Greetings fellow detailing enthusiasts! It has been a busy summer in the detail studio, and it was a pleasure to host another national training event for Ceramic Pro. We had about 20 installers from all over the country come in for a 2-day training event that was put on by Ceramic Pro for both new and veteran installers to learn the latest and greatest techniques. I love these types of events because they give us an opportunity to share ideas and best practices with other detailers. As a professional detailer, and even in my personal life, I’ve always felt that we should be like a sponge when it comes to information. Take in as much as you can, to learn as much as you can. You can always filter what you think is accurate or not afterward, but listening and being open-minded is the only way we can grow and improve on our skills. Otherwise, you run the risk of not keeping up with the times and being stuck a few decades in the past, doing the same thing.

Anytime you get a group of detailers together, we’re bound to talk about products. As professionals, we know what we like and what has worked great for us in our shops, but there’s always something new that may change how we tackle a certain aspect of detailing. Of course, all of us in the group were using Ceramic Pro, but on one occasion the conversation turned to waterless washing. In Indiana, and anywhere that contends with harsh winter seasons, it can be almost impossible, not to mention unsafe, to wash our vehicles conventionally on a driveway. And there are areas where washing in your driveway is not possible because of water restrictions or lack of a water supply. In this edition of Shift, I’m going to share with you the wonders of washing without rinsing.

In our industry, waterless washing is a pretty common approach that is extremely useful in areas where water restrictions, water availability, or weather conditions rule out conventional washing. Washing without rinsing — sorcery, you say? Let me explain how it works.

First, please remember that it’s important to ensure that the vehicle’s surface is cool whenever possible, just like when you’re washing conventionally.

Rinse-free washes are pretty simple to work with. You start by adding the recommended amount to a 5-gallon bucket filled with clean water. In our shop, we mix a ratio of about 1 ounce of rinse-free wash product for every 2.5 gallons of water to make an effective mix. It’s important to read your particular rinse-free product mix ratio for best results. I also recommend using a microfiber wash mitt and definitely a grit guard to keep heavy dirt from creeping back onto your wash mitt.

Next, soak your microfiber mitt in your wash bucket, and gently glide your wash mitt over the surfaces to wash and clean the vehicle. Start at the top of the vehicle, and work a panel at a time. And save those nasty rocker panels and lower areas for last. If the surfaces are extremely dirty, use frequent passes to release dirt and contaminants. Once completed, use a microfiber drying towel to blot or pat dry the panels. Here’s a trick: for winter washing conditions, spray salty panels with Whip’s Wax Road Salt Remover prior to washing. This makes cleaning stubborn salt, which can be abrasive, extremely easy and safe.

That’s it; you’re done! But you’re probably asking yourself, “How is this not going to scratch my car?” Unlike a detailing spray, rinse-free washes contain polymers and/or natural oils to safely release dirt from the surface to allow for safe cleaning. I’m often asked, “Can’t I just do the same thing with a detail spray?” And there’s certainly a level of dirt and contamination that a detail spray can tackle safely. A vehicle with light dust or light contamination is perfect for a detail spray, but any dirtier than that, and you’re better off washing.

Here are some examples of when to use a rinse-free wash:
• Winter conditions where washing outside will make an ice rink of your driveway
• After a long drive to a car show, creating a dirty car with no water source, putting you far from winning best of show.
• A museum or specialty vehicle that cannot be moved from its location
• Drought or water-shortage conditions in an area

So if you’re ever in a situation where washing a car with a water hose is just not possible, consider a rinse-free wash product. If it’s regarded safe enough by professional detailers, it’s certainly safe to use in your garage. All of these products are available at SweetCars, and our expert detailing team can help assist you with any questions you may have. Until next time, take pride in your detailed ride!