Waterless car wash, also known as dry or spray car wash, sounds like a contradiction. When I first heard about waterless car wash products I wondered how it could be a worthwhile option.
After learning more I can confidently say that there are definitely limitations but there are also definitely benefits to using a waterless car wash.
In this article we’ll explain exactly what is a waterless car wash. We’ll also cover when it is best to use a waterless car wash instead of a traditional car wash with a hose or pressure washer that soaks your vehicle.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Waterless Car Wash
No water required
Easy to touch up dirty areas
Leaves behind a protective coating
Not effective on very dirty vehicles
Can take longer than a normal car wash
What Is Waterless Car Wash?
The short answer is it’s a liquid in a spray bottle that is sprayed on and wiped off leaving the area sprayed clean. It’s basically the same as how you would clean windows with a window cleaning spray.
To make this possible the spray liquid needs to be highly lubricated to significantly reduce the opportunity for damaging the finish.
No matter how you wash your car you want to do your best to avoid causing scratches or swirl marks in the clear coat of your finish. Grit on the surface of your car or truck can easily cause these light scratches when wiping across the surface.
When washing your car normally we highly recommend the touchless or 2 bucket method to prevent scratching your vehicle. By using a spray that is extremely slippery it helps prevent road grime from causing scratches.
When wiping away you should be using a high quality microfiber cloth or towel to further reduce the opportunity for grit to scratch your paint.
Advantages Of A Waterless Car Wash
One advantage for some is the ability to wash your car in locations where you don’t have easy access to a water hose or pressure washer. It can also be a little less involved to perform since you can just grab a spray bottle and microfiber towel and begin cleaning. Ideally you’d have a bucket of water to rinse your microfiber towel. If your towel is large enough (and your car is small enough) or you have a stack of several smaller rags you could possibly do without the bucket of water.
Conservation Of Water
It this day and age conserving water isn’t always just a good idea, it may be the law. Different parts of the country will occasionally suffer from drought conditions. When this happens it’s not surprising that it can be illegal to wash your car at home with city water. It’s not uncommon for the average car wash to use more than 100 gallons of water. A waterless car wash can allow you to keep your ride looking tip top without having to take it to a drive through car wash.
Disadvantages Of A Waterless Car Wash
Not Good For Very Dirty Cars And Trucks
Waterless car washes aren’t meant to clean very dirty cars. They are more ideal as a way to clean your car when it has gotten a little dirty and needs a bit of freshening up. Heavily dirty cars and trucks would require a significantly higher amount of spray cleaner to work effectively. Also you’ll need to either more frequently clean your microfiber drying towel in a bucket of water or have many more towels available so you don’t need to wash them.
Can Take Longer Than A Traditional Car Wash
Normal car washes require more steps than the simple spray on and wipe off of the waterless method but these can all be performed very quickly. Normal washes begin with a rinse that can remove quite a bit of dirt. They then soak a car with shampoo and allow the shampoo itself to break down road grime and is then quickly removed with a wash mitt. Washing with a spray by hand requires you to work on smaller sections one at a time as you work your way around the entire car. The waterless method doesn’t need to have a separate drying step however drying a conventional car wash can go quite quickly with a good quality large microfiber towel.
How To Use Waterless Car Wash Spray
While use of a waterless car wash spray may sound relatively straight forward, we can provide some valuable tips:
- Don’t attempt to wash very dirty vehicles. Thick, dried-on mud isn’t practical to clean with a spray bottle solution.
- Use quality microfiber towels for wiping away the dirt and spray cleaner to better protect your vehicle from scratches.
- Rotate your microfiber towels to a clean section, switch to an fresh towel, or clean your towel frequently to better protect your finish from scratches.
- Wipe away dirt and waterless cleaner in straight lines as you might with a paper towel when wiping up a spill. Circular motions can cause swirls in your clear coat.
- Use light pressure when wiping to reduce the possibility of causing scratches.
Best Waterless Car Wash
There are plenty of waterless car washes on the market and many are very good. When it comes to the best we’ve found that Wolfgang Concourse Series Uber Rinseless Wash is the best on the market. There are 2 primary reasons that we feel this the best waterless car wash.
Wolfgang Uber Rinseless Wash appears to have the best lubrication quality of all the waterless car wash products on the market. Good lubrication is what is required to properly protect your finish from scratching.
You don’t want to have your waterless wash dry before you have the opportunity to be wiped away. It can make it hard to clean away dirt and debris if the waterless wash dries before you have a chance to wipe it off. The longer it takes to dry the more time you’ll have to work on the area you’ve sprayed.
Waterless car wash spray is a great solution for helping to keep your car clean between regular traditional washes. It is great for cleaning a car or truck that isn’t too filthy. If your car is very dirty you will find a waterless car wash to be difficult.
A traditional car wash will be far more effective. “Dry” car washes are great for conserving water and can be great when a hose or power washer aren’t practical or available. They tend to take longer than using water and suds however.
While there are plenty of great waterless spray car washes we recommend the extremely high quality German Wolfgang Concourse Series Uber Rinseless Wash.
Be sure and have several good quality microfiber rags on hand or a good large microfiber towel. Microfiber will increase the level of protection against scratches and will absorb more waterless wash and dirt than any other fabric material.
Good luck and happy detailing.