How to Valet a Car Like a Professional: Step by Step Instructions

Valeting is a very delicate process that takes time and patience. It requires the right equipment, products, and techniques to get the job done well. This article will guide you through how to valet your car like a professional with step-by-step instructions on how to do it yourself or hire someone else to do it for you.

Cleaning Products and Equipment Required



  • Power Washer
  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Microfibre Cloths
  • Wash Mitt
  • Two Buckets (with Grit Guards)
  • Detailing Brushes
  • Upholstery Brush
  • Drying Towel or Chamois Leather
  • Spray Bottle
  • Wheel Brush
  • Car Shampoo
  • Clay Bar
  • Car Polish
  • Vinyl and Rubber Cleaner
  • All Purpose Cleaner
  • Glass Cleaner
  • Tyre Dressing
  • Leather Conditioner (If car seats are leather)

Step by Step Car Cleaning Guide

Exterior car cleaning

Exterior car cleaning
  1. Using the pressure washer rinse the whole vehicle starting at the top of the car working down to the bottom until all loose dirt has been removed.
  2. Using the two bucket car wash method wash the entire car starting at the top working down to the bottom of the car, this will prevent scratching your paintwork during the washing process, using a spray bottle spray the wheels with a wheel cleaner solution or a stronger shampoo mix.
  3. Rinse the car thoroughly using the pressure washer including the wheels, this will remove all the detergent, once the detergent has been washed away dry the paintwork with a drying towel or chamois leather.
  4. If the paintwork is fairly poor then a clay bar can be used to remove impurities in the paint plus remove swirl marks, work on one panel at a time, once again it is better to work from the top of the car down to the bottom.
  5. Polish each panel with a quality car polish of your choice, once again from the top to the bottom, during this process you can apply the polish with a microfibre cloth, leave the polish till it starts to dull before buffing with either a rotary polisher or clean microfibre cloth until you achieve a great shine.
  6. Clean any rubbers or plastic trim with a good quality vinyl and rubber trim cleaner.
  7. Wheels can be deep cleaned using a wheel brush and detailing brushes if required, an alloy wheel cleaner can also be used to achieve better results on alloy wheels.

Interior car cleaning

  1. Remove personal belongings and loose rubbish from the interior of the car, also remove any car mats at this point as they will be cleaned later.
  2. Vacuum the interior to remove larger particles of dirt this should also include floor carpets and seats, move the seats fully back to reach awkward areas plus move them fully forward to gain access to underneath the seats from the back, once the seating area has been vacuumed also repeat the process to the boot or hatchback flooring of the car.
  3. Using detailing brushes along with a vacuum cleaner, brush any finer dust sucking it up as you go with the vacuum, work from the highest points first moving slowly down towards the floor, brush the dash and heater vents with a small detailing brush until all traces of dirt have been removed, this can be time-consuming but the results will be your reward.
  4. Clean any trim with an all purpose cleaner, spray onto the trim area and agitate with a detailing brush when complete wipe clean with a microfibre towel, to achieve the best results you may want to make a checklist to ensure you cover all sections of the interior, this list will normally include Door cards, Carpet trims, Centre console trim, foot pedals, etc.
  5. If the headlining is marked then this can be cleaned in the same way as cleaning the interior trim by using an all purpose cleaner and agitating with a detailing brush then wiping clean with a microfibre towel.
  6. Cleaning the seats will depend on what type of seats are in the car, for cloth seats spray a good fabric cleaner onto the seats and agitate gently with an upholstery brush, work in small areas until all of each seat is cleaned by spraying, agitating, and wiping clean with a microfibre towel, once this process is complete the seats can be protected using a fabric protectant. For leather seats use a leather conditioner to clean and treat the leather.
  7. Clean the floor carpets with a good quality fabric cleaner, spray and agitate any bad stains and wipe clean with a microfibre towel, a fabric protectant can also be applied to carpets to help keep them in good condition.
  8. Car door jams and sills will need to be cleaned by once again using an all purpose cleaner, if the dirt near the car door hinges is black use an old detailing brush to work on this area and keep it as your dirty brush for the future, once this area has been agitated wipe clean with a microfibre towel.
  9. Glass cleaning can be completed using a good quality glass cleaner, simply spray onto the glass and use a microfibre towel to buff until no streaks are visible, make sure windows are wound down slightly to clean the areas that insert into the rubbers of the door.
  10. Car footwell mats can now be cleaned and replaced, if they are rubber mats simply wash them and agitate with a brush rinse, and dry, for carpet-type mats use an upholstery cleaner in the same way you cleaned the floor carpets.
  11. Finally use a nice air freshener or hang a freshener in the car to make your car smell wonderful.

Best Car Cleaning Product Guide

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In conclusion by completing the processes correctly when cleaning a car and making sure you have the right equipment and products, the process will take less time, be a lot easier, and achieve much better results.

As always, these are recommendations from us to help make your valet experience more enjoyable. What steps do you typically use when cleaning a car? Share below in the comments section or in our Facebook group!

Thank you for reading this article “How to valet a car like a professional: step by step instructions” I hope you found it useful.

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