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Car Cleaning Products: The Ultimate Guide for Tradespeople

08 December 2021

For those working in the automotive industry, it can be a tricky task finding products that both meet your needs and exceed your clients’ expectations. 

Gone are the days where the simple combination of soap and water will do. The car washing, valeting and detailing game has advanced massively – so experts must do their bit to remain as competitive as possible. Now, you want to provide your customers with nothing less than excellence – whether you’re delivering a product, service – or both.

To do this, you need to know exactly what products will help you stand out from the rest. With this in mind, we at PIP Chemicals have rounded up our ultimate guide of car cleaning products for tradespeople, complete with advice on best method of use and other great top tips! 

car cleaning products

Find out what car cleaning products you need to be successful in the automotive industry. Image credit: RAC

The Importance of Professional Car Cleaning Products

Working in the industry, you’ll know more than anyone how important it is to tend to your car properly and professionally. But, what many tradespeople don’t realise is how essential it is to regularly trial and test products – rather than just rely on old faithfuls to always do the best job.  

This is because without experimenting with old, new and even customised solutions, you never really know if you’re offering the best in the market. With this big industry, comes hundreds – if not thousands – of different products available to try. 

We know what you’re thinking: this can be an expensive and time consuming route to take. You’re not wrong – but fear not – to save you endless hours of research, every product suggested in this guide will be thoroughly explained, as it has been specially formulated here at PIP Chemicals. So if you do have any other questions, all you have to do is ask us!  

There’s many more benefits that come with professional car cleaning products. For example, you can:

  • Buy from suppliers in bulk to save money
  • Save in water usage to reduce your outgoings
  • Save time with the right product, meaning you can provide super fast and efficient service
  • Boost the quality of your service e.g. extending car lifespans, preserving resale value, enhancing performance and appearance etc.
  • Ramp up great customer reviews

If these all sound like goals you want to achieve, then let’s get started…

The Best Car Cleaning Products to Use

The best car cleaning products are the ones that are made with the industry standard and end result in mind.

As cleaning products are a specialty market with rigorous standards to abide by – it takes a knowledgeable chemist to achieve the desired outcome. With vehicles, every part requires different levels of cleaning intensity – such as interiors versus exteriors. As a result, only an auto professional will know exactly what product will treat the issue in the best way possible. 

So not only do you want products that are safe and hygienic – you also want products that are robust and efficient. When these crucial elements crossover – that’s how you know you have top quality products to do your job successfully.

At PIP Chemicals, we strike the perfect balance between expertise and passion for the automotive industry – so you know you can trust the process and end product no matter what it is.

Let’s take a closer look at what exact car cleaning products you need for your business:

car cleaning products 1

The best car cleaning products will be both safe for the user and strong to guarantee the best result. Image credit: Ultimate Finish

All Purpose Cleaner

While it may seem like an obvious choice – an all purpose cleaner can be a quick-fix lifesaver for many occasions – especially when in a busy workshop or depot! 

As the formulations are designed to suit any and every situation – they can be used to clean the likes of heavy internal soiling as well as external areas like wheels, paint or glass. Due to their multipurpose nature, they are appropriate for all settings including industrial, commercial and domestic environments. 

For complete ease-of-use, they are intended to be applied with sprays, allowed to dwell, then either agitated and rinsed or simply wiped or rinsed away.

At PIP Chemicals, we offer eight different variations of all purpose cleaner, all of which are highly dilutable, varied in strength and available with different foaming characteristics. 

Clay Lubricant

With vehicles of any kind, dirt can easily embed and harden itself into the surface of paint, which can be impossible to remove without either mechanical action or heavy-duty chemicals – sometimes both!

If these contaminants aren’t removed, they will compromise the quality and effectiveness of any subsequent procedure – such as polishing or coating – and shorten the lifespan of the vehicle’s paint.

