View Full Version : How To Keep Your Car Looking Its Best Using Alternative Ways To Traditional Washing

Aug 3rd, 2012, 10:55 AM
Do you live in an apartment complex or a condominium without a garage? Do you live in an area where the city enforces water restrictions? I don't even have to ask if you like to keep your car clean. You're here for that main reason. But your current living situation makes it hard for you to wash your car with free flowing water, a premium Meguiar's car shampoo and the two bucket method often. Don't fear, Meguiar's is here!

Detailing science and technology have advanced in ways we wouldn't imagine. There are now various methods to wash your car properly that will fit you living situation. They are:

Rinseless Washing - this method still uses a bucket and water. It's preferable that you use a premium wash mitt such as Meguiar's Microfiber Wash Mitt (http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/product_detail.do?q=4568) and the grit guard to ensure a safer wash technique. The main difference between this and the traditional washing is that the solution doesn't produce any suds allowing the user to wipe the paint clean right after washing.
Waterless Washing - this method uses a spray bottle with a pre-mixed solution that will safely and effectively clean your paint. You spray the product onto the paint, wipe the solution then buff it off.
Quick Detailing - this employs the same product delivery and technique as the waterless washing but with one main difference. This is only used for light dust.

If you're reading this article, I'm assuming that you still haven't taken the plunge on using these washing alternatives yet. I know what you're thinking. "It's not safe." "It will scratch my paint." "It won't clean my paint effectively." Etc. I was like that and thought the same way. But when you're forced to live in a situation without a garage and no access to free flowing water and hose then you're forced to think otherwise. You can't let your car stay dirty for a month or more right?

The products that are available for each method are:

Rinseless Washing: Rinse Free Express Wash (http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/product_detail.do?q=11469)
Waterless Washing: Ultimate Wash and Wax Anywhere (http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/product_detail.do?q=11464)
Quick Detailing: Ultimate Quik Detailer (http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/product_detail.do?q=4616), Gold Class Premium Quik Detailer (http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/product_detail.do?q=11459), M135 - Synthetic Spray Detailer (http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/product_detail.do?q=4731), Last Touch (http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/product_detail.do?q=4644), Quik Detailer (http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/product_detail.do?q=4578)


Techniques / How-To:


Here's a list of additional products should make rinseless washing safe:

5 gallon bucket
Grit guards
Meguiar's Microfiber Wash Mitt (http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/product_detail.do?q=4568) or microfiber covered foam.
Meguiar's Supreme Shine Microfiber Towels (http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/product_detail.do?q=4565) or any premium microfiber towel.

Let's get started on how to properly clean your car using a rinseless wash.

First, you need to put your grit guard into your 5 gallon bucket and then fill it with water.


The amount of water will depend on you. Most people use 3 gallons when they do rinseless washing but I prefer using 4 gallons to add some kind of buffer. Meguiar's instructs users to add 1oz of solution per 2 gallons of water for normal cleaning or 1oz of solution per 1 gallon of water for extremely dirty cases.


Measure out the solution you're going to use. In my case, I dispensed 2oz of rinse free express wash to be used for my 4 gallons of water.


Pour the solution into the bucket and mix thoroughly.


Place your microfiber wash media in the bucket and let it soak in the solution.


Now, your washing solution has be prepared so it's time to wash your car. Bring out the bucket along with multiple Meguiar's Supreme Shine Microfiber Towels (http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/product_detail.do?q=4565) out to your car.


I want to mention that it's important to always keep your wash media clean when using rinseless wash. Also, it's best to work on a small section or a panel at a time.

To start washing, you need to get your wash media drenched in the rinseless solution and start cleaning the car. Don't go like a madman and start wiping the entire hood or the entire car in random directions. You need to be very cautious, careful and meticulous about your technique. In the following set of pictures, I'm washing the passenger half of the hood. In cleaning the paint, I employ Mike Stoops' technique when he uses waterless wash (Ultimate Wash & Wax Anywhere - Tips & Tricks (http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?54112-Ultimate-Wash-amp-Wax-Anywhere-Tips-amp-Tricks)). That is, to tilt the wash media at every stroke exposing a clean part of it. This is shown below:





When done correctly, you'll have multiple dirt lines in the wash media. One obtained from every stroke. After you've clean the entire work area, I like to flip the wash media and run it over the entire section one again to make sure it's clean. I don't tend to be as cautious in this step because the area should have already been cleaned from the initial pass. You're just trying to pick up dirt that's floating around or may have been missed. Hopefully there aren't any.

