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Suds and Shine! Your guide to rinseless washing your vehicle without a hose!

Updated: Feb 27

Do you live in an apartment or condo, don't have access to a hose or power washer, limited parking availability, or live in a water-restricted area-Here's the guide for you!

Being restricted by water, space or time doesn't mean you must compromise on keeping your car clean and well-maintained. As a mobile detailer, I've serviced customers in water-restricted areas or areas that have limited space and are far from a water source and can't get a hose out to their vehicle to do a deep clean for their vehicle. Fortunately for my customers, I have everything on board and can do a full detail in almost any setting. What if you are trying to clean your car on your own and you don't have access to that kind of setup? I'll show you tips and tools you can use that will help you get it done correctly, safely, and right at home!

Step One - Gather your supplies!

Rinsless wash solution - opt for a high-quality rinseless wash solution that contains surfactants and polymers - these will encapsulate and trap dirt and bring it down off the surface in a safe and worry-free way.

Microfiber towels - pick up some high-quality microfiber towels that will be gentle enough on the surface of your vehicle and avoid scratches. Various companies sell some great quality ones but just be sure you aren't using a towel that has been sitting around your garage or used on tires, wheels, or surfaces that could pick up contaminants that could potentially scratch or mar your paint.

Buckets - You only need one bucket with a rinseless wash if you are using a rinseless sponge made specifically for this process. If you are using towels, then you might want to have two buckets for rinsing and solution.

Wheel cleaner - You can use a Rinesless solution for low to medium-soiled wheels, if you haven't had your wheels cleaned in a while then you may want to use an APC or All-purpose cleaner to ensure you can get them deep cleaned.

Detailing spray - This is an optional step but can be helpful with protecting your surfaces against environmental influences like weather, UV rays, etc. It will also give you some extra gloss.

Pump sprayer or foam sprayer - This is optional but can be great to use with the solution to foam or spray onto areas that are dirtier and might need a pre-soak to get better results. Using a prewash step can usually be helpful to minimize the risk of scratching or marring the paint and get a deeper clean for areas that are a little dirtier such as lower panels, wheels, front bumper, side mirrors, etc.

Step two - Preparing your car at the right location

Find a suitable location that is preferably shaded and away from anywhere that could contaminate the paint while you are washing. Stay away from the landscapers or anyone doing work in the parking lot that would make sure that nothing gets blown in your direction and possibly on the paint in the middle of your wash. Once you have the right spot, begin your presoak or prewash step. Using your foam sprayer or pump sprayer apply the solution to the dirtier parts of the vehicle so they can get a head start on the cleaning and the solution can dwell longer in those areas before you make contact with your wash media. This will minimize the risk of scratching or marring your paint and make it super easy to clean with the sponge once you get to that area.

Step three - The Rinseless wash technique.

Follow these steps for an effective wash:

  1. Mix the solution into your bucking using the correct dilution rate.

  2. using your rinsless sponge apply to the surface, beginning with the top of the vehicle and working your way down.

  3. Start with the hood, windshield, hood, and trunk, and then make your way to the sides of the vehicle.

  4. Rinse off the sponge after each section to ensure you are not dragging the dirt from one panel to the next

  5. If you are in a sunny location, you can work in smaller sections to avoid water spotting.

  6. Once your section is complete and the area is clean, dry with a premium drying towel.

  7. Using a new microfiber towel, apply the detailing spray to the towel and surface and wipe to a clean shine.

Follow these steps to tackle the wheels!

(Make sure to do the wheels after you've already cleaned the vehicle)

  1. Spray your APC or rinsless solution on the wheels.

  2. Using a separate towel wipe the surface of your tire and wheel facing.

  3. Continue to wipe until the dirt has been completely removed.

  4. Dry using a separate drying towel designated for wheels.

  5. Spray and wipe detailing spray to wheels (optional)

  6. Spray and wipe tire dressing (optional)

Step four - Final touches

Inspect your car for any spots or drips that might have appeared after you completed the detailing spray step. Use the spray with your towel (not the one you used for your wheels) to touch up any area missed or drips.

Washing your car in a restricted environment is not only possible but can also be an efficient and rewarding process. By following these simple steps and utilizing the right products, you can keep your vehicle looking its best.

Check out my video below for more in-depth info on the techniques and tools used!

Share your tips or experience in the comments and let's build a community of others in restricted environments who take pride in maintaining their cars!

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