So you love keeping your vehicle clean but don’t want to rewash your car completely every day or spend a fortune at the car wash? It sounds like you need to get yourself some waterless car wash products.
Waterless car wash products are a cheap and easy way to keep your ride looking like new. As long as there is minimal dirt or dust on the surface of your car, truck or SUV, these products will allow you to apply a pre-mixed spray to the body and easily wipe away any surface grime like bugs, water spots, bird droppings and more.
Don’t have time to wash the car before an important event or even a date? Or maybe you don’t have a driveway and hose at your home to do a proper car wash. Condo and apartment dwellers might find use in a waterless car wash. Just pull the waterless car wash product and a rag from your trunk, spray it down, wipe it off, and your vehicle will be left looking like it just left the local touchless car wash.
For more information on waterless car wash products, refer to our table of contents.
Table of contents
- 1. Editor's Pick: Meguiar's Ultimate Waterless Wash & Wax
- 2. Best High End Wash: Chemical Guys Hyper Concentrated Waterless Car Wash & Wax
- 3. Aero Cosmetics Wet or Waterless Car Wash Wax Kit
- 4. Griot's Garage Spray-On Car Wash
- 5. OPT Optimum No Rinse Wash & Wax
- 6. Rain-X Waterless Car Wash and Rain Repellent
- 7. DualPolymer Waterless Car Wash
- 8. Mothers California Gold Waterless Wash & Wax
- When to Use Waterless Car Wash Products
- How to Use a Waterless Car Wash Spray
- What About Waxing?
1. Editor's Pick: Meguiar's Ultimate Waterless Wash & Wax
Meguiar’s Ultimate Waterless Wash & Wax is a well-priced waterless car wash product that will help to lift dirt off the surface of your vehicle and also leave behind a wax barrier it for a shiny, sealed finish.
Meguiar’s promises its waterless wash and wax won’t leave behind any water spots and will also protect against swirls and scratches. It’s safe for glossy paints with clear coat finishes, polished metals and even plastic trim as well.
This product is ideal for a car that’s already clean. Some other waterless car wash products will be tougher on dirt, bugs and other sticky surface dirt and grime, but may not leave your car looking quite as shiny as this product from Meguiar’s.
2. Best High End Wash: Chemical Guys Hyper Concentrated Waterless Car Wash & Wax
This waterless wash and wax from the reputable folks over at Chemical Guys is a concentrated mixture that you can water down to make it go a bit further. Chemical Guys says it will make up to 2 gallons of ready to use waterless wash.
Described as the ‘Ultimate Complete Detail’ in a bottle, this waterless wash and wax will shine your car and provide lasting protection from other dirt and grime. It safely removes dirt without scratching your vehicle’s exterior. You should use a quality microfiber towel with this wash. It’s also appropriate to be used on wheels, bumpers, paintwork, plastic trim and more.
Some users report the wash being a bit too thin when watered down with Chemical Guys’ suggested ratio. To remedy this, you may want to use a bit more of the concentrated wash than the bottle suggests.
3. Aero Cosmetics Wet or Waterless Car Wash Wax Kit
This waterless car wash and wax kit from Aero Cosmetics is a great deal and provides you with everything you might need for cleaning your car without using a hose or a bucket of water.
The industrial-strength wash and wax kit includes a 144 oz waterless wash, which is good for up to 36 uses, and also includes a 16 oz spray bottle, 4 microfiber towels and a helpful how-to guide. It’s also biodegradable and won’t irritate your eyes or skin.
Aero Cosmetics says the wash is appropriate for RVs, motorcycles and boats in addition to cars.
4. Griot's Garage Spray-On Car Wash
Griot’s Garage Spray-On waterless car wash sells in a 22 oz format for a price that many other washes sell for in 16 oz size.
It’s therefore good value for money and won’t leave behind streaks or smears. Like some other less expensive waterless washes, though, you may have to use a lot of the spray in order to clean a particularly dirty or dusty vehicle.
If your car gets washed with water frequently and you’re looking for a product to help that shine stick around for a little bit longer, this waterless wash from Griot’s is a solid, affordable option.
5. OPT Optimum No Rinse Wash & Wax
This no-rinse, waterless wash and wax from OPT comes in a convenient 32 oz format and is relatively inexpensive.
