Detailing vs. DIY | Why Have A Professional Clean Your Car?

Depending on where you live (an apartment complex vs. a house), it can sometimes seem easier to clean your car yourself. After all, why take the time to make an appointment and pay someone else to do something you can do, right?

The truth is, Capitol Shine is more than a car wash, we’re auto detailers, which means we go above and beyond.

Many confuse the term “Auto Detailing” with “Car Washing.” While part of detailing does consist of washing, it is actually just one component of many. A great explanation comes from which states:

what is auto detailing dmv.001“More than simply washing the exterior of your car with soapy water and a rag, or swiping the interior with Armor All and a vacuum, detailing means just what it says: focusing on and cleaning the tiny details of your car to take it from “clean” to ‘sparkling like new.’ ”

This is why we’re so anti-automatic-car-wash. So in addition to a simple car wash, we use specialized tools, equipment and cleaning formulas to make your vehicle as new as possible – we have different levels of detailing services. A quicker car wash service, such as Capitol Shine’s Quick Shine or Hand Wash package, serves to maintain a vehicle AFTER it has received a Full Detail. Most of the time, if a vehicle has never received a really detailed cleaning inside and out, a quicker wash will not help as much as it should.

As an analogy, think of a new suit or outfit. To maintain a nice appearance, you can’t always simply wash a suit or use a suit brush. Instead, you take it to your trusted professionals at the dry cleaners and let the experts there handle it using tools and chemicals you may not have access to.

As we mentioned, in the Washington, D.C. area, it can sometimes be very difficult to wash your car. Many live in apartment complexes without access to a water hose, while others live in homes with street parking. Bottom line, most of the time the answer to a clean car comes in the form of an auto detailing shop like Capitol Shine.

What if you just have a single dirty spot or two, maybe a smudge from leaning up against the hood or a bird left something behind. For small areas like that, it’s possible to clean them quickly without much effort, but what do you use?

Household cleaners should, for the most part, be avoided when cleaning your car. Dishwashing detergent, hand soap and other cleaning agents contain chemicals meant to break down grease and grime from cookware. As a result, they can break down the finish on your vehicle like wax or even the clear coat. Instead, purchase a small bottle of soap specifically designed for washing cars.

Also, it’s better to wash a car in cooler weather or at least when the sun is not at its highest. Heat will speed up the drying process and may create water spots if not properly dried (this is one of the reasons Capitol Shine operates out of regulated facilities).

It may go without saying, but glass cleaner is safe to use on glass only – do not use it to clean spots on the paint as it can wear down wax or the top layer.

Regardless of whether you clean your car yourself or take it somewhere, hand washing is always the best method to use. Avoid automatic car washes as they can scrape your car’s paint (read our blog on this here).

Other things you can do to take care of your car, truck, van or SUV:

  • Park in the shade when you can to reduce paint and interior damage.
  • Check your tires! Extreme heat or cold can alter the air levels and cause issues.
  • Use a sunshade for the windshield. This can help protect your dashboard from cracking as well as reduce the overall temperature of your vehicle’s interior when the sun is out.
  • Consider installing window tint, which can help block UV rays.
  • A protective coating, like Ceramic ProOpti-Coat Pro or Paint Protection Film can also help block UV rays from doing damage to your vehicle’s paint.
  • Use a car cover when your vehicle is parked for longer periods of time.

To schedule your wash, sealant (new wax process), vacuuming, interior shampoo, full detail or more, please head on over to our scheduling page to make an appointment! Please schedule at least 24 hours in advance to ensure time and date.

If you are interested in fixing scratches in your paint, using a clear bra or film, or applying a paint protection formula like Ceramic Pro, please visit our new website at

Have other questions about what to use or not to use at home? Send us a message HERE.