View Full Version : For those who are still on the fence about rinseless/waterless washing.....

Michael Stoops
Jul 20th, 2015, 12:58 PM
For those who are still on the fence about rinseless/waterless washing/.... (https://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?63411-For-those-who-are-still-on-the-fence-about-rinseless-waterless-washing)

The two-bucket wash method has been preached for a long time and it has been the defacto washing process among car enthusiasts for many, many years. But with the advent of new microencapsulating technology we've seen a big swing toward rinseless and waterless washing processes. But old habits die hard and these new methods can seem almost crazy at first and it often takes a while for a car owner to wrap their head around the process. After all, if we've had the two-bucket method hammered into our collective consciousness as the only way to safely get loose contaminants off the paint without scratching, how the heck do you accomplish that with less than a gallon of water? Or crazier yet, with less than half a spray bottle full of product? It just doesn't sound safe at all.

Change is hard. Altering your reality is even harder. Totally changing your methodology and belief system takes a whole new leap of faith! Yes, we're still talking car care here even if is staring to sound slightly existential.

Let's look first at how these products differ from traditional car wash shampoos as the chemistry here is really what makes these two processes work. And work both effectively and safely.

Traditional car shampoos provide both lubrication to the surface and surfactants that break the surface tension between the dirt and paint surface, allowing it to be removed more readily. Gloss enhancers/conditioners may be added, and in some cases a soluble or dispersed wax may be added as well.

When you move into the realm of rinseless/waterless products there are changes to the type of surfactants used. Specific types of pH neutral cleaning surfactants, ones that are better at dirt dispersal, are added and/or substituted for more traditional and simple surfactants. Other ingredients are included that enhance lubricity. Obviously we can't divulge too much about the actual formulations here but suffice to say that surfactants, detergents and cleaning agents all come in a variety of forms that act in different ways on different types of dirt and soiling. Some are better at releasing dirt from within the confines of a fabric weave (something we don't need to be concerned with when washing the exterior of a car, of course) while others are gentle enough for use on your skin and others still are powerful degreasers. They all fall into these three basic categories, but as with anything else in life they encompass a very broad spectrum of chemical makeup. It's sort of similar to how you can describe any automobile with the same basic small set of descriptors, yet nobody is going to confuse a Yugo with a Formula 1 race car. Both are powered by internal combustion engines and a multi gear ratio transmission directing power to a pair of drive wheels. Both ride on 4 rubber tires, and are controlled by a driver who utilizes a steering wheel to control direction of travel and a series of pedals to initiate or halt forward progress. So, yes, that Yugo and the F1 car are basically the same thing, really. And yet........ ;)

With traditional car wash soaps the formulations are designed in such a way that they make use of relatively large quantities of water to flood the surface and aid in cleaning. Water in and of itself is a pretty darn good cleaner but it's not great with lubricity and other characteristics we want when washing sensitive paint surfaces. The shampoo works great for adding these characteristics to the water, but of course your technique is critical when using this mix to wash a car. We all know about the two bucket wash method, using Grit Guards, quality microfiber wash mitts and drying towels, etc. Technique, even with two buckets, is still critically important.

Moving to a rinseless or waterless wash really puts an emphasis on technique and quality of towels used. Whether you're using a waterless wash like Ultimate Wash & Wax Anywhere or D115 Rinse Free Express Wash & Wax, or you're using a rinseless wash like D114 Rinse Free Express Wash, your choice of towels and how you move them over the paint is of the utmost importance. We've outlined the basics of this in this thread (http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?54112), and our Quik Tips Video on UWWA (http://www.meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?54916) shows some techniques as well. We keep a bucket of D114 mixed up in our Training Garage, and I personally keep one mixed at home. The rinseless process varies from the waterless process primarily in that you're pulling a wet towel out of a bucket and wiping it across the paint surface rather than using a dry towel and wetting the paint surface with a spray bottle. Theoretically, you can use any of these products both ways. We won't get into the actual techniques in this post as they've been discussed in depth elsewhere on the forum. What we really aim to accomplish here is to put your mind at ease that, when done correctly, these process are totally safe for the paint. We know that a lot of people really struggle to wrap their head around this..... it really is a massive shift in thinking.

We've done plenty of demonstrations of these processes in our Saturday Classes, but unfortunately those demos are almost always on paint that is full of swirls so it doesn't really show how safe the process is.

