boxedfox (Forum Supporter)
boxedfox (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/25/20 8:52 p.m.

*Also for lazy ladies. Laziness and car enthusiasm are equal opportunity conditions.

Here's a time-saving car wash tip that I learned from Team EVSR's Charlie Greenhaus.

If you need your car to look great but don't feel like spending hours washing, cleaning, and waxing, try this shortcut method:

You will need:

  • A spray bottle full of your favorite waterless car wash
  • A clay bar with lubricating spray
  • A dozen or so soft car wash towels

Here's what you do:

  1. Use a waterless car wash spray and a soft towel to wipe the dirt and grime off of your car. Roll the towel outwards as you wipe so you don't grind the dirt into the paint.
  2. Get out the clay bar, but only use it on the horizontal body panels, headlights, and taillights. That means a quick spray & clay of just the hood, roof, trunk, and lights.
  3. Give the horizontal body panels a second spritz of the car wash spray and towel dry.

The whole process takes 20-30 minutes and looks fantastic in the eyes of 98% of the general population. This works because waterless car wash sprays contain a waxy sealer that gives you a shine that's almost as clear as a good car wax. By claying the contaminants off of the largest, most visible panels, you turn that slick layer into an immaculate, mirror-like shine. It's enough to draw people's attention away from the fact that you did such a half-assed job of cleaning the bottom half of your car.

Best of all, you can do this without any special equipment or water, which means you can do this pretty much anywhere - Say for example, right before Concourse judging at the next GRM $20xx Challenge.

thedoc Reader
8/10/20 3:52 p.m.

I have to give a shout out to the optimum no rinse products.  Once you get it going you can really get the car to shine with minimal effort.  We have a black miata that always looks dirty.  The stuff is easy and not that expensive.

jfryjfry (Forum Supporter)
jfryjfry (Forum Supporter) Dork
8/14/20 9:04 a.m.

My understanding was that the clay bar removes everything and necessitates a waxing following it.  

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/14/20 9:49 a.m.

In reply to jfryjfry (Forum Supporter) :

I was just about to write a post to that effect, too. My understanding is also that clay bar pretty much removes anything on the paint surface, so you'll need to put some protectant on there.

There seem to be some quick apply spray-on sealants these days that seem to work well and are quicker to apply than wax.

mr2s2000elise SuperDork
8/14/20 9:50 a.m.
jfryjfry (Forum Supporter) said:

My understanding was that the clay bar removes everything and necessitates a waxing following it.  

You are correct. Clay bar removes the contaminants from the paint. 

I usually follow up my clay bar with : 

  • compound 
  • polish 
  • sealer/wax 


boxedfox (Forum Supporter)
boxedfox (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/14/20 9:52 a.m.

That's what the second pass with the waterless car wash is for. Those waterless car washes contain a sealer that's similar to what you find in those spray-on detailing sealants.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 SuperDork
8/14/20 6:21 p.m.

Theres some car-finish-dork forums that say that the Klasse All In One is the cat's PJ's. A capful with water to get the larger crap off, and straight up with hand polish to give it 6-8 months of waxed finish.


I don't know... I'm pretty lazy with this sort of thing.

nderwater UltimaDork
8/14/20 7:57 p.m.

Intrigued.  Does this method work even during pollen season?

SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) UberDork
8/14/20 8:50 p.m.

A quick hosing of some sort of "tire-bright" (on the tires, not the paint)  also gives the illusion of a clean car. I do this more than actual washing.

aircooled MegaDork
8/31/20 12:45 a.m.

I found when selling a car, that just using a spray bottle of water and a soft cloth daily can keep a car looking fresh washed for quite a long time, even when parked outside.

Of course, staying on top of any sap or bird poop is a good idea in any state of cleanliness.

RX Reven'
RX Reven' SuperDork
8/31/20 8:24 p.m.

Here's my Luddite's guide to keeping a car looking nice.

1.  Buy cars that are as small as possible while still being able to accommodate your needs the great majority of the time.

2.  Minimize the amount of time your car spends in an environment that causes problems...trim branches that overhand the parking space, re-direct automatic sprinklers, etc..   

2.  Have dedicated car cleaning materials...a friend recently gave me a "Friends and Family" Harbor Freight coupon and I bought everything; bucket, washing mit, shammy, shop towels, etc..

My current daily is a 16 month old white car with a generous amount of pearl in the paint...I see no need to wax it yet (water beads up great) so I just wash it once per week and pay special attention to the glass.

All up (including the time spent cleaning my tools and putting everything away) is about an hour (+/- ten minutes).

The OCD is strong in me so the quality must be excellent and yet, it's a one-hour job on average.

  • Buy small, get in front of the problems, and have dedicated equipment = the Luddites's solution.  
Our Preferred Partners