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What Exactly IS a 'Quick Detailer' Spray?

You've probably heard the term 'quick detailer' thrown around a bit, and you may be wondering to yourself "What is a quick detailer?", or maybe you just about know what a quick detailer is, but you're wondering "What does a quick detailer do?" or even "How to use a quick detailer?" - well today we're going to go offer the basics of exactly what a quick detail spray is, what a quick detailer does, and how YOU can use a quick detailer to add gloss, enhance colour, and make cleaning your car a heck of a lot easier!

'Quick Detailer' is just one of a few names that certain products can be branded as - you might sometimes see a QD called a spray shine, or even a spray wax (even if there is no wax in the product!), and even sometimes a clay lube, lube spray or lube shine. These are all names for the same thing - meaning an unsuspecting car wash enthusiast may end up with 5 or 6 products on their shelf that all do the same thing!

Quick detail sprays are incredibly versatile and unendingly useful products - from adding gloss and shine, to safely removing dust and bird muck from a dry vehicle, and even to adding a layer of lubrication for claying, these are just a few reasons every enthusiast should keep a good Quick Detailer handy at all times (we like to keep a bottle in the boot of our car, along with a bottle of glass cleaner and a few microfibre cloths for spur of the moment touch ups!)

The Quick Answer

The quick answer to the question "What is a quick detailer?" is that a quick detailer is a car cleaning spray which helps to remove contaminants (like dust, bird muck, and smears) from vehicle paintwork.

The Long(er) Answer

The longer answer to that question, is that a quick detailer is a multifunctioning product with many uses!

Adding Shine

The biggest reason, for me at least, to keep a quick detailer handy, is that it makes cleaning your car a whole world easier! Here's my basic routine for a quick wash:

Coat the vehicle in snow foam, leaving to dwell before rinsing off.

Using the two bucket method, clean water and a good, high lubricity

shampoo and wash mitt, clean the whole vehicle.


Dry the vehicle using a plush, high absorbent drying towel.

Now at this point, especially on a sunny day or if you haven't worked fast enough to dry the car or if you live in an area with especially hard water, you may notice that you have a lot of drying marks and water spots. This is where a quick detailer comes in.

Apply quick detailer to all paintwork, working one panel at a time and buffing the product to a gorgeous, shining, glossy finish as you work.

Clean the windows and we're done!

The amazing cleaning power of a good quick detailer allows you to remove water spots and drying smears in no time at all, whilst also adding a depth of gloss to the paintwork that only a wax or sealant could match!


Quick detailer can be very safely used as the perfect replacement to expensive clay lubes (and in fact, a lot of clay lubes on the market are simply quick detail sprays masquerading as another product!) - simply apply your quick detailer to the paintwork and the clay bar and begin removing contamination. The highly lubricating properties of the quick detailer will allow the clay bar to lift contaminants from the paintwork, and keep the sharp shards of contamination from causing scratches and scuffs by creating a barrier of lubrication between them and the paintwork.

Waterless Wash

While not ideal, sometimes you will be caught in a pinch with no access to water, but a desperate need to remove contamination from your vehicle. For instance, if you find some bird muck on your car - the heavy nitrogen levels in bird poo ('bird lime') can easily eat through the clear coat on modern vehicle paintwork, damaged the paint beyond easy repair and even causing rust and corrosion. Annoyingly, if you were to wipe the muck with a cloth alone, you would almost certainly scratch your paint work as bird poo contains all manner of sharp contaminants and nasty chemicals which cause damage - simply spraying a quick detailer on to the muck, allowing the product to loosen the offending mess before wiping away carefully with a microfibre cloth, you add a layer of lubricity (not unlike when claying) which protects your paintwork from the risk of scratches, and saves you from having to get the machine polisher out!

Similarly you may find yourself in a situation where a neighbour has been mixing cement, or maybe the council has been out working on the pavements outside your home, and your car has gotten covered in a thin layer of cement dust - this dust can soon set and, similarly to the bird lime, damage and corrode your vehicles paintwork and lead you to cause scratches and swirls when trying to remove the dust. By using a quick detailer to clean away the offending cement, you allow that same lubricating and cleaning power to keep your paint work clean, shiny and most importantly, scratch free.

What A Quick Detailer Is NOT

A quick detailer is NOT the same as a wax spray or a sealant spray. Waxes, sealants, ceramic sprays and the like are all protective coatings which place a microscopic layer of protection between your paintwork and the outside world which prevents against scratches, swirls, oxidisation and damage by allowing the protective layer to take the brunt of the attack. Quick detailers do not generally offer any residual protection to your paintwork - but there are a multitude of protective coatings on the market which are super simple to apply, even for beginner car wash enthusiasts!

A quick detailer is also NOT a good replacement for a pressure washer and a water based wash. While a quick detailer will offer great lubrication when removing light contamination, any heavy grime and dirt should be safely lifted from your paintwork by using a good quality snowfoam or prewash, and then rinsed off using a pressure washer. Leave the quick detailer for emergency cleaning and for adding gloss and shine at the end of your clean!

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1 Comment

First time buyer from meeting you at Walsall Arboretum Classic car show on the 10 July, just to say it does what it says on the tin! Great stuff & great to meet you, cheers, Nigel.

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