On an average, washing your car in your garage uses about 150 to 500 liters of water in a single go, depending on size and the amount of dirt. With some areas having a limited supply of water or not having water at all, chances are you’ve stockpiled or at least come up with some rules to help conserve what little H₂O you may have access to. But that doesn’t mean that your car has to stay dirty because of the frequent interruptions and shortages. Water isn’t your only best friend when it comes to keeping your car clean, as a lot of products on the market can restore your car’s squeaky clean shine with a good amount of elbow grease.
In this article, we’ll be talking about how to give your car a thorough cleaning without using water. That’s right, you can benefit from the advantages of a waterless car wash in the comfort of your own garage. With just a few items and a trip to the automotive store, you can still pamper your vehicle and help keep your water usage on the minimum.
Find the right product
Scour the automotive section at your local hardware store, or visit an automotive shop to get the right waterless car wash product or solution. These usually come in a spray bottle for extra convenience. Take note that some products will scratch your paint if the car is caked in mud or hard deposits. In which case, look for a cleaner that will loosen and remove the hard dirt first. You’ll also find that many waterless products have wax in them, giving your car’s paint an extra layer of protection as you clean it.
Grab some microfiber towels
These towels will be your best friend during cleaning. A good rule of thumb is to use a minimum weight of 300gsm (grams per square meter), as the high quality fabric does a great job at picking up dirt and debris, while preventing smudging and smearing. Make sure to purchase a lot of these for the cleaning process, as you’ll be using multiple sides for each towel, and then moving on to a new one once it gets dirty.
Divide and conquer
Next step is to divide your car into several work sections to make it more manageable and to make sure you don’t miss out on any panels or parts. You always want to start from the top and work your way down, as you don’t want to be transferring dirt from the lower section of your vehicle to other cleaner portions. As a general rule, it goes something like this:
- The windows
- The roof
- The hood and trunk
- The upper half of the side doors
- The lower half of the side doors
- The front bumper
- The rear bumper
- The wheels
Use as much of the waterless car wash solution as you need to sufficiently cover the section you’re working on. If there’s some hard dirt or mud, use another product to loosen it up (You did read step one, right?) first.
Fold then discard
Once the panel is sprayed, start wiping with your microfiber cloth in one direction. Don’t wipe back and forth or in a circle as this will push the dirt around, leaving a streak or swirl pattern on the paint. Remember not to scrub or rub too hard; all you have to do is pick up the fluid and dirt with the microfiber towel. Fold the towel to find a cleaner side, maximizing the number of clean surfaces. Every time you start wiping, you’ll want to use a new, clean side, so as not to reintroduce dirt. You don’t want to be rubbing dirt directly onto your paint now, do you? Once the towel is all dirtied up, move on to a new one.
Spray, wipe, clean, repeat
Move on to the next section of your vehicle once you’re satisfied with the cleanliness of the part you're working on. Continue this process until the whole car is clean, working again from top to bottom. Done? Congratulations, you just saved hundreds of liters of water, plus you just learned a new way to clean your car yourself with less materials. Sure, there’s more effort, but you’ll learn to appreciate your car and it’s curves even more.