A good wash and wax can transform a dusty car into something almost recognizable, but if you want to take cleaning to the next level, consider car detailing.

Car detailing is often thought to be just a slightly more intensive clean, but there are quite surprisingly quite a few things that could go wrong in the process. Some of these mistakes will be menial, but others could damage the car and the overall quality of the cleaning process. 

Want to make sure your car detailing goes smoothly? Here are five mistakes other amateur car detailers commonly commit so you can take care to avoid them:

1. Cleaning the wheels last

Most of us are taught to wash our cars from top to bottom, beginning with the top and slowly moving down. This makes perfect sense in almost every scenario, as it keeps dirt going down to the ground rather than over a part that has already been cleaned. If you want a proper detail, though, this is the exact opposite of what you should do.

Expert car detailers avoid cleaning the wheels last, choosing to make it the first part of their process. Why is this so? It’s simple—the wheels are often the dirtiest part of the vehicle. If you were to clean that last, any splashing would just result in splatters on the body. Want a clean finish? Start with the wheels. Once the rest of the car has been cleaned, simply return to the wheels to do a final rinse and polish.

2. Using a dry towel to remove the dirt you missed

Mistakes happen. Once in a while, after you are “done” cleaning the car, you might spot a stray dirt mark that just has to be removed. While it is tempting to wipe them off with a drying towel, resist the temptation at all costs. That is because you can accidentally scratch the paint job by doing so. 

3. Washing the car while it is hot

Cleaning a vehicle while it is hot or under the sun is a big mistake. That is because the heat can quickly cause the water to evaporate, leaving ugly marks that are a pain to get rid of. Even if you consider yourself a fast washer, you’ll likely find more than a few unsightly marks.

Washing your car under a roof is always best. But if you have no option other than to wash yours under the sun, make sure to spray it with water frequently. This will keep the vehicle cool and wet, making it easier for you to dry the car properly after cleaning is complete.

4. Pouring wax directly on the vehicle

Do not ever pour wax or polish directly onto the car. That is because you risk leaving ugly dark marks and lines that will ruin the final result. You must only pour it on the clothing you are going to rub the wax with on the surface. Even then, do not pour too much as a soaked rag can cause streaks.

5. Cleaning only dirty spots on upholstery

While you’re cleaning the interior of your car, don’t focus only on the dirty sports. You could very easily get that one spot clean, only for the rest of the upholstery to stay dusty! It’s fine to start with the dirtier spots, but make sure you run through everything else as well.


Car detailing can be quite difficult and there are tips that we may not have covered here today. However, these tips are a good starting point and will likely take your car washing game up another notch. 

Not in the mood to detail your car on your own? We’ve got experts who will do it better than you ever can. Our car detailing service in Calgary will make your car look brand new! With unmatched service quality, Drip Detailing is a top choice for many clients who look for the best-detailing service around. Reach out to us today!