How to Make Auto Detailing a Relaxing Form of Stress Relief

How to Make Auto Detailing a Relaxing Form of Stress Relief

If you are like most people, chances are you view the act of cleaning and detailing your vehicle as mandatory maintenance. If car care really isn't your cup of chai, you might label it as a time-consuming chore to be abhorred. Either way, automotive deep cleaning and detailing is not a task that people typically consider to be relaxing.

Type-in the hashtag #cardetail in YouTube, and over 1,500 videos from 464 channels will likely surface. Many of these results show ways of skipping expensive professional auto detailing services by cleaning a car faster for cheaper, with far fewer snags along the way.

But there's one particular type of car detailing trend that we find quite intriguing, as YouTube content creators have begun to blend informative automotive advice and visual tutorials with relaxation and stress relief.

For some people, detailing a dirty engine bay, scrubbing a contaminant-rich exterior with a clay bar, or the process of applying a nano-ceramic coating protectant is akin to sliding into a mineral-rich hot spring. Here is how some of the best detailers in the automotive cleaning and restoration game are turning car care into a Zen form of meditation and relaxation.

Tingle All the Way: Understanding the A.S.M.R. Sensation

So why are certain car detailing YouTube channels taking a chill approach to things like cleaning, paint correction, and surface protection? It's likely due to something called "A.S.M.R."

A.S.M.R., or "Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response," is a phenomena where a sound, physical sensation, or scenario produces a "tingling sensation" along the head and spine, and in certain cases, creates a tranquil feeling of deep relaxation and mental calm.

"The science on ASMR is basically nonexistent... people get the feeling of ASMR from various triggers. Some people enjoy role-plays in which someone gives close personal attention and whispers, while others like videos that show incredibly mundane tasks such as spraying a water bottle."


The whole A.S.M.R. experience is nothing new either, as it has been around for as long as anyone can remember. It just never had an official name, or widespread recognition until the past decade or so, when it found a home on the internet. Just like those home videos your uncle and his skanky ex shot with their camcorder back in the late '80s. Ewww...

Unlike your uncle's "home movies," A.S.M.R. made the move from obscure fetish to viral hashtag with help from YouTube content creators. Trailblazers like Gentle Whispering ASMR first kicked things off over a decade ago, when they began recording everyday experiences, like keyboard typing and page-turning, to see whether or not people enjoyed these sounds.

Needless to say, the amount of positive feedback these "ASMRtists" received was overwhelmingly positive, and over the coarse of the past decade the amount of unique content created around this subject has steamrolled into a massive online movement.

Quick Nerd Note: The term A.S.M.R. was first seen online sometime in 2010, when a woman by the name of Jennifer Allen formed a Facebook group focusing upon the subject. The name stuck, as it allowed people the ability to more accurately describe and understand the strange tingly sensations they had been experiencing.

Can Car Detailing Really Be Relaxing?

As the popularity of relaxing, "tingle-worthy" YouTube content evolved, it became obvious that it was just a matter of time until car detailers got in on the action. However, not everyone is into whispering into a binaural microphone or tapping on boxes of Armor Shield IX nano-ceramic coating purely for the purpose of providing viewers with inexplicably tingly responses.

Some people just enjoy detailing cars, and want to show the world how to do it right, and in the process, hopefully turn an undesirable form of physical labor into a source of stress relief and mental decompression.

Take longtime AvalonKing advocate and car detailing guru, Pan The Organizer, for instance. A while back, Pan released his "Stress Relief Through Detailing" video, which provided a firsthand glimpse of how he uses car detailing procedures as a form of calming the mind and blowing off steam.

In true Pan fashion, the video is neither soothing nor sleep-inducing, but an enthusiastic anecdotal blend of background info on how the seasoned detailing veteran got his start, and how car care became his outlet.

On the far less oratory side, you will find guys like Belgium-based Vermijl Car Detail. A YouTube content creator that takes an extremely Zen approach to cleaning, correcting, and protecting automobiles. While all of these stages of the detailing process are documented, nary a word is spoken, with the content creator preferring to allow his work to convey the message.

Although blasting a car blower or firing-up a vacuum in front of the camera is probably not going to win any tingles, there are other tasks that are strangely soothing to some. Hand-polishing wheels with wheel dressing, removing surface contaminants from windows, prepping a paint surface for a complete wash with quality products, squeezing the trigger on a bottle of IPA Prep Spray, pulling detailer's tape... it all adds-up to one big satisfying experience.

Quick Nerd Note: Not everyone's brain is hardwired to feel "tingles" from listening-in on everyday mundane tasks or whispered forms of personal affirmation. Is it a response that is developed from experiences felt at a young age, or purely a genetic predisposition, much like how some people think cilantro tastes like soap. Whatever the reason, scientists are still not entirely sure why some people get "triggered" by certain experiences, while others feel nothing.

Experiencing the Zen Art of Cleanliness for Yourself

So while documenting how to clean and condition leather seats may not cause A.S.M.R. junkies to convulse on the floor in spasms of tingle-induced ecstasy, it can serve as a form of relaxation for DIYers.

"If you have been feeling stressed or anxious, cleaning and washing a car is a unique relaxing experience that will instantly calm your mind, body, and emotions."

-Pan The Organizer

If you want to see if car cleaning and detailing can be an untapped source of decompression, follow these steps, and see how you feel during the detailing process, as well as afterward.

  • Set time aside. Feeling rushed, or having pressing matters on your mind will compromise any form of relaxation. Block-out a day for your detailing job that allows you ample time to do things at your leisure.
  • Have the right gear on hand. There's nothing quite as frustrating as getting into a detailing job, only to realize halfway through that you don't have enough maintenance car shampoo. Take inventory beforehand and stock-up on supplies to avoid any unwelcomed breaks in detailing.
  • Choose the right tunes. Having a soothing or inspirational form of music or podcast in your eardrums can make even the most mundane task a blast.
  • Focus on what feels good. It may sound silly, but car detailing is very much a physical experience. So if some part of the process feels rewarding in some way, take joy in it.

Quick Tip: While some may consider the ceramic coating curing process as an agonizing time of uncertainty, we here at AvalonKing prefer to view this downtime as a chance to relax and reflect on what went well, and where we have room to improve during the next detailing job.

Parting Shots

If you are like most devout DIY detailing enthusiasts, you have already cataloged a playlist of stellar YouTube detailing content to reference as needed. Those of you who enjoy a little A.S.M.R. action on the side are in for a real treat too, because it appears that there is a genuine interest in blending car detailing with this tingly trend.

"We’ve gotten feedback from firefighters, soldiers, pilots, lawyers, single mothers, and suicidal teenagers who just watched these videos and it changed their attitude and mood for just a few minutes."

-Maria of Gentle Whispering ASMR, in a 2018 interview with VOX

Who knows? Maybe you find out that you don't really need outside influence to feel relaxed and excited about the notion of cleaning and detailing your ride, and can create that tingly Zen-like bliss on your own? It may just turn into the most relaxing routine you have ever experienced.






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