Why we like Rinse less maintenance washes

At Rocket Auto Care we love to use rinse less wash products and we never hold back sharing our passion for these innovations of chemical engineering. In particular we favour CarPro’s “ECH20” and Optimum polymer technologies “Optimum No Rinse (ONR)”. We dont want to bore you with our detailing geekyness and we are not writing this article for detailers, basically all you need to know is that these 2 products work and that they have genuine chemical cushioning to help reduce fine scratches that typically form from washing your car, while still providing enough cleaning power to leave a sparkling shine.

What is a rinse less wash vs a waterless wash? In layman’s terms with a waterless wash you just spray the car down with the product and wipe away with some clean microfibre towels, the general idea is that the ingredients in the product encapsulate the dirt particles and prevent them from scratching your paint while wiping. The general idea with a rinse less wash is that you dilute the product in water and use more of the liquid/mixture to provide further lubrication and reduce scratching even more, you can even pre rinse your vehicle to remove debris and larger pieces of dirt, mud etc, these products dont foam up and dont contain soaps so there is no need to rinse them off, after cleaning a couple of wipes with a clean and dry microfibre cloth will buff the paint to a brilliant shine because of the polymers in the formulation. Both of these methods sound great in theory and there is extensive research done by both of these wonderful companies to make the product as effective as possible but in practical application you are more than likely going to scratch your car with these methods. This is fine for most people because they would probally use these products for washing their car at home and by being a little bit careful (and presoaking the vehicle) you could wash your car better and safer than most neighbourhood car washes (please see our post on why car washes scratch your car).  Thats why if you maintain your car well dont ever touch, wipe or lean on your car when its dirty, no lube = instant scratches.

Well then can high end detailers use rinse less / waterless washes to maintain vehicles? Yes and no, no because if you have spent 30 hours (and some $$$$) correcting the paint on an expensive vehicle why on earth would you risk ruining the mirror finish of your paint. The trick to using the technology effectively is to give the polymers and other magic unicorn dust in ONR/Echo20 the best opportunity to encapsulate the dirt particles to prevent the dirt from scratching as you wipe. 

You can do this by

  1. Remove as much of the dirt as possible by pre rinsing with flowing water – rinse, rinse and rinse. However you will reach a point where the water alone wont be able to remove anymore muck and mechanical wiping will be required
  2. Get as much product on the paint as possible – flood that dirt and paint with polymers then they have a greater chance of bonding with the dirt and protecting the paint. That is why we definitely prefer rinse less washes over waterless because you can dilute the concentrated formula with water so it is far more cost effective for everyone.
  3. Use as many good quality clean microfibre clothes as you can find! We always only use 1 cloth per panel and sometimes if the vehicle is really dirty we use 2 for cleaning each panel after the panel is wiped down we put that cloth in an empty bucket and it never touches the paint again so abrasive dirt doesnt get spread around the vehicle – thats around 20 clothes for a simple wash! Again take it into context if you are doing at home washes and you havent had a detailer polish your paint to perfection the odds are there are scratches in your paint already so use 2 or 3 clothes like the ONR video its fine but if you are fanatical like us and you have spent some time and money perfecting your paint use 20 clothes, its worth it to maintain a flawless finish.
  4. Watch your pressure – use high quality plush clothes and fold them into four sections so you have 4 clean sides (and 4 more on the inside) for each swipe along the panel, USE AS LITTLE PRESSURE AS POSSIBLE to remove all the dirt, the less pressure means the less you will be grinding dirt into the paint and scratching it.
  5. Take your time – one of the best features of a rinse less wash is that there is no soap (a strange sensation the first few washes) so you can see exactly what is going on as you are wiping so you can be carefull and precise, minimising any would be damage to the paint.

There is definitely a place for using foam cannons and high foam car shampoos and the technology is equally amazing (we have and sometimes use this equipment) but the recent advancements in rinse less wash technology make it an attractive option when choosing how to wash your vehicle. We are not chemists and we dont fully understand how these products work (unicorn dust) but we know they work for us and maybe if the guys at Optimum saw this post they would say all the extra steps are unnecessary but we know what works for us through tried and true methods in practical every day detailing. 

 – Check out the Gary Dean Method vid, this is the closest wash method video we could find to how we like to do a rinse less maintenance wash, we are also more than willing to set you up for maintaining your own vehicle with a simple and cost effective rinse less wash set up, this can be very rewarding especially if you love your car and like it looking good, obviously only after we have done some form of paint correction, because what would be the point of taking the time and effort to do a scratch less wash if your vehicle is full or swirl marks. Remember Assess . Correct . Protect . Maintain. in that order.

This is also really interesting, i cant remember where i read this and i am not even sure if it is legimately from Optimum but i saved it and i started thinking twice about foam washes because what they are saying makes sense How a rinse less wash works


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