Some useful information about waterless cleaning….

I found this article very interesting, dispelling some of the myths regarding waterless cleaning.

Of course, the best proof is in the results, but articles like this always help.

Myth #1: A Waterless Car Wash will scratch my car's paint.

Avoiding scratching and marring comes down to technique and common sense.

First, make sure you are using quality microfiber towels. My personal preference is to use towels with a minimum weight of 300 GSM (grams per square meter). Either look on the tag or ask the manufacturer for the weight of the towels.

Next, when wiping the Waterless Car Wash formula from the surface of the vehicle, use light strokes to pick up dirt. There is no need to aggressively rub the formula on the car's surface. I typically take the approach of "wipe and lift" so that the contaminants are not dragging on the surface of the vehicle.

Lastly, use common sense. If you are dealing with a surface that is muddy or sandy, you will obviously need a pre-rinse. Many people will argue that a pre-rinse defeats the purpose of a "waterless" car wash. Not in my opinion. With any method of washing your vehicle, whether it's waterless, rinseless or a hose and'll need to somehow removes those heavy contaminants before cleaning the car. Otherwise you will definitely run into problems.

Myth #2: It's not really "waterless" if you have to clean the microfiber towels in water.

To tackle this myth, we need to first clarify what "waterless" means. When people first hear the term they automatically think it means using absolutely no water at all. While this would be nice, it's not realistic. In my personal opinion, it means using significantly LESS water than the other methods available to consumers. What are those methods? See Myth #5.

So yes, you will need to clean the microfiber towels. The towels can easily be washed by letting them soak in a 1-gallon bucket of hot water with a little dish detergent. If you have a bunch of towels, save them all up and do one full load versus cleaning individually. There is also the misconception people have that the towels are disposed of after one use. Not true. The average microfiber towel can be washed and re-used up to 50 times. Considering that the average person cleans their cars once ever two weeks, the towels will last you for about two years before disposal.

If you want to truly be "waterless" then perhaps you should not clean your car at all. But, for most of us who want to keep our vehicles looking nice and maintain their finish, a Waterless Car Wash is a great option.

Myth #3: A quick detailing product and waterless car wash product are the exact same thing.

I can't speak for all brands on this point but will do my best to address this myth. Typically Waterless Car Wash products have greater cleaning power than quick detailers. Waterless car wash products combine surfactants, lubricants and pH builders to help break down surface grime more effectively. Quick detailers on the other hand are primarily used to add an instant shine/gloss to a car's paint and are not specifically engineered for cleaning purposes.

Myth #4: All waterless car wash products are the same.

Not so. There are actually many differences between the various waterless car wash products out there. Here are some questions to ask when viewing the vast array of products:

• Water-based or petroleum-distillate based formula?
• Full ingredient disclosure on packaging and all CAS numbers on MSDS sheets?
• Does formula contain protective agents (e.g. silicone emulsion, carnauba wax, teflon, PEG, etc)
• Is there isopropyl alcohol used in the formula?
• Are bottles and sprayers 100% recyclable?
• Can the formula be used on both paint & windows?
• Is the product a private-label brand?
• Is the product made in the USA?
• Are there fragrances or dyes? Are they synthetic or natural?
• Aerosol or pump sprayer?

If you need any help answering the questions above, shoot an email to info[at]ecotouch[dot]net and we will do our best to answer.

Myth #5: Using a waterless car wash product doesn't really help the environment.

The best method of analysis is to compare Waterless Car Washing to the other options available on the market today for consumers.

Environmental impact by method:

Hose and bucket wash
• Production and transportation of chemicals -> distributor -> retail store -> consumer
• 80 - 140 gallons of water per wash (data from the International Car Wash Association)
• Discharge of soapy suds, brake dust and car oils into environment
• Water sanitation costs and energy
• Disposal of packaging

Commercial car wash
• Production and transportation of chemicals -> distributor -> car wash facility
• Disposal of packaging (drums)
• 45 gallons of water per wash
• Energy required to run equipment and reclaim water
• Fixed sites impact on the land

Waterless car wash
• Production and transportation of chemicals -> distributor -> retail store -> consumer
• 4 - 6 oz of waterless car wash formula used per car
• Disposal of packaging

Comparisons of the three most common methods available to consumers today clearly illustrate that Waterless Car Washing has the least environmental impact. The savings in water, energy and chemicals are only compounded as you think of the millions of cars being washed every day.

In the future, it would be great to do a full product life cycle analysis on the Waterless Car Wash method and find what our true net impact is.


JM Valeting, mobile valeting Solihull, Birmingham and West Midlands

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