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What is the difference between a cleaner and a detailer?

Dec. 06, 2023
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Chances are, you’ve had your car washed more than a few times—and, chances are, you’ve noticed call outs for auto detailing. So what’s the difference and when should you opt for one over the other?

At their core, car washing and auto detailing accomplish a similar end goal—both get your car looking clean and road-ready. But, beyond that, the process, pricing and results vary significantly. While a basic wash is meant to clean day-to-day dirt and debris from your vehicle, detailing goes several steps further, helping maintain the quality, finish and overall resale value of your car. Consider your immediate needs and see which is in-step…

Get a car wash when...your car needs a quick clean

It happens—you’re driving a lot and, suddenly, your car’s otherwise clean exterior starts looking drab and dirty. If the grime level is pretty standard—think dirt, salt and other common debris—then opt for a car wash. Depending on the option you choose, your car wash will include a full exterior cleaning, including the undercarriage. A protective sealant can be added for an additional charge.

Usually, a quick clean is the best way to get your car looking fresh and ready to go. One pro tip: to avoid water spotting, make sure they fully dry your car post-wash. Most drive-through car washes offer this standard but, if not, consider adding it on or bringing a chamois with you for a quick dry.

Get a car wash when...winter grime is building up

If you live in a colder region, snow and ice can wreak havoc on your car. Between the icy conditions and the sand, salt and mud that comes with, your day-to-day driving can leave your car looking a little beat up. But, if it’s only been a few days, a quick car wash will usually do the trick. Especially in the winter, be sure you’re getting car washes regularly—every two weeks or so, or as needed.

Get a car wash when...pollen is EVERYWHERE

Same goes for spring and early summer, when pollen starts circulating. Whether you have allergies or not, make sure you’re taking care of any build ups—if you park your car outside, it could be in a prime position to get a nice, yellow coating. Leave it on too long and it will be harder to remove.

Get car detailing’re between seasons

Again, cars can take a beating in the winter. Once the weather starts to improve, many people opt to get their cars detailed versus just another wash. Why? Because car detailing is more of a deep clean, that involves full exterior detailing, including washing, waxing and options like headlight restoration, paint polishing and shampooing the interior.

Even if you’ve been diligent about bi-weekly car washes, detailing can help get all of the winter grime off—and out of—your car for good, helping your car look newer, longer. Also, ongoing detailing can help you dodge more significant long-term problems which cause permanent damage, resulting in costly repairs.

Get car detailing’re planning to sell

Whether you’re trading your car in or selling privately, there’s nothing like a good detail to get it looking showroom-ready. Consider it an investment in your sale—done right, it will add to your car’s value, drastically improving your bottom line at trade in.

There are tremendous benefits to having your car cleaned and detailed by an automotive professional. Anyone that is interested in preserving the value of their vehicle, and keeping it in the best condition possible will likely be interested in car detailing.

OK, What’s the Difference Between Washing and Detailing?

Both services are focused on cleansing, disinfecting, and making your vehicle look shiny and new. The difference, however, is in the details.

Car Cleaning or Washing is concentrated on removing dirt, debris, road salt, and other forms of filth that build up on your car the more you use it. The attention of car washing services is largely focused on the exterior, with some attention paid to the inside, depending on the car wash package you have opted for.

Car Detailing is a little more intensive and comprehensive. With the car detailing, the focus is placed on the entire vehicle. No inch of the car is left untouched.

The goal of a professional auto detailer is to restore your vehicle to factory form, or as close as possible.

In N Out Car Wash and Detailing Centre Brampton

The expert automotive technicians at In N Out Brampton will be able to take care of all your car cleaning needs, whatever level of clean you are after.

A detailing professional will employ a time-tested system and premium products to ensure high quality outcomes every time.

Some of the detailing services available at In N Out are:

  • Engine cleaning
  • Glass treatment
  • Tire dressing
  • Headlight restoration
  • Trunk cleaning and vacuuming
  • Exterior polish and wax
  • Shampooing for carpets and mats
  • Shampooing for upholstery
  • Leather treatments
  • Fabric protection
  • Wheel cleaning
  • Much more!

Advantages of Using a Professional Detailer

There are a multitude of benefits to employing the services of an expert auto detailer. Some of these advantages include:

  • Added protection
  • Increased safety
  • Value
  • Better gas mileage
  • Focus on detail


One of the best ways to protect your vehicle from the outside elements is through regular car detailing. By going over every surface area and hard to reach crevasse in your car, it provides an extra layer of protection against dirt, grime, chips, scratches, bacteria, and many other contaminants.

Increased Safety

Auto detailing can also enhance the safety of your car for you and your passengers. A good detailer will know what is needed to remove any potential hazards from your vehicle, while maximizing safety.

For example, an immaculately cleaned exterior will provide optimal vision and response time. A pristine interior means the removal of dust and allergens to improve the air quality inside the car.


There a couple different ways car owners get value from car detailing.

One way is that consistent car detailing will help preserve the value of your vehicle. Keeping your car in good condition at all times will only serve to increase the resale value.

Another way is value for money. By investing a little in car detailing up front, you will be avoiding more expensive mechanic bills down the road.

Gas Mileage

Simply put, a cleaner car runs more smoothly and effectively. A well-cleaned engine is more efficient, while an immaculate exterior offers less wind resistance.

Focus on Detail

It’s probably no surprise that car detailing is heavily focused on details. An expert detailer will have an efficient system in place to make sure no area of the vehicle is excluded. They will likely clean places on your car that you didn’t even know were there.

A professional will do a much better job, in much less time.

What is the difference between a cleaner and a detailer?

What's the Difference Between Car Detailing and Cleaning?



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