DetailingWiki Newsletter
    Get free and automatic updates on new articles
    We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!


Household items that can help with detailing

Written by:

Just like you can use detailing products in your house, you can use household product with detailing. Although it pays to know when you can use them.


Dishwashing liquid

Although it is frowned upon by many detailer, the dishwashing liquid has its place. It is very good at breaking down the bonds that hold a polish together. Which means it can be used effectively te clean things that come into contact with polish, such as polishing pads. You can also use it to clean or pre-soak applicator pads after use. Soaking your towels in a soapy mixture of warm water and dishwashing liquid can help to loosen up some of the more stubborn oils.


Vinegar is very versatile. It can be used to make a good DIY glass cleaner but also excels at breaking down soap residue. It even has a cleaning effect without harming certain protective products. After washing your MF towels, there will still be some soap left in the fabric. Rinsing your towels under warm water will reveal some of this. Washing them a second time with a fair amount of vinegar will not only clean the residue from your washing machine, but also from the towels.
Micing vinegar 10:1 with distilled water can make a decent glass cleaner. Don’t expect it to be as good as proper glass cleaning products, but it will still do a decent job.
Coatings are very strong against certain chemicals. Vinegar is one of them. Washing your car with vinegar can help to remove certain decontamination that a normal shampoo won’t remove. It won’t do much good against sealants of wax.

Shoe polish

Shoe polish can help to hide certain marks in plastic and can give tyres a nice black look when you don’t have any dressing with you. Don’t use it to replace a dressing, but it can help as a last resort. By rubbing it over a plastic surface with a mark in it, you can fill the mark and make it less visible. It won’t remove it, but it will help in making it less visible.

Soda crystals

Soda crystals are very good at cleaning deep dirt from towels. Washing your towels with soda crystals or soaking them in it will help to clean more thoroughly then with regular detergent.

Heavy degreaser

A heavy degreaser can make light work of dirty hinges and doorshuts. This product is fairly cheap and can save you from using your more expensive detailing product. Since you are going to rinse after it, and it won’t dry up in the sun, it is reasonably save to use it. But you still need to be a little bit careful.


Steelwool comes in different grades, which gives you the option of how much effect it has. Grade 000 is sometimes used by detailers to clean exhausts and similar. The higher grades are more rough and clean better but also need more polishing afterwards. Some people even use grade 000 to deep clean glass.

Other household items

There are several smaller household items that can help.

  • A dishwashing brush can help to get into small crevices (be careful on paint, it can scratch),
  • a toiletbrush can be used to clean arches and some places in the engine bay,
  • a regular cloth or old shirt can help to clean really dirty spots in the engine bay,
  • those yellow cleaning gloves can be handy when working with chemicals,
  • an apron can help you to keep your clothes clean,
  • a straw can help to blow out water from small crevices,
  • facial wipes can help to wipe off polish (but should be followed up by an IPA wipe down!),
  • an empty spraybottle can be refilled with detailing products,
  • magic sponges (melanine sponges) are very good at cleaning dirty areas in the interior,
  • denture cleaning tablets are great at cleaning brushes with caked on residue.

Different related articles

  • How to combine dressing and coating
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    Not all coatings have enough effect on the oxidized look of UV-damaged plastic. Most dressing restore the look better, but don't offer the protection of a coating. Combining these 2 seems illogical and difficult, but it isn't....
  • Why use a washmitt
    When you ask a detailer for a starter pack, they will often begin with 2 buckets and a proper washmitt. But why? What's so special about a washmitt that you need to have it? A washmitt is essential in taken care of your vehicle in a way that will minimize the amount of surface imperfections you create....
  • How to remove mold from the interior
    Mold can be common in vehicles that have stood still for a long time, are often exposed to moisture or vehicles that are not cleaned often. Mold is not only unsightly but also dangerous for your health....
  • What is contamination
    Contamination is a word that is used frequently in the world of detailing. It refers to the matter on top a surface that shouldn't be there. They are contaminating the surface, or you can say that they are contaminants. The removal of these contaminants results in a perfectly clean surface. A surface in which the only variable you have to take into account, is the material of the surface itself....
  • The best microfibre towel
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    It is often asked on detailing fora and social media: "what is the best microfibre towel". Off course there is a difference between certain products and brands, but it is important to know what you are asking. In this guide I will try to explain what the problem is with this question unless it is asked more in-depth....
  • What is oxidation
    Oxidation is the chemical process in which there is a chemical reaction that involves the moving of electrons. To be more precise, it means that the substance that is giving away electrons is oxidized. In simple terms it means that the surface of any object is affected when time goes by....

Links to this article

There are no external links to this article. Yet.

Stay up to date with our free newsletter
Always be the first to know about new updates, articles and other informative content.
Don't miss out, opt in!
We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!