1/27/08:  Late this afternoon I gave a friend a ride home; as we passed a “touchless” car wash I commented that I’d love to get the salt and grime off my car – but I didn’t dare as it was only 14ºF out – and was afraid that the doors would freeze shut before I could get home.

But when I arrived home I remembered that I could wash the car – in the garage and out of the wind.  I mixed up a quick 2 gallon batch of a “no rinse” car wash and put another couple of gallons of water (WARM water in both cases!) in a second 5 gallon bucket equipped with a “grit guard.”  Finally, I took an empty spray bottle and put about 12 oz. or so of the no rinse wash in it.

Next I took about 5 minutes to liberally spray the no rinse solution over the hood, trunk lid, wheels and sides of the car.  I also hit a couple of spots on the roof which had some salt spray.  Then, I grabbed a couple of quality microfiber towels and went to work on the car with the bucket of the no-rinse solution, carefully removing all the dirt, salt and grime with a cloth – and then rinsing the cloth in the plain water/rinsing bucket.

15 minutes later there was about a gallon or so of water on the floor of the garage and the car was spotless.  I did all of this while wearing the clothes I’d worn to work – plus a jacket, of course.

What is “no rinse” car wash?  Here’s a quick definition from the people who make the brand I’ve been using:

Add 1 ounce of No Rinse Wash & Shine to 2 gallons of water to make an excellent no rinse car wash. Soak a quality microfiber towel in the solution and wash your vehicle with the wet towel. Dry each section with another microfiber towel. There’s no need to rinse! The lubricants and substantive polymers in the formula will protect your vehicle from abrasion as it safely cleans all vehicle surfaces. The polymers encapsulate dirt and cause it to drop to the bottom of the bucket. No Rinse Wash & Shine actually cleans the wash water as it cleans your vehicle! And it leaves your vehicle super slick, like it was just waxed!

To give you a better idea of how the process works, check out this brief (2′ 20″) video:

In the written description and the video, no mention of pre-treating with a sprayer is made, but I’ve always felt safer (regarding not putting swirl marks in the clear coat) by loosening up the grit and grime by doing this first.

A number of manufacturers make “no rinse” car washes.  I’ve been using Optimum No Rinse for a couple of years now and have been very happy with the results.  A 32 oz. bottle sells for ~$16, and is enough for 32 washes.  In actual practice, I only do this a few times each winter…  so a bottle will last quite a while.

Here’s a link to Optimum ONR at Autogeek.net:  Optimum No Rinse Wash and Shine.   NOTE that I have no connection to Autogeek or Optimum (or to DetailingGurus.com either.)  If you live in a northern climate, give a “no rinse” car wash a try!

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