If my post is the first time you have been exposed to the idea of waterless and rinseless wash products you may be a little skeptical.  That’s certainly ok because I know I was.  However, I have been using these alternative wash products over the past two years and have come to appreciate their attributes enough to stock these products for daily operational use.   In fact I am so impressed that I believe under the right circumstances, waterless and rinseless washing can be safer than a traditional wash (hose, mitt, & buckets).   Safer means that I believe there is less chance of inflicting marring in the paint while cleaning the exterior of a given vehicle.

If you are a car guy or gal, chances are, you have used a form of a ‘rinseless’ wash at some point.  Most likely, that form of cleaning was performed using a ‘quick detailer’ or a quick detail type spray product.

Dellingers Detailing Rinseless Waterless WashingQuick Detail products were introduced as early as the 1980’s and since then, have gained significant popularity among automotive enthusiasts due to their quick and easy removal of light dust and finger smudges on painted surfaces.   While Quick Detail products have evolved since then, their intended use remains largely the same for the average consumer- a very light cleaner used to maintain a freshly detailed look in between washes.

In recent years, alternative products have been introduced by the automotive detailing marketplace and these are known as ‘waterless’ and ‘rinseless’ washes.  These new maintenance products fill the void that Quick Detail products cannot, that is- safe and effective cleaning equal to that of a traditional hand wash.

Dellinger Detailing Rinseless washWaterless and rinseless washing allows the end user to safely wash their vehicle without dragging around a water hose and buckets.  These products only differ from traditional wash products in their application.

Waterless wash products are typically purchased as a ready-to-use solution.  You simply spray the panel with solution, wipe away grime, and use a dry microfiber towel to remove any residual product.

Rinseless wash products are diluted with water in a bucket.  Common dilution ratios are 1oz to 1 gallon of water.  Several microfiber towels are soaked in the solution and then used to clean the exterior of the vehicle.  Neither product, waterless or rinseless, requires rinsing after application.

Some people find washing their car or truck therapeutic, others not so much.  Either way, I am sure both camps will agree that these alternative wash products will save them time, energy, and resources.

Speaking of resources, water use laws in states such as California are becoming more restrictive due to the frequency of drought conditions.  California is typically a policy bellwether for the west coast of the U.S. and it would be reasonable to expect similar regulations impacting Oregon and Washington households in the near future.   Less than two gallons of water is required for rinseless wash products per vehicle and even less for waterless washes.  These impressive metrics allow car owners and detailers a great option when cleaning vehicles in water restricted areas.

If your household is supplied with well water, and is not subject to water use restrictions from a municipality or state, you may have water quality issues such as hard water that can lead to water spotting on glass and paint.  Water treatment such as a water softener helps but it cannot remove all dissolved solids in well water.  Waterless or rinseless washing could be a great option in this scenario.  Simply purchase 1- 2 gallons of distilled water at a grocery store and mix with your rinseless wash for perfect, spot free results!

Winter weather also makes washing your vehicle more of chore.  Who wants to go out in the cold, rainy, and stormy weather to wash their car only to see it dirty the next day?  Uh…  no one!  Why not mix up some rinseless wash or grab the waterless and perform your exterior maintenance from the comfort of your enclosed garage!

I am not implying you should stop using traditional wash methods altogether.  (More information on a safe, traditional wash process.)  Both traditional and alternative wash products and processes are still relevant and necessary.  You may own a Chevrolet Silverado that you take hunting during the fall.  When returning from the trip the truck will likely have accumulated mud and debris.  In this scenario, a traditional wash method is best for the removal of large amounts of debris. On the flip side, it may be summer and most of the grime that has accumulated on the truck is general soiling of dirt, pollen, and bugs.  Pressure rinse first is optional but not necessary as the waterless or rinseless solutions will handle the job effectively.

More important than the scenario of when to utilize an alternative wash method is the way it is employed.

RINSELESS PROCESS

  1. Dellingers Detailing Rinseless Waterless WashingMix your rinseless wash solution into a bucket according to the manufacturer’s directions on the back of the container.  (Use distilled water instead of tap if you have water quality issues.)
  2. Fill a quart spray bottle with the same solution.
  3. Start at the top of vehicle and work down.
  4. Pre spray the area to be washed with your bottle, then take one towel out of the solution bucket and wipe in a straight line.  There will usually be a ‘line of dirt’ along the towel.
  5. Dellingers Detailing Rinseless Waterless WashingYou then fold the towel so that a non-used portion is used on the next area.   Keep folding the towel, as necessary, until most portions of the towel are soiled.
  6. Place soiled towel in second 5 gallon bucket and grab a fresh microfiber towel out of the bucket containing your rinseless solution.   Dry as necessary with a clean, dry microfiber towel.  If any product streaking occurs because of product prematurely drying on the surface reapply the rinseless solution and towel dry.
  7. Continue process until all surfaces are clean always starting at the top of the vehicle and working down.  If you encounter areas with heavy dirt accumulation, pre-spray with solution in bottle and allow surfactants to work for 30 seconds.  Two applications may be needed.

WATERLESS PROCESS

  1. Mix your waterless wash solution into a bucket according to the manufacturer’s directions on the back of the container.  If the waterless product is purchased in a ready-to-use form then you can proceed. (Use distilled water instead of tap if you have water quality issues.) Dellingers Detailing Rinseless Waterless Washing
  2. Fill a quart spray bottle with the same solution.
  3. Start at the top of vehicle and work down.
  4. Pre spray the area to be washed with your bottle and let dwell for up to 30 seconds.  Heavy soiling may require additional dwell time or additional treatment.  Pre-spray towel with waterless product and wipe in a straight line.  There will usually be a ‘line of dirt’ along the towel.  You then fold the towel so that a non-used portion is utilized on the next area.   Keep folding the towel, as necessary, until most portions are soiled.  Place contaminated towel in 5 gallon bucket and grab a fresh microfiber towel, pre-spraying the waterless product again onto towel.   Dry as necessary with a clean, dry microfiber towel or chamois.  If any product streaking occurs because of product prematurely drying on the surface, reapply waterless solution and wipe dry.Dellingers Detailing Rinseless Waterless Washing
  5. Waterless and rinseless wash products are perfectly safe for paint, glass, trim, interior plastics, and components.  These products also work well on wheels but heavy break dust accumulation will usually require a dedicated wheel cleaner.  Tires will also require a dedicated chemical to clean.
  6. Finally, there are many manufacturers of rinseless and waterless wash products including some that come in an aerosol can.  I do not recommend any cleaner in an aerosol can because they typically contain some type of silicone.  Two of the products that I use with great success are Optimum No-Rinse and Meguiar’s Rinse Free Express Wash.

I hope you have enjoyed my post on the alternative ways to keep your ride looking great.  If you adopt any of the processes I have described above I would love to hear your thoughts, please comment below!