After dedicating so many hours, products, sweat and blisters into cleaning your ride, it only seems fair that it should stay clean until the next wash, right?
Unfortunately, Mother Nature and birds have other plans for your nice wax job and sparkling rims.
One of the best ways to spot clean your vehicle, boat, RV or even an airplane between baths is with a waterless car wash, and since there are quite a few of these products available, naturally your priority is to choose the best waterless car wash for your money.
Want to choose a product that is safe to use on that expensive paint job? Continue reading and we’ll show you which ones received the green light from our experts.
Top 14 Waterless Car Wash Products Ultimate Table
The Difference Between a Waterless Car Wash and Detail Spray
Many people are confused by the difference between these two products, so we thought we’d start off by explaining it.
If you don’t have access to a hose or you just want to cut down on water consumption, then a waterless car wash is the perfect alternative. It is a product capable of removing dirt and grime from all surfaces of your vehicle and rather than rinsing it off with water, you simply wipe it off with a microfiber towel.
Detail spray is more appropriate for light cleaning. If you just have some fingerprints that you’d like to remove or some water spots that dried on after you washed it, this is the best product. It is also safe to use on the interior of your car, so if you want to clean the dash or any other plastic areas, opt for a quality detail spray.
Types of Cleaners
Now that you understand the difference between the two products, it’s time to narrow down the choices.
Which is one is the right match for your cleaning needs? Compare and contrast them to decide.
- Concentrated Formulas – Concentrated formulas aren’t ready to use out of the bottle. You will need to dilute them before use, which means that you may need more supplies on hand to use them.
Do you have an empty bottle or bucket that you can use to create your mixture? If not, be sure to get something at the time you purchase the wash.
Some concentrated formulas come in kits – which we have labeled for you in our table – and these are nice since you usually get a microfiber towel or mitt, ready to use spray bottle and refill bottle of concentrated mixture.
While they are marketed as “waterless” washes, you actually do need a little bit of water for them to work, but the perk is that you use much less than you would with a hose or at the car wash.
- Ready to Use Formulas – If you already have all of the supplies you need, then opt for a ready to use formula. You can choose from spray bottles or aerosol cans, and both have pros and cons to consider.
- Spray Bottles – Spray bottles are great, but they usually expel larger and heavier drops of liquid that tend to get a little runny and messy if you aren’t quick enough to wipe. Ideally, the bottle has different spray settings on the nozzle so you can control the width of the stream or create more of a mist as desired.
- Aerosol Cans – The nice thing about an aerosol spray is that it is much tidier to use than a spray bottle.
The only decent one we found on the list was FW1 Waterless Wash & Wax, which you can use on both the exterior and interior of your vehicle. Using an aerosol spray inside means less mess and less product that gets on the surfaces you don’t want it to land on.
- Towels – We also found one towel option that is worth a try from Green Gobbler, and while it may not be the most popular option, it is great if you want to keep something on hand in your vehicle without having to worry about storing bottles of cleaner in the trunk.
We’ll discuss this product more in detail later, so keep reading!
Remember that the use of waterless washes still requires the use of clean microfiber towels to help you wipe away the dirt and grime, and our favorite brand for cleaning vehicles is from Chemical Guys. Their Workhorse Professional Grade Microfiber Towels are great.
Also, a mitt is also handy for dipping into the product and then applying to the surface of the vehicle. Again, we like the Chemical Guys Chenille Microfiber Wash Mitt.
Eco-Friendly vs. Chemical Formulas
We hate to admit it because we love the environment and enjoy cruising around in it just as much as you do, but the best waterless car wash products are usually those with chemicals in the mix.
If you have thick dirt and grime to clean off, then chemical formulas are strong enough to eat through all of that and thoroughly clean your vehicle’s surface. Many wax and shine at the same time, too.
Most of these are formulated to be biodegradable, making them safe to dump down the sink or a storm drain once you’re done, but if you don’t see “biodegradable” on the label, then they aren’t meant to be dumped down the drain.
We know that some of you are eco-conscious shoppers, which is why we have labeled which products are eco-friendly and which are not in our table.
Top 14 Best Waterless Car Wash Products Reviewed
1. Optimum (NR2010Q) No Rinse Wash Shine
Our top pick is definitely Optimum’s No Rinse concentrated formula. All you need is a gallon or two of water to mix with it, some clean microfiber towels and you can start washing.
After reading the fine print, we saw that it is biodegradable and were surprised at how well it cleaned and protected the paint as we washed. There are still polymers in the mixture, which means that it isn’t as natural as product number 14 on our list, but the cleaning power is amazing.
