Car Detailing vs Car Wash: What You Need to Know

If you own a car, you probably want to keep it clean and shiny. But how do you choose between a car wash and a car detail? What are the differences and benefits of each option? In this blog post, we will explain the main differences between car detailing and car washing, and why car detailing is superior to car washing in many ways.

What is a car wash?

A car wash is a quick and superficial way of cleaning your car’s exterior using soap, water, and pressure washers. It usually takes a few minutes and costs between £5-40, depending on the type and level of service you choose. A car wash can also include a quick vacuum or window wash as part of the package.

What is a car detail?

A car detail is a more thorough and intensive way of cleaning your car’s exterior and interior using specialised tools, techniques, and products. It usually takes several hours and costs between £100-300, depending on the size and condition of your car and the services you choose. A car detail can include paint correction, paint protection, waxing, polishing, clay bar treatment, engine bay cleaning, interior shampooing, leather conditioning, and more.

Why is car detailing superior to car washing?

Car detailing is superior to car washing for several reasons:

Car detailing is safer for your car. Car washes use high-pressure water jets that can damage your paintwork, especially if it has chips or scratches. Car washes can also leave swirl marks, water spots, soap residue, and dirt behind. Car detailing uses gentle hand washing with microfibre towels and pH-neutral products that protect your paintwork from scratches and stains.

Car detailing can improve your car’s appearance. Car washes only remove surface dirt and grime from your car’s exterior. Car detailing can remove deeper contaminants, such as tar, sap, bugs, brake dust, and oxidation from your paintwork using clay bars and polishers. Car detailing can also correct minor paint defects, such as swirls, scratches, holograms, and fading using compound polishers and waxes. Car detailing can also enhance your car’s shine and gloss by applying sealants or ceramic coatings that provide long-lasting protection and hydrophobic effects.

Car detailing can increase your car’s value. Car washes do not add any value to your car; they only maintain its current condition. Car detailing can increase your car’s value by restoring its original beauty and preserving its condition. A detailed car looks more attractive to potential buyers than a dirty or dull one. A detailed car also shows that you care about your car and have maintained it well.

Car detailing can improve your driving experience. Car washes do not clean your car’s interior; they only vacuum it briefly. Car detailing can clean your car’s interior thoroughly by shampooing carpets and seats, cleaning hard surfaces, conditioning leather, deodorising air vents, sanitising touchpoints, and more. A clean interior can make your driving more comfortable, enjoyable, and healthy.

How often should you get a car detail?

The frequency of getting a car detail depends on several factors, such as how often you drive your car, where you park your car, what kind of weather conditions you face, how much you care about your car’s appearance, and what kind of budget you have. Generally speaking, you should get a full car detail at least once or twice a year to keep your car in optimal condition. You can also get mini details or maintenance details in between full details to keep your car clean and protected.


Car detailing and car washing are two different ways of cleaning your car. While both are essential for keeping your car in good shape, car detailing offers more benefits than car washing in terms of safety, appearance, value, and experience. If you want to give your car the best care possible, you should consider getting a professional car detail from time to time. You will be amazed by the difference it can make!