Utilizing a waterless car wash can be a very fruitful and worthwhile process to restore some shine to your vehicle, but more than one problem can arise if this is not done by a professional. Though a great in-between remedy before you get your car thoroughly detailed, there are some potential disadvantages consumers should know about.
The first drawback to a waterless wash is that it can be applied incorrectly in various ways. For starters, silicone is present in some of the pre-mixed spray brands, but this additive causes ‘drifting,’ meaning its particles embed in the outside of the vehicle making it a more likely candidate for rust.
“Waterless car washes are a needed niche in auto care and restoration, but it is not ideal for cars with mid to heavy dirt accumulation. Very few vehicles have a ‘light’ dusting, unless they are regular detailed, which is recommended”
Another way that a wash without water can cause issues is if a non-microfiber towel is used. The problem with cars is because they are meant to shine, soap lines and unwanted streaks are easy to spot and frustrating to get rid of, particularly if they have dried. Using any type of rough surface with high lubricity cleaners is begging for a harsh application on your automobile. Additionally, wiping the liquid in numerous directions is incorrect and can make it look worse than when you started. A soft, steady swipe in the same direction is necessary no matter what your make and model is.
Waterless car washes are a needed niche in restoration, but it is not ideal for cars with mid to heavy dirt accumulation. Very few vehicles have a ‘light’ dusting, unless they are regular detailed (which is recommended). Most of us need a car wash because it looks as if we have just been driving through the outback. Simply put, for what it is, it’s extremely helpful, but if you are expecting as beautiful a polish as going through a $20 automatic wash, you will be disappointed. Washes without water can lift dirt in moderation because the chemicals cling to the debris and it is wiped off with ease. Similar to using a cleaner on a window, the less dirty it is to start, the better the shine will be. If a window is completely covered in mud, wiping a damp towel of polymers over it will simply spread the filth. The same is true of heavily covered vehicle panels.
A con to these type of washes is that it is easier to miss a spot since the entire vehicle is usually not cleaned at once. The waterless process usually relies on ‘spot’ cleaning, meaning that only specific areas are wiped and treated instead of the entire exterior. While they have their drawbacks, machine washes at minimum use heavy amounts of water to make sure every part of the automobile is reached (even if unsuccessfully).
All things told, none of this should scare off consumers from committing to a waterless solution. In actuality, all it takes are experienced professional auto detailers who know what pre-mixed cleaners to use and how much should be applied to each potential problem area. Because they are well-versed in restoration, they are able to match the right chemicals to your paint finish and guarantee that your car is both clean and looking newer than ever.