Car clay lubricant is a specialised aid that’s designed to combat this common issue. During the typical claying process, clay is used to pull contaminations out of the paint and transfer it into the mould. In order to minimise damage from this abrasive material, the lubricant helps the clay slide over the paint smoothly without scratching or marking it – making it an essential for any automotive professional!


A degreaser is a heavy-duty cleaner that is used when a job requires stronger cleaning power than an all purpose solution. 

Designed to be used in all environments, including industrial, commercial and domestic – they are intended to be applied with sprays, allowed to dwell, then either agitated and rinsed or simply wiped away. 

Routinely, degreaser chemicals will be alkaline and/or have a significant solvent content, depending on the need for their use. For example: a liquid degreaser is an alkaline cleaner that is suitable for general degreasing. Alternatively, a machine parts degreaser is heavy-duty and solvent-based, used for cleaning oily mechanical parts.

At PIP Chemicals, we offer a diverse range of car degreasing products that are easy to dilute, and available in different strengths and foaming characteristics. 

Detail Spray

A car detail spray is an undeniable staple in the auto trade. Used between washing, it removes light dusting and adds a fresh ‘newly waxed’ look to paint without any of the effort!

Top quality formulations will do a great job at enhancing the gloss, protection and water repellency of exterior vehicle paint. Designed to be used in mainly domestic or commercial environments – our detail sprays are intended to be applied using spray nozzles which are then simply spread and buffed off. 

Similar to spray sealants, some of our car detailing sprays significantly improve durability. To achieve this, we recommend cleaning the paint and applying a dedicated Last Stage Protection (LSP) product prior to using the spray solution.

car detailing spray

With car cleaning products of any kind – the method in which they are used is just as important. Image credit: Torque

Fallout Remover

A fallout remover is a special product that has the ability to help you to remove iron particles from a surface without using mechanical tools. Through this solution, particles are loosened up via a chemical breakdown process that allows for them to be rinsed off safely – without causing damage to the vehicle.

At PIP Chemicals, our formulations address stubborn fallout and associated oxidised rust spots. Both types of fallout remover (acidic or ‘no bleed’, and neutral or ‘bleeding’) dissolve fallout caused by proximity to industrial works, railways or from the vehicle’s own wheels and brakes – enabling it to be easily washed away. 

Designed for cleaning in commercial or domestic environments, they are intended to be sprayed onto the vehicle, left to work for several minutes and then simply rinsed off.

Glass Cleaner

Glass cleaner is a car washing essential, adding the perfect finishing touch to any job. What’s most important is finding a product that delivers a streak-free finish – which can sometimes be easier said than done!

At PIP Chemicals, all of our glass cleaning products guarantee a streak-free finish when used with the appropriate supporting materials. Designed for cleaning in any and all settings – these products are intended to be applied using a spray, wiped with a microfibre cloth, then buffed with a second cloth. 

We also offer interior products that can have value-added features such as anti-fog, while some exterior product compositions can be made water repellant. We have also designed glass polishes for the correction of abrasions – so there’s something for all your glass cleaning needs!

Polish and Paint Preparation Products

When preparing your car for painting or polishing, you want to make sure that you’re working with a blank canvas so the finish is as flawless as it can be. 

Polish and paint preparation products help to remove tough surface oxidation damage, including the usual culprits of swirls, scuffs and minor scratches. Our range at PIP Chemicals helps prepare paint to reach its optimal condition, including: 

  • Products that are abrasive-free and remove old wax or sealant residue
  • All-in-one types that contain fillers, waxes and sealants that offer a degree of surface protection and help mask damage, rather than correct it
  • And others that contain a variety of abrasives which remove rather than mask damage

To achieve full correction, we recommend following a multi-stage process, such as:

  • Using a coarse polish or compound to remove heavier damage
  • Using a medium polish to refine the results from the coarse process
  • And using finer products (also known as ‘jewelling’ products) to achieve the highest standard of finish possible

Designed primarily for commercial and domestic environments, they are intended to be applied either by hand or with a mechanical polisher. 

