Quick Detailer spays are one of the most popular types of products in the detailing world for as long as I can remember, and for good reason. They are versatile products that can be used in several different scenarios and can often leave quite an impressive finish on your paintwork with very little effort at all.
One of the only problems I have with quick detailers is the amount of choice available when it comes to buying, the options are endless and it can often be quite confusing to most.
I often get asked the question “Which Quick Detailer should I buy for my car?”. Unless I have some specific details on the application in question my answer usually is “It depends!”
As I said there are different types of quick detailers available to buy – some of which serve a specific purpose better than others. In the post, I will look at some of the different quick detailers on the market, and hopefully help you choose one that is right for your own requirements.
For those of you who may not be totally familiar with quick detailing sprays, let’s start at the very beginning.
What Is a Quick Detailer?
Quick Detailer, QD for short, is a frequently used term casually thrown around within the detailing industry. The quick detail spray market was created in 1981 by Meguiar’s who released a product called Meguair’s Trigger Wash. After realizing the name caused some confusion with consumers, Meguiar’s changed the product name to Meguiar’s Quik Detailer.
A quick detailer is a spray product that will allow for quick and easy removal of light dust and light topical contaminants from a car’s paintwork by lessening the friction between the vehicle surface and a microfiber cloth.
QD should not be confused with a wash type product and should be thought of as more of a maintenance product be that can assist in preserving the appearance of your paint as long as the dirt accumulated never rises above a simple dust level.
Although this was the original intention for the product, the advances in technology within the car care industry over the last number of years means that quick detailers can serve many purposes within your wash and detailing routine.
Uses for Quick Detailer Products
Let’s look at some of the many uses for quick detailing sprays
Water Spot / Light Dust & Contamination Removal
At the most basic level a quick detailer functions as a surfactant; adding lubricity to a surface, allowing for safe removal of dust particles from a paint surface by encapsulating the particles in a slick paint-safe liquid, reducing the amount of friction between the dirt particles, the surface which allows for safe removal from the paint surface.
Most quick detailers should not be thought of as “waterless washes” and should only be used in cases where there are very little contaminants on the surface of the car ( eg. light dust) In the cases whereby there is excessive dirt or debris on the surface of the car, a “normal” wash with a bucket and mitt should be used.
Quick detail sprays are also very handy when it comes to removing water spots from the surface of the car.
Bird Poo Removal
I am sure every car owner has experienced bird poo on their car. What many people don’t realise is that bird poo is extremely damaging to a car’s paintwork ( sometimes even permanent damage to the clear coat )
When it comes to bird poo removal, timing is everything and you should aim to remove the contamination from the paintwork ASAP.
Quick detailers come in very handy for the removal of bird poo safely and quickly. You should never dry wipe bird poo on your paintwork as you are almost guaranteed to inflict further damage in the form of a scratch or swirl.
Lubrication for Claying your Car
Because of the simple lubricity factor offered by quick detailers, they were always the first natural choice for clay bar lubrication.
By reducing the friction between the clay and the paint’s surface, a quick detailer allows the naturally tacky clay to effortlessly glide and contour itself over a vehicle’s surfaces.
Some people use soapy water when using a clay bar on their paintwork, but I always find a quick detailer to be the safest option.
Quick detailers are also often used as “drying aids” when drying a car with a microfiber towel.
As we already know these QD products contain lubricants that will allow a towel to glide over the paint, helping to prevent marring, and it also breaks down water beads to make them easier to soak up and less likely to leave water spots.
As most quick details on the market, today have some gloss enhancing properties, you will find that when using a quick detailer as a drying aid your car will have an even shinier appearance than if you were to dry your car without a quick detailer.
Add Protection To The Cars Paintwork
Many of the new age quick detailing products not only provide a way of cleaning and increasing gloss the paintwork, but can actually add some meaningful protection directly to the paint or serve as an additional layer on top of any other protection that may be already applied to the paintwork (Eg a Ceramic Coating).
You may have noticed some quick detailing products added to the Meguiars and Turtle Wax line up this year which contain the word “Ceramic” on the label.
Although these are not true ceramic coatings, these quick detail sprays contain a small amount of Si02 in their formula which will bond with the paintwork of the car and add protection & boost hydrophobicity.
