Preliminary cleaning for car detailing

The first cleaning step of car detailing after the diagnostic phase is the so-called preliminary cleaning. Here, coarse dirt is removed from both the interior and exterior of the vehicle and particularly stubborn dirt is eliminated with the help of specific cleaners.

High-pressure cleaners or special foam brushes are often used here. Some commercial providers also use automated systems, whereas others advertise that they only clean manually – which then of course also includes pre-cleaning.

Removal of coarse dirt

If a customer’s vehicle is very dirty or has particularly stubborn dirt, this must first be thoroughly removed before car detailing can actually begin. Mud, incrustations and thick layers of dust can often be removed with a high-pressure cleaner or by means of a car wash.

For other types of dirt, however, a little more sensitivity is required. For example, even sensitive paintwork can be very easily freed from stubborn dirt using cleaning dough. Specific contaminants can be removed with specially developed products. These include film rust remover, tar remover or silicone and wax remover. As a rule, good car cleaners have such special products for professional users.

Pre-cleaning with shampoo and interior cleaner

Once the coarsest dirt has been removed, the next step is pre-cleaning with a universal cleaner or, if necessary, with a special car shampoo. Car shampoo has the advantage that it is very powerful and effectively removes road dust as well as residues from weathering and road salt – even dirt that you may not immediately recognise with the naked eye.

Nevertheless, a car shampoo is very gentle on the material because part of the cleaning power is provided by mechanical pressure, either by hand with a sponge or by the brushes of a car wash. Many car cleaners additionally use a rim cleaner to specifically clean this often very dirty part of the vehicle. It does not matter what type of rims you have on your vehicle – a good detailer will use the right tool in any case.

After the pre-wash from the outside, a run-off drying agent is then usually applied to ensure streak-free drying before the next steps.


Of course, the interior is not ignored during the pre-cleaning process. For the thorough removal of coarse dirt and sticky residues in the interior, we recommend either a universal cleaner or a special pre-cleaner and interior cleaner, the effectiveness of which is specially adapted to the requirements of the interior. This is used to clean plastic surfaces in the cockpit before in the next step the individual elements and materials are cleaned.

Pre-cleaning in the interior primarily involves removing road dirt that has become stuck in the footwell, as well as food residue that has stuck to the floor or other remnants of small mishaps that are unavoidable in the daily use of a vehicle.

Successful pre-cleaning is followed by the next steps of car detailing

After completion of pre-cleaning in car detailing you will notice that your vehicle is already quit clean on the surface. However, this is only the first step on the road to a professional car detailing. Only multi-layered exterior cleaning as well as interior cleaning adapted to the sensitive materials makes car detailing so valuable.

Here professional suppliers use the entire product range of professional suppliers such as Caramba to really give every detail the very special care.


Are you interested in further information or Caramba products for car detailing?

Then please feel free to use our contact form for your enquiry and have a look at our product range for vehicle detailing.