Whether you’re dealing with an HOA or the harsh weather, sometimes you need to find a way to clean your car without a source of free-flowing water. Obviously, letting your car accumulate dirt and dust is just not an option, so what are you to do? This situation is exactly what a waterless wash is designed for! A waterless wash is a high lubricity, pre-mixed spray detailer that can be used to clean light levels of dirt and road grime, right from the comfort of your garage. This method won’t replace a traditional wash, but it is perfect for in between washes or when the temperatures are just too cold to break out the hose.
How does it work?
Many of you reading this may now be wondering how something like this can work and still be safe for the paint. Waterless washes contain a heavy amount of lubricants along with some cleaning agents to safely remove anything from the surface. A waterless wash is designed to be used heavy, or wet, to saturate the panel and emulsify any contamination. With that being said, there is a fair amount of common sense that needs to be used when working with a waterless wash. The towel and technique used in this method play just as big of a part as the product you’re using.
How To Use It:
Let’s walk through this procedure using one of my personal favorites for a waterless wash, Wolfgang SiO2 Waterless Wash. This product, just as the name implies, is more than just a waterless wash. The formulation is infused with an SiO2 additive to leave a layer of protection in its wake. Not only does this boost your gloss and add an additional layer of protection, it also provides an extremely slick surface that helps prevent future contamination from sticking.
To start, you’ll want to have plenty of deep nap microfiber towels. To ensure each pass you take with the towel is a safe pass, you’ll want to use a clean towel. I always use 16” x 16” towels folded into a square to give you 8 usable sides before switching to a fresh towel.
Working one panel at a time, spray an ample amount of product onto the surface. Give the product a few moments to break down the contamination. You only want to wait around 15-20 seconds max and not allow the product to start to dry. Since the product we’re using here contains SiO2, too long of a dwell time can create streaks. If you feel like you’ve waited a bit too long, give it another quick spray of product to bring it back.
Now for the wiping technique. You’ll want to wipe working in straight lines using virtually no pressure. If you start to push into the towel, you’ll be pushing into the dirt stuck between your towel and the paint, that will ultimately leave your paint with scratches. The idea behind this method is to pull anything into the plush nap of the towel and let the lubricants glide the rest safely until it is collected into another portion of the towel. As you wipe you want to slowly pull up from the front side of the towel where you’re gripping it. This “rolling” technique allows you to capture more dirt along the entire face of the towel as opposed to it collecting all in the front. Keep in mind that the more clean surface area of the towel that you can use, the safer your paint will be.
Once you’ve cleaned off all the dirt and road grime you can flip the towel to a clean side, or grab a fresh towel, and buff away any excess product. From here simply repeat around the vehicle keeping these key technique points in mind.
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