How to Wash Your Car Without Water? – 6 Steps to Do

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to wash your car without water

Maintaining the cleanliness of your car is important not only for aesthetics but also to keep it in good condition.

One is water availability, as some may live in an apartment building where they can’t hose down their car. Some may even be concerned about the cost of excessive water consumption or chemical runoff when car washing.

Luckily, those issues can be resolved with waterless detailing. And this article will show you how to wash your car without water.

Step-By-Step to Wash Your Car Without Water


What to Prepare

  • Waterless car wash (Not standard detergent)
  • Microfiber towels (10- 15 pieces)

Step 1: Determine Whether You Can Give Your Car a Waterless Wash

Car cleaning without water does have its advantages as mentioned earlier. But it would only be applicable for routine washing on a car with not-so-excessive contaminants.

If your car has a substantial amount of mud, dirt, sand, and dust, that has caked on or has accumulated over time, a car wash without water isn’t advisable. Because merely wiping them with a waterless wash would result in scratches on the paintwork.

But if you still wish to undergo waterless washing regardless of the thick contaminants, you can prevent scratches by pre-rinsing the vehicle.

Step 2: Prepare the Appropriate Cleaning Supplies


When you clean car exterior without water, it’s important to use the right cleaning product formulated for waterless car washing.

Contaminants would be effectively loosened and lubricated with a specialized product while keeping the paintwork intact. Don’t even think of using a general spray cleaner or detailing spray.

Several high-quality towels are necessary to dry wash car. The best type of towel to use would be a microfiber towel of at least 300 gsm or more.

You would be replacing a towel each time it already accumulated a lot of dirt on its sides, so make sure you have enough for cleaning your entire car. For example, we can use approximately 12 to 15 towels on an average-sized sedan.

Step 3: Prepare the Waterless Car Wash


How to prepare your waterless wash depends on its formulation and how it was bottled.

Waterless washes would come either as a concentrated formula or ready-to-use.

  • If your cleaning solution is concentrated, then it would be necessary to dilute it.
  • While if it’s ready to use, you may use it directly to spray clean car wash.

Waterless washes may also come in large bottles or spray bottles. Transferring the solution into a spray bottle would be necessary if you bought a large bottle.

If your solution comes in a spray bottle, there’s no need for transferring before you clean car without water.

Step 4: Spray the Waterless Wash on One Section

During water free car washing, you need to organize your cleaning by dividing your vehicle into different sections and working on one small area at a time.

  • It’s best to work from the top of the vehicle, starting from the window, roof, hood, trunk, and upper half of the doors.
  • Then move down to the lower half of the doors, front bumper, rear bumper, and wheels.

That’s because the lower parts of a vehicle are usually dirtier, and this technique prevents the dirt from those areas from being spread to the upper parts that are less dirty.

  • If there are some bits of tough mud or dirt, it would require another cleaning product or a bit of water to loosen those tough contaminants beforehand.
  • Then, simply spraying waterless cleaner on the vehicle. Just make sure to spray a liberal amount to get adequate cleaning coverage, and limit the spraying to two square feet for each area you work on.
  • After spraying, let the solution sit on the surface for a few seconds to work on the contaminants.

Step 5: Wipe the Section Clean


With the waterless wash, there won’t be a need for scrubbing the surface. The product itself would loosen and lubricate the contaminants.

You only have to go over the surface with a microfiber towel to wipe away the cleaner and dirt. Do it gently to prevent scratches on the paintwork.

Wiping should be done only in one direction and not in back and forth or circular motions.

Since you’re going to wash car without water, folding the microfiber towel into quarters would be necessary to get as many as eight sides for wiping.

You would also be changing your towel when all of its sides are already dirty.

Step 6: (Optional) Buff the Paintwork

This step would apply if your cleaner is wax-based, as this type of product usually requires rebuffing. Check your product’s label to see if it’s a wax-based solution that needs rebuffing.


A waterless car washing solution is indeed a problem solver for vehicle owners with concerns about water consumption and the environment.

You just have to make sure that you use the appropriate cleaning supplies and carefully follow the proper steps on how to wash your car without water to avoid damaging your vehicle’s paintwork.

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