How To Wash Your Car Without Water – Waterless Car Wash

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Sometimes, when your car isn’t very dirty and you don’t have enough free time to detail it, you can wash it without water. That’s all thanks to waterless car wash products. In this post, I’ll show you the way I clean my car without water so that you can do it as well.

Key Takeaways:

  • To wash a car without water, you’ll need a waterless wash shampoo.
  • Only cars that aren’t very dirty should be cleaned with waterless shampoos.
  • Washing a car without water is great to give it a quick cleanup after dirty rain.
  • Waterless wash shampoos are great if there are water restrictions in your state.
  • Standard car wash is still a much better solution for the majority of people.

5 Steps To Wash a Car Without Water

If you want to wash your car without water, here I will explain precisely what you will need and how to do all the steps to make your car spotless again.

What you’ll need:

1. Assess The Condition of The Car’s Paint

Not every car is suitable for a waterless car wash. If your car is very dirty and full of contaminants such as bird droppings, bugs, mud, and similar, you shouldn’t use this method.

Waterless car washes are only suitable for cars with minor, everyday dust or dirty spots after rains and in similar situations.

So, inspect your car, and if it’s not very dirty, it’s ready for washing without water.

Personally, I only choose this method if my car is already clean but some dust has accumulated on it, and I have something important to attend to. I want my car to shine as it has just been washed.

2. Clean One Car Panel at a Time

Use a waterless car wash spray and mist one car panel. It’s essential to do only one panel at a time. That way, you’ll ensure that the product won’t dry on the paint.

You don’t need to use too much of a product, but don’t skimp. Otherwise, there won’t be enough lubrication on the paint, meaning that you’ll make a lot of swirl marks and scratches on the car’s paint.

3. Wipe The Panel With Microfiber Towel

After spraying one car panel, take a clean microfiber towel and fold it into fours. What I like to do is spray a bit of a product onto the microfiber towel and then gently wipe off that section to remove all the dirt, dust, and grime from the vehicle.

Then, take a 2nd towel (also folded into fours) and wipe the panel to dry it completely. After drying the panel, take 3rd microfiber rag and gently buff the panel to make it shiny.

4. Repeat The Process On Other Car Panels

When you’re finished with one car panel, you can do the rest by repeating the same steps. I tried doing more panels at a time, and trust me, it’s not a good thing to do. You’ll screw something up.

When I tried to do it, the waterless wash spray dried on the car’s paint, and I had to go and wash it with a pressure washer.

Another important thing that I want to mention is that you’ll need anywhere between 5-10 clean microfiber towels, depending on the size of your vehicle. If it’s some large truck or SUV, prepare ten microfiber cloths. I highly suggest using a new towel after every two sections of your vehicle.

On average, you will need 3-6 microfiber towels for wiping off the dirt, 2-3 microfiber towels for drying the car, and 1-2 microfiber cloths for buffing the paint.

5. Clean The Wheels and Exhausts

When doing a typical car wash, we always clean the wheels first. But when it comes to washing a car with waterless shampoos, you should clean the wheels and exhausts last.

The reason why you want to wash wheels last is because you can use microfiber towels that you just used on the paint.

That way, you’ll reduce the amount of microfiber towels you need per wash. Just make sure to wash them properly after using.

What’s The Best Waterless Car Wash Product?

I have tried a few different waterless car shampoos, and Meguiar’s Ultimate Waterless Wash and Wax was the only one that I was extremely happy with. The reason for that is that it provided my car with so much lubrication that the chances of scratching the paint were lowered close to zero.

Meguiar's Ultimate Waterless Wash & Wax - Scratch-Free Waterless Car Wash That Makes Car Detailing...
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When it comes to price, it’s probably the cheapest waterless car wash product you can buy, so it’s budget-friendly as well.

However, the thing I like the most is that it also contains waxes. These waxes add extra lubrication but also make your car paint shinier and hydrophobic.

Should You Clean Cars Without Water?

Well, now we come to the part which you should pay attention to. The waterless car wash method is great, but it’s not a good option for everyone.

Here are a few drawbacks of waterless car wash products:

  • They shouldn’t be used on extremely dirty cars, especially if they’re full of mud or dried dirt.
  • You’re always carrying some risk of scratching the paint.
  • You won’t be able to get the same results as with a regular car wash.
  • Waterless car wash products are more expensive and will cost you more than a typical car wash, especially when compared to cheap car washing.
  • Cleaning wheels is complicated because waterless car wash sprays don’t have enough power to clean brake dust.

You should use the waterless car wash method if:

  • You regularly wash your car, and it never gets too dirty.
  • If you have only light dust on your vehicle.
  • If you want to clean your car after the rain.

I would never use waterless car wash products after a long trip if the car is full of tar, bugs, mud, or a neglected car. Nothing can replace a good old pressure washer, buckets, car shampoo, and a wash mitt.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you wash your car without water?

Washing your car without water is completely doable by using waterless car wash products. However, you will never achieve as great results as if you were washing your car the traditional way.

Is waterless wash any good?

A Waterless wash is good, but only if your vehicle isn’t filthy and if you regularly clean it. By regularly, I mean at least once every two weeks.

Do waterless wash products scratch the car?

Waterless wash products contain a lot of lubricants that will prevent scratching the car. However, if your car is filthy and you don’t follow the proper guidelines, you will probably cause some swirl marks and scratches on your vehicle.

Can you use a waterless wash on car windows and other glass surfaces?

Waterless car wash products are completely safe and can be used on all glass surfaces, including windows. They’re all-in-one products and are safe to use on any exterior car part.

Bottom Line

All in all, washing your car without water is doable, but you need to be conscious of when and how it should be used. While waterless car wash products are great, so far, they can only clean slightly dirty vehicles.

For all other situations, I’d rather wash the car in an old-fashioned way.

Of course, if the government declared water restrictions in your area, you don’t have any other option than cleaning your car by using waterless car wash products – and that’s their biggest advantage.

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