Even if you’re a fresh car owner you probably know that car detailing is an essential step in maintaining your vehicle – it helps protect your car’s exterior and interior and keeps your car looking brand new for an extended period of time.
Maybe one of the most important aspects of car maintenance is the one concerning the paintwork. Luckily for us, there are tons of great car paint detailing products designed to keep the paint spotless, shiny, and free from any marks, scratches, or swirls.
However, digging through all those products can be tiresome, so we decided to help you out, do the tedious work ourselves, and present you with a list that comprises the absolute best DIY car detailing solutions currently available on the market.
Let’s take a look!
Car Paint Detailing Steps
If you wish to keep your car’s paintwork in pristine condition, there are 7 basic car paint detailing steps you should complete for the best results.
During the first stage, your aim should be to remove loose particles and stubborn dirt, grime, bird droppings, and bug splatters from the surface of your car and prepare it for contact wash. This is achieved by using pre-cleaning solutions and snow foams.
Contact washing stage
Contact washing refers to the good old water and bucket cleaning that involves using a quality car shampoo and a mitt to give your car a good scrub or two. It’s common to use the so-called two-bucket washing method, where one bucket contains a wash solution and the other clean water. When you apply a wash solution to a single section of your car’s surface, dunk your mitt in clean water before dunking it back in the wash solution. This prevents contamination of the wash solution and ensures your mitt stays clean throughout the process.
Decontamination stage is the final cleaning step where you use chemicals and clay bars to remove the most stubborn contaminants, such as industrial fallout, that tend to remain stuck even after you complete the previous two cleaning stages.
The next step is drying – use a soft cloth and work quickly and meticulously to avoid any streaks and water marks.
Polishing helps reduce or eliminate minor imperfections present on the surface paint. This step is mostly done by detailing professionals or more experienced enthusiasts, as you can easily damage your paintwork if you don’t have any previous experience.
Although glazing is not essential, this step boosts the paintwork, enhances its shine and colour, and makes swirls less visible.
Waxing / Sealing
Car waxing or sealing is quite possibly the most important step on our list, as it serves to protect and preserve all that you already accomplished during the previous 6 stages. During this phase, you can use products such as car wax, paint sealant, or ceramic coating to create a thick layer of protection that will prevent any damage caused by environmental or chemical contaminants, facilitate the entire process of maintenance, boost the appearance of your car, and, ultimately, increase your car’s resale value.
The Best DIY Car Paint Detailing Products in 2020
Explaining the Ranking System
As the market is flooded with all kinds of DIY car detailing products, we had to come up with a ranking system that’ll help us narrow down our list to the very best solutions out there. The system includes four main factors:
1. Product quality
Quality of the product is the primary factor in deciding whether a certain product is worth your time and money or not. Product quality mostly depends on the materials and ingredients used in the manufacturing process, as well as their ratio. High-quality products are made to perform brilliantly even when exposed to more demanding conditions.
2. Customer feedback
Feedback coming from the users who already have some experience with the product is invaluable when it comes to evaluating a certain product, as it reveals all the advantages and disadvantages you may face once you start using it.
Price is another crucial factor which influences our buying decisions, so we focused only on those DIY car detailing solutions that provide the best value for the money.
Please note that the prices expressed in this buying guide are those found at the moment of writing the review. Check out individual product pages to find information on the latest prices.
4. Online presence
Companies and brands that understand the importance of building a strong online presence and know how to engage with their customer base are those who are doing things right in today’s digital world.
Armor Shield IX Nano Ceramic Coating
Armor Shield IX Nano Ceramic Coating by AvalonKing is our favourite car paint detailing solution on the market and the highest customer-rated product on our list. Why? The answer is simple - this professional-grade ceramic coating is specifically designed to offer premium performance, outstanding protection, great usability, impressive durability, great strength, and unparalleled efficiency. When applied, the coating acts as a shield that guards your entire car and gives it a beautiful, show-stopping gloss it deserves.
Armor Shield IX fills in all the imperfections on your car’s surface, bonds with the paintwork and creates a thick protective film that provides ultimate protection against a wide range of mechanical and chemical pollutants, including bird droppings, tree sap, harmful UV rays, rust, corrosion, graffiti, acid rain, road dust, dirt, and grime. What’s more, the coating is characterized by its impressive hydrophobic properties that enable water beading, as well as the exceptional 9H level of hardness that makes the coating resistant to minor mechanical damage.
