Are you one of those people that love to keep your auto’s exterior looking great? The problem for many is this becomes a painstaking task when you wax your car. That’s because applying the wax and them painstakingly buffing it off takes a whole and it’s exhausting. Well, now there is a solution to this problem and it comes in the form of the best detail spray. This is a “wipe on wipe off” product that comes very close to the look you would ordinarily get from waxing and buffing.
Detail sprays, also known as ceramic wax sealants, instant spray waxes, and waterless car wash products, can have your car’s exterior looking great in as little as 15 minutes. We are here to tell you all about these quick car care products. In this article, you will find a buying guide and some detail spray reviews of some of the best ones you will find in the auto marketplace.
Here are some reviews on the highest-quality detailing sprays that you will find in the auto care marketplace.
Best Detail Spray Reviews
1. Final Detail Top Shelf Series Instant Spray Wax
Here are 22 ounces of cleaning and waxing fluid that will have your vehicle’s exterior looking great in no time at all. It’s a highly rated product that’s made by a company called Instant Spray Wax. You get not one but two bottles of this nice detailing spray in this package.
What’s there to like about this Final Detail Top Shelf Series product? For one, it could not be simpler to apply thanks to its no scrubbing, spray on wipe off capability. This detailing spray even has DuPont’s Zonyl water and oil repellant added to it. It also does a nice job cleaning up windows and mirrors.
- Convenient 2-pack
- Easy spray and wipe off application
- Long-lasting shine
- Works on auto glass and mirrors too
- No scrubbing necessary
- Added DuPont’s Zonyl water and oil repellant
- Does not work great on black color vehicles
- Still takes a little elbow grease to get it off
2. Meguiar’s D15601 Synthetic X-Press Spray Wax
Anyone who knows auto care products knows that Meguiar’s is well-known for making some of the best ones in the marketplace. This detailing spray from them is no exception. It goes on and comes off fast and leaves an amazing finished shine on your car in the process.
This is very easy to use mist-on and then simply wipe-off product. It produces the nice wet-look sheen that most people desire their vehicles to have. Meguiar’s D15601 Spray Wax can be applied in direct sunlight and any moisture that hits your car’s finish will nicely bead-up on it. This is also a generous size 128-ounce container that will take you through several applications before it runs out.
- Can be applied in direct sunlight
- Mist on and wipe off application
- Creates a wet-look shine
- Moisture nicely beads-up on it
- Scrub-free formula
- Large 128 oz. bottle
- Heavy to carry at 8 pounds
- Finish shine will not last as long as waxing
3. Meguiar’s G3626 Ultimate Waterless Wash & Wax
This is a creative detailing spray from Meguiar’s. It can come in very handy if you are experiencing a water shortage in your area or you are far away from a water source. That’s because there is no need to wash your car or rinse it after this spray is used on it. This is a stand-alone that will bring out the natural shine on your auto’s finish.
There is a lot to like about this advanced polymer formula detail spray. It won’t leave water spots and it’s a high lubricant formula too. This 26-ounce bottle goes on and off easily in only 15 – 30 minutes. It’s perfectly safe for high-gloss car finishes and will not scratch the surface of any vehicle it’s applied to.
- High lubrication formula
- Mist on and wipe off application
- Advanced polymer chemistry formula won’t leave water spots
- Safe for high-gloss paints
- Will not scratch
- Only takes 15-30 minutes to apply and remove
- Smallish size bottle
- Should not be used on matte surfaces
4. Meguiar’s G14422 Ultimate Quik Detailer
If you haven’t guessed yet by the number of them in our best detail spray reviews, Meguiar’s makes some of the absolute best detail sprays you can buy. As the name says, this detail spray formula here is great for when you want to spruce your car’s exterior up quickly. It’s the best way to keep your car looking great between washes and professional wax jobs.
This detail spray is made using hydrophobic polymer technology. Water will roll off it for many days after it has been applied. It’s safe for car clear coats and all types of auto paint surfaces. Once you spray it on and wipe it off, it will leave a great looking ultra-thick, ultra-dark gloss finish. Meguiar’s calls it a drought-friendly product that will remove surface contaminants without needing any water to do it.
- Leaves an ultra-thick, ultra-dark gloss finish
- Mist on and wipe off application
- Hydrophobic polymer technology – water rolls off of it
- Clearcoat and all-paint safe
- Safely removes dust and surface contaminants
- Drought-friendly formula
- Only enough for a couple of applications
- Not great when applied in direct sun
5. Adam’s Detail Spray
Here is a detail spray from Adam’s that is more like a multipurpose solution for your car, truck or SUV. That’s because it can also be used to clean interior consoles, seats, the dash, and door panels. It boasts having wax boosting technology that leaves your vehicle’s finish as shiny as possible.
This is a detail spray that is compatible with all car paint surfaces. It will not leave streaks either if you apply it according to the instructions. Adam’s detail spray even has a pleasant aroma that does not make you cringe as you use it as other detail sprays can. This detailing product is also 100% satisfaction guaranteed by the company.
