Waterless Car Wash Products – Do They Really Work?

Meguiar's Ultimate Waterless Wash & Wax Anywhere 768mlIn recent years it has been a rare occurrence if a month has gone by where we have not been approached by a company looking for us to stock their new waterless car wash product.

Some extol the virtues of the “environmentally friendly” properties of the product, although reading up on many these mainly relate to the fact that it is saving water, rather than the make-up of the product itself.

Others talk up the cleaning properties of the waterless car wash products, although very few seem to go so far as to guarantee not to cause swirl marks on your paintwork.

So far I have resisted these products – but am I being too traditional? I admit we have always believed that for the safest wash possible as much as the dirt and grime should be washed off the vehicle with water, prior to the use of a good quality car shampoo  and lambswool (or microfibre) wash mitt.

I agree that where we are talking giving the paintwork a final prep, having been driven to a show, then a good quality detailing spray and microfibre cloth will work wonders to restore the shine, but to do a regular weekly wash with a waterless product makes me a very nervous.

Many of the waterless car wash products claim to contain advanced wetting agents and emulsifiers which are meant to soften the dirt and grime on the car and encase each particle in a microscopic lubricated coating and lifting it from the surface of the paint, ready to be wiped away with microfibre towel or other suitable material.

But can such ingredients really and truly prevent the particle from swirling the surface of the paint as it is being wiped away?

Having had so many approaches I have finally succumbed to the possibility there may be something in the claims made by the manufacturers of these products and will be looking to test one or two over the winter. As soon as I have finished testing I will let you know the results in a further blog post.

Over To You

In the meantime I would be very interested to hear of your own thoughts and experiences with such waterless car wash products, especially if you have tried any of the ones below. Have you found they live up to their claims, have you found that they do or don’t cause swirls, have you got any photos or video? Please let me know.

Bestseller No. 1
Williams Waterless Wash and Wax (4 x 1 L) + 2 x Triggers
410 Reviews
Williams Waterless Wash and Wax (4 x 1 L) + 2 x Triggers
  • High performance formula with no need for water for a brilliant shine
  • With carnauba wax for a stunning gloss and paint protection
  • Removes dirt, grime, road film, tar, paint oxidation and more with ease, from all types of paint
  • No streaks, smears, scratches or water spots
  • Contents: 4 x 1 L, 2 x Trigger
Bestseller No. 2
King of Sheen Advanced Ultra Nano Waterless Car Wash and Wax Spray Car Cleaner with Canauba Wax and Nano Polymers for Unbeatable Protection and Shine,(3 x 500ml)+2 Professional Microfibre Cloths
268 Reviews
King of Sheen Advanced Ultra Nano Waterless Car Wash and Wax Spray Car Cleaner with Canauba Wax and Nano Polymers for Unbeatable Protection and Shine,(3 x 500ml)+2 Professional Microfibre Cloths
  • LOVE YOUR CAR, Love the environment then you will Love King of Sheen................
  • SHOWROOM SHINE IN UNDER 30 MINS, No streaks or smears, No water needed just spray on wipe then buff off.
  • NO SCRATCH FORMULA, Contains latest Nano technology and Carnauba wax, the world's hardest natural protective wax.
  • CLEANS, POLISHES, WAX AND PROTECTS all exterior surfaces with average usage of 100 - 150ml per vehicle.It is free from all abrasives, phosphates, bleach, solvent, petroleum, acids and any other harmful ingredients and contains UV screen protectors. It removes oxidation, water spots, traffic film and delivers a deep mirror-gloss finish, repelling water and dirt build. Perfect for new and older vehicles - use as a premium weekly maintenance/cleaning product.
  • GUARANTEED to make your car shine and you smile!! or your money back
Bestseller No. 3
Williams Racing Waterless Car Wash and Wax Cleaning Kit with 2 x Original 1L, 2 x Cherry Blossom 1L + 2 x Triggers
276 Reviews
Williams Racing Waterless Car Wash and Wax Cleaning Kit with 2 x Original 1L, 2 x Cherry Blossom 1L + 2 x Triggers
  • Perfect streak-free finish
  • Carnauba wax for enhanced paint protection
  • Approved by the Rokit Williams Racing team
  • Over 2500 five star reviews on TV shopping Channels
SaleBestseller No. 4
Meguiar's Ultimate Waterless Wash & Wax Anywhere 768ml
4,963 Reviews
Meguiar's Ultimate Waterless Wash & Wax Anywhere 768ml
  • No scratch formula conveniently and gently washes and adds wax protection in one easy step. Can be used anywhere with no hose, bucket, or rinsing
  • Advanced chemistry contains a water spot-free formula coupled with a high-lubricity that protects the surface against swirling and scratching as it gently cleans
  • Waterless Wash & Wax that leaves behind a glossy, synthetic wax barrier that lasts weeks
  • Is safe and effective on all glossy paints and clear coat finishes, glass, chrome, polished metals, and plastic trim.
  • Ideal for those who do not have access to a hose, live in a city, or apartment, or at car shows
Bestseller No. 5
Diamond Shine System Waterless Car Wash and Wax Cleaner - 1 Litre Liquid Carnauba Spray Kit w/ 2 Microfibre Cloths - Quick Detailer Cleaning, Polish, Shine & Protect with Nano Technology
617 Reviews
Diamond Shine System Waterless Car Wash and Wax Cleaner - 1 Litre Liquid Carnauba Spray Kit w/ 2 Microfibre Cloths - Quick Detailer Cleaning, Polish, Shine & Protect with Nano Technology
  • PREMIUM QUALITY CAR WASH AND CAR POLISH SOLUTION SPRAY FOR PROFESSIONAL SHOWROOM SHINE: Diamond Shine System’s solution is the go-to car cleaning kit product for optimal car wash, car polish and vehicle exterior protection. It removes dirt, pollen, dust and other stains and leaves behind no streaks smears or spots.
  • EASY SPRAY WATERLESS WASH AND WAX CAR CLEANER: Diamond Shine System has a smooth and water-like formula that is very easy to spray unlike other solution sprays that have thick fluids. Leave your buckets, brushes, water hoses and car polisher tools in the garage where they belong. Diamond Shine System requires no water to clean and polish your car. Just spray and wipe down with the no-scratch 'label-less' microfiber cloths included in the package, Good to go no matter where you are.
  • MADE IN THE UK HIGH TECH WAX FORMULA WITH CARNAUBA AND NANO WAX GLOSS PROTECTION: The innovative carnauba and nano wax combination is ideal for protecting your car's paint from rain, UV radiation and other environmental hazards. It also gives it a deep gloss making it look almost new. It is simply a must-have car wash and car polish solution spray!
  • ECO FRIENDLY AND 100% SAFE: Diamond Shine System's waterless car wash and car polish solution will help you protect the environment by conserving the liters and liters of water conventional cleaning products that require hosing down waste. It also contains no abrasive or toxic chemicals and comes in a 1000ML economy pack that will last you for a while. You can help preserve our environment by getting rid of toxic car cleaning kit materials.
  • TOTAL CUSTOMER RISK FREE PURCHASE: In the off-chance our waterless car wash and car polish product does not meet your expectations or when for some odd reasons you are not satisfied with the result of our car wax solution, we offer you a 30-day money back guarantee, so order without worry your money's worth is safe with us.



