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Household items that can help with detailing

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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.

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