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A Winter Waterless Wash Routine That Cleans AND Protects!

joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,099
955
Encino, CA
We had our first rain of the season that left dirt and water marks all over my Tesla. I thought I would share my winter waterless wash routine that both cleans and protects. I used almost no water and my hands did not get terribly cold as they would with a traditional wash. Here are some BEFORE and AFTER PICS:

Dirty Tesla:
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I first did a waterless wash using Jersey Devil by Xtreme Solutions. Jersey Devil is a ceramic-infused spray that can be used as a waterless wash, detail spray, or even as a stand alone spray sealant. It contains surfactants that clean really well and also leaves behind ceramic protection.
IMG_2673.jpg


After finishing the Jersey Devil Waterless Wash, I then applied Topper by Xtreme Solutions. This is a ceramic-infused topper that is designed to add extra gloss and slickness:
IMG_2676.jpg


I love both of these Xtreme Solutions products. They both smell great and are effective and fun to use. Topper is especially pleasing to use. As you wipe it, the microfiber towel feels like it is gliding effortlessly. The slickness produced is addictive.

Here are the AFTER pics:

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Happy (and healthy) holidays to all of you,
joebruin77
 

Osanusi

New Member
Nov 30, 2020
2
1
Virginia
Hey, thank you for this. Do you mind me asking, what was your washing technique? Spray the solution on the panel that’s dirty, then just wipe with one side of a microfiber cloth and then flip to buff off?

Guess what I’m asking is, is there any special technique to not scratch the paint from the dirt? And I’d assume you need to use a clean side for each new panel you wash.
 
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joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,099
955
Encino, CA
Hey, thank you for this. Do you mind me asking, what was your washing technique? Spray the solution on the panel that’s dirty, then just wipe with one side of a microfiber cloth and then flip to buff off?

Guess what I’m asking is, is there any special technique to not scratch the paint from the dirt? And I’d assume you need to use a clean side for each new panel you wash.

Thanks for your question.

IMO, these are the key techniques to doing an effective waterless wash that doesn't scratch the paint:

1) Only do a waterless wash on a car that is lightly to moderately dirty. If it is super dirty, skip the waterless wash altogether and opt for either a rinseless wash or a traditional 2-bucket wash.

2) Spray on a lot of waterless wash solution and let it dwell for 1-2 minutes before wiping it off. For the dirtier panels, it is a mistake to spray it on and immediately wipe it off. Let it dwell so that the solution can break down and incapsulate the dirt. This also means you want to do the waterless wash in the shade on paint that is cool. If you let the waterless wash solution dwell on hot paint in the sun, it will flash quickly and cause streaking.

3) Use high quality microfiber towels. Always use a clean side of the towel for each panel so that you never wipe dirt into the paint. Rather than flipping the same towel to do the final buff and dry, I recommend using a second dry towel. The reason is that the waterless wash solution will dampen the whole towel as you wipe with it. If you try to do the final wipe with the other side of the same towel, it will cause streaking. Better to use a separate dry towel for the final dry/buff.

BTW, these are my favoriate waterless wash towels. They are specifically designed for waterless washes. I like how they have two different colored sides. Makes it easier to keep track of which towel is your iniital wipe towel and which is the final dry/buff towel:

Cobra Shine & Buff Waterless Wash Towel, 6 Pack

And here are a couple helpful videos on waterless wash techniques:


 
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Aug 7, 2020
622
1,303
USA
Certainly there advantages to doing waterless/Rinseless washes and I used to do a lot but have stopped for several reasons:
1: Decided I didn’t want to be aerosolizing who knows what chemicals and breathing it, getting in my eyes.
2: Didn’t like the same chemicals on my garage floor and driveway. My wife hated the smells.
3. Had to use a ton of towels and decided I don’t like having the chemicals in my washer/dryer plus the micro plastics that get in to ground water.
4. No matter how careful and how many towels I still got swirls and marring
5. It takes about the same time as doing a traditional wash.

Now I do a traditional 2 bucket wash with 1 car wash mop because of my back problems and just use a electric leaf blower to dry. Then I use 1 or 2 cheap Costco MF towels to quick detail the water spots, door jambs and wheels then throw them away. Also admittedly not great for the environment. I’ve also come to accept a less than perfect finish, some swirls, etc. It’s also been liberating from having to buy/horde so many chemicals and towels to just needing a soap, glass cleaner, quick detailer, APC, and a spray and rinse sealant. I used to spend hundreds of dollars on products only to sell them or have them sit in my cabinets and expires.
 