Another great thing is that the entire kit includes everything a DIY car detailing enthusiast might need - a 30ml bottle of Armor Shield IX, a pair of professional nitrile gloves, an applicator sponge, a buffing towel, suedes, and step-by-step operating instructions. This amazing kit can be used to coat cars, motorcycles, bikes, RVs, SUVs, boats, and even aeroplanes.
Moreover, Armor Shield IX is one of the most durable coatings on our list - if applied according to the instructions, the product provides protection that lasts between 2 and 5 years.
Why It’s Our Top Pick
PRODUCT QUALITY: Armor Shield IX Nano Ceramic Coating is a premium product that uses cutting-edge nano technology and carefully selected ingredients known for their quality that ensure flawless performance. Also, this coating has a high percentage of SiO2 (84%), which increases its strength and longevity.
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: With the product ranking of 4.8 out of 5, this is the best-rated product on our list. Over 2,000 mostly satisfied customers revealed that the product’s quality, longevity, and ease of use are the main reasons why they would recommend it to a friend without hesitation.
PRICE: With the price of $69.99 per kit, Armor Shield IX is definitely well worth the investment.
ONLINE PRESENCE: The company’s website is well-designed, easy to navigate, and has a ton of useful content. When it comes to their social media presence, their Instagram account currently has 13.9k followers.
Here Are The Facts:
- A professional-grade product designed to deliver.
- Protects against all kinds of environmental and chemical pollutants.
- Free worldwide shipping if you order 2 kits or more.
- A great volume discount - if you buy 2 kits, the second is 50% off, whereas if you buy 3 kits, you get one for free.
Chemical Guys JetSeal Paint Sealant and Paint Protectant
Chemical Guys JetSeal Paint Sealant and Paint Protectant is one of the favourites on the market, made to fit the needs of both detailing beginners and professionals alike. It is a highly-efficient DIY car detailing solution formulated to fill in all the existing imperfections on your car’s surface and create a protective coating that will keep the paintwork looking new and shiny.
JetSeal Paint Sealant and Paint Protectant is a powerful sealant designed to offer premium protection against weathering, UV rays, discolouration, high temperatures, and other harmful pollutants. It’s a versatile product that can be safely applied to cars, motorcycles, trucks, RVs, and planes.
Why It’s Our Second Pick
PRODUCT QUALITY: JetSeal Paint Sealant and Paint Protectant is made of the ingredients of the highest quality and offers outstanding performance, even when exposed to more demanding conditions.
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: More than 2,000 customers left their feedback and the product has a high score of 4.7 out of 5.
PRICE: A 16 oz bottle of the product can be purchased for $38.99, which is a great value considering that this sealant lasts around a year.
ONLINE PRESENCE: Chemical Guys is a famous brand with a well-designed website and strong following - nearly 500k followers on Facebook, 789k on Instagram, and 619k subscribers on YouTube.
Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat
Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat is a DIY ceramic coating designed to offer an effective 3 in 1 solution - you can use it to wash and protect your car’s paintwork while giving it a glossy shine at the same time. The product is formulated to be gentle but powerful. It prevents scratches, smears, and streaks and destroys dirt, grime, and grease quickly and effectively, giving your car a beautiful finish and enhancing its entire appearance.
Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat can be applied to cars, motorcycles, RVs, and boats. Once applied, the product lasts for around 3 months.
Why It’s Our Third Pick
PRODUCT QUALITY: Shine Armor Fortify Quick Coat uses the latest SiO2 infused ceramic coating technology to ensure its effectiveness.
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: Over 38k customers have shared their experience with the product and its average rating is 4.3.
PRICE: This DIY car detailing spray comes at a very affordable price of $19.95.
ONLINE PRESENCE: This company has a very good website filled with useful information concerning their products and car detailing industry. They have a solid social media following of over 200k followers on Facebook and Instagram together.