These products are awesome when used in conjunction with a “real” ceramic coating, and can make maintenance of your paintworks finish a breeze.
Now that we have looked at some of the uses of quick detailer sprays, let’s round up the best quick detail sprays available on the market which will help you maintain your cars finish.
Best Quick Detailer Products
Below are some of the best quick detailing products available ( in my opinion ) , and you can not go wrong with any of these choices. I have used many of these in the past and cannot fault their performance. The ones I have not used on this list come highly recommended by friends and people in the know, and they are on my “to try” list.
SONAX Xtreme Brilliant Shine Detailer
Sonax brilliant shine detailer or BSD as it is commonly referred to in the detailing community is known as one of the best value for money quick detailers on the market. It has quite a thick consistency compared to typical quick detailers available and is similar to spray wax in that regard.
One of the best things about this product is that it lays down some decent protection onto the paint. The video below will you an idea of the water behaviour of the paint on a previously unprotected surface
BSD is a very versatile product and will leave protection on par with more expensive waxes and sealants. As far as quick detailers go, this product is up there with the best of them.
BSD can be used as a drying aid or standalone detailer/protection. Given the constancy of the product, I wouldn’t recommend it as a clay lubricant.
CarPro Elixir was a product that I only recently got around to trying out for the first time. Readers of this blog will know that I coated my car with a CarPro ceramic coating a few months ago. I was looking for a good quick detailer to maintain and complement my coating and Elixir is what a lot of other enthusiasts recommended to me.
As I am coming to the end of the first bottle I can safely say it is one of the best QD out there. It adds great gloss and as it contains Si02 it adds some protection to the paintwork and helps to maintain your coating ( if you have a ceramic coating applied )
You can read my full review of Elixir here
Meguiars Hybrid Ceramic Detailer
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know I am a big fan of Meguiars hybrid ceramic wax. Since the release of the wax,meguiars have now released a quick detailer to compliment the wax and the rest of their “ceramic” range.
Meguiars Hybrid Ceramic Detailer ( or HCD for short ) brings easy on/off use, good slickness, good gloss to the table.
One of the main uses for this quick detailer is for topping up older protection and bringing it back to life. It can be used on top of an existing ceramic coating to bring back some hydrophobic properties or can be used in conjunction with the likes of Hybrid Ceramic Wax between washes to make sure you get the most out of the protection of the product.
It can be used as a drying aid, topper or as a spray to remove light dust and contaminants and also is suitable for use as a clay lube.
Angelwax Enigma QED Ceramic Detailing Spray
Angelwax is a company I have been a fan of for quite some time now and I always find their products excellent. Angelwax has had a standard quick detailer on the market for a while, but their most recent offering is the “Enigma” version of their QED.
Like some of the other quick detailers I have mentioned above, Enigma aims to extend the life of your wax or ceramic coating that you may have on your vehicle (or can be used as a stand-alone protection also )
Gyeon Q²M QuickDetailer
Here is another fantastic QD option available from Gyeon. If you are familiar with Gyeon as a brand, you will know that they are world leaders in the ceramic coating market. Their quick detailer was developed to work in conjunction with some of their coating products.
Q²M QuickDetailer works well as a standalone quick detailing product or as maintenance and topper for an existing coating ( or wax for that matter ).
One of the most popular ways to use this quick detailer is as a drying aid when using a microfiber towel, which will leave a glossy and slick finish on the paintwork.
There you have it, some of the best quick detailers available to buy right now. As I have mentioned previously, these types of products have come a long way since they were first introduced.
Now that we live in the age of Coatings and other new types of protective technology, you are better off buying one that will work together with your existing protection and improve its performance.
The use of these types of QD helps you keep your car clean in between washes and helps take the gloss and appearance of your paintwork to the next level!
Have you tried any other detailing sprays that you were blown away by that I have not mentioned above? If so I would love to hear about them in the comments below or even better over on the DriveDetailed Forum.
Until Next Time,
About the Author – Darren O Hara
Darren is the founder of the DriveDetailed blog and is a keen detailing enthusiast living in the rainy south of Ireland. When he is not cleaning his car he is always researching ways he can improve his techniques and enjoys testing out new products.
Darren currently drives an Audi TTRS and is a big fan of performance cars.
You can follow Darren on Instagram @darrenoharacork