The product will wash away dirt and seal it with wax, leaving your car looking for weeks on end. OPT says it’s appropriate to be used on cars, trucks, boats, RVs and can even be used to wash wood or fiberglass paneling.
For a truly shiny finish, you may want to apply a dedicated wax to your vehicle after using this waterless wash.
6. Rain-X Waterless Car Wash and Rain Repellent
You’ve probably heard of Rain-X’s water repelling products, but may not have been aware the company also makes a waterless car wash.
Like other waterless washes, this cleaner will effectively remove dirt and grime from your car. It also serves another purpose, though: it will also ensure that water beads off of your vehicle in the event of a storm. It can, therefore, be applied to your vehicle’s windows and headlights so water doesn’t pool up on and reduce visibility.
Rain-X says the wash is safe for all exterior surfaces and, thanks to the lubricated formula, won’t leave any scratches on the surface of your car, truck or SUV.
7. DualPolymer Waterless Car Wash
This waterless car wash from Dual Polymer has acrylic resin in the formula, which can fill minor scratches in your car’s bodywork and make them less visible.
In addition to repairing minor scratches, the product retains its ability to operate as an effective waterless wash and wax.
While a bit pricier than some other waterless wash and wax products, DualPolymer’s solution comes with a free microfiber towel. It can also be used on nearly any surface and is appropriate for your RV, boat, or motorcycle.
8. Mothers California Gold Waterless Wash & Wax
If you’ve ever washed or detailed a car it’s likely you’ve used one of Mothers products.
The company’s wash and wax is highly lubricated and will leave your vehicle with a shiny, scratch-free and clean surface. It’s also safe for any exterior surface including chrome, plastic and glass.
You can buy a large 24 oz bottle of the waterless wash and wax for less than some companies sell a 16 oz waterless wash for. The product is also sold in a pack of six and as a bundle with a glass cleaner and tire renew solution.
Some users say the product doesn’t smell as good as the fruity, tropical scents of some other waterless washing products.
It’s hard to go wrong with a Mothers product—and the waterless wash and wax is no exception.
When to Use Waterless Car Wash Products
It’s important to ensure your vehicle isn’t too dirty when using a waterless car wash and wax. If your car is completely covered in surface dirt, it won’t matter how much product you use or how high of quality it is—you’ll simply spread the dirt around and risk scratching your car or putting swirls in the paint.
These are products are best used between major washes or directly after rinsing your vehicle with a hose. It’s also good for spot cleaning. If you have a few bugs on the bumper or some presents from birds flying by, you can use a waterless car cleaning product to do a spot clean.
How to Use a Waterless Car Wash Spray
It’s also important to use a thick drying towel that can help to trap the dirt instead of spreading it along the surface of your car like a thinner drying towel might. A thicker tower will also help to absorb the washing product and prevent it from being spread around or leaving streaks.
Waterless car wash products are effective at cleaning rims and wheels as well, but you want to ensure you use a different towel for the wheels than you do for the bodywork or windows. This is because the wheels can accumulate mass amounts of dirt that you don’t want to spread onto your vehicle’s bodywork. Not only will this make your car appear dirty, but it can scratch the paint.
What About Waxing?
Additionally, many of these products double as a wash and wax. While not as effective at making your car appear shiny and protecting the paint as a standalone wax might, these two-in-one products can save you time and money. They are not a complete replacement for a good wax, though. If you truly want to protect your car’s paint, we’d suggest sticking to a traditional wax.
Many consumers who buy waterless wash products will dilute the solution with water in a hand pump pressure sprayer. This allows you to easily apply the wash over a large surface area and then easily wipe the vehicle down after. It may go against the idea of it being a ‘waterless’ wash, but it’s much easier than bringing out the hose or a pressure washer.
Below are some of our favorite waterless washes available today to help you narrow down your options and decide which if these time-saving soaps is best for you.
May 17, 2022: Removed Armor Car Care and Armor All Ultrashine as no longer available. Removed Adams, Chemical Guys, FW to declutter options, renumbered remaining products
December 17, 2021: Removed previous promoted product.
June 21, 2021: Added a new link for promoted product.
June 17, 2021: Updated with a new promoted product recommendation.
June 7, 2021: Removed previous promoted product.
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.
Photo Credit: Girts Pavlins / Shutterstock.com