And that's where my wife's car comes in!! We all know that non metallic black paint is the hardest color to.....well..... to live with. It's tough to get it looking almost defect free, tough to keep just looking clean and free from dust, and tough to maintain so that it remains at a very high level. In a very close second place is non metallic red as it, too, shows virtually everything. Haze from polishing, dust, swirls, fine scratches, streaking.... you name it, red will show it almost as readily as black. And my wife's car is painted in Chevrolet Victory Red; a fantastically deep and rich shade of non metallic red if ever there was such a thing. And for the past 15 months the only way this car has been washed is with either a waterless process using D115, or a rinseless process using D114. In those 15 months it's seen plenty of rain (yes, even here in SoCal), been driven on long haul freeway trips, left unwashed (intentionally) for as much as three weeks at a time, driven on a few dirt roads, etc. Basically, it's been used like a daily driver is typically used. And after 15 months of washing without ever pulling out the hose and bucket, this is how the paint looks on various panels in direct sunlight.

Smack dab in the middle of the hood, complete with palm tree reflections around the sun.

Top of the roof, with a small cloud and those palm trees.

The rear spoiler, a composite piece rather than the steel found on the main body panels.

Rear quarter panel, with palm trees still visible.

The whole car. That red hose, by the way, is an air hose from my compressor, not a garden/water hose. The car had just been washed in the garage using D114 Rinse Free Express Wash, and the process left enough water in some trim pieces that blowing it out was easiest, plus I had washed the wheels and I always use compressed air to dry wheels.

Very recently at a Saturday Class we got lucky and were able to demo D114 on a really dirty black car with paint that was known to be in great shape under all the dirt and road grime. The car had been brought to a TNOG session a few weeks prior and we buffed out the hood to give the owner a chance to find the best process to fully detail the car. He then took off on a 1200 mile road trip with the car, subjecting it to all the things one would expect a 1200 mile road trip to throw at you. It not only sat outside the whole time of the trip, it then sat outside for another week, just sort of baking in the SoCal sun - a week were temps routinely pushed triple digits every day. A recipe for rinseless washing disaster? Nope.

Here is the crusted on evidence of the road trip.

With some D114 mixed up in a bucket of water, we dropped some folded microfiber towels into the mix, readied a Water Magnet drying towel, and got to work.

Straight line wipes with the towel, never letting the dirty edge back in contact with the paint and never putting the dirty towel back in the bucket. On a really dirty surface it's a good idea to pre treat the surface by spraying some of the D114 mixture onto the paint first, then wiping with the towel.

When finished cleaning the hood, we threw a spot light on that black paint and looked for swirls. See 'em? Nope, because there aren't any.

So, if you're still on the fence about waterless or rinseless washing, or if you're just flat out terrified at the thought, relax. Take a deep breath, and give it a go. It's fast, it's easy, it's safe, it conserves water, it can be done inside your garage or under a car port. You can do it the parking lot of your apartment complex or even the hotel you're staying at on your next road trip. Just remember to use good technique and plenty of clean, high quality microfiber towels. They'll wash up great in the laundry and be ready for their next use.

Sep 15th, 2015, 12:30 PM
Tried this on the weekend. Really good result too. I used the product direct to paint method, skipping the bit with the bucket and water. Fast, shiny, teamed it up with Meguiars Tyre Gel ( more like a syrup to me, but that's being pedantic!).

Tyres looked great, car looked great. Took half the time a wash, dry, wax & buff takes.

i am a newbie to this, so I don't know much about paint and swirl marks, etc, and would have no real idea if I was putting swirls into the paint with anything I was doing, but I do have slightly better than 20/20 vision, and this certainly passed the eyeball test.

thanks for the article Michael, I think it will save me hours!

Sep 19th, 2015, 04:04 AM
I absolutely love UWWA...I actually prefer using that over UQD..

Top Gear
Sep 19th, 2015, 06:20 AM
Great write-up. I think for many people the issue is decided by water access, and all they need to realize is that they can have a pretty clean and detailed ride without bucket washing, often with 20 minutes or so of detailing.

