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Detailing Car Wash Methods Examined: Waterless Washing

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The Waterless Car Wash Method is a fast and convenient way to clean your vehicle - Signature Detailing NJ

Admittedly, at Signature Detailing, in northern New Jersey, we perform mostly traditional car washes because our business specializes in paint correction, ceramic coatings, and paint protection film (aka PPF or clear bra).

We primarily use the traditional car wash method because New Jersey is subject to the full spectrum of seasonal weather. We have wet falls, cold and snowy winters, and wet springs. Therefore, year-round, a lot of contamination finds its way into many cracks & crevices and into the pores of vehicle paint systems.

Also, our focus is to clean all surfaces, as deeply as possible, to prepare for advanced auto detailing services. With our regional climate, the Waterless Wash Method is often not thorough enough.

However, that does not change the impact or significance that the waterless car wash method has had on auto detailing as a whole.

The waterless car wash method is generally great for:

  • New vehicles (1-3yrs) with a history of cleanliness
  • Maintenance of lightly driven or permanently garaged vehicles
  • Maintenance for most vehicles in late spring through dry summer
  • Vehicles living in kinder, less intensive climates
  • Regularly maintained vehicles which do not encounter heavy road contamination

For all the conditions above, waterless washing is a GIFT FROM THE DETAILING GODS!

These conditions may also make waterless washing a very viable option for the preparations of advanced vehicle services such as paint correction, ceramic coatings, and paint protection film (aka PPF or clear bra) within milder climates.

Bottom line, the waterless car wash method saves time, money, labor, and sweat equity.

Read ahead to learn about the many benefits of vehicle waterless washing for both professional auto detailers and car enthusiasts alike.

The Vehicle Waterless Wash Method Saves Tons of Time

The Waterless Car Wash Method saves a tremendous amount of time, opposed to the traditional soap and water car wash method for two distinct reasons:

  • it requires far less equipment to purchase and set up each wash session
  • the process of waterless washing includes fewer steps, with each step being very quick

Time Savings #1 for Waterless Wash vs. Traditional Car Wash: Equipment

A Traditional Car Wash (no wheels) requires the following items:

  1. Buckets (1-3 depending on method)
  2. Grit Guards (1-3 depending on method)
  3. Car Wash Shampoo (CarPro Reset)
  4. Wash Mitt (DI Hybrid) (1-2 depending on method)
  5. Drying Towels (The Gauntlet 20×30”) (1-2 depending on vehicle size)
  6. Running Water Access
  7. A Hose
  8. A Pressure Washer Setup (optional, yet optimal) (3-4 components)
  9. A Compressor or air blower (optional, yet optimal) of some type to force water out of cracks & crevices
  10. The Traditional Wash Method contains a minimum total of 9 components, up 16 items before you even get started.

Contrast that with what is required for a Waterless Wash.

A Waterless Car Wash (no wheels) requires the following items:

  1. 1 Spray Bottle (16-32oz) or Most Effective: Chemical Pump Sprayer (1-3 gallon)
  2. Waterless Wash Solution (CarPro EcH2o)
  3. Distilled Water (optimal – 16 to 32oz)
  4. Plush long Pile Microfiber Towels (Eagle Edgeless 600) Wash Mitt (4-6 depending on vehicle size)
  5. Drying Towel (The Gauntlet 20×30”) (1) (Most Efficient, yet optional. May use towels above)

The Waterless Wash Method contains a minimum total of 5 components, up to 16 items before you even get started.
All the additional components for the traditional car wash method require time to set up and put away.
However, the waterless wash method only requires a spray bottle full of diluted solution and your preferred selection of microfiber towels to start and finish.

