Bob Schoenherr    Wash and Shine your Beloved Porsche, Part 2: What to do after Washing your car by Bob Schoenherr, Redwood Region Membership Director and Zone 7 Concours Champion

In Part 1, I talked about how to wash your Porsche

Sometimes washing and waxing your car is not enough to get a glossy shine on the surface. Contaminants like bird droppings, brake dust, and environmental pollutants settle and stay on your car's surface, particularly your clear coat. Clear coats were made to handle this kind of abuse by the environment, but even the clear coat gets rough and dull. You can wash all you want, but soap and water alone will never remove these contaminants; the safe way to remove contaminants is with a clay bar treatment. I use a clay bar on my car to make the surface smooth and ready for wax especially, when preparing for Concours.

What you need:

1.  clay bar (get from an online source or use Mother's, which you can get at any automotive store)

2.  detail spray as a clay lubricant

3.  microfiber towels

4.  carnauba wax

5.  microfiber applicator

6.  soft cotton clothing (I call mine the scrubs)

7.  orbital polisher (optional)

Let's get started..

Step 1: Park your car in the shade and let the car's surface cool. Wash the car with car soap and a soft sponge to remove all surface debris. Rinse it and let it dry completely.

Step 2: Take the clay bar and make a palm size pancake. Spray detail spray on the clay bar to get started.

Step 3: Spray the detail spray on a small area of your car's surface. Rub the clay bar across the lubricated area several times. Rub the clay bar back and forth, from right to left. You do not have to rub in the detail spray like wax. Continue to rub the bar over the wet area until it glides seamlessly and smoothly over the surface. Once it moves effortlessly, you know that the debris has been removed from that portion of the car. NEVER let the clay bar get dry or stick to the car's surface.

NOTE: Look at the clay to see the small pieces of debris and contaminants it picked up. Fold the clay bar over when the area touching the paint looks dirty. Do this frequently.

Step 4: As you finish cleaning each area with the clay bar, dry that area with a microfiber towel. You will feel a smooth finish.

Step 5: Move to another area and repeat steps 2-4. Do this to the entire car. Start with the roof, hood and trunk, and work down the car to the bottom. Usually the bottom is where you miss due to lack of flexibility to get on your knees and really clean. Save your clay and do bottom items last.

Place unused clay into a sealed plastic zip bag with a small amount of water to keep it moist for future use.

Now you are ready to wax the car. Be aware that once you clay bar your car, no wax is left on the vehicle's surface. You need to feed your paint with a good quality carnauba wax.

Here is a link about waxing your car. Read the directions on how to apply the wax. I like to use microfiber applicators that are clean and moist when I do a waxing to my car. I also like to rub in the wax and then wait for it to dry before buffing it off the surface. Be careful not to apply or buff off the wax with a dirty towel or applicator. A dirty towel or applicator will scratch the surface.

For all wax and sealant products, follow these basic instructions (from

1.  Work in a shaded area out of direct sunlight
2.  Use the applicator recommended or provided by the manufacturer.
3.  Some products may allow you to coat the entire car before buffing off, but most do not.
4.  Follow the wax manufacturer's instructions on whether or not to allow the wax to dry (haze) before buffing.
5.  Use a small amount of wax at a time, and rub it in well. If you use too much wax, you're wasting the product and your time.
6.  If the wax residue does not buff off easily, switch to a clean wipe towel.
7.  Apply your wax in a back-and-forth motion, not in circles. If you are creating swirls, you need to replace your applicator or towels.

After waxing, your car's paint should feel slick and smooth, and be free of streaks and smudges.

What do you do if, after all this work, you still have streaks and areas that don't want to buff out perfectly? There are several tricks, but the easiest is to park your car in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes. Let it get warm, but not hot, and then take it back inside the garage or shaded area. Next, use your favorite detail spray and a fresh buffing towel to wipe down the affected areas. The warmth of the sun softens the wax, allowing it to buff out to a clear, high gloss. 

Regular waxing is necessary to protect your car's paint from the elements. In addition to sealing and protecting, waxes and sealants also improve the appearance of freshly washed and polished paint. If you use the right products, you can successfully layer waxes and sealants to make your paint look deeper and almost liquid.

If you want to go "beyond the swirls", you can use an orbital polisher. There are many dual-action orbital systems, but all the systems work the same. Watch these videos (10 minutes each, from to see how it works (sorry for all the advertising of products, but these really good videos)

Before using an orbital, be sure to read the directions, decide on a test area, and decide whether to do a polish or wax with the tool. Your technique is what decides how nice a polish or wax job you do.

Have fun being one with your Porsche. Next time we'll talk about doing interiors...

Part 1 - How to remove swirls, scratches and water spots using a Porter Cable 7424XP Polisher
Part 1 - How to remove swirls, scratches and water spots
using a Porter Cable 7424P Polisher

Part 2 - How to remove swirls, scratches and water spots using a Porter Cable 7424XP Polisher
Part 2 - How to remove swirls, scratches and water spots
using a Porter Cable 7424P Polisher

Part 3 - How to remove swirls, scratches and water spots using a Porter Cable 7424XP Polisher
Part 3 - How to remove swirls, scratches and water spots
using a Porter Cable 7424P Polisher