on a small area first, just to be sure it works for your particular wheels.

Key Features
  • Dissolves stubborn brake dust and rust
  • Gently cleans and shines wheels
  • Quick and easy to use
Specification
  • Brand Adam’s Polishes
  • Model DWC-16
  • Weight 1.25 lbs

If you’re looking for an easy but environment-friendly way to shine your tires to perfection, you need to try the CarGuys Tire Shine Spray. This stuff is non-toxic but provides such a brilliant, deep wet looking shine it’s hard to believe it’s perfectly safe for the environment!

The formula is boosted with a patented nano polymer additive which helps the product not only shine your tires and provide a UV protectant shield but last a very, very long time. This also helps your tires stay cleaner for longer as it prevents sling and run-off during high speeds. The spray can be used on tires, vinyl, plastic, and faded rubber. As a bonus, it comes inside a complete kit which includes a microfiber applicator that enables you to choose from a wet-looking gloss shine to a rich deep black.

Key Features
  • Environment-friendly tire shine spray
  • Provides UV protection
  • Produces deep shine and keeps tires clean longer
  • Comes with a complete auto detail kit for tire shine
Specification
  • Brand CarGuys
  • Model TSS-18OZ-KIT
  • Weight 1.7 lbs

Offering incredible shine, extending car protection, and making dust and dirt easy to remove, this detail spray may be all you need to keep your car in perfect looking condition — inside and outside. The product, which features the manufacturer’s new boosting technology, is safe to use on the exterior and interior of your car, including door panels, seats, dash, and console.

The Adam’s Polishes detail spray extends the life of your wax or sealant coating significantly — in fact, the manufacturer claims it extends protection up to 2 additional months! So use this spray to detail your paint, chrome, grills, wheels and trim, as well as the interior – it will clean everything. This QD comes with two microfiber towels, so all you have to do is spray some product on and wipe it off.

Key Features
  • Extends wax and sealant coating
  • Brings deep shine
  • Makes cleaning easier and quicker
  • Safe for exterior and interior
Specification
  • Brand Adam’s Polishes
  • Model DS2-16
  • Weight 1.3 lbs

The Griot’s Garage Speed Shine is such a versatile, powerful product, we have no doubt you’ll be keeping it in your car detailing supplies forever if you only try it. This stuff works quickly, cleaning and adding brilliant shine to any car, so it’s perfect for a quick wipe down if you’re always short on time.

The formula contains lubricants that help lift dirt and smudges off the surface easily and quickly (the product has “The Five Minute Detail” on its label for a reason!) and can be used on all painted surfaces, wheels, moldings, matte and vinyl wrapped surfaces. It also adds deep shine and extends the life of your paint. All in all, a truly versatile, easy to use QD that is also affordable.

Key Features
  • Helps clean dirt, dust, smudges
  • Adds deep shine
  • Safe for all painted surfaces
  • Quick and easy to use
Specification
  • Brand Griot’s Garage
  • Model 11015-P 1
  • Weight 2.55 lbs

If you need an efficient interior detailer that is super-easy to use and doesn’t leave any residue, check out the Turtle Wax ICE Premium Interior Cleaner & Protectant. This detailer is excellent at removing dirt, dust, smudges, food and beverage stains, but unlike most interior detailers, doesn’t leave an oily, greasy film behind.

Thanks to the formula’s UV absorbers or inhibitors, the product will never damage your interior plastics, but will, in fact, help prevent fading, drying, and cracking (it is a protectant, after all). Of course, you can also use it on everything else inside your car, including leather, vinyl, and composites. The spray comes with two microfiber towels, so all you have to do is shake and spray the product, wipe until clean and then buff dry with the dry side of the towel.

Key Features
  • Interior cleaner and protectant
  • Doesn’t leave residue
  • Contains UV inhibitors
  • Easy and quick to use
Specification
  • Brand Turtle Wax
  • Model 50728
  • Weight 1.5 lbs

And we’re finishing the list with another interior detailer product, this one from Adam’s Polishes — a quick and easy detailer that cleans all interior surfaces in no time and also adds UV protection.

The formula is a special blend of polymer, acrylic, wax, and UV blocking agents, meaning it cleans, polishes, and protects your interiors, including dash, door panels, plastic, leather, vinyl, and pretty much anything you can find in your car. The spray doesn’t leave any residue, and actually prevents dust build up thanks to its anti-static formula. Best of all? It actually has a pleasant smell, as it neutralizes odors and leaves a clean, fresh scent behind.

