By Michele Wojciechowski
WHETHER YOU DRIVE a classic beauty
or a compact commuter car, you know how
great it feels to ride in a clean machine.
Keeping your car clean can be easy—when
you know the right supplies to use and the
correct way to do it.
Justin Shifflett, an auto detailer at Boyle
Buick GMC Truck in Abingdon, Maryland,
has advice on the perfect cleaning process.
First, get the right supplies. Shifflett uses
car wash soap with wax already in it. This
doesn’t replace waxing your car completely,
but using it will give you a good shine if you
don’t have time to wax in between washings.
If you use regular car wash soap, be sure to
wax afterwards, as it may leave a dull finish.
Use a degreaser (or similar cleaner) and a
bug sponge for certain spots on the exterior.
A bug sponge?
“It’s good to use on the rims,” says
Shifflett. “It’s also good to use on the rocker
panels—considered the bottom of the car—
and the front and back bumpers.”
Shifflett notes that folks can also try a
sponge that is a little more abrasive. And
remember, bugs off before wax on.
Because these sponges are abrasive,
Shifflett stresses not to use one anywhere else
because it can cause scratches. For the overall
body of the car, he recommends using a soft
wool sponge or a sheepskin wash-and-polish
mitt. Clean it after each use so the dirt you
remove won’t scratch your car at the next wash.
Wash the car first, rinse, dry. Then do the
interior. Then wax. Then do the windows.
Then apply tire shine, if you choose.
Start on the outside of the car by hosing it
down. Begin at the tires; use a little soap and
the bug sponge to remove the bugs and grime.
Next, wash the body of the car and rinse. Why
start on the outside? It will give the car time to
dry if you haven’t dried it properly.
Shifflett recommends drying your car
with a chamois (pronounced “shammy”),
because it absorbs water easily. The chamois
should be kept moist between uses, or it will
dry hard as a rock. Wash your car in the shade
to avoid watermarks.
Moving to the interior, pull the floor mats
out and vacuum the inside. Use foam cleaner
and a rag to remove stains on the mats, carpets and other parts of the interior. “[Foam
cleaner] lifts dirt, is easier to clean up and
dries fast,” says Shifflett.
When using it on the dash and other interior parts of the car, spray it on a rag and apply
The Costco Connection
Members will find Meguiar’s Gold Class Car
Wash, Jorgen’s wash-and-wax kits, Permatex
tire and wheel care, a wash brush and more
in the warehouses and on Costco.com.
The fine details
CONTINUED ON PAGE 40
• Car wash soap
• Bug sponge
• Wool sponge/mitt
• High-grade paper
• Paste wax
• Microfiber or terry cloth
for wax removal
• Interior car cleaner (do not use on
windows, as it will smear)
Note: If your car has a leather interior,
you should be aware that you can use
leather cleaner on vinyl, but not vinyl
cleaner on leather.
Keeping your interior clean
• Make it easy to purge: Keep a trash
bag in your car.
• Organize items in containers in the
• Wipe up spills immediately to avoid
• Clean your car every two weeks to
keep the finish bright and looking