Rinse Aid

Car rinse aids are final stage detailing products that provide quick and easy yet long-lasting protection.

Such rinse and drying aids work by modifying the hard surfaces of vehicles (glass, paint or wheels), speeding up the drying process and making them water repellent. 

Designed for use in mainly commercial and domestic environments, the beading agents are intended to be diluted and applied using a spray. The finish achieves both additional gloss and surface beading. 

Our solutions offer protection durability that can last from several days to several months – giving you the option to expand your services and your customers more treatments to choose from.

car polisher

To achieve the perfect polish, we recommend that you use certain products to treat the surface beforehand. Image credit: Torque

Car Paint Sealant

Car paint sealant is designed to protect a car’s surface while providing a mirror-like shine. All sealant formulations are advanced Last Stage Protection (LSP) paint and wheel protection products that are more durable than most waxes. 

At PIP Chemicals, we offer a wide range of alternative sealants, including those that are suitable for glass and paint. Our ‘for paint’ range comes with greater choices, like quick sealant, liquid sealant and cream sealant.

The liquid sealants are intended to be applied using a spray, while the creams are applied with a microfibre cloth, left to cure, then buffed. In special cases, some can be applied using pressure washers. 

Our spray sealants are based on silane, siloxane and polymer technologies, that provide water beading attributes beyond waxes and adhere strongly to surfaces. Their chemical make-up can be adjusted to suit the desired degree of water repellency, level of gloss, colour depth and ease-of-use. 

Tar Remover

Intensive tar remover can be used on the exterior of vehicles to remove tar spots, adhesive residues, fuel stains and tree sap. Depending on strength, some tar remover solutions can also be used on car interiors to remove ink, chewing gum, glue residue and oil stains from seats, carpets and hard surfaces.

Our tar removal substance helps to dissolve and eradicate tough and unsightly tar residue, as well as degraded waxes and sealants, from the exterior of vehicles. 

For tradespeople, this is a very important product to have in your roster – as tar contains grit and other abrasive particles that must be removed prior to polishing to avoid paint damage. 

These products are typically solvent-based, containing emulsifiers that help ease removal during rinsing. While typically the faster the solvent dissolves the tar – the more hazardous it is to the paint – our tar removers are safe when used correctly. To ensure this, we recommend applying the product using a suitable spray.

Traffic Film Remover (TFR)

Traffic film remover or TFR is a cleaning product that’s designed to remove road grime without damaging the paintwork or mechanical parts of a vehicle. As such, traffic film remover is used in almost every vehicle cleaning application, ranging from industrial and agricultural cleaning right through to high-end detailing. 

TFR formulations are powerful, breaking down bonded traffic film, allowing it to be easily removed. It is designed primarily for heavy-duty cleaning across a high volume of vehicles with specialist pressure washing equipment. 

These products are strong in alkaline (high pH), are often highly caustic and more likely to degrade Last Stage Protection (LSP) waxes and sealants. Care is required on sensitive surfaces and finishes found on high-end vehicles, caravans or motorbikes. 


Pre-washers, like a snowfoam product, can be fun to use as well as highly effective. Image credit: Auto Finesse


Snowfoam is essentially a high-foaming pre-wash product. It is proving increasingly popular in the industry lately, as a snowfoam treatment gives a very aesthetically pleasing appearance. A good quality snowfoam will initially leave a vehicle looking a lot like a large white snowball – giving the impression of a thorough clean.

But it’s not all about the visuals – snow foam helps to enhance the car washing routine by partially breaking down dirt on paintwork, wheels, and other surfaces, making it much easier for your regular car shampoo to finish the job. This will give you a much cleaner finish that’s better protected against dirt and general paintwork damage.

