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
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
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
REAL DIRTY CAR WASHING
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
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.
NOT SO DIRTY CAR WASHING (DRY WASH)
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
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.