If you have a variety of vehicles great and small to clean, we highly recommend that you pick up the gallon size of this. You can use it on cars, wood boats, motorcycles, RVs, fiberglass, and even on airplanes.
Here, the man does a demo of the product, which is useful to watch if you have never used this type of product before.
2. Aero Cosmetics Waterless Car Wash Wax Kit
While you may have to spend a little more money up front for this product, you get the entire kit, including 1-gallon refill bottle, 16-ounce spray bottle, four microfiber towels, and one mini bug scrubber.
One of the main reasons why we consider it to be the best waterless car wash on our list is because the formula is environmentally-friendly and it cleans extremely well. There is no ammonia or alcohol in the mixture, so it won’t irritate eyes or the planet when you dispose of it.
It’s quite versatile, too, since you can use it on a variety of vehicles – both with wheels and wings – and the company has the BBB stamp of approval, which is always comforting when you’re shopping for products.
In addition to removing dirt and grime, it also waxes and leaves an anti-static UV coating on the surface of your vehicle. You can use this on rubber, glass, plastic, gel coating, aluminum, vinyl, paint, granite and even wood! It’s a versatile product and one that does its job well.
3. Optimum (NRWW2012C) No Rinse Wash & Wax
Jumping back to another Optimum product, we wanted to give a shout out to their No Rinse Wash & Wax formula in addition to the regular Wash & Shine formula we looked at earlier.
This wash also requires a gallon or two of water, and no rinsing is required. Just apply with a microfiber mitt, wipe away the dirt and grime with a clean microfiber towel and stand back to admire your handiwork.
The difference between the Wash & Shine formula and this one is that you’re getting the benefit of carnauba wax and UV inhibitors to help protect your vehicle’s clear coat.
It is also biodegradable and adheres to water usage laws, but unlike the Aero Cosmetics product, this does contain eye irritants, so it’s not quite as eco-friendly as the latter.
It’s still a great product, though, since it will help you reduce water consumption and it works to clean and wax at the same time.
4. TriNova Waterless Car Wash and Wax Kit
TriNova offers some stiff competition to the other products we looked at, and it is a more affordable kit than Aero Cosmetics’ is.
One bottle of the concentrated formula is enough to make 32 of the 18-ounce bottles they provide you with, which overall ends up being the equivalent of 40 washes.
The kit includes one 18-ounce spray bottle, one 16-ounce bottle of the concentrated formula and a nice little microfiber mitt that you can use to clean with. It’s dark, so it will be hard to tell how much grime you’re removing, but it still works well.
We didn’t see anything about the formula being biodegradable, and since it contains eye irritants and they didn’t make it a point to mention that it is environmentally-friendly, we’re going to assume that it is not.
The cleaning power is great in spite of this, but it can’t handle the thick buildup on its own. They recommend hosing down the dirtiest sections before using this to achieve the ultimate cleaning results.
5. Meguiar’s G3626 Ultimate Waterless Wash & Wax
Meguiar’s is a classic name in the car care industry, and we have plenty of their products lining our garage shelves.
Many of their products are formulated so that you can use them in full sun, this one included. It is safe to use on clear coat paint, leaves a decent amount of shine once you’re done, helps water bead and roll right off the surface, and all of this is wrapped into one affordable product.
The polymers in the formula will leave that waxy shine we all love for weeks, and you can use it on glass, plastic, chrome and polished metals in addition to the clear coat finishes.
If you’re looking for a ready to use product that doesn’t require any mixing or additional accessories, this is our top pick.
6. FW1 Wash & Wax Waterless Polish
FW1 is the only aerosol waterless wash that we tried and liked.
You can use it on your rims, glass, on chrome, plastic, and paint to help you lift away dirt and grime. The formula also contains carnauba wax, to help you clean and shine at the same time.
One bottle of this will yield you 3-4 washes, which is considerably less than the concentrated formulas and therefore makes it less of a bargain. You get three bottles in this pack, so that means you’ll get a maximum of 12 washes. For less money, you can get 40 washes from a concentrated formula like TriNova!
We understand that not everyone wants to deal with the concentrated formulas, however, and this is certainly more convenient to use.
We were still impressed with the cleaning results and just like Aero Cosmetics, this is also approved by the BBB.
7. Mothers 05644 Waterless Wash Wax
Mothers is another brand that you see on the automotive shelves, and their waterless wash made our list in the number seven slot.
It does a great job at removing dirt and grime, but for the bugs and caked on stuff, we didn’t feel that it performed as well as some of the other products higher up on our list.
As a ready to use product, this is only going to yield about four washes per bottle, which, just like the previous product, isn’t that many compared to the concentrated formulas. Mothers also doesn’t sell their waterless wash in a refill container, so you’ll have to buy multiple bottles if you decide to continue using it.