- Leaves an incredibly shiny finish
- Streak-free, all-surface compatible
- Ok for interior cleaning
- Wax boosting capabilities
- Smells good too
- Complete satisfaction guarantee
- Only 16 ounces of the product
- Recommended microfiber towels not included
6. Sonax Brilliant Shine Detailer
We feel that this Sonax detailing spray repels water as good as any detailing spray out there. It definitely has superior hydrophobic capabilities. It enhances the shine on any car, truck, or SUV by smoothing out your vehicle’s surface as you work it on and off. This detail spray is also known to enhance and boost waxes and sealants.
Sonax detail spray is made using hybrid polymer technology. It’s safe on most car surfaces and is silicone-free and VOC compliant. Another nice quality of this detailing spray is that it has anti-static properties too. That helps the shine last longer because it repels dust.
- Hybrid Polymer Technology
- Smooths the surface to enhance the shine
- Silicone-free and VOC compliant
- Wax and sealant booster
- Nicely repels moisture
- Anti-static properties repel dust
- No mist spray setting on the bottle
- May streak on black vehicles if not used properly
What Is a Detail Spray and How Do They Work?
Detail sprays have several qualities that make them desirable to use as a way to improve any vehicles looks. As a matter of fact, most people consider them to be the best alternative to waxing a car. They are meant to complement a good wax job or a car’s sealant, not to be a replacement for them.
They are sprayed on and wipe off products that do not need to haze over like typical car wax does to be effective. Detail sprays can be wiped off almost immediately after they are applied. That significantly shortens the time it takes to do a complete exterior detailing job. It takes less than 30 minutes to improve a car’s looks with detail spray.
Here are some of the reasons why detailing sprays have become so popular:
- They are easy to apply and wipe off
- Detail sprays don’t require the vehicle to be washed
- Add significantly to a car’s shine
- Repel moisture
- Many can be used when a car is still wet from rain or washing
How do detail sprays work you might be wondering?
It’s because of the chemical make-up in them. Many have advanced polymer formulas that clean and smooth a vehicle’s surface to promote shine. They also are formulated to make dust, road grime, and other auto surface contaminants much easier to remove. Most can even be used on bumpers, wheels, car interiors, and under the hood.
Detail Spray Buying Guide
When shopping for any product like detail sprays, there are certain characteristics you need to focus on. Here are the main features of detail sprays to take a closer look at when shopping for them.
Features to Consider Regarding Detail Sprays
Types of detailing sprays
There are a large variety of detail sprays out there in the marketplace but most fall into only a few different categories. They all are somewhat similar in that they are easy to apply and are a real timesaver when it comes to making your vehicle’s finish look much better.
Here are some of the different types of detailing sprays. Even though they all go on easy and then simply can be wiped back off, there are subtle differences between them.
Instant spray wax
The main difference between this type of detailing spray and others is that they normally contain more actual car wax than other types of detail sprays due. In theory, this should help the shine last longer than with other types of detail sprays since wax lasts longer than detail spray polymers do.
Ceramic detail sprays
Ceramic detail sprays protect your vehicle’s finish in three main ways. They use special technology in their formulations that leave a high gloss shine and smooth out the car surface for enhanced looks too. These types of ceramic spray coatings also offer great surface protection. You may also like: ceramic coating for cars buying guide
Waterless wash & wax
This type of detailing spray does not concentrate as much on shining your car’s surface chemically. It enhances your vehicles looks by cleaning its surface and that lets the shine of your vehicle’s natural finish come out. These are great car surface cleaning products to have during water shortages and in the colder months when hoses are not turned on.
The amount of product you get in a container is a factor in your purchase too. Buying larger size containers of detail spray may offer you big savings over similar products that come in smaller size packages. So take a little time and do the math here. Figure out a per-ounce cost for each of the detail spray products that you are looking to buy.
Auto paint finishes it’s safe to use on
Most quick auto detailing products are safe for most car finishes but there are exceptions too. So be sure to read the directions and warning on the packages. Some do not work well on black car finishes and others may not work for auto’s that have matte type sheen to them. It never hurts to ask the counter person at your local auto store or contact the manufacturer before using a particular type of detail spray for the first time.
Ease of application
We may be splitting hairs on this one because all detail sprays are made to go on easy and don’t stay on long before you wipe them back off. There are, however, subtle differences between different brand quick car detailing sprays too. Some require a little more rubbing than others to get them to shine up and some can even be used right after you wash your car.
There are various conditions that some instant auto detailing brands can be used under that other brands cannot be. For instance, some detail sprays can be applied even when your car, truck, or SUV is in direct sunlight. Others can be used when your car is wet, such as after you have just washed it or right after it rains. Some detailing sprays can only be applied when your car’s surface is dry to get them to work. So match the conditions you like to detail your car under to the type of spray detailer that you purchase.
Many people underestimate the sun’s ability to damage their car’s finish. That’s a mistake, to say the least, because UV rays can be just as damaging to a vehicle’s paint finish as any other environmental factor over time. So look for a detailing spray that offers at least some level of UV ray protection. Many of them do.