  • roger gale or ttautodetailing
    Posted October 1, 2010 2:52 pm 0Likes

    After using on a trial base a few waterless products, I have come to my own conclusion that waterless has its place as you mentioned with cars that need a final prep to remove dust and fine dirt.

    I have found that ONR (Optimum no rinse) is a fantastic product. I have used it for many months and love the way it is mixed in a bucket like a traditional shampoo mix but then no need to rinse off like suds, just buff the car for a safe shine with a microfibre. This product really does bridge the gap between loads of water being wasted and a waterless system in my opinion.

    Very, very economical with little pollution into any storm drains.

    Roger Gale

  • Alan Smith
    Posted October 2, 2010 1:11 pm 0Likes

    I have used Pro Shine Waterless wash and wax,
    on my Toyota’s Metallic paint for four year and now on my Mercedes.
    I have not had any of the swirl damage that most seem to think will happen,
    just a really good shine,
    I have found it particularly useful after parking under sappy trees it get straight under the goo, wipes off then buffs up to a shine,
    gets the gunge and brake dust off wheels without the need of those acid type cleaners that I used to use just spray on all the wheels then wipe off
    buff to a shine, no scrubbing no gloves or goggles

    • John Watson
      Posted October 8, 2010 8:17 pm 0Likes

      I have been using a product called Showroom shine which is what Pro shine used to be called. I have used it on my 3 previous cars and Iam using it on my current car, It is an amazing product to use and none of my cars have developed swirl marks.I have a number of friends that wont use any thing else.
      The great thing is ,the more times you use it the less dirt seems to stick to your paintwork. I use it to clean all areas of my car including the windscreen with no smearing when it rains

      • Sean Poyser
        Posted March 13, 2012 11:19 am 0Likes

        Showroom Shine is not what ProShine Spray & Shine used to be called, regardless of what GL say.

        ProShine Spray & Shine is still available from their website http://www.proshine.co.uk

        It is better value that Showroom Shine, and still gives better results!

  • Jon Rome
    Posted October 4, 2010 3:13 pm 0Likes

    I have been using WoW (With out Water) for some months now. It was demonstrated at the Matching Green Classic & Sports Car Club Annual Show in July 2010 when it first went on sale.
    Unlike the other comments you have posted, this is truly waterless (well ok, you have to wash the microfibre cloths).
    It is simply a matter of putting a fine spray on a panel at a time, wait a few seconds, wipe off with one of the cloths supplied & then buff up with the other. It is extremely easy to use & I’ve found it even works on red hot paintwork.
    It is advertised as no scratch & I certainly think it lives up to the claim. I’ve taken off thick dried-on mud & seen no sign of scratching.