A bit less environmentally-friendly overall, but it still cleans well, which is important.
8. Eco Touch (WCW16C) Waterless Car Wash
Eco Touch’s waterless wash was a bit more expensive than some of the other products, and the name “Eco Touch” is a bit misleading since the formula does contain eye irritants, and it is not safe to dump into open waterways or ground water systems (we know, we read the fine print). It is semi-eco-friendly, and one of the reasons it is “Eco” is that it helps save on water consumption, which all waterless car washes do!
As a concentrated formula, you’ll be able to get 30 washes out of one bottle (it’s 16 ounces), which means you’ll also need a bucket or something else handy to be able to mix it with water.
The gallon refill is extremely expensive, so honestly, this isn’t something we would purchase again.
Sure, it cleans great, but there are more affordable alternatives out there that clean just as well and cost less.
9. Dri Wash ‘n Guard ULTRA-ION Refill
Dri Wash ‘n Guard is probably one of the most unique formulas we’ve seen since this special ULTRA-ION technology helps repel dust and reduces minor scratches from the paint job. Don’t expect miracles (they say “feather” scratches), but it’s great for dry, dusty regions where you want to keep your ride looking clean.
It works great on bugs, bird droppings and can even cut through tar, and you can use it all over your car’s exterior (glass, chrome, and paint).
The only catch to using this product is that you need to purchase their special pumper separately if you’re going to reap the full benefits of the product.
It is an aerosol bottle, so you’ll need to fill it with this concentrated formula and then proceed.
Some say that using it from a spray bottle is just fine, but the manufacturer recommends that you use their special pumper so that you use less product.
10. Masterson’s Car Care Waterless Wash & Shine
This ready to use product is priced just right and is eco-friendly, two very good reasons to buy it.
Like many of the products we’ve already looked at, this is safe for use on vehicles and airplanes, and you can use it on the wheels, plastic, chrome, glass, stainless steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber to name a few.
It does go on a little thick, but we’ve seen some people water it down slightly to take care of this problem, which also helps it last a little longer. The manufacturer also mentions that it is safe to dilute, so don’t feel like you’ll be ruining a bottle if you decide to do it.
While it may not be the most popular or well-known option, we were still impressed by the cleaning power and felt it was worth mentioning on the list.
11. Chemical Guys EcoSmart Car Wash and Wax
Chemical Guys is a dependable brand, and we like their Eco-Smart RU formula. We can’t say that the results impressed us as much as some of the other brands, though, which is why they’re down a bit lower on our list.
We found it to be mediocre in the cleaning department and suited for light cleaning. For removing the bird droppings and caked on grime, extra product was required and more elbow grease was needed to remove them. The formula is eco-friendly, but as we said earlier, some of the ones that are friendliest to the environment aren’t that great at cleaning.
One of the smallest details about this product ended up being one of the most annoying, and that is the fact that the spray nozzle is very low quality. Plan to replace the spray nozzle with a new one if you want to use this.
12. Griot’s Garage Spray-On Car Wash Kit
Griot’s product is another great eco-friendly product, and we liked that this kit came with the spray bottle (that actually worked) and three microfiber towels. The bottle is much larger than some of the other brands on our list at 35 ounces, and it even costs less than some of the smaller ones, too!
When using it, we noticed that it seemed to require a bit of extra rubbing to achieve a nice shine, so double check for forgotten streaks as you clean.
You really don’t need much of this product to clean, and the microfiber towels they provide are excellent.
The refill jug is a bit expensive, but considering the number of washes you get out of it, it’s worth it in the long run.
13. Green Gobbler CLEAN & SHINE Waterless Car Wash
If you’re not into spray bottles and mixing solutions, then you might want to keep a package of these little towels on hand in your car for spot cleaning on the go.
Each pack comes with 20 towels that you can use for up to five washes. They’re safe to use on paint, plastic, glass, and metals, which means you can use them on both the interior and exterior of your car.
The main question you’re asking is, “Do they clean well?”
They do, but you’ll need more than one to clean a dirty car, so their claim that you get five washes out of one towel is a bit exaggerated.
14. Eco Green Auto Clean Waterless Car Wash
Our final suggestion is one of the most eco-friendly since it is a plant-based, biodegradable formula.
You can easily remove organic matter such as tree sap or bird droppings from your car’s surface, and you can take the bottle inside to clean plastic, vinyl, rubber, stainless steel, metal and audio surfaces.
It will clean your car, but the results aren’t going to be nearly as impressive as they are with some of the top products on our list.
If you’re looking for a truly environmentally-friendly product that you can use on both the interior and the exterior of your car, this is the one you want.