However, for anyone with full access to water and a place to wash, there are so many small touches we just can't easily duplicate using waterless, such as getting to all the drip rails and channels, the inner barrels of wheels, calipers and wheel wells, parts of the undercarriage, and so on. The build-up of brake dust alone represents to me a dividing line between merely looking clean at a glance and being clean for real ;) These issues can be tried waterless, of course, but not without creating a mound of dirty, perhaps ruined, towels, and not without spending far more time and effort than would make sense.

Yes, I love waterless methods, particularly UWWA followed by GCQW, so I'm not disagreeing. Yet, nothing can replace that classic scent of the sudsy Gold Class Shampoo and getting the car honest-to-goodness clean, despite the extra time and trouble dealing with buckets, water and a leaf blower, etc. To me, there's still a small but real difference between waterless washing the outermost surfaces most people will notice, and on the other hand using full suds to get to all the parts of the car others won't really see, but that I know (and can smell) are also clean. A close approximation for those with no water access is the occasional visit to a coin-op for a spray wash (no brushes!), followed by UWWA/QW as needed. In such cases, I tend to use the pressure spray to get the wheels and undercarriage, and try to avoid the paint with the direct spray.

Sep 20th, 2015, 06:12 AM
I've run away from the mere thought of trying a waterless wash in the past with my black, non metallic car. I'd consider it now though. Although the worst areas on my car still give me concern (like around the rear of the car where its not a simple flat panel with the taillights and trunk moldings and road dirt is the worst).

Top Gear
Sep 20th, 2015, 07:52 AM
^^ Oh, no, those areas will be no problem at all with UWWA. You'll be surprised at how dirty the car can be and will come clean with a wipe of that stuff, with no streaking in the humidity.

I'm talking about brake calipers or wheels, which can be far dirtier than they look. I can clean the silver spokes easily enough and spray on some tire dressing or foam, but the barrels and fancy red calipers get filthy pretty quick. Tire foam can get some of it and leave a shine, but only a bucket or pressure wash gets all of that really clean.

Sep 21st, 2015, 09:11 AM
Michael, I have a question regarding application media with D114/D115.
Back when they first hit the market, Jason and Steve did a video at Autogeek, recommending the use of the Meguiar's Microfiber mitt for rinseless washing. As a regular rinseless user, I bought a few and have been very pleased. After 2 passes, one on each side, I dip the mitt in my bucket and give it a vigorous shake. In your first post in this thread you're using the multiple towel method in the garage. Do you feel one of the two methods is better? With winter coming up soon in PA, I'll be doing rinseless washes every Saturday on my black DD. With a black car, I just want to make sure I'm keeping up with "best practices".


The Guz
Sep 21st, 2015, 10:21 AM
I've used D114 with a wash mitt and it was ok. The down side to this is that the D114 solution becomes contaminated with dirt. I would recommend a grit guard if you choose this method to scrub some of the dirt that gets onto the mitt. I still prefer the multiple towel set up. I can use a clean side of the towel as I move along. 1 towel gives me 8 sides to work with. The other benefit with this method is I can toss my dirty towel in another bucket and not contaminate the rinseless solution with dirt. It allows me to save the solution for another day. I also pre-soak the panel with D114 in pump sprayer before wiping.

Same goes for when using D114 as a waterless wash or a QD.

Sep 21st, 2015, 01:24 PM
Same goes for when using D114 as a waterless wash or a QD.

D114 as a waterless??
Is this official Guz?

I don't see why it wouldn't work if the panel was pre-soaked good and the towel misted.
I would only do that in a light dust/dirt situation.

The Guz
Sep 21st, 2015, 04:00 PM
D114 as a waterless??
Is this official Guz?

I don't see why it wouldn't work if the panel was pre-soaked good and the towel misted.
I would only do that in a light dust/dirt situation.

Sure it can be used as a waterless wash at 128:1. Another option is to save the clean solution in your bucket and put it into a sprayer of some sort.

Sep 21st, 2015, 06:11 PM
That's the same dilution I use for rinseless.
Probably a little rich at times, but I am having good luck with that ratio.
I like how it puffs the microfibers after they are soaked in the bucket.

The Guz
Sep 21st, 2015, 06:23 PM
Try 1:256 for rinseless if the car is not to dirty.

Sep 21st, 2015, 11:17 PM
@BillyJack. You can also do a 2BM with a rinseless wash and wash mitt. That way you release most of the dirt from your mitt into a bucket of water w/grit guard prior to dipping it back into your rinseless bucket, which should also have a grit guard.