Water repellant ability
It’s no secret that water is not a friend to your car’s exterior finish. The longer it sits on your vehicle the more chance it has to dull your car’s finish and remove wax and possibly sealants too. That’s why you want water and other moisture to bead up on your car so it rolls and blows off easier as you drive. They call this ability to bead hydrophobic protection. It’s a nice trait to have in the quick detailer that you buy.
Manufacturers confidence in their product
You won’t get offered a warranty with detail sprays. However, many manufacturers have enough confidence in their products to stand behind them still. Look for manufacturers that advertise money-back guarantees or satisfaction guarantees on their detailing spray. Not only will this protect you from making a bad purchase but it shows the manufacturer has confidence in their detail spray product too.
Remember, it does not matter whether you are looking at a detail spray buying guide or a power steering fluid buying guide, you have to focus on the key characteristics of a product to make a good purchase.
The Pros & Cons of Using a Detail Spray
Here are some of the great and not so great attributes of detail sprays.
- It takes less time and effort to get your vehicles finish looking great
- Most can be used without washing your car first
- Water beads up on them very similar to waxing
- They can extend the time between painstaking wax jobs
- Does not strip away the existing wax finish, it compliments it
- Detailing sprays don’t leave any residue on non-painted exterior surfaces
- Can be used on almost all types of car exterior paint surfaces
- Does not cause streaks or swirls on most auto paint finishes
- The shine does not last as long as a good waxing does
- Some formulas are not compatible with all types of car finishes
- They do not remove light scratches or heavy residues such as bugs easily
- Sometimes they do not leave streak-free finishes on black and some other dark color vehicles
Are Waterless Car Wash Products Safe?
As long as you follow the instructions waterless car wash products are safe to use on almost any vehicle. The keywords here are ‘follow the instructions’. Using a special soft microfiber towel to wipe these waterless detailing sprays off with will even further reduce the chances of them doing any damage.
Is It Safe To Use A Quick Detailer Spray On Black Paint?
It’s very safe to use detailing sprays on cars with black finishes in most cases. Read the instructions on any detail spray you are thinking about buying to be sure. The only reason people worry about this is quick detailing products sometimes leave steaks easier on darker car paint finishes.
How to Use a Detailer Spray
Detailing sprays are very simple products to use. That’s why they have become so popular. Here is how you apply them:
- Step 1: Grab your detail spray and a couple of decent-sized microfiber cloths. Microfiber cloths are important because they are super-soft and that helps prevent visible streaks and swirls. Most detail sprays work best on cooler car surfaces so work in the shade or out of the direct sun.
- Step 2: Apply your spray to your car’s surface. Usually, this is done in the form of a fine mist. Don’t do your whole vehicle at once. Most professional detailers find dividing a car up into 5 or 6 small sections that are each done one at a time works best. So you will apply the quick detailer to one section and then wipe it off before moving onto the next one.
- Step 3: Don’t allow the detail spray to dry. It does not have to haze over as car wax does. This is very important to avoid streaking and to make the job go quicker. Use one of the special microfiber towels we had you get in step 1 to wipe with.
- Step4: never press down too hard while wiping and turn your cloth over several times to work with as clean a section of the cloth as possible. Detail sprays can take up to 12 hours to fully cure so consider this before driving your vehicle before then.
Detail Spray FAQ’s
Here are some frequently asked questions we get about detail sprays.
- Question: Are all detail sprays safe to use on any type of auto paint finish?
Answer: The answer here is no. Some detail spray formulas do not work well on black cars and other detail sprays are not recommended for matte finishes. To know if any detail paint will work on your car’s finish, you have to thoroughly read the label or send an email to the maker of any detail spray you are thinking about purchasing.
- Question: Are detailing sprays meant to be used in place of car wax?
Answer: Even though detail sprays will significantly improve the looks and shine of your vehicle’s exterior finish, they only can do this if there is a nice coat of sealant and wax on your car at the time. So they are not meant to be a stand-alone product that replaces having to wax your car.
- Question: How long do detail sprays last before they need to be applied again?
Answer: To be truthful, this is a question that’s almost impossible to answer. That’s because it’s often the environment your car is in that determines how often you use a detail spray on it. The best detail spray in the world can repel blowing dust, road salt, pollen, pollution residue, and bird feces forever.
Other factors in how long you can go between detail spray applications include how good a job you did when applying your detail spray the last time and they tend to last longer if you don’t wash your car so often.
Some Final Words on Detailing Sprays
We here are big fans of these quick car shine products. Not only do they make your car’s exterior look good but it takes about one third the effort that waxing does to get it that way. Unlike true car waxes, detailing sprays can often be used in extreme sunlight and when the car is still wet. There is no better way to improve your vehicles looks in a short amount of time. They give you the look of a time-consuming auto wax job with only a spray-on, wipe-off application process.
Beware though that all detailing sprays are not created equal and some are absolute garbage and a waste of money. Follow our buying guide here to direct you to the best detail spray. Any of the products that we did detail spray reviews on are ‘can’t go wrong’ purchases too. If you follow our advice here you should end up with a detailing spray that makes your vehicle stand out from other cars parked around it.