After you've done cleaning this area, get your clean Supreme Shine Towel (http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/product_detail.do?q=4565) and use it to dry that area.


Now this step is very important to do in order to lessen the chances of scratching your paint finish. After you wash every work area or panel, you need to clean your wash media. What I like to do is to rub the wash media against the grit guard. Here's a picture of what the wash media looks like after washing half of the hood:


Now you don't want that dirt to be rubbing against the paint as you move on to the next section right? So after cleaning the wash media against the grit guard, this is how it looks like:



Now your wash media is ready to be used SAFELY on the next work area.

Now repeat this process until you finish the entire car a section at a time. Here are some picture of the rear quarter panel being cleaned.




Optional Step:

Ultimate Quik Wax (http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/product_detail.do?q=4812)

If you have the time and inclination to bring up your paint to a higher level, then you need to use this amazing product! You can wax your entire vehicle in minutes. Simply spray a small amount of product per panel, spread the product using a microfiber towel and buff off any remaining residue with another microfiber towel. Here's what it looks like:



Now repeat this process for every panel until the entire car is finished. After you're done, stand back and admire the beauty of your car's finish.

Here's a quik tip video on Ultimate Quik Wax:



Here's a list of additional products that should make rinseless washing safe:

Meguiar's Supreme Shine Microfiber Towels (http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/product_detail.do?q=4565) or any premium microfiber towel.

I don't need to write a how-to article for this because our very helpful administrator, Michael Stoops wrote a in depth and detailed how-to article on how to safely use this product. The article can be found below:

Ultimate Wash & Wax Anywhere - Tips & Tricks (http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?54112-Ultimate-Wash-amp-Wax-Anywhere-Tips-amp-Tricks)

Here's a quik tip video on Ultimate Wash and Wax Anywhere:



The procedure for this method is exactly the same as waterless washing with the exception of the amount of dirt this product can handle. This product can only handle very light dust. You use this product when you want to remove light dust after your car's been driven in a day or two, after your car's been sitting in a show for a couple of days, and to remove light finger prints and bird bombs.

Aug 3rd, 2012, 03:37 PM
As a person who was absolutely terrified on using these alternative methods, I want to say that these products work and they work extremely well. The most important thing is that it doesn’t scratch the paint more than your traditional washing method provided you use the right technique and common sense. If you haven’t tried these AMAZING products yet, you need to give them a shot. I promise you that you won’t be disappointed.

Here are some before/after shots using the RFEW and UQW:









Here are some beauty shots showing how great these products work:









Aug 3rd, 2012, 07:14 PM
Thanks Marc, very well done and informational.

Scott's 62
Aug 4th, 2012, 09:23 AM
great write up mark! thank you for taking the time to share your method with us.

Aug 4th, 2012, 05:56 PM
Great article, Marc. :xyxthumbs

After so many years of traditional car washing now we have rinseless and waterless versions available as well providing good and safe results.

davey g-force
Aug 8th, 2012, 06:23 PM
Nice write-up Marc! :xyxthumbs

It's good that you take the time to "school" others...

Jan 17th, 2013, 04:17 PM
Just wanted to bump this thread and update everyone. I've been doing rinseless washes, waterless washes and quick detailing for more than half a year now. I'm glad to say that I haven't really induced bad swirl marks. My car doesn't look like the ones that go through the tunnel car washes. In shoft, the products I mentioned above works very well provided that you use good technique as mentioned above as well.

If you haven't tried these Meguiar's products, you're missing out!!!

davey g-force
Jan 17th, 2013, 04:41 PM
Thanks for the update.

Like you, I rarely do a traditional wash any more and the swirls I've induced (on a black car) have been minimal.

Jan 21st, 2013, 12:02 PM
I recently moved into a unit with my brother (6 months ago), and only recently have I gathered the common sense to wash my car without a hose.

For those who don't like this method, have a tap near by (over 20m away from the car) and cannot use a hose - I purchased a plastic watering can and a large spare bucket to refill the watering can. I realise some will have already known about this method, but I know others won't. Now, you don't have pressurised water, but it's the closest form to a hose. The rest of the wash, you proceed with the traditional bucket system.