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joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,099
955
Encino, CA
Certainly there advantages to doing waterless/Rinseless washes and I used to do a lot but have stopped for several reasons:
1: Decided I didn’t want to be aerosolizing who knows what chemicals and breathing it, getting in my eyes.
2: Didn’t like the same chemicals on my garage floor and driveway. My wife hated the smells.
3. Had to use a ton of towels and decided I don’t like having the chemicals in my washer/dryer plus the micro plastics that get in to ground water.
4. No matter how careful and how many towels I still got swirls and marring
5. It takes about the same time as doing a traditional wash.

Now I do a traditional 2 bucket wash with 1 car wash mop because of my back problems and just use a electric leaf blower to dry. Then I use 1 or 2 cheap Costco MF towels to quick detail the water spots, door jambs and wheels then throw them away. Also admittedly not great for the environment. I’ve also come to accept a less than perfect finish, some swirls, etc. It’s also been liberating from having to buy/horde so many chemicals and towels to just needing a soap, glass cleaner, quick detailer, APC, and a spray and rinse sealant. I used to spend hundreds of dollars on products only to sell them or have them sit in my cabinets and expires.

You bring up some really good points and concerns. There are numerous car cleaning options, each with their own sets of pros and cons. And there is no one way of cleaning a car that is the right way. Each person has their preferences.

One of the main reasons I shared this post is to show you can wash your car effectively in the winter using barely any water. A traditional 2 bucket car wash simply may not be an option on a very cold day. Plus the traditional wash can use between 70-110 gallons of water per wash. By comparison, a rinseless wash uses about 5-6 gallons per wash. And of course a waterless wash just uses the water found in the solution, which is maybe 0.20 gallons. Yes, you have to do a load of towels but if you have a high efficiency front loading washer, this will use between 7-11 gallons.

I like your idea of using a leaf blower to dry the car to cut down on the number of towels when doing a traditional wash. Another option is to dry the car using a drying aid such as Ammo Hydrate. Using this drying aid enables you to dry the entire car using a single damp microfiber towel.

As for microplastics, this is definitely a concern with microfiber towels. The problem is that there is no perfect solution. One might think to switch to cotton. But although cotton itself is more ecofriendly, it takes a ton of water to grow cotton and often growers use pesticides and other chemicals. Perhaps I need to look for organic cotton car towels. There are also devices on the market that reduce the amount of microplastics released when washing microfibers, such as the Guppyfriend and Cora Ball.
 
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MarsOrBust

Member
Sep 25, 2020
458
286
Kepler-22b
I have not used this product but in the waterless system I have used in the past the dirt scratches the paint as you wipe it with the solution like mild sand paper. Using water to remove dirt minimizes that. Not sure how this or any other solution addresses that.
 
Aug 7, 2020
622
1,303
USA
I have not used this product but in the waterless system I have used in the past the dirt scratches the paint as you wipe it with the solution like mild sand paper. Using water to remove dirt minimizes that. Not sure how this or any other solution addresses that.
If the car is very dirty then it should be rinsed off first. Then you might as well do a traditional soap wash but I suppose you could a Rinseless wash that skips the final rinsing step. Maybe if it’s too cold out you could rinse it off, move in to garage then do Rinseless wash inside.
 

joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,099
955
Encino, CA
I have not used this product but in the waterless system I have used in the past the dirt scratches the paint as you wipe it with the solution like mild sand paper. Using water to remove dirt minimizes that. Not sure how this or any other solution addresses that.

The rule of thumb I follow, which I learned from Phil Miranda of Miranda detailing, is that if your car has dirt or contaminants from the ground up (such as road grime, salt, or mud), then you do NOT want to use a waterless wash. You want to go with either a rinseless wash or a traditional wash. If your car was originally relatively clean and it got dirty from contaminants from the air, such as dust or pollen, then it is safe to use a waterless wash.

As long as 1) your car is lightly dirty from "airborne" contaminants, 2) you use a quality waterless wash product such as Jersey Devil or Mckees37 Waterless Wash On The Go, 3) you use multiple clean and soft microfiber towels, and 4) you use the correct technique, the chances of inducing scratches and swirls are very low.

