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Tool Cleaning Guide

It’s hard to clean a vehicle if your tools and equipment are dirty! Keep your gear in top shape with regular cleaning and it’ll last a lot longer.

Soak and Scrub

Most detailing gear will only need light cleaning. This applies to brushes, buckets, dirt locks / grit guards, applicators, and sponges.

  1. Rinse first in clean water.
  2. Soak for up to an hour in water with all-purpose cleaner or white vinegar. For brushes, soak up to 30 minutes to avoid damaging the bristles.
  3. Apply an all-purpose cleaner and scrub or agitate. Soak again if needed for tougher grime.
  4. Rinse and dry.


Towels, polishing pads, and mitts require a little more care for cleaning to ensure they last a long time. You can wash by hand or in a machine.

New, brightly colored towels may bleed some dye onto other towels in hot water, so be mindful of combining colors unless you want a red towel to tint your white ones pink.

  1. Rinse out any cleaners, residue, and dirt in clean water.
  2. Soak in hot water in a bucket with all-purpose cleaner or vinegar for up to an hour to dissolve oils and waxes.
  3. Rinse with clean water.
  4. Toss into the washing machine (or a fresh bucket to hand wash) on a gentle cycle with a detergent that has no fragrance and no softeners. A dedicated microfiber wash is great. You can also use a brand like “All Free and Clear” – it’s nice on clothing too!
  5. Tumble dry on no heat or hang on a line to dry.
  6. Fold and store in a closed container to keep away dust and dirt.

Clay Mitts

These mitts are more sensitive than normal towels and require special care to get the surface clean.

  1. Mix up a bucket with water and a splash of all-purpose cleaner or dish soap.
  2. Wash and rub the mitt by hand, being careful to remove and debris and not let the clay side of the mitt touch the bucket.
  3. Rinse fully with clean water.
  4. Lay out to dry in the sun or on a workbench. Don’t let the clay side touch anything or it’ll stick.
Updated on 22 August 2023

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