Do Waterless Car Washes Scratch Paint?

Posted on 6 June, 2018 7:46:16

Just like with most things in life, when you decide to cut corners problems can start to appear. Whilst waterless car wash products might seem like a good idea in theory, using this method to regularly wash your car can be disastrous for your duco. We take a closer look at some of the risks of using waterless washing products.

When you wash a car with water, the first rinse removes many of the larger dirt and dust particles that are sitting on or stuck to the surface of the paint. A pH neutral soap will create generous lubrication to ensure that a soft sponge will easily move grime and dirt that is left over, without friction against the duco. Waterless washes also attempt to lubricate the surface of the car, but not in the same way. The products are generally applied with a spray bottle or aerosol can, meaning it can be difficult and time consuming to create enough lubrication to move the grime off without scratching. It can take a lot of product to actually produce a clean-looking car. There are many waterless car wash products on the market, and often they use harsh chemicals to do the work. These chemicals can remove or lessen the effect of paint protection, sealants and the top coat of your paint.

It’s relatively easy to keep your sponge clean when washing with water, as you can rinse and wring it regularly. Waterless washes require a dry, high quality microfibre cloth to be used as a coarse cloth itself could cause scratching. If you’re not regularly switching to a new cloth during a once-over of your car, you may be wiping the surface dirt into the paintwork over and over again. The likely result of this is that you end up with lots of small scratches or swirl marks in your duco, which you definitely want to avoid if you love a showroom shine.

If it’s the environmental impact of using water to wash your car that is of concern to you, it’s important to be aware that waterless washes have their own environmental concerns. Applying waterless wash in your driveway exposes you to fumes of the chemicals in the product and aerosol cans can pose a risk to the ozone layer. Not to mention that when the car does get wet with rain, the product applied will wash off the car and into storm water drains. Water that you wash with in your driveway will also reach storm water, but careful selection of products and washing on grass or gravel can help avoid environmental pollution. Taking your car to be washed professionally is a good alternative to driveway washing and waterless washing alike. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) generally requires water of commercial car washes to drain to ‘trade waste’, which means the water enters the sewerage system for treatment, rather than general storm water drains which wash out to rivers and seas.

If you choose a commercial hand car wash where there are always plenty of customer service staff on hand, you can speak to the staff directly about their waste water management. The added bonus of choosing a professional hand car wash service to wash your car is that they will generally use pH neutral soaps and quality products that care for your paint, and you’ll be sure to leave with that shining clean car that you’re after.


Topics:   Car Care

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