Meguiar’s Scratch-X 2.0
Meguiar’s Scratch-X 2.0 is a quality product designed to help you remove isolated surface scratches, including swirls, scuffs, fingernail marks, and paint transfer. It is a professional grade DIY car detailing product known for its impressive characteristics and outstanding results. If applied properly, this scratch removal product completely removes minor mechanical damage, making your car look shiny and new.
Meguiar’s Scratch-X 2.0 is user-friendly and quick and easy to use. Its effects are visible as soon as the product is applied to the car’s surface.
Why It’s Our Fourth Pick
PRODUCT QUALITY: Meguiar’s Scratch-X 2.0 uses a specially developed micro-abrasive system that enables quick and effective scratch removal.
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: Over 200 customers left their feedback and, while they are mostly satisfied with the product’s performance, the biggest complaint is the fact that the kit does not include a microfiber cloth. The product rating is 4.3.
PRICE: A 7 oz bottle costs $13.99, which seems like a reasonable price.
ONLINE PRESENCE: Meguiar’s is a popular brand in the automotive detailing industry that has an interesting website and a well-established Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram following.
Griot’s Garage Brilliant Finish Car Wash
Griot's Garage Brilliant Finish Car Wash is a quality car shampoo that is characterized by a ton of rich suds it makes. It’s a pH-balanced solution formulated to remove dirt, grime, grease, and dust, leaving your car’s surface glossy and squeaky clean. Just add an ounce of this powerful car wash solution to a gallon of water and start cleaning. We bet that you’ll be impressed with the results once you’re done.
The gentle formula makes Griot's Garage Brilliant Finish Car Wash perfectly safe for virtually all paint surfaces, including vinyl wraps and matte paint. Moreover, this cleaning solution uses special colour brighteners that will boost your vehicle’s appearance and make your car’s colour pop.
Why It’s Our Fifth Pick
PRODUCT QUALITY: Griot's Garage Brilliant Finish Car Wash uses only premium ingredients which deliver maximum performance and keep your car’s paintwork intact.
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: Around 500 mostly satisfied customers have left their reviews so far, and the product has a high score of 4.7.
PRICE: A 64 oz bottle is $16.95, which is a great price.
ONLINE PRESENCE: The company has a solid website and the brand is still working on increasing their social media following.
DUSICHIN Foam Cannon
DUSICHIN Foam Cannon is one of the top-rated foam cannons loved by both car detailing experts and complete beginners. If you want to do the pre-washing stage right and get rid of dirt and grime as quickly as possible, this foam cannon is a must-have in your detailing arsenal. It is characterized by its quality, heavy-duty design and easy to use, adjustable nozzle which allows you to set the right level of foam and reach all the surfaces that require cleaning.
DUSICHIN Foam Cannon comes with a 1/4-inch quick adjustable fitting and needs to be connected to a pressure washer of 1.2GPM and more than 1000 PSI for the best results.
Why It’s Our Sixth Pick
PRODUCT QUALITY: DUSICHIN Foam Cannon is made out of the high-quality materials to ensure excellent performance and impressive durability.
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: This product has more than 9,000 reviews and an average rating of 4.3 out of 5.
PRICE: Expect to pay $15.98 for this foam cannon, which is a completely justified price considering its performance.
ONLINE PRESENCE: DUSICHIN has a pretty straightforward website which contains all the basic information about their numerous products. It seems that the company doesn’t have a strong social media presence at the moment, but this might change in the future.
Mothers California Gold Clay Bar System
Mothers California Gold Clay Bar System is one of the favourite DIY car detailing products used in the decontamination stage. This powerful clay bar helps remove even the most stubborn of contaminants, including bird droppings, tree sap, paint overspray, environmental pollutants, and grains of metal. It’s very easy to use and not as hard as some other clay bars. The proper application will leave your car’s paintwork looking as shiny as ever.
Mothers California Gold Clay Bar System kit contains a 16 oz bottle of Mothers California Gold Instant Detailer, two 100 gram clay bars, and a microfiber towel. The product is versatile and can be used on virtually all types of paintwork.
Why It’s Our Seventh Pick
PRODUCT QUALITY: Mothers California Gold Clay Bar System is designed to help you eliminate grime, dirt, and other contaminants without causing any damage to the paintwork.
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: The product has over 8,000 ratings and its overall score is 4.6.