Time Savings #2 for Waterless Wash vs. Traditional Car Wash: The Process

Examining the steps below will show how the process of a waterless wash, as opposed to a traditional wash, takes a mere fraction of the time

The Traditional Car Wash Processes:

  1. Pulling out and setting up of all equipment
  2. Vehicle rinse
  3. Vehicle foaming
  4. Vehicle Washing
  5. Soap Rinse
  6. Drying Step
  7. Air Purge of Water from cracks & crevices
  8. Tear down and storage of all equipment

Generally, a traditional car wash process can average anywhere from 45-60min. 35min for those particularly fast.

The Waterless Car Wash Processes:

  1. Grab a mixed waterless wash solution in a spray bottle or chemical sprayer (best) and towels
  2. Spray down the entire vehicle with the waterless wash solution
  3. Clean the panel with a long pile microfiber towel by removing all of the waterless wash solution in a methodical manner. Afterward, immediately dry the panel with another towel.
  4. Put away the bottle or sprayer and store all used and soiled towels into a dedicated hamper

Generally, a waterless car wash process can average anywhere from 10-15min. 10min, or even a bit less. for those particularly fast.

Therefore, overall, the entire waterless wash process, from start to finish, is 3-400% faster than the traditional wash process. This translates to a tremendous savings in labor and physical activity, which frees you up for anything else in life or business.

The Vehicle Waterless Wash Method Saves Tons of Money

Looking at the lists from the previous section about how the waterless car wash saves time, the equipment for waterless washing a vehicle can seem very low vs.. traditional car washing with soap and water.

Money Savings #1 for Waterless Wash vs. Traditional Car Wash: Equipment

Minimalistic traditional wash setups, which include modest pressure washers, can range as low as $200-250, up to $1000-2000, or even more if you want to get super fancy.

In contrast, most waterless wash setups can range from around $100 for a minimum amount of long pile microfiber towels (6-9), one drying towel, your spray bottle of choice (1–3-gallon chemical sprayers = most time and labor effective).

At the higher end, more premium waterless wash setups may cost $200-300. These feature soft towels and enough towels to wash 3-4 vehicles (20-30 towels and 3-4 drying towels, before having to wash the soiled towels.

Money Savings #2 for Waterless Wash vs. Traditional Car Wash: Time to Complete

For business, the time frame to finish a waterless car wash involves 25-33% of the effort of a traditional wash. This translates to:

  • Less overall labor
  • fewer employees needing to simultaneously work on the same vehicle
  • Less physical strain on employees, which translates to better quality of work overall

Overall, in almost every way the waterless car wash method saves individuals and businesses a large percentage of money vs.. the traditional car wash method.

Conclusion: The Many Benefits of the Waterless Car Wash Method

To summarize, the waterless wash method is a viable solution for:

  • New vehicles (1-3yrs) with a history of cleanliness
  • Maintenance of lightly driven or permanently garaged vehicles
  • Maintenance for most vehicles in late spring through dry summer
  • Vehicles living in kinder, less intensive climates
  • Regularly maintained vehicles which do not encounter heavy road contamination

Outside of this, the viability of the waterless wash method is dependent on the cleanliness of the vehicle and the intention for the washing. This is a judgment call for detailing professionals and vehicle enthusiasts alike.

A slight hybrid approach to this method involves quickly pressure washing the vehicle to remove loose contamination and then immediately waterless washing the vehicle. This may be particularly helpful in extreme hot or cold seasons.

Of course, the lack of pressurized water does not allow the waterless wash method to thoroughly clean all areas of a vehicle. Therefore, even in mild climates or in warmer seasons, a traditional wash may be necessary once each season for a thorough deep cleaning.

Overall, the waterless car wash method has been a game changer for many facets of the auto detailing industry and enthusiast car care. Consider using it and enjoy its many cost, time, and ease benefits with a smile.

Gregory Gellas
Signature Detailing NJ
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
SignatureDetailing.com
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1 comment on Detailing Car Wash Methods Examined: Waterless Washing

  1. JED POLAND says:

    FINALLY I’ve got to understand, what that “waterless wash” is all about!
    Thanks and greetings from Poland.

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