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No rinse wash versus hose and bucket

A-Wimoweh

Member
Nov 26, 2018
358
176
Jungle
I've always been a hose and bucket guy, but since getting my Tesla recently I've given the no rinse wash a try. I gotta say I think I may prefer it over the hose and bucket, even on a nice day. One of the benefits of the no rinse that I did not appreciate was that water does not get forced into all the little nooks and crannies, only coming out hours or days later, when you drive the car. As such, there is also less of a probability of leaving enough water behind to freeze the doors and windows. Can also do it in a warm garage without getting much water on the floor. But the best part is since you do one area at a time, you can stop in the middle of the wash without risking water spots. I've even left the buckets out for a day or two and washed individuals panels as they needed it.

If you're wondering how the no rinse wash works... Fill a 5 gallon bucket with warm water, then fill another bucket with two gallons of warm water and add one of the no rinse wash solutions to it. You can use a microfiber towel, wash mitt, or some type of sponge. Dip the wash mitt in the no rinse wash solution, and gently glide it over the paint, doing one section at a time. Start at the top of the car, and work your way down. For example, I'll start with the roof first, and do one half at a time. Then rinse the wash mitt in the clean water bucket to remove the gunk you just removed from your car's paint, squeeze the water out, then toss it in the no rinse solution bucket. Dry the panel you just did. Now take the mitt out of the rinse solution, squeeze some of the water out(I leave it just dripping slightly), and do another panel. repeat till the car is done. I save the dirtiest parts of the car for last.
 

lotusland

Member
Jun 30, 2011
304
358
I've been using a waterless wash and I really like it. It's similar to your approach but one step more minimalist. I switched to it when I noticed my local high-end wrap shop used it exclusively. I do 1-2 panels every other day or so and the car is always clean. Also great for supercharger touch-ups. It consumes towels but washing them uses way less water than a real wash.

This is my local supplier, also the detail shop I mentioned.
 

mal_tsla

Member
Sep 29, 2016
698
903
Austin, TX
Can you do this on an actually dirty car? Like one that has dirt caked on it from the roads? Or is this more of a "quick detail" touch up and for real grime you need a hose?
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
7,907
6,396
Austin, TX
Alternate method -

One bucket with water and solution. Add a stack of clean microfiber towels to bucket.

Take towels out, one at a time, and clean car. Fold towel into square so it can be turned as it gets dirty. As towel gets fully ysed , put in empty bucket. Grab new wet towel.

Once car is clean, throw dirty towels in the wash.
 

lotusland

Member
Jun 30, 2011
304
358
I have used it on a fairly dirty car, after a weekend in the desert. It worked great but you do need to use more of the fluid and more towels. This weekend the car will be in snow and dirt so it will be filthy next time I wash it. I'll report back here.

I'm planning to go 100% waterless for the future so I'm hoping it works well on a filthy car. I do sometimes put my car out in the rain and get a natural rinse, but here in San Diego that is only a once or twice a year event.
 
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PrGrPa

Member
Aug 12, 2017
321
157
Manchester
I thought I’d give waterless a go. I was wary of scratches and swirls. In the end I’ve found waterless is:
Faster
Less messy
Shinier
Less wasteful
Less scratchy and swirly

Than water washing. I’ve cleaned the car after snow when grit and salt have been on the roads. It worked fine. I suspect that for thick, caked-on country road mud I might have to chip it off first.
 
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ArbitrageMan

Member
Jun 5, 2018
119
68
Northern Virginia
Alternate method -

One bucket with water and solution. Add a stack of clean microfiber towels to bucket.

Take towels out, one at a time, and clean car. Fold towel into square so it can be turned as it gets dirty. As towel gets fully ysed , put in empty bucket. Grab new wet towel.

Once car is clean, throw dirty towels in the wash.

This is how I do it, but with a twist. I bought a gallon garden sprayer. I fill that thing with some Optima No Rinse and water, and spray each panel before i clean it. Seems to gets off the heavy dirt that would be captured in the cloth. Also, one swipe per clean square of towel, then turn it.

I've washed my car five times since I bought it and was VERY closely examining the paint the other day; no swirl marks that I could see under a shop light.
 

CapnLoki

Member
May 10, 2018
68
78
Boston North Shore
Can you do this on an actually dirty car? Like one that has dirt caked on it from the roads? Or is this more of a "quick detail" touch up and for real grime you need a hose?
I did my first wash of the winter a few days ago - it was 60F in Boston for the parade! I used a bucket of warm water and OPT No-Rinse and a dozen washing towels. A first pass was to remove the caked on salt; I then did a second pass with a drying towel in one hand. Windows and top had one pass with OPT and a second with Invisible Glass. Whole process took about 30 minutes.
 