PRICE: Another great thing about this product is its price - the entire kit can be purchased for only $18.79.
ONLINE PRESENCE: The company has a carefully designed website filled with useful content. Their social media following is impressive, as they have more than 650k Facebook followers and 35.5k Instagram followers.
Bead Maker Paint Protectant
Bead Maker Paint Protectant is a quality car paint detailing product characterized by its premium ingredients, impressive performance, and great usability. Protecting your car has never been so easy - you just spray this protectant on your car’s surface (either wet or dry) and wipe it off. It’s a long-lasting, highly effective product that bonds with the surface and creates a hydrophobic protection film that provides a glossy finish.
Bead Maker Paint Protectant is applicable to different surfaces, including paint, glass, rubber, metal, and plastic. You can use it to coat your car, ATV, RV, aeroplane, or boat.
Why It’s Our Eighth Pick
PRODUCT QUALITY: Bead Maker Paint Protectant is formulated with the ingredients of the highest quality and uses the latest technology to provide outstanding performance.
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: With almost 4,000 reviews and the average rating of 4.8, no wonder this product made its way on our list.
PRICE: A 1-quart bottle is sold for $19.95, which is a fair price.
ONLINE PRESENCE: P&S is a well-known brand that focuses on delivering top-notch DIY car detailing solutions. Their social media engagement, however, is medium and they still haven’t gained a strong following across the most popular networks.
Turtle Wax Ice Spray Wax
Turtle Wax Ice Spray Wax is an amazing waxing product that is easy to apply and leaves behind a beautiful, deep, glossy shine you’ll love. Simply spray the wax and wipe it off - ideal for both beginners and professionals alike. This DIY car detailing product is characterized by many outstanding properties - it enables excellent water beading and offers great protection against harmful UV rays that may damage your car’s paintwork.
Turtle Wax Ice Spray Wax works great when applied to rubber trim, paintwork, and exterior plastic. If applied properly, it offers very durable protection.
Why It’s Our Ninth Pick
PRODUCT QUALITY: Turtle Wax Ice Spray Wax combines silane and synthetic polymers to ensure premium performance and durability.
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: The customers who left their feedback mostly praise the product’s ease of use. The overall score this wax has is 4.7 out of 5.
PRICE: A 20 oz bottle can be found for $19.81, which makes Turtle Wax Ice Spray Wax on par with similar products.
ONLINE PRESENCE: An excellently designed website paired with the brand’s outstanding social media engagement reveal that Turtle Wax fully understands the power of a strong online presence.
Adam’s UV Ceramic Paint Coating Kit
Adam’s UV Ceramic Paint Coating Kit is an advanced car paint detailing product made with the help of patent-pending Ceramic Glow technology, which ensures ease and accuracy of product application. This DIY car detailing solution offers a 9H level of hardness, which means that your paintwork will be protected even against minor mechanical damage such as scratches.
Adam’s UV Ceramic Paint Coating Kit is extremely durable and can protect your car’s surface against weathering, water, UV rays, road dirt, grime, dust, and chemical contaminants. It can be applied to vinyl wraps, clear coat, single stage, and lacquer paint finishes. The kit contains a 50 ml bottle of UV Ceramic Paint Coating, a 4 oz Ceramic Boost, a 4 oz Surface Prep solution, 2 applicators, 4 towels (2 for prep and 2 for removal), and a pair of gloves.
Why It’s Our Tenth Pick
PRODUCT QUALITY: Adam’s UV Ceramic Paint Coating Kit is a premium product that offers amazing results and long-lasting protection - one application is enough to protect your car for up to 5 years.
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: The overall score is relatively high - 4.6 out of 5.
PRICE: The entire kit is sold for $69.70, which is an excellent price for what you get.
ONLINE PRESENCE: Adam’s Polishes have a solid website and around 600k followers across the most popular social media channels like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Now that you have the 10 very best DIY car detailing solutions in front of you, all that is left for you to do is to choose the one(s) that fit your individual needs. You won’t go wrong with any of the products from our list, as they all meet the most important criteria used to determine the overall value of a product – its performance, level of protection it offers, effectiveness, versatility, longevity, ease of use, price, online presence, as well as customer feedback.