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Washing Your Model S with A "No-Rinse" Product

Discussion in 'Blog Archive' started by omarsultan, Aug 16, 2015.

  1. omarsultan

    omarsultan Active Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Northern California
    CA_08121519291571-S.jpg
    With water restrictions becoming the norm in a lot of places (and I guess winter weather in other places), I thought I would share my experiences with no-rise wash products. I have to admit I was dubious of the whole concept and believed I might as well take sandpaper to the finish of my car. However, after doing this for a year, it has become my preferred approach.

    A couple of disclaimers:
    • I am sharing my experiences and preferences. I am not suggesting you do this or making any warranties or the like. If you decide to try this yourself, you do this at your own risk.
    • I am a bit obsessive about car care, so, where it made sense, I differentiated between "basic" steps and "OCD" steps :)

    PRODUCTS AND TOOLS
    There are myriad products out there, many very good and some not so much. Here I have listed what I use and why, so you have a starting point to making your own product choices. Sites like Autogeek are a useful resource for product reviews, how-to advice, etc.

    Products
    CA_08121519295411-M.jpg

    I have OptiCoat on the car and am a fan of the products. The product at the heart of this entire process is Optimum No Rinse Wash and Wax (ONRWW). This stuff is green magic in a bottle and works on any finish, you do not have to have OC applied beforehand (I have washed my wife's Jeep and son's Nissan with it with good results). By itself, it will give you great results. If you want to up your game a bit, I can suggest two additional products:
    • I use Optimum Instant Detailer and Gloss Enhancer in a spray bottle while I am drying because its lubricity further reduces chances of scratching while drying and it leaves the slick finish that I miss with OptiCoat.
    • I use Optimum Opti-Bond Tire Gel on the tires. It leaves a low-key satin finish (which I like) and it lasts through multiple washings. If you like a glossier finish, this is likely not the product for you. One other area I use this product on the dark paint on the bottom of the rocker panels--keeps then nice and dark.

    Microfiber Cloths

    My philosophy is that microfiber (MF) cloths are relatively cheap, paint is expensive. I think one of the secrets for success with no-rinse or no-water washes is to not be stingy with the MFs: invest in high-quality MFs.

    CA_08121519294822-M.jpg

    For cleaning painted surfaces, I use the purple Cobra Deluxe Jr. 600 Microfiber Towels. I like these because one side has a deep nap for picking up and holding dirt away from the paint as well as a low-nap side for gentle "scrubbing" (for instance, bug splatter on the nose cone). when picking an MF, I think the thick nap is a key detail.

    For cleaning wiping down dirty spots like the door jambs, trunk channels and wheels, I use the Griot's Garage Tim's Dirty Spots Micro Fiber Wipe Down Towel. You will notice this towel has a waffle weave, so it releases dirt more easily. I think its important to not use the same MFs for paint and dirty spots as these towels never really get clean.

    For applying the tire gel, I use something like the Chemical Guys MIC29202 Premium Grade Microfiber Applicator (the green sponge in the pic is a similar product from Griot's Garage). Dedicate a sponge to this purpose as it will never get completely clean. BTW, this type of sponge is great for applying product to car seats, interior panels, etc. You could also use the grey MFs to apply tire gel if you don't want to get the detail sponges.

    CA_08121519293312-M.jpg

    I use the yellow Griots Garage MF Drying Towels - lots of options here, I just happen to have a number of these from back in the days when I used to do the two-bucket method.

    For cleaning glass, I use the Griot's Garage PFM Dual Weave Glass Towel. I really like this towel: if has a nappy side for cleaning then a smooth side to "polish" the glass.

    Wheel Brushes
    You can certainly clean your wheels with just the grey MF towels, but if you want to head into OCD territory a bit, I can recommend a couple of tools:
    CA_08121519294151-M.jpg

    The middle tool is the Viking 942500 Flexible Wheel Stick. I came across it by accident and and glad I did. While it is not a "necessity", it does speed up cleaning of both the Tesla 19" and 21" wheels. Its nice because it has a "fluffy" side which is good for getting into nooks and crannies and a mesh side for tougher stains.

    For cleaning the wheel barrels (OCD territory), I use the Chemical Guys ACCM10 Wheel Woolies Wheel Brush (top--they come in a 3-pack with different sizes, largest one is shown here) and the Griot's Garage Long-Reach Wheel Scrubber Brushes (bottom). I provide details on how I use these later.