If you need to do a rinseless wash because your car is dirty with "ground-up" contaminants, like UncertainTimes suggested, it is safest to rinse off the dirt with a hose first. You still save some water compared to a traditional wash because you do not have to rinse the car a second time. There is also another option which is to get a pressurized sprayer (I bought a 1 gallon Chapman Lawn and Garden Sprayer for $20 from Home Depot that works just fine), put some of the rinseless wash solution in it, and pretreat the dirtiest areas first. You can then proceed with your rinseless wash. Since you start at the top of the car anyway, by the time you get to the dirtiest areas, which are usually at the bottom, the solution sprayed on the pretreated areas dwelled there for several minutes. It encapsulated and emulsified most of the dirt, which you can then safely remove with your rinseless wash process.

Here is a very informative video from a detailing seminar given by Yvan Lacroix, formerly with Optimum Polymer Technologies, the makers of ONR. It is a long video but if you go to time mark 11:20 and watch the next couple of minutes, he discusses comparing washing using soap vs ONR. Among his many points, he talks about how most scratches during a wash are not induced during the washing process, but rather during the drying process. He makes a good argument that drying after a traditional soap wash has a higher chance of inducing scratches than drying after an ONR wash:

 
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Mutant

Member
Oct 20, 2020
43
52
Waterloo, ON
Plus the traditional wash can use between 70-110 gallons of water per wash. By comparison, a rinseless wash uses about 5-6 gallons per wash.

I think your estimates for water usage for traditional and rinseless washes are kinda of high. For traditional two bucket wash assuming you fill two 5 gal buckets for 10 gallons (i would probably only fill at 3 gal each) and have a really good pressure washer capable of 2 GPM, you would have to operate the pressure washer for 30 minutes continuous (for pre rinse and final rinse) to equate to 70 gallons used for traditional wash. This is a very long operating time assuming you are washing a small car like model 3. I typically complete full rinse around my vehicle using a pressure washer rated at 1.4 GPM in 10 min of operating time. So I would suggest that a traditional wash can be done using 34 gal (20 min at 1.4 GPM + 6 gal wash/rinse buckets) for a model 3.

For a rinseless wash using Big Red Sponge as the wash media, I typically consume 1 gallon of wash solution for something like a model 3. For a larger vehicle like a minivan, i will consume just under 2 gallons of wash solution. The key to an effective rinseless wash is to ensure the wash media is just barely dripping so that it can apply solution to break down the dirt while maintaining absorption to pick up most of the dirty solution in the same pass. This will minimize the amount of dirt you will see on your drying towels as well as the amount water run off from the vehicle when washing. This is very important when performing a rinseless wash in the garage in the winter in the great white north so you don't get a lot of ice build up.

Rinseless wash is my preferred winter wash method as it much safer than waterless wash and barely consumes more water. I will keep waterless wash in my vehicle for spot treatment only.
 
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joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,099
955
Encino, CA
I think your estimates for water usage for traditional and rinseless washes are kinda of high.

You bring up a good point, that using a pressure washer will save quite a bit of water. The estimate of 70-100 gallons of water is based on using a standard garden hose, not a pressure washer. Most garden hoses have a flow rate of 9-12 gallons per minute. So if you are going to do a traditional wash, it is better to use a pressure washer. But even at 34 gallons per wash, that still uses a lot more water than a rinseless wash. And it can really add up over the course of a year if you wash your car every 1-2 weeks.

I use a bit more total water on my rinseless washes because I like to use a two-bucket method, with ONR in each bucket and one bucket designated as my rinse bucket. I know ONR claims you do not need to have a separate rinse bucket. But I feel more comfortable with this method. And I also like to do a lot of pretreating using a lawn and garden sprayer before proceeding with the rinseless wash.
 
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TypeRx

Member
Jan 15, 2020
445
281
Orange County, CA
I am not a fan of waterless washes at all..purely born out of fear (not experience). I do love rinseless washes though. I understand that some are "afraid" of rinseless washes just like I am of waterless washes, and respect that. When in doubt, a good 'old fashioned traditional wash never hurts. Even better if you can foam/pre-treat the car with soapy solution first.