JasonA-EV

Member
Dec 7, 2016
234
150
Los Angeles,CA
Anybody have any links or recommendations? I've tried and used ONR and it's kinda meh, but I see all these foam cannons are the hotness now.

I just know that both my EV's (both pearl white) will show that road grime layer (or haze) unless I physically wash it.
 

AgentMir

Member
Jan 18, 2019
21
27
San Francisco Bay Area
I have yet to try no rinse, but I've bought a solution waiting it's first use. I'm curious, how exactly does this method avoid scratches and swirls if you're just rubbing the dirt and gunk on the paint? Still trying to understand the physics of that, since my first instinct is to hous down the whole car with water first
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
6,674
12,534
California
I’ve been very pleased with Optimum No Rinse, even on a filthy car. I also use a dozen or so microfiber towels, using each only once.
 
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4EVar

Member
Feb 1, 2019
318
169
Leicestershire, UK
I have yet to try no rinse, but I've bought a solution waiting it's first use. I'm curious, how exactly does this method avoid scratches and swirls if you're just rubbing the dirt and gunk on the paint? Still trying to understand the physics of that, since my first instinct is to hous down the whole car with water first
My thoughts exactly. Any light on this would be useful.
 

Mike Robinson

Member
Feb 3, 2016
522
173
Atlanta GA
I've been using a waterless wash and I really like it. It's similar to your approach but one step more minimalist. I switched to it when I noticed my local high-end wrap shop used it exclusively. I do 1-2 panels every other day or so and the car is always clean. Also great for supercharger touch-ups. It consumes towels but washing them uses way less water than a real wash.

This is my local supplier, also the detail shop I mentioned.

I just ordered the WashMist kit. Thanks for the info
 

A-Wimoweh

Member
Nov 26, 2018
358
176
Jungle
My thoughts exactly. Any light on this would be useful.

My understanding is that the chemical(no rinse wash) you add to the water is like a lubricant, and prevents the fine sediment from scratching your paint as you move the wash mitt around. The solution won't suds up like a bucket wash would, but it does work. Using just plain water won't have the same effect, and you'll scratch your paint.

If my car was really dirty and it was above freezing outside, I'd pull the car out of the garage, and rinse it with hose first, or maybe use a foam gun, rinse with the hose, then pull it back in and start the no rinse wash.
 

commasign

TeslaAdviceBlog.com
Aug 31, 2013
3,202
4,176
Davis, CA
If not too dirty, I just use a spray bottle (no wash concentrate diluted in distilled water), spray on, and wipe off. Works great. But when car is really dirty, I use traditional bucket and hose with McGuiar's car wash.
 

D.E.

Uncorked
Oct 12, 2016
761
980
Ann Arbor, MI
I use a stack of clean microfiber towels.
When cleaning I use a clean towel folded to 1/4 size. Then each wipe, I use a rolling motion so the leading edge is lifted as it picks up the dirt, that way I don’t drag any dirt across the paint. Then after the swipe, I use another clean section of that towel. After 4 swipes it goes into the laundry bucket.

The waterless wash is supposed to lift and emulsify the dirt which makes it easy to wipe off. I’m sure I could use it on a filthy gritty car but I’d use a wet wash first. Grit on a towel makes sandpaper. One faulty wipe and the grit scratches the paint. I think at the very least if I was to use waterless on a gritty car, I’d take it through one of those self car washes, the one where you wash off the car yourself with a high pressure wand, and I’d try to get the surface grit off first.
 
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Don85D

Member
Mar 25, 2016
331
290
Markham, Ontario
I'm not convinced that these new wash methods will not do harm and I doubt that they are any faster than the old way, however I have found a rinse aid to enhance the normal hose and bucket wash. You will need a second bucket of warm water and to it add about a cup of Astro J wax which is the same product sprayed on your car at an automated car wash. The soap residue disappears due to a wetting agent and a wax coating becomes obvious on all surfaces. I purchased 5 gallons of Astro J Wax from the supplier of car wash products.

I like that the wax runs into the hidden seams of the body to provide winter protection and it enhances my semi annual Zaino Brothers polish application.

I'm old school and not likely to change.
 

Big Earl

bnkwupt
Jul 12, 2017
5,543
10,245
Springfield, VA
I like to rinse the heavy buildup off of the car with a hose or pressure washer, then follow it up with Optimum No Rinse with the two-bucket method. Dry with Chemical Guys microfiber drying towels and voila, clean car. The pre-rinse keeps my wash mit from getting caked with dirt.
 

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