Rinseless Washing: A How To Guide

4 Apr

Rinseless Washing: A How To Guide

Lets start with the basics, what is rinseless washing and why should I consider using this method?

Rinseless washing is an alternative method for washing your car. Traditionally a power washer, foam cannon and two bucket method are used to wash a vehicle. But in some areas of the country there are water restrictions, run off laws and no access to water or electrical hook up.

How does it work?

Rinseless wash solutions have polymers that encapsulates the dirt so it lifts off the surface. This way when you wipe your microfiber towel across the surface, you’re not wiping dirt directly against the surface because the dirt is suspended in the solution.

What do I need?

The great part about rinseless washing is it using less tools and products. You can wash your car with a relatively low budget.

  1. A 5 gallon bucket with a grit guard insert.


2. Sprayer bottle or a pump sprayer bottle.



3. Plush microfiber towels. I like the CarPro Boas 16×16 or anything made by Microfiber Madness. Both are quality towels that do not scratch the surface. I suggest picking up atleast a dozen or two.


4. All purpose towels for wheels, door jabs & glass. A dozen or so should be enough for any job.


5. Rinseless wash solution, CarPro Ech2O is great as well as Optimum No Rinse.


6. Wheel Woolies, you will need these when it comes to cleaning wheels.


7. A set of boars hair brushes to get grills, wheels & intricate areas.



8. CarPro Reload Sealant. This is great for a drying aid and adding protection.


9. CarPro Perl, great for dressing tires & exterior trim.


10. CarPro Eraser, great for cleaning glass.


How to do a rinseless wash:

Here is an example of a car I recently did a rinseless wash on. This is a 1969 Chevrolet Corvette. This car has not been corrected or polished! It has been in storage for the past year and has accumulated quite a bit of dust for sitting long term. With classic cars I prefer the rinseless wash method compared to traditional wash method because these cars have a tendency to capture water in places you cant see and eventually rust.


  1. Fill your five gallon bucket with water and add 2oz of Ech2O into the bucket. Fill your sprayer bottle with water and add a ratio of 1:15 of Ech20.
  2.  Pre-soak your towels in the bucket, you will be using these to wash.

3. Pre-spray the panel or area you are going to wash. Start at the top and work your way down to the bottom of the car. Wash one panel or section at a time. If you try to wash to large of an area the solution may dry on you. Also your solution may run down the car, so you dont want to work backwards.4. Take the towel that has been pre soaking in your bucket and fold it in fours. Then using a gentle touch with light pressure, glide your towel across the surface in straight lines. Once you have made a pass, flip to a clean side of the towel and repeat the process. A 16×16 towel folds into 8 sections, this means you get 8 swipes with a single towel. Here is a 50/50 of a hood I did.

5. Follow up your first swipe to clean with a dry microfiber towel. I like to use reload as a drying aid as well to add protection. You can see from my pic that my towel is dry and clean. 6. For intricate areas such as grills, vents, jambs, take a small boars hair brush and clean. 7. Wheels! Now this is where we get tricky. I think wheels deter most from wanting to do a rinseless wash. I have found a few solutions that work.

  • Once finished with the 5 gallon bucket use it as a wheel bucket with your brushes and clean the wheels as if you were doing a traditional wash.
  • Use an wheel cleaner, all purpose cleaner or a rinseless wash solution and spray the wheel down. Then agitate the wheel and use your spray bottle to lightly rinse away. Then dry the wheel with a towel wrapped around the head of your brush. Use the same method to spraty down wheel wells and use your brushes to scrub them down, then dry.
  • If you access to to compressed air, a tornador foam gun works great. Spray some Iron-x on the wheel, let it dwell, foam the wheel and wash your wheels as if you had a foam cannon.
  • Using wheel woolies wrap an all purpose microfiber towel around the head of the woolie and clean and dry the barrels. Heres an example from an Acura NSX I washed on the showroom floor of the dealership.


8. Final touches, dress your tires, clean the windows with eraser and polish the exhaust tips. Done!



  • Rinseless washing can be done anywhere, at anytime, in any situation as well! Water, electrical and air hook up is not necessary. I own a car that sits in the garage 24/7 and this method is great for a weekly wash to get light dust off the surface without having to go through several steps of washing.
  • Rinseless washing is also good to use while correcting and polishing. You can use it to remove compound dust while you work or after youre done correcting.
  • Its useful for areas with water restriction or water run off.
  • Perfect for sprucing up the car when you arrive to the car show to clean off anything that may have gotten dirt on your drive there.
  • Less equipment
  • Less water and environmentally friendly


  • Rinseless washing can either be a breeze on some cars of take long than a traditional wash.
  • I can rinseless wash any car but heavy accumulation of dirt, tar, concrete etc. , I prefer my pressure washer.


Will rinseless washing scratch my paint?

The answer in short, if you use the correct techniques combined with the right products and towels you will not swirl your paint. I have done rinseless washes on swirled paint and also on flawless polished paint and have yet to install any swirls.


A great alternative method to washing your car!





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