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Has the water tap dried up? Water-less washing - fact or fiction?

Has the water tap dried up? Water-less washing - fact or fiction?

We've been getting inundated with messages about the recent Auckland water shortages; but we thought it might be time to explain waterless and rinseless washing for you - no matter where you are in the country.

But is waterless going to scratch my car? Will it strip my wax? Does it really clean properly? How do you do it properly? Can I wash my car anywhere?

Let's get into it...

What Is A Waterless Wash? What Is A Rinseless Wash?

Theres two main types of 'waterless' wash methods; and really we're talking about methods of washing your car without a traditional hose or water blaster setup - waterless and rinseless washing. Each has a few advantages and disadvantages.

A Waterless Wash involves spraying a special waterless wash product onto the surface of your vehicle and using microfibres to clean it. A good waterless wash contains lubricants and surfectants to safely remove dirt from your vehicle without scratching. You can use a waterless wash anywhere without any need for additional tools or water access. When done correctly it is perfectly safe - but we often see waterless washing done wrong! Here's a few key things:

  • You must use clean microfibres; folding the microfibre for each 'wipe' so that you do not touch the car with the same dirty surface twice. This does mean you will use lots of cloths; maybe between 10-20 per wash.
  • You should spray and pre-soak the panel for a minute or two before wiping to allow time for the dirt to start to loosen up.
  • Do not just buff all over the panel without a tidy process and technique of how you are doing things. Spraying and buffing willy nilly could cause swirls. Not clear? See the video at the end of this email...
  • Use clean plush towels and clean them thoroughly when you are done.

A Rinseless Wash involves using a highly lubricated wash product that you put into a two-bucket method wash like you may already be used to doing. The big difference is that you don't hose or rinse the car at all! You simply mix the rinseless wash product; pre-soak the panels; mitt them down gently with the rinseless wash; then dry the panel off to reveal a clean, high shine surface! No; this will not cause swirls - but yes you need to do it the right way. A few key things:

  • Easy to 'get used to' as you use the same two bucket method we all know and love.
  • You can use the same drying towels you have on hand and you avoid the high amount of microfibre use that waterless washing requires.
  • You do still need water for the buckets so unfortunately a rinseless wash isn't as drought safe as waterless washing is.

Frequently Asked  Questions

Is waterless wash different from quick detailer?

Yes; a waterless wash and a quick detailer are different. Waterless washes are more focused on lubrication and safe dirt removal; whereas quick detailers often have more gloss enhancers but less lubricants.

Will a waterless or rinseless wash scratch my car?

Not when done right. We have used a range of waterless and rinseless products over the last 5-6 years and have not experienced swirling results when done correctly. If you're unsure on the right process you need to watch our video below.

Should I use a waterless or rinseless product?

Waterless wash is more drought safe and requires less tools and setup; but requires lots of microfibres. Rinseless wash you still need water for the buckets but you use less towels. It really comes down to your situation and preference.

Is waterless and rinseless safe for waxes and coatings?

Yes definitely. All the waterless and rinseless products we sell are pH neutral. The rinseless wash that we recommend has a light carnauba wax content and actually enhances shine and protection.

Watch Us Demonstrate

You may have seen our Live Detailing Clinics we recently held online in lockdown. One of these was a rinseless and waterless wash demo. It's a bit of a long video but highly recommended to help you understand the process - and you can probably skip through a bit as Sam does tend to talk a lot 😉

Click To Watch On YouTube

Click To Watch On Facebook

What Do I Need?

View Optimum Opti-Clean Waterless Wash

View Optimum No Rinse Wash & Wax Rinseless Wash

View Chemical Guys EcoSmart Waterless Wash

"Smells fantastic, lubricates and encapsulates dirt, multiple uses not just washing (clay lube, quick detailed, interior detailed) the dilution ratio of 256:1 means little goes along way. It makes washing more fun and less messy with water all over the driveway whilst washing. Leaves behind a nice shinny finish. Will only be using normal car soap few times A year for a deep clean. With ONR I can wash it more frequently with pump sprayer pre wash, then using Optimum Big Red Sponge and inside the garage with less fuss. Highly recommended product"

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Tommy N; Verified Buyer

If you need some guidance on the best product for you then please email us or send a request for personalised help.

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