Bob Schoenherr  Tech Tips: How to Wash and Shine your Beloved Porsche, Part 1: Scrub Down  by Bob Schoenherr, Redwood Region Membership Director and Zone 7 Concours Champion

Cars get dirty even in the garage. There are more than just dirt and rain spots clinging to your car's paint, glass, and chrome finishes. Airborne industrial pollutants, acid rain, dead bugs, tree sap, and bird droppings will degrade your paint. Most modern Porsche car ­finishes are covered with a clear coat to protect the pigmented main layer, but what about our classics with no clear coat protection? It is important to keep your car clean and waxed to repel water and pollutants.

Guess what? The same goes for your car's interior. That slimy patina of French fries, onion rings, Big Gulp spills, sweat, and dirt will eventu­ally turn your interior into a primordial swamp. Of course, I know we never eat in our Porsches! We'll talk about this in another article....

Before we go any further, take note: there is nothing under your kitchen sink that's appropriate for washing or cleaning your car! Leave the dish detergent for the dishes, and use a proper car-washing solution. I recommend Simple Green (which will remove the wax) for tough cleaning, and a car wash shampoo for the rest. The shampoo is more for getting the dirt off, but the real cleaner is WATER: if your car is really dirty, water is going to be the best way to clean it.

What you need:

1.   a shady area to wash and dry your car
2.   car shampoo (any brand is basically the same - I like Meguiar's just because it's easy to get)
3.   microfiber washing cloth (micro fiber protects your paint - don't use a sponge)
4.  a deep bucket (5-gallon paint buckets are great - put your sponges on the bottom to soak up the dirt you take off the car with the microfiber cloth)
5.   water hose with a good adjustable nozzle
6.   optional: beer or wine to keep yourself hydrated will working on the car (do     not drive immediately after cleaning the car if you use this option)
7.   lawn blower
8.   microfiber towels
9.   detail spray
10. carnauba wax


Step 1: Assemble all the items you need from the list above.

Step 2: Keep your Porsche in the shade while washing and waxing to prevent the heat of the sun from drying off the car and making water spots before you can dry them.

Step 3: Wet the surface beforehand to help dissolve the bug stains and loosen the dirt. If there is a lot of bug and tar grime, apply the car shampoo directly to the heavy areas and let it soak as you wash other parts of the car. For tar, I like to apply Simple Green directly to the tar and then scrub and wash off.

Step 4: Hose the salt and mud off the wheel wells and undercarriage.

Step 5: Clean the wheels first to keep all the slop from getting on the bodywork.

Step 6: Start on the top of the car and work down. Wash the car, spreading the suds with a lambs wool wash mitt or microfiber towels.

Step 7: Rinse thoroughly with light spray, not high-pressure spray.

Step 8: Drying the car can be what causes the most scratches in your clear coat! NEVER use diapers - they are too abrasive. Use a microfiber towel or, better yet, use your lawn blower (this will avoid causing any abrasions to the paint and will also dry the areas that are hard to reach, like on 356s and 911s).

Step 9: Go over the entire car with detail spray (see below).

Note: You are now ready to clean the glass (see below) if you are not going to wax the car.


Is your car just dusty, or does it have a small amount of dirt from the road? If so, then simply use detail spray and microfiber towels to clean its surface.

Step 1: Spray detail spray on about a 2x2 foot area and wipe gently with a microfiber towel until dry. Flip the towel over a couple of times while doing this. Repeat over the whole car. You may want to use more than one towel if the towel starts getting dirty. I like to apply and then polish with two separate towels.

Step 2: Polish with a microfiber towel and then stand back after 10 minutes to admire your work.


NEVER use Windex or any ammonia-based window cleaner. Use a window polish like Clear Glass or RainX. I have found that a good detail spray from Adam's or SmartWax works best and leaves no streaks (Concours tip).

In Part 2, we will talk about waxes, clay bars, and the use of orbital polishers for you clean freaks who want the ultimate in show car finish.

Remember that dirt is what scratches the car's surfaces, so don't use a sponge that could grind the dirt into the paint surface. No household detergents. Use water, air, and microfiber to get a clean and scratch-free finish, and have as much fun as Anita and I do when prepping "Queenie" for a Concours.


Queenie, Bob Schoenherr and Anita Benzing's Concours-winning 912E (photo by Bob Schoenherr)