In these times of austerity, it’s also bedtime for my old Sierra – and about time I gave it a bath before hibernation.

But whereas I’d normally use well-known products in white bottles, I decided to try my luck in the discount shops of a typical British high street. Armed with a tenner and a sense of adventure, I braved the hordes of bargain hunters to see if it’s possible to clean a Cossie on the cheap.

Did I win? Well, see for yourself…


Astonish Tar & Insect Remover

Great for removing flies and traffic film, although I didn’t try it on tar. No different, in my experience, from expensive insect removers. Impressive stuff.


MyCycle No More Dirty Bike

Aimed at two-wheeled pavement parasites, this mild degreasant works way better than I expected. Okay, it’s no hardcore Hyperclean but it’s simple to use and ideal for grotty, hard-to-reach bits under the bonnet. I’ll always keep one on the shelves.


Wilko Jumbo Car Sponge

Yes, sponges are frowned on due to their tendency to trap dirt, but I’m not a pro detailer and I just don’t get on with wash mitts. At a quid for four you can chuck them away if they pick up grit, or simply build your very own SpongeBob SquarePants.


Astonish Crystal Clear Wash & Wax

Unimpressive, even for someone like me who’s never used his snow-foam lance. A gloopy shampoo, the recommended two-and-a-half caps-full made little impression on my bucket of warm water. Bigger bottles are better value.


Glow Protect & Shine

Said to contain carnauba wax, it’s hard to speculate what else is in the bottle. There’s no cutting ability, so it’s probably okay as an after-wash top-up for your daily driver.


Astonish Black Shine Restorer

A bit like Armor All Protectant but cheaper and, admittedly, not as good. This spray seems to sit on the surface rather than soak in, but it’s a quick, economical way to reinvigorate plastic trim. Great for the price.


Glow Tyre Shine

Much better than the aerosol tyre shine, Glow’s product is more like a plastic trim polish – which is probably pretty much what’s inside. This is cheap and easy enough to use every day, if you’re addicted to shiny tyres.


Car-Pride Tyre Shine

Silicone shine spray in a can. Not my cup of tea, and not a patch on aerosol foam tyre cleaners.


Astonish Glass Cleaner

What can we say? It’s a household-type glass cleaner, and it works a treat, albeit smearing if you use too much. Absolutely fine unless you need a specific glass polish.


Manto Stain Xapp!

A household carpet and upholstery mousse, it foams vigorously to clean stubborn carpet stains and mucky upholstery. Unbeatable at the price.


So there you have it, some good, some bad, some indifferent. But at least the Cossie has had its bedtime bath before being tucked away for the winter months…