The Detailing Flow Chart – A Step By Step Guide

We all want to keep our car looking the best it can – this, though, doesn’t happen by itself! In order to maintain our car’s appearance to the highest level, we have to care for, and treat, the car regularly. Sometimes, that might mean a simple maintenance wash – and at others, a more rigorous and thorough detailing of the vehicle.

Whichever route you choose to go, our detailing flow chart includes all the steps you need to achieve great results.

View the Chemical Guys Detailing Flow Chat below:

detailing flow chart



Step 1: Car Wash

Step 2: How To Clay

Step 3: How To Polish

Step 4: How To Apply Glaze

Step 5: How To Apply Sealant

Washing Your Car

Sounds straightforward enough doesn’t it? Washing your car, however, can be done in many different forms and to different levels.

Simple Maintenance Wash – may be all that’s required if you detail your car often. Use a pH neutral car shampoo, with gloss enhancers, to simply maintain the shine and the protective coat of the car.

Deep Wash – Will break down any ingrained dirt and contaminants and should be done with a strong citrus-based shampoo.

Decontamination -You can perform a decontamination, or strip, wash by using Clean Slate shampoo which will remove any existing sealants, waxes, oils and fillers from the paint surface and leave a ‘raw’ finish. This is ideal if you want to apply a fresh coat of products, or as preparation for a deep polish.

Chemical Decontamination

Use a light, acid-based cleaner to break down any salt, rust or any other deeply embedded contaminant. You can, alternatively or in conjunction with, use a clay bar to remove embedded contaminants in the pores of the paint. After either, or both, of these treatments, simply wash the surface again to remove any residue.

Paint Correction

Depending upon the condition of your paint surface, there may be different levels of paint correction to perform.

Bad Paint Correction – If your paint surface is scratched or oxidised then you should perform a two-step procedure. First, apply a heavy-medium cut, with appropriate products, to remove deeper imperfections. Secondly, use an appropriate cutting polish to eliminate any micro scratches left behind and refine the surface.

Moderate Paint Correction – Use a swirl remover cutting polish to eliminate any minor abrasions and refine the surface.

Good Paint Correction – If your paint surface is in good condition then you can bypass this stage and move straight to layering your protective products.

Surface Cleanser

Simply use a light cleanser and a good quality microfiber towel to coat and buff the car surface.

Protective Coatings

Often referred to as ceramic coatings, these provide a protective layer and form a hard, impermeable surface coat. This is the most durable of protection for your paint surface and, when applied, it will deeply penetrate into the paint’s pores.


Glazes do not necessarily add any further protection, but contain fillers and gloss enhancers which condition and shine the foundation of your paint surface. An applied glaze will utilise any sealant properties present and provide an anti-static and sleek feel. It is advisable to follow a glaze application with a further coating of protection, to seal in the glaze layer and prolong the shine.

Paint Sealant

A sealant is an artificial protection form containing advanced polymers that create a durable, bonded layer to protect the paint surface from any contaminants, water and potential sun damage. A single application can protect your car for up to a year.


Wax is a natural form of protection for your car surface, originally derived from palm trees. Carnauba wax is the most highly regarded of these and, once applied, will reveal the natural shine from the paint, whilst also protecting the surface from harmful UV rays and any airborne contaminants. A wax coating can last for 3-5 months, if properly maintained.

It is not always necessary to perform all of these procedures when detailing your car – the more often you wash your car, the less likely you are to need to all these steps. It may be a good idea though, to periodically perform all of these procedures to achieve the best results and keep your car in pristine condition for as long as possible.