One point I wanted to made...rinseless products like ONR *supposedly* can be poured right into the lawn, which I have done in the past with no ill effect. So, not only are you saving water over a traditional wash, you can also reclaim some and water your shrubs rather than creating additional runoff.
 
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Mutant

Member
Oct 20, 2020
43
52
Waterloo, ON
You bring up a good point, that using a pressure washer will save quite a bit of water. The estimate of 70-100 gallons of water is based on using a standard garden hose, not a pressure washer. Most garden hoses have a flow rate of 9-12 gallons per minute. So if you are going to do a traditional wash, it is better to use a pressure washer. But even at 34 gallons per wash, that still uses a lot more water than a rinseless wash. And it can really add up over the course of a year if you wash your car every 1-2 weeks.

I use a bit more total water on my rinseless washes because I like to use a two-bucket method, with ONR in each bucket and one bucket designated as my rinse bucket. I know ONR claims you do not need to have a separate rinse bucket. But I feel more comfortable with this method. And I also like to do a lot of pretreating using a lawn and garden sprayer before proceeding with the rinseless wash.
I guess some people may still use just an open hose for washing a vehicle but it is so wasteful and will not provide as good a clean as the most basic pressure washer.

I pretty much exclusively do rinseless wash (with ONR) year round with just a pre-spray and pre-rinse of lower panels when needed. I use the battery powered Worx Hydroshot which is able to draw water from a standard bucket which I fill with warm water during the winter. The Hydroshot provides nominal 300 PSI at about 0.4 GPM which is enough to get the heavy dirt off the lower panels using less than 5 gallons. In the summer, I will use water from my rain collection barrel which I measured at 1ppm impurities thus eliminating potential for hard water spots.

If you are going to use the two bucket method with ONR then you need to follow Yvan's advice, one bucket for the left side of the car and one bucket for the right side of the car.:)

It's best just to use a grit guard in your ONR wash bucket. I personally use the Chemical Guys Cyclone dirt trap as it better traps the dirt and is lower profile (about 1/4 gal solution below surface instead of almost 1 gal below surface of Grit Guard). I typically keep the ONR solution in a bucket with gamma seal lid for multiple washes (10-20 depending on how dirty the vehicles were) and then replace when needed. I will store the BRS in the ONR solution and give it a good cleaning (using Optimum Power Clean) when I change the ONR solution. This way very little water is consumed per wash.
 
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joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,099
955
Encino, CA
I guess some people may still use just an open hose for washing a vehicle but it is so wasteful and will not provide as good a clean as the most basic pressure washer.

I pretty much exclusively do rinseless wash (with ONR) year round with just a pre-spray and pre-rinse of lower panels when needed. I use the battery powered Worx Hydroshot which is able to draw water from a standard bucket which I fill with warm water during the winter. The Hydroshot provides nominal 300 PSI at about 0.4 GPM which is enough to get the heavy dirt off the lower panels using less than 5 gallons. In the summer, I will use water from my rain collection barrel which I measured at 1ppm impurities thus eliminating potential for hard water spots.

If you are going to use the two bucket method with ONR then you need to follow Yvan's advice, one bucket for the left side of the car and one bucket for the right side of the car.:)

It's best just to use a grit guard in your ONR wash bucket. I personally use the Chemical Guys Cyclone dirt trap as it better traps the dirt and is lower profile (about 1/4 gal solution below surface instead of almost 1 gal below surface of Grit Guard). I typically keep the ONR solution in a bucket with gamma seal lid for multiple washes (10-20 depending on how dirty the vehicles were) and then replace when needed. I will store the BRS in the ONR solution and give it a good cleaning (using Optimum Power Clean) when I change the ONR solution. This way very little water is consumed per wash.

I have the same CG Cyclone dirt traps. I got one in red and one in black to make it easier to keep track of which bucket is my wash solution and which is my rinse. I heard that if you are going to do a two bucket method, it is important to add ONR to both buckets. Some people make the mistake of only using ONR in the wash bucket. But if you don't use it in the rinse bucket, you dilute the solution too much. I never heard of the idea of using one bucket for each side of the car. Why does Yvan recommend that?
 