I think you have a good idea using multiple mitts.

The Guz
May 13th, 2016, 04:43 PM
Cant you just do the same thing with the quick detailing spray? U just spray it on and wipe off without any water, it comes out good the 1 time i did it

I'll let Mr. Stoops chime in but from my understanding a rinseless/waterless wash encapsulates dirt better and offers more lubricity than a detail spray. A detail spray is great for light dust.

May 13th, 2016, 05:12 PM
I just used Meguiars Ultimate detailer 2 days ago to rid some bird art.
Nice stuff, actually great stuff but in no way is it as slippery as D114.

I rarely use detail spray at all anymore. I keep it in the car for emergencies.
Maybe I would use it for overnight, in the garage dust.....maybe

If it is dusty from sitting or travelling I do a rinseless.I will add or subtract my dilution ratio depending on how much debris is present on the paint.

The Guz
May 14th, 2016, 02:07 AM
i use it after a wash sometimes its good it makes the paint shine between waxing, i alternate the spray wax and the detailer when i wash it

This is different. This is referred to as a drying aid. QD's are not meant for moderate to heavy dirt.

Jun 11th, 2016, 11:06 AM
I'm in So California so for me waterless washing works well because of the lack elements.

Absolutely love doing my light dusting with a California duster followed by ultimate wash and wax spray. Once your vehicle is properly sealed/waxed this method becomes the easiest.

I'm fortunate to have dark painted rims where I use the damp microfiber towel from doing the body to clean all the brake dust away. Makes cleaning the rims super simple with out leaving water spots.

Adding ultimate spray wax once a week can also protect the paint for over 6 months. (I'm sure it can go longer but I perfer a solid bucket wash and clay every 5-6 months)

Compleatly sold on the entire process

Old Bear
Jul 2nd, 2016, 04:35 PM
I understand that my "El Camino garaged most of the time" situation is different than most other members.

I haven't used water to wash the EL Camino since I bought it. The first 2 years, I only used Meguiar's Ultimate Quick Detailer and once Ultimate Spray Wax. Both products leave some polymer protection.

At the Detailing 101 Class, Nicholas Winn suggested trying the Ultimate Wash and Wax Anywhere, instead of the Detailer. It has a higher lubricity level.

I have used it three times now. Especially from the horizontal surfaces,I find that it picks up more of the dirt into the microfiber cloth than when using the Detailer product. That is good, just watch the microfiber cloth and keep moving to clean sections of cloth. I have found that it streaks more than the Ultimate Quick Detailer, particularly if the hood is warm. Turn to a clean part of the cloth that now is saturated with product and use that to interact/dissolve the streaks and follow it quickly with a polishing microfiber. That may even mean right hand UWWA and left hand polishing cloth.

Although it takes a little longer with the UWWA, I think the higher lubricity and dirt pickup is safer for the paint. Here is an example:

http://www.elcaminocentral.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=64594&d=1467505591<!-- / message --><!-- attachments -->

Sep 13th, 2016, 02:21 PM
I absolutely love this stuff..I actually use it as a quick detailer...Love the fact that can use it on glass without the need to drag out the hose and buckets..very easy to apply and remove and the results are amazing..

Old Bear
Nov 6th, 2017, 09:13 PM
Mike or Nick
How cold can it be in a garage to use UWWA (OK whatever the new name).
Would it freeze to the car?
Would the microfiber towels get damp and have ice crystals that would scratch?

I know some products include the equivalent of the safer antifreeze (not the poisonous ethylene glycol), yet did not see it on the UWWA bottle label. Is there a minimum storage temp?

Asking for an acquaintance in Minnesota don't you know.
Something about 20 degrees. I verified, he was talking Fahrenheit not Celsius.

Where I live, I call the Chamber of Commerce here if I see frost for the third time in a year. I insist they send out guys with warm leaf blowers to make it go away. There website says frost only two days a year.

Old Bear
Nov 10th, 2017, 10:13 PM
Called Meguiar's Customer Care Center.
They suggested that 55 degrees F and above should be fine for UWWA.
Watch for streaking if it gets colder.
For storage, keep above freezing 32 degrees.
I know I can use it all year. I just need to watch the high humidity.