Waterless Cleaning For A Sparkling Ride

Intense droughts and the rising cost of water is changing the way we wash our vehicles.

Waterless wash products appeal to eco-conscious folks who still want their cars to look sharp.

“Instant detailers or waterless wash and waxes are becoming more readily available and are ideal for cleaning up trouble spots on the go,” said Jim Dvorak of Southern California-based Mothers Polish. “A bottle of waterless wash or an instant detailer with a microfiber towel lifts off debris and contaminants.”

Environmental contaminants, left to fester, can ultimately damage paint. Bugs are particularly troublesome--their sticky film clings to painted surfaces. Dust settles on the exterior, seats and the dashboard, courses through vents and nestles in the fibers of the carpet.

Brushes are extremely helpful when it comes to cleaning such messes.

A variety of automotive brushes keep your vehicle looking presentable inside and out. Dvorak recommends brushes with a longer handle for fenders to keep your hands free of grime. Soft, scratch-free bristles should be used for delicate areas like rims and the paint.

“Just be sure not to use an exterior brush on the interior,” Dvorak said. “You could transfer stains into the upholstery.”

Dvorak offered the following recommendations to improve your vehicle’s appearance on the fly this summer, inside and out:

  • Remove dust from the exterior. Use a clean, dry microfiber or terry cloth towel cloth. Or swipe the exterior with a duster intended for vehicles.
  • Use a microfiber towel for best results. Microfiber is a combination of polyesters and polyamides. Made in laboratories, each microfiber strand is around 1/100th the diameter of a human hair and the ultra-fine thread produces a delicate touch and soft texture.
  • Keep a bottle of waterless wash and wax or instant detailer in your trunk. The products quickly and easily remove sap, bug entrails, dust and bird droppings.
  • Keep your reservoir of windshield wiper fluid full of a cleaner designed for bugs and road film. The cleaners are more efficient than water alone and contain enzymes that feast on viscous residue.
  • Dark-colored vehicles show dust accumulation quickly. Apply a spray wax detailer every two or three weeks and a carnauba-based wax every three months.
  • Use a spray detailer every two to three weeks. It maintains the high gloss shine in between major wax applications. It also prevents contaminants such as bird droppings, road tar and tree sap from creating staining your vehicle exterior.