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Showroom detailing tips

Detailing tips that will help you get a showroom finish, even if you’re pressed for time.


According to a press release, “Last Minute Pro Detailing Tips to Get You Ready Before the Show” written by Meguiar’s, with the SEMA show just around the corner, time’s running out to get cars prepped for this show or any other myriad car events this season. Whether you’re an amateur or professional detailer, Meguiar’s offers tips on how you can get a car cleaned and show-ready in less time than you ever thought possible.

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Polish the paint

Wash or use a spray detailer to remove any dust or dirt before beginning. Consider using a quality dual action polisher, as this will not only give you the ability to safely remove below-surface defects and enhance the depth of shine, but it will also make things go a lot quicker. Select a good one-step product to quickly remove swirls, scratches, oxidation, enhance depth of shine and offer protection.

Interior prep

Carpet and upholstery

Of course, you want the interior to look just as good as the exterior. First, remove any loose items or trash that may be present and take out the floor mats. Brush and vacuum all carpet and upholstery, being careful to get into all the little nooks and crannies. Clean the floor mats separately and reinstall them. To really set the interior off nicely, consider brushing the fibers of the carpet in opposite directions, as this pattern will show your attention to detail and that the carpet is both thoroughly and properly cleaned.


Related: Interior detailing tips and tricks

Other interior surfaces

Be sure to clean and protect all interior surfaces with a versatile product that can be used on plastics, vinyl, rubber, leather and even audio/video equipment like NAV screens.

Wheels and tires


If you have the tools and experience to remove the wheels for a pre-show deep cleaning, this is always the preferred method. If you don’t have the tools, time or courage to put a show car up on jacks, start by verifying the finish on the wheels and selecting the appropriate wheel cleaner, and always follow the directions carefully. Remove all dust and dirt, not only on the lip and face of each wheel but also thoroughly cleaning between spokes and behind the face so there’s no dirt or brake dust lurking anywhere. If the wheels are an uncoated metal like aluminum, chrome or stainless steel, select a good metal polish to remove any light blemishes and give them a brilliant reflective shine.



If the tires are dirty, clean them thoroughly with a firm bristle brush and a good, properly diluted, all-purpose cleaner. Finalize with a quality tire dressing, and be sure to apply it very thinly and evenly so it doesn’t end up slinging onto the paint.

Clean and dress under the hood

Determine how much cleaning you need. If moderate to heavy cleaning is needed, select a professional degreaser that has the strength to break down grease without leaving residue behind. If you just need a simple wipe down, you can use the same versatile interior cleaner that was used on the interior surfaces. Then, for a rich, natural sheen on hoses, plastics and rubber components, use the same vinyl and rubber cleaner tire dressing that was used on the tires. It will rejuvenate, restore color and make the engine compartment look clean and crisp.


Don’t forget the glass

Select a quality automotive glass cleaner that is safe for all windows, including tinted windows. To get the best streak-free results, be sure to use a high-quality microfiber towel. It will lift more of the cleaner than cotton terry, and it will be softer on the glass if there’s a tint. Be sure to clean the inside and outside of the glass thoroughly, and use a microfiber towel dedicated just for the glass so you don’t end up with product residue from another surface on the glass. For your final wipe, consider wiping up and down on the outside and then side to side on the inside, as this will allow you to determine where any streaks may be leftover so you can easily remove them.


Related: How to clean automotive glass without scratching it

Sell or offer a detailing bag to go

Pack a small detailing bag to go for your customer with a handful of your favorite detailing products to lift dust and fingerprints, a glass cleaner and a few microfiber towels so your customer can wipe the car down as needed while at the show. This will give the customer everything he or she needs to maintain and keep the car looking clean with a nice depth of shine at all times.


With these detailing tips, you’ll be sure to get a car looking its best and ready for the show both quickly and easily without compromising the results.

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