    Miscellaneous

    CA_08121519292902-M.jpg
    I hate cheap, crappy spray bottles, this one rocks: Kwazar Mercury Pro 360 - 0.5 Liter (17oz.) Trigger Spray Bottle. One other recommendation is picking up some Griot's Garage Micro Fiber & Foam Pad Cleaner. If you have invested in some nice MF's might as well take care of them.

    CA_08121519290598-M.jpg

    Lots of options for glass cleaners--this is what I use largely because its handy and they both work very well. I try to use gentler cleaners so any overspray doesn't damage paint or interior surfaces.

    For bug splatter, I use Griots Garage Bug & Smudge Remover and a grey MF. It works very well, but does not completely play well with ONRWW, so I will usually pre-clean the bug splatter before I wash the car. I have been playing with Griot's Garage Bug Barrier as a preventative--seems to work well, but it does impact the shine a bit, so I don't always use it.

    Beyond these, the only thing you need is two buckets (a clean and dirty bucket like you do with the traditional two-bucket wash method) and a couple of gallons of water.

    WASHING
    This whole process usually takes me 60-75 min, depending on how much of a workout I want to get. I am sure someone more motivated could do it in less time, but I enjoy doing this so finishing quickly is usually not my priority.


    1. Put 2 gallons of water in the "clean" bucket and add 1oz of Optimum No-Rinse Wash and Wash
    2. Put 4 purple wash MFs in the clean bucket and let them completely soak.
      • In theory, you can use one MF and rinse it and reuse it. I feel this opens up the risk of scratching the paint, so with my approach, you are always using a fresh wiping surface (more details in the next step)
      • I find I can clean typically dirty car with four of the purple cloths. With a dirtier car, simply use more MFs--the most I have ever used is six.

      [*=center]Grab a wet purple MF from the clean bucket (don't wring it out) and fold it in half (with the nappy side out) then fold in half again.
      CA_08121519292455-M.jpg
    3. By doing so, I have folded the MF into quarters and you now have four wiping surfaces for each MF: wipe -> turn over and wipe -> refold and wipe > turn over and wipe
    4. Pick a panel to wash, start at the top and wipe in zig zag pattern from top to bottom. Important: never go back over your wiping or get to the bottom and go to the top again, you run the risk of scratching your paint.
      • Use light pressure, let the MF do the work
      • For a lightly dirty car, I can usually clean one panel (quarter panel, door+window) with one wiping surface
      • If the car is dirty, switch to a new wiping surface more open, for instance, you may need two wiping surfaces to clean a car door
        [*=center]Here is the "after" pic
        CA_08121519291079-M.jpg
    5. Here is the flow I usually follow:
      • Driver's half of trunk glass, half of pano roof, half of windshield (flip cloth)
      • Passenger's half of trunk glass, pano roof and windshield (refold cloth)
      • Driver's half of front bumper cover, headlights and nose cone (flip)
      • Passenger's half of front bumper cover, headlights and nose cone (discard MF and grab a new one)
      • Driver's side front door and window (flip)
      • Driver's side rear door and window (refold)
      • Driver's side front quarter panel (flip)
      • Driver's side rear quarter panel (don't discard just yet)
      • Use the other side of the MF (if you use purple one, the side with the short nap) to clean the driver side rear view mirror and wipe both driver's side wheel arches (discard MF and grab a new one)
      • Trunk lid down to the edge of the trunk (flip)
      • Rear bumper and rear fascia (refold)
      • Driver's side of the frunk (flip)
      • Passenger's side of the frunk (discard MF and grab a new one)
      • Passenger's side front door and window (flip)
      • Passenger's side rear door and window (refold)
      • Passenger's side front quarter panel (flip)
      • Passenger's side rear quarter panel (don't discard just yet)
      • Use the other side of the MF (if you use purple one, the side with the short nap) to clean the passenger's side rear view mirror and wipe both passenger's side wheel arches
    6. After you are done wiping a panel, spray it with the detailer (if you are using that), then wipe it with the drying MF
      • Use minimal pressure, let the MF do the work
      • I scrunch up the MF (as oppose to folding it) to minimize pressure
      • I usually need 2-3 drying MFs to dry the car
    7. How many panels you can wet at one time is usually a function of the weather as its really important to not let the wash solution dry on the paint. In the summer, that usually means doing one panel at a time. In fall, or overcast weather, I can often do a whole side at one time (make sure to keep the flipping schedule)
    8. Pop open the doors, trunk and frunk, dip one the grey MFs in the ONRWW, wring it out, then wipe down the door sills, door jams, inside of the frunk, underside of the trunk lid, and the top of the rear bumper, under the trundled, which always seems to collect dirt
      • At this point, if the car is lightly dirty, its OK to rinse and re-use a grey MF. If its really dirty, use multiple MFs.
    9. Close all the doors, trunk and frunk, the use the drying MF to dry the handles and the areas behind the handles along with the bottoms of the windows that get wet when the window drops/raises as you open/close the doors.
    10. Pour the remaining water+ONRWW mixture into the "dirty" bucket. The reason I use two buckets is that wheels are amazingly dirty and the wheel washing bucket will never truly get clean without a lot of extra washing. That dirt will then contaminate your washing MFs next time you wash your car if you use the same bucket for paint and wheels.
      [*=center]Soak a grey MF or a tool like the Viking Wheel Stick in the wash solution then use it to wash the outside of the wheel and the tire then use a second grey MF to dry the wheel. I use the detailing spray on the wheel as it seems to help the wheel stay a bit cleaner longer
      CA_08121519290168-M.jpg
    11. If you are going to clean the barrel:

