Spent $100 today on auto detailing products, a small price to pay, I suppose, considering I do all my washing by hand. I figure I save about $20/month (2, $10 washes/month) this way, compared to my last car, so that's already $200 for the 10 months I've had the car. Plus, I get exercise and my car is pretty much scratch free compared to even the best automatic car wash.
So what got me on the detailing tangent? I just got back from vacation with a car covered in Spring bugs. The Zaino polymer is wearing off and the finish is in need of a 6-month clay bar treatment. The bugs have really taken their toll. A lot of the car care products I've been using are about to run out at the same time, plus I need a good cloth interior cleaner, since my passengers are slobs, apparently. They weren't eating in the car, but they apparently exude stain causing fluids.
Autogeek.net. I should mention that almost all the high end stuff like this isn't available in auto parts stores. Also, in case you think this is a crazy product, this $9 bottle will likely end up lasting me a full year, and I'm one of those guys who cleans the windows constantly.
The second "must have" product has been the Einszett Anti-Insekt Pre-Cleaner. This is a product I spray on the front bumper, hood and side mirrors and then go fill my wash bucket. When I come back out, the Anti-Instekt cleaner has loosened up the bug debris without damaging the paint or polish, making it easy to clean them off without scrubbing (which damages the paint).
The other product I use in this pre-cleaning phase is a wheel cleaner. I've been using off the shelf Meguiars Hot Rims Wheel Cleaner for the wheels and exhaust tips. The stuff is nasty if you get even a whiff of it, but it works well. I figured I would give Einszett some more business with their Einszett Wheel Cleaner Feigen Reiniger.Who doesn't need their figs cleaned (I Google translated it)?
What else? My off the shelf Meguiars Gold Glass car wash soap smells like horrible 80's cologne and made me feel like a self conscious douche bag whenever I washed my car (I might be one, but don't want to feel like one). I went with a bottle of Einszett Perls Shampoo Premium Car Wash, even though I've got a quarter of the Brute-smelling Mequiars left. I don't know much about the Perls, but I'm in the mode of trusting Einszett right now.
Next I picked up Einszett Blitz All-Purpose Cleaner, for cleaning my cloth interior, and if you believe the instructions, it's also a suitable washing detergent for your microfiber towels. Love it! Lets close the loop entirely and sell me a car detailing washer/dryer. In any case, it's hard to find a good cloth stain remover for the car that doesn't smell like something horrible. My wife has some organic crap that smells like herbs and spices that does a fine job, but come on.
All this stuff, plus a case for my clay bar ($4) that's currently stuck to the bottom of my detailing caddy, a clay bar applicator ($10) because I always drop it on the ground and swear in front of my young son, and shipping (minus a quickly Googled $8 coupon). The total was $90. A large bucket and squeegee from OSH for removing Spring bugs between washes brought the total to $100.