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  • Writer's pictureWash Doctors

What is the difference between car valeting and detailing?

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

Man cleaning the interior of a car

If you want to get your car cleaned these days, there are several options open to you.

Due to the recent increase in popularity in car valeting and car detailing there has been some

confusion about the difference between 'car valeting' and 'car detailing'. 

So let's see if we can help remove some confusion and explain what the differences are from a professional point of view.

So, what's car valeting?

Car valeting is the process of cleaning, polishing and waxing a car to achieve an as-new look

and to maintain or even enhance the car's value.

This usually includes cleaning the wheels & shuts, washing, polishing and waxing the

bodywork, dressing exterior plastics and tyres, polishing paintwork, and the glass.

The cleaning process can also include the use of a 'clay bar' to remove unwanted

contaminants from the paint such as air pollution, tar spots, bird droppings, and tree sap,

which all cause the paint to feel rough and dull the appearance of the colour.

The exterior process includes a variety of chemicals, tools, and accessories to reach awkward

areas, clean off as much soiling as possible and leave the car looking as near to the condition

the day it left the showroom as possible.

The interior is vacuumed in all areas including, dash, center console, seats, carpets, luggage

areas and vents before a variety of chemicals and tools are used to wet clean any soiled areas such as upholstery, trim, carpets, and headlining.


So, what does 'detailing' offer that is different?

In truth, there are a lot of 'grey areas'.

As you can see, car valeting offers a very extensive method of cleaning for your car and

ensures you are left with a car that maintains its value and is a pleasure to drive and a joy to

look at.

So what more can you do? 

The main difference, in reality, is around the paint rectification/correction process to get the

paint looking its best, i.e. free from swirl marks, scratches and other blemishes ruining the


These are removed through the use of a machine polisher that combines a selection of

abrasive polishes and pads designed to remove defects, polish the surface and leave a

flawless hologram and swirl-free finish.

Car detailing is also about the attention to detail in cleaning every surface, including the

wheels and the interior. 

It often also includes areas not usually cleaned and repairing parts which may be damaged,

including paint repair or wheel refurbishment.

man spraying a car and wiping clean with a yellow microfibre cloth

Final Thoughts

For most customers, the reality of the difference is the degree of attention to detail and the

more corrective and enhancing processes used. 

To be a professional valeter, you need to be trained in the processes of car valeting. To be

able to detail a car requires additional enhanced training and equipment that enables you to

undertake the paint rectification and the higher level of attention to detail.

Wash Doctors offer a range of valeting packages like our Bronze or Silver Valets and

detailing such as our Mobile Car Detailing or Mobile Car Valeting services.

We also offer a range of mobile body repair services such as:

All bought to you with minimal hassle through the Wash Doctors app.



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