Key Features
  • Interior cleaner and protectant
  • Doesn’t leave residue
  • Neutralizes odors
  • Easy to use
Specification
  • Brand Adam’s Polishes
  • Model L015
  • Weight 1.05 lbs

Best Detailing Sprays Buying Guide

So there you have it — our list of top detailing products. Clearly, there are many different quick detailing products currently on the market, from exterior-only, to interior-only, to those safe for both exterior and interior. Which product is right for you?

To help you pick a detailer you’ll be more than satisfied with, we’ve prepared the following features on car detailing, including what to look for when buying a detailing spray and what the benefits of using one are. We also answered some of the frequently asked questions, so make sure you check out that section too to make a fully informed purchasing decision.

detailing sprays for cars
Cleaning Tire After Using Detailing Spray

What Makes a Good Detailing Spray

The best car detailing products really come down to what the customer (you) wants. If you want something for general car care, then you may simply want something that doesn’t leave swirl marks, and lightly protects the car’s paint from road debris. If you want something a little more serious, then you may need to use a little bit of elbow grease and start shopping for pressure washers to go with it.

Overall, however, the best name brand products will usually:

  • Add some protection to your car wax and paint
  • Bring shine
  • Help clean dust and dirt easier.

A QD should never:

  • Leave streaks and smudges on your car surface
  • Make the surface oily and greasy
  • Damage your car paint or tires

Generally speaking, the most important ingredients that detailing supplies should include are:

  • Surfactants (for dissolving dirt)
  • Polymers (to add shine and protection)
  • Wax (to leave a thin layer of wax for added protection)
  • UV absorbers (protect the paint and other surfaces against the sun).

Benefits of Using a Detailing Spray

There are many benefits to using a good QD from time to time. Here are some of the major ones:

Water Spot Removal

Water spots can turn a great looking car wash into a very mediocre and second rate wash. After washing your vehicle, removing any dirt, dust, or mud, allow the car to dry, grab a microfiber cloth, and apply detail spray, wiping it down as you go. 

Bird Droppings Removal

Just like water spots, bird droppings can be removed with detailing spray. Depending on how caked and old the dropping is, you may have to give the whole car or area of concern a quick wash. Once that is done, grab that microfiber cloth, spray on some QD, and wipe it down with the cloth as you go.

Lubrication for Natural or Synthetic Clays

A car clay bar is particularly good at removing even the harshest of contaminants, like road tar, overspray, and dead caked-on bugs. If you want the best results, then use detail spray before applying a clay bar. The QD will add a layer of lubrication allowing the clay bar to do its best work.

Quick Drying Aid

Detailing spray also works as a quick-drying aid after washing your car. Simply spray it on before the water dries and give the whole car a good wipe down with a microfiber cloth.

Protection for Paint Job

Detailing sprays to top off your wax or paint sealant, thereby providing an additional layer of protection and extending the longevity of your main protectant. Many QDs can extend the life of the car protectant by as long as 2-3 months, so they’re definitely worth considering if you’re serious about your wax or paint job.

spraying a car with detailing spray
Spraying the Interior of the Car with Detailing Spray

Types of Car Detailing Products

There are a ton of different car detailing products. Here are a few of the most common that you are likely to come across.

Car Soap/Shampoo

Car wash soaps and shampoos have been specifically designed to lubricate a car’s painted surfaces, assisting the removal of dirt and grime. There are a ton of options for car wash soaps and shampoos on the market, simply make sure you choose one that is suited to your car’s paint type.

Paint Sealant

Car paint sealant is a product specifically designed to protect a car’s painted surfaces while at the same time leaving a mirror-like shine. Paint sealants are chemically engineered to bond strongly with a painted surface, offering long-lasting protection from damaging contaminants that can fade or strip a car’s paint.

Car Wax

Car wax is another car care product that will help protect a car’s paint. It not only cleans and protects but also adds an amazing shine to a car’s paintwork. Car wax is particularly effective at removing and smoothing out surface swirls and scratches while also adding a protective coating.

Wheel Cleaner

Car wheel cleaner is another great car detailing product that is sure to keep even the most die-hard car enthusiast happy. Car wheel cleaner has been formulated to tackle not only dust and grime but it will also remove brake dust, mud, grime, and even road tar.