With its popularity, the snowfoam product group has broadened hugely, with subdivisions including: 

  • Alkaline snowfoams which are high-foaming with alkalinity and sequestrants as the key elements for the cleaning, while the surfactants give rise to the foam
  • Neutral snowfoams (e.g. pH neutral snowfoams) which gives the gentlest possible cleaning process 

Designed for cleaning in commercial and domestic environments, they are intended to be used with a pressure washer and foam lance. They range from strongly alkaline (high pH) to mild and neutral pH. Except for the more powerful (caustic, alkaline) products, they are gentler than traffic film remover products and safer to handle. 

Tyre and Trim Dressing Products

Tyre and trim dressing products are used to enhance the appearance of rubber vehicle tyres and black plastic trims. 

There are a variety of different types to choose from, the most common being: solvent-based and water-based. The solvent-based products (ranging from thin liquids to thick gels) typically give the highest gloss results and longest durability. While the water-based ones (emulsions to thick creams) are much safer to use, they provide a more satin-like finish instead. 

Both types can be applied using a spray, sponge or another suitable, similar applicator. 

At PIP Chemicals, we have developed a wide range of tyre and trim dressing formulations, all varying in finishes, performance and costs.

Car Wax

Car wax is vital for every auto professional’s toolkit, as it helps preserve the clear coat over a vehicle’s paint. That clear coat is the layer that protects the paint from corrosive elements, including snow, rain, street salt, ultraviolet rays, bird droppings, and tree sap, among other contaminants.

Our car wax formulations offer high-performing paint and wheel protection to vehicle surfaces. No matter the composition, be it cream, resin or spray – they provide a sacrificial layer that protects the paint, supplies additional gloss and adds water beading properties.

The liquid-based products are intended to be applied using a spray, while the creams require a microfibre cloth which is then buffed.

Wheel Cleaner

The wheels of a vehicle is by far one of the most difficult areas to clean, valet and detail. The most obvious difficulty is purely mechanical – as the wheels are intricately designed and many areas are almost impossible to access without the right wash media. 

As the wheels are exposed to the most extreme conditions, they require the most robust solutions. Our vehicle wheel cleaner products do just that – removing iron brake dust and everyday road soiling successfully. You can choose from a variety of options depending on your needs, such as:

These car wheel cleaning products are intended to be sprayed on and rinsed with a pressure washer. Alternatively, the surface may be agitated by a suitable wash cloth or mitt, depending on which product is being used.

car cleaning chemicals

Once you have selected your products, if you choose – you can customise them. Image credit: Just Style

Create Your Own Car Cleaning Products

As you can see, PIP Chemicals has an extensive catalogue of almost 200 different products. But it doesn’t stop there. 

We understand how important it is to remain competitive and true to your brand. That’s why – once you choose a suitable product, or a new formulation has been finalised – there’s the option to customise the following to match your exact branding:

  • Colour: We stock both water soluble and oil soluble dyes, providing scope to colour almost any of our product offerings. We can also use novel pigments to give such effects as, for instance, glitter. 
  • Fragrance: We have approximately 40 distinct fragrances which can be incorporated into the majority of our products. Fragrances can also be combined e.g. cherry and cola.
  • Light/UV stability: We can ensure that products are stable to the storage and usage conditions it will experience.
  • Chemical stability: We have dedicated, state-of-the-art equipment which can simulate extreme light and temperature conditions so that we can provide confidence in our products’ chemical stability

We recognise that every customer will have individual requirements. Our highly-qualified chemists can develop a bespoke product to meet your needs and exceed the expectations of your customers. By combining scientific expertise with innovative ideas – we can help you create the best customised car cleaning products for your company.

We’re not just limited to one market, either. We offer products that can be developed and tailored to suit other specialist markets such as:

  • Car care, valeting and detailing products
  • Industrial cleaning and maintenance products
  • Odour control products

Where and How to Buy Car Cleaning Products

At PIP Chemicals, we sell directly to tradespeople and third party brands, not end users.

Once you have browsed our product range – if you wish to purchase – we ask that you complete our business application form, including our NDA, which allows us to set you up on our system. 

From here, we are then able to create sample requests, forward pricing information and recommend the best car cleaning products to meet your needs.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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