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Vendor 7 Ways to Make Sure Your Eco Wash Doesn’t Scratch Your Paint

How do you usually wash your Tesla?

  • Eco-Wash it Myself

    Votes: 2 25.0%
  • Hand Wash Myself

    Votes: 3 37.5%
  • Take It to Automatic Car Wash

    Votes: 1 12.5%
  • Take It to a Hand Car Wash

    Votes: 2 25.0%
  • Take it to a Detail Shop for Premium Wash Service

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters

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Former Vendor
Feb 17, 2015
Santa Clarita, CA
7 Ways to Make Sure Your Eco Wash Doesn’t Scratch Your Paint


Eco-wash products (AKA waterless or rinseless washes) can be an amazing way to take care of your car. We use an eco-wash product in our shop on a daily basis and have found that, when used properly, our eco-washes are actually causing far less swirling than a standard (still extremely careful) wash using soap and water. Now we swear by them. They are an easy way to clean your car at events, car shows, in your garage when it’s too hot or cold to wash, or just to be friendlier to the environment. They have revolutionized the way we recommend our customers care for their vehicles between details. However, the process is not fool proof, and there are multiple factors that could be causing swirls and scratches during the process.

  1. Level of protection on the car prior to washing
    1. This may be easy to overlook, but an important factor is the amount of protection on the car before washing. You are going to want a good barrier between the car and the product. Consider how much of a barrier there is between the grime and the paint, and how recently the car has been protected with waxes, sealers, coatings, paint armor.
  2. Level of dirtiness
    1. Eco-washes are not designed for heavily soiled vehicles, although they still surprise us with what they are able to handle. Eco-washes are great for the small layer of road dust that builds up in a week (or less). We don’t recommend these products if the car hasn’t been washed in over a week, or if there is a heavy film of dirt on the vehicle – in that case, a standard wash will be better able to safely clean (alternatively, you can use the eco product after pre-rinsing with water to loosen grime. Those concerned about water usage can visit a self wash facility where they reclaim the water instead of allowing it to go down the drain).
  3. Product Choice
    1. There are many waterless/rinseless/eco-wash products on the market, but they are not all created equal. Make sure your product contains both emulsifiers and polymers. It’s not about how much the product costs but about the effectiveness of the ingredients. We use and love Shine Supply’s Eco Shine, which is loaded with emulsifiers and polymers. Once you find a product that you love, the system works beautifully to prevent any damage during washes.
      1. Emulsifiers act as a wetting agent and lubricant, surrounding and thoroughly seeping into particles of dirt, breaking them down and creating a protective barrier between the particles and vehicle’s paint during the removal process so they can be lifted off into the towel. Emulsifiers keep your paint protected during the waterless wash, so this ingredient is very important. We are now getting fewer swirls than even our extremely careful hand washes. We credit a heavy dose of emulsifiers for protecting the paint so well.
      2. Once the dirt particles are safely surrounded, polymers act to attract, absorb, and lock away particles of dirt into the product so that it can be deposited into the towel. Polymers are the cleaning part of the product.
  4. Proper Dilution
    1. Beware of overly diluting the product. The lubricants need to be able to surround dirt particles safely, so over dilution will make the product really unsafe and could cause swirling.
  5. Proper Saturation
    1. Make sure you are using a very generous amount of the (diluted) product. A regular spray bottle isn’t going to give you enough coating. We like to pre-rinse (if possible), spray the vehicle with a pump sprayer, then use a two bucket system with grit guard.
  6. Wash Method
    1. Following the steps below will ensure a safe and effective wash.
  7. Towel choice
    1. Make sure you are using a high quality microfiber to make sure the dirt is properly pulled away from the paint into the towel. We are addicted to microfiber madness towels which are incredibly soft, absorbent, tagless, edgeless, and thick enough (800 g/m2) to safely pull the dirt away from the paint. Caring for your towels properly will keep them soft and help them last a very long time. We wash in cold water on the delicate cycle and dry at low heat with a microfiber wash product called Micro-Clean which keeps our towels really nice at least twice as long.


Eco-wash Step by Step Tutorial:

  1. Gather your materials. You will need:

  • Bucket with 3 gallons of water plus the concentrated product (for Eco Shine, you would use 3 oz of product)
  • Bucket with grit guard filled with 3 gallons of water (for rinsing)
  • Bucket for wringing out towel
  • And either:
    • 32 oz bottle plus concentrated product (with Eco Shine we use 1 oz of product, a little more concentrated so you will have more lubricant)
    • Or a pump sprayer with concentrated product (we use 1 oz per gallon)
  • High quality microfiber towels for washing
  • High quality microfiber towels for drying

  1. In the first bucket, place the diluted product and add clean microfiber towels.
  2. In the second, add only water and the grit guard, for rinsing.
  3. Pre-rinse the vehicle if needed
  4. Spray down the first panel with the spray bottle or pump sprayer, generously coating the entire panel. Start with the cleanest and highest parts of your car and work your way down as you go.
  5. Remove a heavily soaked towel, and then barely wring it out.
  6. Wipe one panel at a time, top to bottom. Use only one pass over each section and a very light touch (almost no pressure, let the product do the work). Make sure to flip your towel over often or to use multiple towels to use a clean section each time you touch the car.
  7. Once you have wiped the panel, wring the microfiber out over the empty 3rd bucket to eject the dirt from the towel before cleaning in the water bucket.
  8. Clean the towel in the clean water bucket rustling it against the grit guard to remove particles.
  9. If you will be re-using the towel, dunk it back in the bucket containing solution (or set it aside for washing, and grab a fresh towel out of the bucket.
  10. Repeat the process, one panel at a time, until the entire car has been wiped.
  11. Use a clean, dry towel for drying the car.
As a side note, you will not need to worry about these products causing yellowing in paint armor/clear bra material. Yellowing happens depending on the type of film and is not dependent on the product used to clean it. The top brands of film do not yellow (and if they did, they carry long term warrantees to cover that).
*** We use Eco Shine, made in the USA by Shine Supply, which has blown every other eco-wash we have used out of the water because of how well it works without any swirling or scratching. We hated other waterless wash products we used, but now we are eco-washing all the time in our shop. We sell this product as well and can barely keep it in stock; everyone who buys it loves it. It smells great too.

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