For a fresh-looking vehicle, regular car detailing is in order.

Detailing a car is a great investment for those that want to maintain/improve their car’s value. It also ensures that the car resists any slow-eroding damage.

But how long does it take to detail a car? The broad answer is — it depends. “Detailing a car” means many things, but understand your personal needs can specify your answer.

Keep reading to understand what goes into detailing a car and how long it takes. You’ll be able to make an appointment and get closer to a stunning-looking vehicle.

Car Detail Time

Your personal needs as a car owner can vary car detail time from a few minutes, to a few hours, to a few days. Here are common factors that determine detailing car length:

  • Size
  • Materials used
  • Age
  • Dirtiness
  • Service’s professionalism

The last factor varies more in itself. If you’re used to detailing your own car, then you might be much faster than other amateurs. But for the most part, professional detailers will detail more quickly and with higher quality results.

Detailing Processes

To understand how long detailing takes, understand common procedures on how to detail a car. Some requests are significantly more laborious than others.

Quick Detailing

Time: 15-30 min


  • Detailing spray
  • Glass cleaner
  • Buffing towels
  • Duster

This low-maintenance process does not require a ton of water or time. While not as thorough as a standard wash, a quick detail is a time-saver that can still transform the look of a vehicle.

To start, detailers will use a duster if there’s enough dust on a vehicle. The car’s exterior glass is then cleaned down with a glass cleaner. The detailing spray is used for the main exterior and interior of the vehicle.

Standard Maintenance Wash

Time: 45-90 min


  • Buckets of water
  • Spray sealant/drying aid
  • Cleaner
  • Pressure washer
  • Tire dressing
  • Snow foam cleaner
  • Microfiber towels
  • PH-neutral shampoo

As indicated by the materials list, this procedure is more intensive than a quick detail. However, not all of these materials must be used. The amount of product and steps a wash takes depends on the dirtiness of the car.

The vehicle’s main exterior is first cleaned with snow foam and water. If needed, a pressure washer will be used to remove more stubborn grime and dirt. A cleaner is used on its wheels.

A PH-neutral shampoo is then used on the vehicle’s main exterior. Spray sealant/drying aid is used on the car’s paint.

The vehicle is dried using microfiber towels. Dressing is used on tires and windows are cleaned with a glass cleaner.

Decontamination Wash

Time: 2-4 hrs


  • Wax
  • Bug remover
  • Clay bar
  • Polish stripper
  • Iron remover

A decontamination wash can also double as polishing prep. So if you want to polish your car, you’ll need to do a decontamination wash first. 

On top of the steps of a maintenance wash, an iron remover is used to clean any iron fallout. A bug remover is also used to remove any bugs, if necessary.

Clay bars are also used to remove any contaminants/pollutants from your car’s surface. If prepping for a polish, then you’ll need a polish stripper.

Know How Long Detailing a Car Takes

Be prepared when taking in your car for detailing. If you want a more intensive detail, then schedule your plans accordingly and prepare yourself for a taxi ride. Or if you’ve got a lengthy lunch break, come in and relax as we do a quick detail.

At Detail Time, we’re experts at understanding the value and process of detailing a car. There’s little more satisfying than walking to your vehicle every morning and knowing that it’s in mint condition. So when you’re ready, get a quote from us for a stellar-looking car.