What is Mobile Detailing?

Mobile detailing is exactly what it sounds like – a professional service that brings a top to bottom car detail directly to your location. These services have become more and more popular over the years as people look to spend a little bit more money in exchange for time saved.

There are several different options to consider regarding mobile detailing, which we’ll cover below:

Waterless or Traditional?

There are some companies that offer full-blown car washes, packing a portable pressure washer into a well-equipped van. This option delivers a thorough and traditional wash, getting your car squeaky clean from top to bottom. Because these services have more equipment and overhead needs, they’re more expensive than the next option.

A waterless wash uses a highly lubricated formula with mild cleaning agents to clean your car’s surface without a hose and bucket. Traditionally these products have carried some risk of paint damage, but recent advances in technology allow modern products to encapsulate dirt and grit to be wiped away without scratching. As long as the detailing company uses precaution, and your car isn’t too dirty, a waterless wash will get your car looking amazing at less of a premium than the traditional method.

Interior or exterior only?

With an exterior-only wash, you’re on your own regarding those dirty floorboards and the loose French fry you dropped earlier in the week. The detailer will clean your paint, windows, tires and rims and the outside of your car will look showroom ready; but inside your car will be exactly the way you left it. If you’re a meticulous person this is a great option, because you don’t need to find time to hand off the keys and the service is cheaper.

If however, your car interior can get out of hand without special attention then you might want to consider a full detail. Your mobile detailing professional will meet you at a predetermined time to hand off the keys, and then get to work. Expect your interior services including cupholders and air vents to get a wipe down. Additionally, the floorboards and seats will get a vacuum so there is no debris or dirt floating around. If your car has leather, you’ll also get a special conditioner applied to prevent UV damage. This service costs more but completes the feeling of having the car completely clean and ready.

Top 5 Products for Mobile Detailers

#1) Glass Cleaner

You don’t want your detailer using an all-purpose product on your glass because streaks are certain to occur.

#2) Tire Shine

Nothing completes a great detail job quite like a slick black tire. The level of gloss is up to you, and most professionals will tailor it to your request.

#3) Rim Cleaner

Brake dust is notoriously hard to remove with regular soap and water, so a specialty product is a must if you hope to get wheels looking perfect.

#4) Microfiber towels

The old standby, it’s not a sexy choice – but a necessary one.

#5) Wheel Brush

Again, a stream of water isn’t going to tackle brake dust well enough. A stiff bristled brush will do the job.


If you are going waterless, you’ll obviously need a good Waterless Car Wash. Consider a concentrated formula to save money. If you want to learn more about Waterless Wash check out this blog post: What is Waterless Car Wash?

If you’re going to be cleaning interiors as well, a vacuum is a must! Assuming you have an adaptor, the 1.5 Gallon Shop-vac is a great choice. If you want to go the car-specific route, there are plenty of options out there which all perform adequately.

Have you started (or considered starting) a mobile detailing business? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • I like that you talked about how you should consider full detailing if your interior can get out of hand without a special attention. My husband gave me an old car. Since I’m looking to use it, I want to make sure that it’ll be detailed first. I originally want to consider exterior detailing. Since I noticed that the car’s interior will also need some detailing, it will make sense for me to consider full detailing. Thanks for sharing your tips! https://xclusivemobiledetailing.com/concierge-detail-service

  • Definitely enjoyed reading this article. I did not know there was a water-free type of car wash. That really is something that I would want to try with my car detailing works that I do on daily bases. I do believe though the interior of your vehicle is the most important part of your vehicle because you spend most of your time inside your vehicle than the out. So having a clean interior vehicle gives you a more clean atmosphere.

  • mobile detailing is a great business model. If you need your car detailed at home or work this has always been the go to and most convenient method to get it done.

  • Mobile detailing is exactly what we do. It’s an awesome way to have your own business and for those that are passionate about cars and like to stand back and admire a job well done, then this niche is definitely for you.
    All you need is a website and a van and you are on your way. Give it a go, it might be the best thing that you ever did!

  • Hi! Your car mobile detailing tips are recommend able! And one more things, how often should I have my car detailed? Thanks!

  • Thanks for sharing this. Waterless washes seems a bit untrustworthy to me. I think they just aren’t as effective.

  • Definitely want to get my new car detailed, I’m thinking on going with https://www.mobiledetailingslc.com , what do you think? I like their process, but I want to make sure I’m getting the best bang for my buck

  • Wow, it’s interesting to learn that there are waterless mobile car detailing services. For a long time now, I’ve been thinking about having some cosmetic upgrades for my car because it’s a pretty common model around where I live. Making it stand out in the highway would be pretty satisfying.

  • While there may have been improvements, I’d like to see actual case studies on waterless car washes and not damage the paint via scratches, swirls, etc. I have my own mobile car detailing service and we are 100% mobile with out own water press system and water tank. There is surely potential to save a lot of expense to go waterless but I feel like it’s cutting corners.

    Another good tid bit, I’d recommend switching to a more organic tire coating or evening prepping the tire’s surface with a rubber protectant like 303 Aerospace. I receive a lot of compliments as it does not discolor or build up grime for outside elements after driving.

    • A lot this is really spot on I’ll say. The only thing I think is extra important would be a good steamer. There are so many benefits it would be naive not to have one. It both cleans and sanitizes every surface in the car; kills off viruses and bugs; deodorizes any smells and for windows- it does not streak! I had gotten mine probably a year into my mobile detailing business and was kicking myself in the foot for not getting it sooner.

  • This is dope stuff! I love how you explain the difference between a waterless wash and a traditional car wash because most people (including me) didn’t really know there was an option like that. We recently started our mobile detailing business in Ewa Beach, Hawaii and are looking at other successful detailing companies across the U.S. to learn from. Your blog will definitely be a resource for us to use, thanks a ton!

  • Yes looking forward to do as a business