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Washing without water: economical and environmentally friendly

Washing without water: economical and environmentally friendly

In the UK, car washing accounts for nearly 6% of the annual consumption of household water. From 50 to over 300 litres, the varying required quantity is indeed substantial. It is one of the reasons why waterless washing has become more increasingly popular in recent years. What exactly is going on?

A waterless wash, is it really possible?

For many people, the chore of traditional car washing has several disadvantages: it is prohibited on the public road, problematic in cold weather and frankly not environmentally friendly.


Therefore the idea of washing a car without water seems ideal, but…in reality, can you really clean a car without using a drop of water?


Of course, a 4×4 returning from a long muddy road will need a more vigorous washing than a city car that sleeps in the car park. But for the latter, and most other commonly used vehicles, washing without water is indeed very possible.


The process differs from washing without rinsing, a method that requires using a small amount of water.

What does waterless washing use?

This method uses specialised products, which are all formulated without solvents and fully biodegradable. They contain three components for a complete clean:

  • detergent that removes dirt;
  • lubricant that prevents impurities from sticking;
  • polish that protects and shines the bodywork.


Formulated with silicone originally, which is volatile and difficult to remove when repainting, waterless detergents are mainly polymer-based in current times.


As far as the materials concerned, this process only requires microfibre cloths, which have a specialised texture to prevent surface scratches.

How do you wash a car without water?

The process is quite simple, although it takes a little time to carry out. Here are the instructions to follow:

  • start on cold bodywork;
  • shake the canister to mix the product components well;
  • spray (working in small areas);
  • leave the product to work for a few seconds;
  • use a product-soaked microfibre cloth to rub the needed areas;
  • wipe and polish with a clean, dry cloth (also made of microfibre).


Some establishments specialise in washing without water. There are many advantages to using a professional, such as the availability of the right products and saving time. Some professionals will even come to your home.

What are the advantages of washing without water?

There are many! Apart from the time spent on the initial cleaning, washing without water has many practical advantages:

  • It is ecologically friendly, thanks to the water savings and the biodegradability of the cleaning products used;
  • it is economical: a 4-wash container of waterless washing product costs around £10 while microfibre cloths are inexpensive, washable and reusable;
  • it is practical: the products are usable on all surfaces (bodywork, windscreens…);
  • it restores shine to the paint due to the wax-containing products;
  • it provides a “water-repellent” effect: water glides over surfaces while less dirt adheres;
  • it protects the car and reduces soiling, making the next wash easier.


In short, washing without water seems to be the ecological and economical alternative to high-pressure washers and rollers. The peaking interest in this technique drives manufacturers to compete in product innovation and efficiency, which can only benefit the end consumer.