Interior Cleaner

Car interior cleaner comes in a number of different application types, some are designed to tackle hard surfaces like a car’s dashboard and center console while others are designed for upholstery applications like a car’s seats or headrests. Using a car interior cleaner is pretty intuitive, simply spray on, scrub or let sit, and wipe off.

Microfiber Wash Mitts

A microfiber wash mitt is basically the same as an oven mitt but instead is designed like a microfiber cloth. This design helps to pick up dust and grime that resides on a car’s paintwork, simply slip it over your hand and wipe away the vehicle.

Car Vacuums

Car vacuum cleaners are vacuums that have been specifically designed for car interior use. They vary from home vacuum cleaners as they are typically more flexible and designed to get into hard to reach places. And their nozzle attachments are also designed to get into tight spaces and like between seat crevices.

Top Brands

There is a whole heap of different car detailing products on the market, here are the best ones that we both know and trust.

Chemical Guys

The Chemical Guys are a car detailing products manufacturer hailing out of California. These guys make a ton of awesome detailing supplies, anything from high-quality wax to coating, polish to the sealant, or even car wash soap.

Meguiar’s

The Meguiar team has been making car detailing products for over one hundred years. Their products span from automotive surface glass, and wheel cleaners to clay bars, and even paint scratch remover.

Adam’s Polishes

Adam’s Polishes are a car care products manufacturer based out of Thornton, Colorado. The company’s best products include car dressings, sealant, glass cleaner, foam cannon detergent, plus a number of polishes and waxes.

Car Guys

The Car Guys are a fairly new company to the car detailing supplies scene, although don’t think that doesn’t mean they are making quality products. Their team makes a wide range of quality products, anything from waxes, surface protectors, microfiber towels, all the way to glass cleaner.

Best Detailing Spray FAQ:

Q:  Why use a detailing spray?

With a good detailing spray, you can drastically reduce car washing and cleaning, thereby saving yourself time and effort. Instead of spending around an hour every week on washing your car and interior cleaning, you can spend 5-10 minutes every few days on quick detailing and have a car that looks like it’s been professionally washed and waxed. Something like Meguiar’s Ultimate Quick Detailer should more than suffice.

Q:   What is the best way to apply detailing spray?

The best way to apply a QD depends on the product itself (read the label!). Most detailing products are waterless and need only be sprayed on and then wiped off to work. Practically, this is what using a detailing spray looks like:
– You shake the bottle
– Spray it on dirty areas
– Maybe wait a little while for the formula to work (usually necessary for tire detailers)
– Wipe the product off with a buffer or microfiber towel (in case of baked-on grime, rub a little)
– Buff dry with a clean, dry side of the towel.
– All in all, using a detailing spray is one of the easiest and quickest things you can do to make your vehicle look shiny and polished.

Q:  How long does a detailing spray last?

How long a detailing product will last depends on a few factors:
– The quality of detailing and cleaning products used
– The outside temperature, humidity, and weather
– Where the car is housed after the detail spray has been applied
– How often the car is exposed to extreme outdoor conditions like heavy rain, high UV conditions, or mud, dirt, and grime
https://www.youtube.com/embed/6onPMUu_UAs

Q: How often should I detail my vehicle?

If your car is parked outside all day, even during rain, and your paint is very touch-sensitive, the detailing spray will last shorter. In this case, you may have to detail every single day. However, that’s not always the case – if the level of dust fallout is light, you may be able to go around 2 days without using a spray. Generally speaking, it’s best to use a detailing spray every two to four days, depending on your paint job, weather conditions, and how well you maintain your car.

Q: What’s the difference between spray wax and spray detailer?

Typically the main differences between spray wax and spray detailer are that spray wax normally doesn’t clean, only protects. On the other hand, a spray detailer will remove light dust and grime while also adding a layer of protection.

Q: What goes first wax or detailer?

Generally, a detailer is applied before a wax. That’s because a spray detailer is not only designed to add a layer of protection but to also clean the surface as well. If you apply wax before a detailer, the wax will not only inhibit the effectiveness of the detailer but the detailer will also remove some of the wax.

Q: What is quick detail spray?

Car quick detail sprays are used to put the finishing touches on a car wash. A QD removes watermarks, streaks, dust, grime, and many other light contaminants. Not only that, but a QD also adds a layer of protection to prevent contaminants from attaching themselves to a car’s paintwork post-application.

Sources:

  1. What is a quick detailer – DetailingWiki
  2. Top 11 secrets of auto detailers – CNN
  3. How to Detail Your Car – WikiHow

MORE TO READ