    It not only works well on paint but is excellent on chrome & glass, especially as apparently it contains no silicone.

    I use it on my everyday 4×4, 2 Jaguar XJS’s, Jaguar XK8 & Rover 2000. My wife refuses to use anything else on her Jag S type.

    Spiders are now living peacefully in my pressure washer.

    I’d put a couple of photos here if I knew how to!

  • Ashley
    Posted October 8, 2010 3:53 pm 0Likes

    Optimum no rinse is a great product and I’ve been using it for over a year and found not difference compared to doing a two bucket wash. To my surprise it does not cause swirls.
    But I will add it is not a true waterless wash because you still add it to a bucket of water as said above. The only difference is there is no rinsing.

    Great product if your on a water meter!

    • Doug Sinnott
      Posted September 16, 2012 6:39 pm 0Likes

      Go the whole hog,and go waterless,you won’t go back,I didn’t!
      See my comment!

  • chris
    Posted September 1, 2011 10:53 am 0Likes

    i have used AquaZero on my Peugeot 207 for quite some time now & have been really amazed with the results that it has given I was a little hesitant when I first started using it but since I have started using the product at concourse events the car has won a few prizes which it never did before.

    I use the product all over the vehicle from roof to sill & everything in between (including the windows – inside & out).

    I would stongly urge anyone who hasnt seen the product to visit the site (www.drymotive.com) & if they require any picture give me a shout i’ll quite happily share with you how my car turned out

    email @ [email protected]

  • Jon Romer
    Posted August 5, 2012 8:06 am 0Likes

    I have used a number of waterless products on my 17 daily Mercedes, my 42 4×4’s, my private jet and my 4 speedboats. My wife won’t let me near her 69 Porsches with anything else. I also find it works really well on my head – it is enormous and is good for large surface areas

  • Doug Sinnott
    Posted September 16, 2012 6:36 pm 0Likes

    I was a doubter I must admit!
    Having been cleaning my cars for over 40 years the traditional way,with shampoo,chamois leathers,good quality car polishes,and,of course,plenty of water,I couldn’t believe these products could be that good!
    However,watching a shopping channel one day,I watched a demo of “Showroom Shine”,a waterless car cleaner.
    My wife persuaded me to buy some,and once I’d used it,I was hooked!
    It does everything they claim,and,using microfibre cloths,it doesn’t scratch,it cleans off bird droppings,tar,etc.,can be used in bright sunshine(unlike some car polishes!),and it really does give a fantastic shine to your bodywork!
    It also can clean your double glazing,car windows,alloy wheels,chrome trim,mirrors,in fact most hard surfaces,and just makes life so much easier.
    So all you traditionalists,I’ve been using this polish for over two years now,in all kinds of conditions,and can’t fault it.
    Definitely no “swirl marks”,or white residue anywhere,and,NO scratches(I still don’t really understand how it works!),but,every 6 months or so,I do go over the car with the power wash,to clean the wheel arches,and the little crevices,and when dry,finish off with “Showroom Shine”,which is much better than doing it every week or so!
    And the car does keep cleaner,for longer,so you just can’t go wrong with this polish.
    Just try it,you’d be as surprised as I was!

  • Jack
    Posted November 24, 2012 10:53 am 0Likes

    Greased lightning showroom shine is 10x better than a conventional car washing system

  • andy w
    Posted February 19, 2013 9:36 pm 0Likes

    Just ordered my second lot of showroom shine ( I may be spraying to much on), I am converted for use on the caravan with excellent results. I have done my partners car and mine with no sign of the dreaded swirl. alloys too come up good. excellent around door ways etc as now water spray into foot-wells or on seats.

    You need to have plenty of good quality micro-fibre cloths and don’t try to make them last longer than necessary, once dirty change immediately, keeping best clothes for polishing. used a total of five clothes to clean my Santa Fe progressively using the ‘polish’ cloth as the ‘cleaning’ cloth as they become dirty.

    Down side is not removing dirt from nooks and crannies, wheel arches, inner rims on alloys. but as an in-between quick valet the results are great.

  • Reg Hayes
    Posted June 7, 2014 10:20 am 0Likes

    I have been using waterless wax products since March 2010 and that was the last date I washed my car with water, I still have the same car.

  • Alistair Scott
    Posted October 6, 2015 2:49 pm 0Likes

    People are getting too hung up on the possibility of swirls and scratches etc. Anyone who has used Showroom shine will know that very little effort is required to lift any dirt, gritty or not. I reckon that using a soapy sponge and water is potentially more likely to scratch the paintwork. If you follow the instructions by continually turning the cloth round to a clean area, there is absolutely no danger of damaging the paintwork. The product is brilliant, and at this time of year when the sun is low, no other product will give you such an immaculately clean windscreen.

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