Are Waterless Washes Worth-It?

Are Waterless Washes Worth-It?

All waterless car wash products promise the same thing: get a showroom quality finish without using a drop of water, and without damaging your vehicle’s paint. What’s that saying about something that’s too good to be true?

Here is a breakdown of the main metrics we would use to evaluate the successfulness of a car washing product: the quality of real-world results, how it affects your paint, labour required to use it, how much it costs, and the waste it creates. Let’s get started.

Quality of Real-World Results

Waterless car washes use a mixture of cleaning chemicals and surfactants to lift dirt without requiring any rinse. This actually works quite well for cleaning a small area, like a spot clean, but cleaning your entire vehicle with this method would leave you with a pile of dirty towels and a sore arm.

Imagine taking a dry towel and wiping it across the surface of your vehicle. As that towel collects dirt, it quickly turns into sandpaper and scours your finish, creating scratches and swirl marks. This is what happens when you use waterless car washes.

Paint Damage

This is the major problems with waterless car washing products. Imagine taking a dry towel and wiping it across the surface of your vehicle. As that towel collects dirt, it quickly turns into sandpaper and scours your finish, creating scratches and swirl marks. This is what happens when you use waterless car washes.

You can get around this by using a TON of the waterless product, and a new towel for every little section of your car. The two problems we see with this are: 1 – that wastes a lot of product ($$$), and 2 – no one has that many towels.

Labour

A typical waterless car wash will take twice as long as doing it the old fashioned way (don’t take our word for it, read here!). If you are trying to do it with minimal damage to your paint, it can take even longer. Factor in the time required to clean the ten-thousand micro fibre cloths you used, and it’s no comparison.

Expense

Washing your car at home, or even a professional job like a Quick Wash at CJ’s Autobling, are more cost effective options. Those bottles of “waterless car washes” are surprisingly expensive, and you will need almost the whole thing to do a decent job.

Waste

We really pay attention to this one, because it’s important to our industry. We know that by choosing environmentally friendly products and making sure out processes are water-efficient, we can substantially reduce our impact on the environment.

The chemicals from a bottle of waterless car wash goes right down the drain, and washing all the micro fibre cloths you dirtied doing the job will probably fill up your washing machine. A professional car wash will use far less water than you’d expect (two buckets full, and enough for a rinse) and leave you with a stunning result and healthy paint.

The Conclusion

We’ve been in this business for a long time, and know a fad when we see one. A solid car wash undertaken with care, appropriate gear, and high quality products are the tried and true way, and we’d never recommend anything else. If you have any questions about proper car washing protocol, check out this post we did a while back, or just get in touch.