I'm quite happy using a water can because my paint is already in bad condition due to previous owner's negligence, therefore I can't afford to damage it further.

First day using this method. Not the best photo, but it was the only photo I took on the day lol:

A good few days later:

s word
Feb 7th, 2013, 01:59 PM
I have access to a hose but often it is faster to perform Marc's method. My wife doesn't really like me washing her car. So usually when I sneak in a wash it is because I can use Marc's method. One thing I modify is that instead of the wash mit thing I usually use clean/new (but washed) MF towels. You can use like 4 to 8 towels easily per car but this way when one is dirty you just use another one.

My car I try to always use water. But when I can't UWWA is my friend.

kiieerroonn (http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums/member.php?43002-kiieerroonn)- not sure how new you are but welcome. Is that a Nissan Pulsar? Looks very clean. Looks lowered and maybe exhaust...care to share more.

Feb 13th, 2013, 06:11 AM
How would you compare Rinse Free Express Wash to Optimum No Rinse?
I currently use ONR and perhaps I am using too much ONR in my solution but I am seeing streaking on my black car.
Perhaps its because I am not completely drying the car? But my understanding is that you really don't need to bone dry the car.

I use 2 buckets with grit guards with Meguiar's MF mitt and using MF drying towel. I also usually pre soak the car with ONR solution.

Once the car dries completely, I usually have to go over the entire car with QD.

Michael Stoops
Feb 13th, 2013, 09:18 AM
RFEW and ONR are very similar in application, effectiveness, safety, etc. RFEW doesn't leave any sort of polymer or wax behind (ONR claims a polymer of some sort and, of course, they have a new rinseless wash and wax out now) but we still see people saying they see more gloss after washing with RFEW than with ONR. In all honesty, even our R&D staff is a bit surprised by this since there's nothing in RFEW that is really designed to enhance gloss, but that's the result we're hearing.

In any event, whether you choose RFEW or ONR, proper dilution is critical. Both only require 1 ounce of product to 2 gallons of water. While at first that may seem like far too little product for washing with this rinseless method, it actually works extremely well with both products. After all, that's how they were designed! Having used both of these products extensively, I can tell you that drying of either should be a breeze (with maybe the nod going to RFEW here). There are a couple of rinseless washes and waterless washes on the market that will streak pretty easily, but with proper dilution ratio neither RFEW or ONR should exhibit this. Also, RFEW seems to release the dirt from the wash applicator easier than ONR does, but that shouldn't impact the drying process.

If you haven't yet used Garry Dean's method of sinking a pile of folded towels into a bucket of wash solution, you really need to give it a go. In his process you never put a dirty towel back into the wash bucket so there's no risk of contaminating the wash water. And a well wrung out wash towel works wonders for cleaning the glass after washing the rest of the vehicle. Add a gamma seal lid to your bucket and you can keep a full car wash ready at all times in your garage, and even take it on a road trip with you if you wish.

Feb 13th, 2013, 11:24 AM
Thank you Michael for the informative post. I guess I will need to buy a measuring cup to ensure there is proper mix in the solution.
Just looked up Garry Dean'd method and will definitely give it a try. However, one thing I would like point out is that this method kind of leads me to believe that you do need to bone dry the car since he is using 2 drying towels... granted that one of them is a little wet.

Michael Stoops
Feb 14th, 2013, 09:00 AM
Yes you really should fully dry each section as you work around the vehicle, regardless of wash method or product used. Any time you leave things to air dry on the paint you run the very real risk of streaking, and that can not then be blamed solely on the product. Yes, some products do leave streaks due to the nature of their composition, but you can make any product streak if you use it incorrectly. Probably the most common example of this is when cleaning glass with a traditional glass cleaner. Everyone wants to know how to clean glass streak free, or where they can find a glass cleaner that won't streak. But any glass cleaner will streak if you over use it and then don't wipe it off completely. If your final wipe with the towel leaves a wet residue on your glass, when that self dries odds are it's going to streak, almost regardless of what product you've used. The problem is that this streaking is so much more visible on glass, especially when the sun hits it at just the right angle. But the same thing can and will happen on paint, it just isn't always as noticeable, especially on lighter colors.