Cleaning Your Car the Right Way

Cleaning Your Car the Right Way
August 1, 2004
Diana Quinn

First of all don't panic when you see this method.  Your car really only needs to have all of these steps done about once or twice a year.  I would recommend once in the Spring and then again once before Winter.  This will give your a car a great base for in between washings and if the wax dulls a bit, then just a quick coat of wax.  I have been using this method for a number of years and have produced several winning Concours cars.


Cleaning Products:

  • Car Wash Soap – Meguire’s or Mercedes or other name brand that is made for washing cars.

  • Clay Magic™ and Lubricant

  • Zymol HD Cleanse

  • Zymol Wax of your choice – (not Zymol Crème from Walmart! )

  • Glass Cleaner – Eagle 20/20 or Wurth’s Glass Cleaner (Autobody shop will likely carry)

  • Zymol Vinyl

  • Lexyol Leather Cleaner or Leatherique (

  • Zymol Wheel Cleaner can also use Simple Green to dissolve brake dust

  • 303 Protectant

  • Mother’s Chrome Polish

  • Meguire’s Plastic Polish and Cleaner (optional) If you can’t find in an automobile supply store, try a boating store.

  • Blue Coral Carpet Cleaner




  • Wash Bucket (I recommend a bucket that has a lid on it that doubles as a seat to be used while cleaning wheel rims.  Saves the back!)

  • Wash Mitt – I like the big loopy terry cloth kind with or without a sponge inside

  • Soft Wheel Brush

  • 2-3 Microfiber Towels

  • Terry Cloth bath towels, well used (the ones your about ready to throw out, 2 – 3 of them)

  • Terry Cloth rags  (6-12 of them)

  • Cloth Baby Diapers (3-6 of them) to clean glass areas and areas that are sensitive to scratching.

  • Stiff Interior Brush

Note:  After using wash mitt and towels, place in washer with regular clothes detergents and then air dry or place in the dryer.  DO NOT use any fabric softners of any kind.


Ø     Step 1 – Wash

§       Following the directions on the Car Wash Soap prepare a bucket of Hot soapy water

§       Rinse car off with the hose

§       Using Wash Mitt, starting with hood or the top of the car, wash the painted car surfaces in sections (rinsing in between sections) working your way from the top down. 

§       Spray wheel rims down with wheel cleaner and let sit for approximately 5mins, and then rinse. 

§       Wash rims with soapy water using a Terry Cloth Towel for a wash rag (you don’t want to get brake dust into the wash mitt that you use for cleaning the painted surfaces, and when the terry cloth towels get real bad you can throw them away) or use a soft wheel brush to get into the cracks and crevasses.  Rinse rims with clear water.


Ø     Step 2 – Dry

§       Starting with the glass, use a terry cloth bath towel and wipe off the glass areas removing all water.   This will prevent water spots.

Note:   If it is a real warm day, you may want to wipe the glass down as soon as you are done with the painted surfaces before doing the wheel rims.

§       Wipe the remaining part of the car.  Change towels once the towel has become too wet to absorb any more water. 


Ø     Step 3 – Clay

§       Clay Magic is a two part system.  1) Lubricant and, 2) Clay bar. 

§       Spray a 2-3ft square area of painted surface with a light coating of the lubricant.

§       Spread out the clay bar until it is about the size of your hand (maybe smaller if you have big hands) and then just rub the clay bar over the lubricated surface, turning the bar over as it collects particles.  Just knead the bar back into itself as the bar collects particles so it has smooth surface to pick up more particles.

§       Repeat until all surfaces are cleaned (you can use on the glass too)


Ø     Step 4 – HD Cleanse

§       Put the HD Cleanse on the foam applicator (small to medium amount).

§       Apply the HD Cleanse to a small area of the painted surface (2-3ft oblong area), in straight lines (DO NOT apply in CIRCLES). 

§       Using a terry cloth towel immediately remove the product entirely from the surface.  Note:  If you let the product dry thoroughly you will be rubbing for an eternity to remove it. 

§       Repeat the process until all painted surfaces are cleaned (including any painted plastic modeling areas).

 Ø     Step 5 – Wax

§       Using the Zymol wax of your choosing (many different levels of carnuba wax concentration to choose from)  apply a small amount of wax onto the foam applicator.

§       Apply the wax to a small area of the painted surface (2-3ft oblong area) in straight lines (DO NOT apply in CIRCLES).

§       Using a micro-fiber towel remove the product immediately.  Rubbing with the towel until the area is nice and shiny and smooth.  Change out  the micro-fiber towel once it feels kind of dense and saturated with wax.

§       Repeat the process until all painted surfaces are cleaned (including any painted plastic modeling areas).


Ø     Step 6 – Wheels

§       Using Zymol Wheel Cleaner spray the rims and wipe clean with a terry cloth towel.  Change out towels as they get dirty.

§       Spray 303 Protectant on the rubber surfaces and wipe clean with a towel.  This will give your rubber surfaces a shiny finish and will   303 has UV protectant in it and it doesn’t contain silicone which causes the rubber surface to turn brown.


Ø     Step 7 – Other Surfaces (Glass, Chrome, Moldings)

§       Windows - Spray windows with the glass cleaner of your choice and wipe dry/clean with a clean cloth baby diaper.  They are lint free and won’t streak your windows.  Change out cloth as they become wet.

§       Chrome – apply chrome polish and wipe off with the terry cloth towel.

§       Moldings – apply Zymol Vinyl to moldings with a terry cloth towel and wipe clean.



Ø     Leather – use Leatherique  product and wipe seats clean of product with a terry cloth towel

Ø     Vinyl Surfaces – use Zymol Vinyl, apply and wipe clean with a terry cloth towel.

Ø     Wood Trim – wipe clean with a damp clean cloth (baby diapers work well for this too)

Ø     Plastic Surface over Instrument Panel – use Mequir’s Plastic Cleaner with a clean baby diaper and wipe clean.  Follow up with the Mequir’s Plastic Polish using a separate baby diaper and wipe clean and polish the plastic till clear.  This system will eliminate the visual site of little scratches that might be in the plastic.   (See separate article about cleaning clear plastic windows on convertibles.)

Ø     Carpets – Use Blue Coral Carpet Cleaner/Spray.  Just spray the foam onto the carpets and then using a stiff interior brush, scrub the carpets with the brush.  Re-spray badly soiled areas and repeat the process.