      • [*=center]First use the Long-Reach Scrubber, dip it in the wash solution, then scrub the barrel--it takes a bit of manipulation to clean the area behind the spokes - with the 21" wheels, there is enough space to use a grey MF and reach in with your hands
        CA_08121519285678-M.jpg
      • Wrap a grey MF around the Wheel Woolie and dry the inside of the barrel. For the 21" wheels, the large woolie works, probably the small woolie for the 19" wheels
      • Bear in mind that "there is stuff back there", so be gentle, take you time, and don't force anything--if you need to apply any pressure, you are doing it wrong :)
        [*=center]Here is the final result--because the 21" wheel are so open, I think it is worth the effort:
        CA_08121519283443-M.jpg
    12. Spray Tire Gel on the detail sponge and wipe each tire (optional)
    13. (Last step!) Clean the glass one last time. If you use the detailer spray, you will need to do this as you will have overspray (which might not be immediately apparent). If you don't use the detailer spray, then, depending on your technique, this step might be optional.
    14. Wash out your buckets, rinse out your tools, and wash your MFs so you are ready for next time.

    The results of your labor should be something like this:

    CA_08121519282739-M.jpg
    and
    CA_08121519283079-M.jpg

    That's about it. Hopefully this makes the whole no-rinse process a little less scary and also shows you that you can get good results for the long-term.
     
    • Informative x 1
  2. ardart99

    ardart99 Blinded By The Light

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    Excellent article .... I did the same research and just did my car and my son's ice car using pretty much the same steps and they came out beautiful ...
     
  3. swengl

    swengl Member

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    Very similar to the article on Teslarati.com. I follow a very similar approach with excellent results.
     
  4. omarsultan

    omarsultan Active Member

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    Thanks
     
  5. Bonlaw

    Bonlaw Member

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    I "discovered" this product a couple of months ago. Love, Love, Love it. I had stopped washing my car because it is humongous and was taking two laborious hours. I now wash it weekly and live in SoCal where not much dirt, so I can easily wash the outside in 40 minutes.
    I use the ONR - blue. Anyone know if the green with wax will yellow PPF?
     
  6. omarsultan

    omarsultan Active Member

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    No idea on the PPF front, but I have a hardly used bottle of the "blue" -- if you want, I'll gladly send it your way for free - PM me if you are interested.
     
  7. brandeeno

    brandeeno Member

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    This make me wonder... what if I were to take an off the shelf all purpose household cleaner and do the same things? Any reason this wouldn't work as well as with the specific for-car products?
     
  8. Electric Bill

    Electric Bill New Member

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    Ahhh... car wash 101! Very nice.

    I noticed your California personalized license plate-- "Disruptor"... after decades of drivers claiming some particular plate handle, it has become very difficult to find one that has not already been taken by someone else. I have two EVs right now-- no Teslas yet!!!-- but my own two personalized plates for them read "ELEQTRK" (for my electric truck) and "ELEQWIK" (elec- QUICK!) for my tiny Sparrow.

    Thanks for the waterless wash suggestions... living in L.A., I have to be conservative as well.