Mutant

Member
Oct 20, 2020
43
52
Waterloo, ON
I have the same CG Cyclone dirt traps. I got one in red and one in black to make it easier to keep track of which bucket is my wash solution and which is my rinse. I heard that if you are going to do a two bucket method, it is important to add ONR to both buckets. Some people make the mistake of only using ONR in the wash bucket. But if you don't use it in the rinse bucket, you dilute the solution too much. I never heard of the idea of using one bucket for each side of the car. Why does Yvan recommend that?
Saves time so you don't need move the bucket from side. Yvan is an efficiency expert which he developed for his detailing shop in Quebec that he eventually turned into a franchise for a brief period before he started working with Optimum. During my Optimization (Optimum detailer) training with Yvan, he commonly joke about how he hadn't yet trained the wash bucket to follow his detailers around the cars.

When I first started replying to your post I was going to mention the need to put ONR solution in both buckets in order to avoid diluting the solution until I noticed your subtle "both". So yes, if you use a rinse bucket it needs to be at the same dilution ratio. So in reality you have a clean wash bucket and a dirty (rinse) wash bucket. Are you using a BRS (or equivalent) wash media? When you squeeze out the sponge almost all the dirt is is released and pulled to the bottom of the bucket by the ONR solution. At the very least to save water, I would only fill your "rinse" bucket to the equivalent height of your wash media (probably 1.5 gal with BRS and Cyclone dirt trap).
 
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joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,099
955
Encino, CA
Are you using a BRS (or equivalent) wash media?

I have not used the BRS. I seriously considered it, but I love my microfiber wash pads and have a couple more to go through before I buy any more pads or sponges. One concern I have about the BRS is that it is so thick. What about those harder to reach places such as the space between the door handles (not on my Tesla but on my wife's Honda), front grills, etc? The BRS seems quite bulky and like it wouldn't work for these smaller, more narrow areas on the car. What is your technique to wash those areas when using ONR and the BRS?
 

TypeRx

Member
Jan 15, 2020
445
281
Orange County, CA
I have not used the BRS. I seriously considered it, but I love my microfiber wash pads and have a couple more to go through before I buy any more pads or sponges. One concern I have about the BRS is that it is so thick. What about those harder to reach places such as the space between the door handles (not on my Tesla but on my wife's Honda), front grills, etc? The BRS seems quite bulky and like it wouldn't work for these smaller, more narrow areas on the car. What is your technique to wash those areas when using ONR and the BRS?

I use the BRS for my ONR washes. In addition to all the slotted segments, it is soft enough to maneuver around and fit in tight areas like behind door handles, grills, around mirrors, etc. No issue at all. I've been using the BRS for >2 years and it is has been through the wash cycle in my machine many times with no real apparent wear/degradation.

Now, it is quite expensive for a sponge but does seem to work quite nicely as a complement to ONR. Frankly, a good grout sponge or microfiber towels work fine as well, so don't rush out to buy it unless you are looking to add to your detailing arsenal.
 

joebruin77

Active Member
Dec 23, 2018
1,099
955
Encino, CA
I use the BRS for my ONR washes. In addition to all the slotted segments, it is soft enough to maneuver around and fit in tight areas like behind door handles, grills, around mirrors, etc. No issue at all. I've been using the BRS for >2 years and it is has been through the wash cycle in my machine many times with no real apparent wear/degradation.

Now, it is quite expensive for a sponge but does seem to work quite nicely as a complement to ONR. Frankly, a good grout sponge or microfiber towels work fine as well, so don't rush out to buy it unless you are looking to add to your detailing arsenal.

Thanks for the info on the BRS. Good to know it can still be used on narrow or hard to reach places. Eventually, whenever it is time to replace my microfiber wash pads, I plan on buying one BRS and also one Big Yellow Sponge from Mckees37. They claim it is very similar to the BRS and is a bit less expensive.
 

Mutant

Member
Oct 20, 2020
43
52
Waterloo, ON
Thanks for the info on the BRS. Good to know it can still be used on narrow or hard to reach places. Eventually, whenever it is time to replace my microfiber wash pads, I plan on buying one BRS and also one Big Yellow Sponge from Mckees37. They claim it is very similar to the BRS and is a bit less expensive.
If I was buying today I would probably look at the Ultra Black Sponge from the Rag Company as it is the same price as the BRS and a better shape for getting into those small areas and is apparently slightly softer than the BRS. If you want the softest sponge you should look into the Big Gold Sponge (BGS) from Optimum. This sponge typically costs 50% more and can only be purchased direct from Optimum or authorized Opti-Coat dealers.
 
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