Get Your Car Looking Great (Without a Hose or Water)

dirty windshield

So your car's looking grubby and grimy, but there's no car wash around and you don't have access to a hose, bucket, mitt and spigot (or maybe it's midsummer drought and car washing is prohibited due to water rationing). How do you handle it?

You don't just want to take a towel or rag and wipe the dirt off, as that's a good way to leave fine scratches in your finish from the grit and grime. Obviously if you've got a 4x4 that's been bashing around off-road and there's 1/4" of mud on it, you're going to have to wait until you can get some high-pressure water to knock that thick crust of dirt off. If you're just in need of a little touch-up, though, there are ways around this problem.

What Is Waterless Wash?

Waterless wash products are a combination of lubricants, waxes, UV protectants, sealants and other compounds that not only lift away dirt and grime but leave a shine on your car's finish. Just use a microfiber cloth and a spray bottle of waterless wash and you can deal with a light layer of dirt and get your finish looking nice and glossy again.

Waterless wash products are especially handy for cleaning areas like the door jamb, inside the trunk or hatch or underhood, where it's not practical to use a jet of water and a mitt or sponge. It's easy to overlook those areas because they're a little harder to clean, but they do tend to get grimy. Here are a few waterless wash products we carry at Advance Auto Parts:

  • Mothers California Gold Waterless Wash and Wax — Mothers products are a longtime favorite of detailers, and this particular waterless wash is a great option for in between washes or wax jobs.
  • Meguiar's Ultimate Wash & Wax Anywhere — One bottle can clean up to five average-sized cars, completely without water. After gently lifting dirt, this spray leaves behind a glossy wax that leaves your car looking great in as little as 15 minutes.
  • 3M Waterless Wash — Formulated with waxes and mild cleaning agents, 3M Waterless Wash is another great spray-on/wipe-off product that's safe for use on paint, plastic, glass and even tires.
  • White Diamond Interior and Exterior Quick Detail Spray — This water-based product is 100% biodegradable and free of polymers, alcohol, silicone and other additives. White Diamond won't leave a residue on dashboards, door panels and other surfaces like some products. It's safe for clear-coat finishes and is proudly made in the USA.
  • Eagle One Wipe & Shine Detailer — This product uses polymers and natural waxes to repel water and grime and keep your finish shiny and slick between waxes. Perfect for touchups and light cleaning jobs, Eagle One is part of a great family of products.

See just how easy it is to use, and you'll realize you have no excuse not to keep your car clean!

Have you ever used a waterless wash? Let us know in the comments.

Last updated August 14, 2019