    -- "Electric Bill"
     
  9. omarsultan

    omarsultan Active Member

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    I would not recommend it--the "magic" in ONR and similar products is based on a couple of things:
    • They have high lubricity ($10 word fort really slippery) so the dirt picked up does not scratch the paint
    • They keep the dirt from getting redeposit on the finish
    • Non-auto cleaners will also strip any wax or the like you have on the paint
     
  10. PatD

    PatD Member

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    Nicely done. I washed my MS once with water, and since with ONR. Very happy with the results and I do it in the garage so I don't have the sun beating on me and the car. Makes washing much easier.

    One thing I found that helps re: spray bottles (Since you don't like cheap ones!) is one that doesn't have a trigger that you have to constantly pump. Not better way to explain it. Go to Amazon and enter Solo 418. I have the one liter sprayer and it's plenty for one wash. Really saves your hand!
     
  11. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    Thanks for taking the time to share this info. As one who is similarly... committed to car care... I consider the ~1 hour twice a month to wash the exterior to be time well spent indeed.

    In fact, I travel with a manual foamer tank, distilled water, and buckets and all the liquids and such (all of which fit in the frunk). Crazy? Maybe, but outside of coastal California, those little chitinous (tm Bighorn) bug carcasses can become a problem if left on the clearcoat for too long. Washing the car with 1 gallon of distilled for the foamer and 2 gallons of tap water in a 5-gallon bucket and possibly a 3-5 minute *light* wand rinse at a DIY car wash bay (after foaming and before the panel-by-panel ONR process) is also relatively environmentally friendly.

    Having Opti-Coat Pro already, I use the blue ONR instead of the green. Will look into the better microfiber towels for sure - the gold (and for sure not the lighter yellow) Costco MF towels were recommended to me, but I do like to have alternatives. As well, I am always looking for better spray bottles, and that tire gel looks like a winner too.

    Good stuff all the way around - thanks again.
     
  12. eyespii

    eyespii Member

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    Do you think blowing the ONR off the car with a leaf blower would work?
     
  13. Opti-Abe

    Opti-Abe Closed

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    It won't yellow it, it has natural waxes. Green is great for maintenance washe since it leaves a film of wax behind. Blue is great too and my preference when cleaning a coated vehicle. Hope that helped, I use On everyday. Eben mixed a few bottles for cleaning home appliances like the stainless steel fridge, TV and other stuff.
     
  14. omarsultan

    omarsultan Active Member

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    Yeah, I know what you are talking about about - use one to apply insecticidal soap in the garden--good thinking, I will have to try that. :)
     
  15. omarsultan

    omarsultan Active Member

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    Two things to keep in mind:
    • Use a dedicated leaf blower, otherwise you will end up sand blasting your finish. I have a Master Blaster which I used when I used to wash the car the old fashioned way
    • I am wondering if the wiping action helps distribute and buff the wax in ONR Wash and Wax. Its worth a try, but it might leave the finish streaky as the wax deposits unevenly (no harm, just re-wash). If you are going to go that route, then the blue ONR (no wax) might be a better option
     
  16. omarsultan

    omarsultan Active Member

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    I hear ya - driving up the Central Valley in the summer leave the front bumper cover covered. One product to try is Bug & Smudge Remover - its does a good job of softening up those exoskeletons so they are less likely to scratch the finish when you wipe. Griots Bug Barricade is also good as a preventative, but I don't use regularly as I think it does dull the shine a bit.
     
  17. bktas

    bktas New Member

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    We are Estonian producer of the waterless car cleaners with post nano effects: www.nanoformula.eu
    After cleaning long last superhydrophobic nano coating creates in surfaces included car glass.

    Vyacheslav melnikov
     
  18. OliviaGartland

    OliviaGartland New Member

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    Hi! I am a freshman student at Manhattan College and my group and I chose to analyze Tesla for our research project. We have generated a survey and need to survey roughly 15 tesla owners. Would you be willing to help me out? Email [email protected] if you are willing to take the short survey, we would REALLY appreciate your insight!!
     
  19. Opti-Abe

    Opti-Abe Closed

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    Any one have questions on ONR Techniques?

    I found a few videos on a good strategy to ONR successfully as well as more info on how to maintain your coated car, hope this helps. Its not my site and I make no money by forwarding you this link. So you know my intentions to help are authentic.

    https://www.facebook.com/OptimumPolymerTechnologies/?fref=ts
     

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