The Basics of Performing a Waterless Car Wash

Let’s start by being clear about something – using a waterless wash product is not hard. I know, it can sound intimidating at the start. Where’s the hose? Where are the suds? But trust me, after cleaning just a few panels you’ll be hooked on the process. The speed at which you are able to simultaneously clean and protect your car in one simple step is quite amazing. To help anyone just getting into this method of washing, we’ve assembled a list of best practices.

1. Work from the top of the car down. 

Car’s naturally accumulate dirt along the lower body panels and you’ll want to tackle these areas last. Start with the roof->hood->door panels->trunk->lower body panels. Be sure to pay extra attention near wheel wells where heavy debris t.

Cleaning Sequence

2. Use quality microfiber towels. 

Outside of the waterless product you use, make sure you have a good stock of high quality microfiber towels. We suggest towels with a 300 GSM rating, as they offer the best combination of cleaning and polishing. While many people think that using a higher GSM towel is better, it can surprisingly work against you. We’ve found that those fluffy 400+ GSM  towels do not clean as effectively as their lower 300 GSM counterparts.

3. Fold your towel in half and half again.

You’ll want to maximize the number of sides on your towel. By folding in half twice, you’ll effectively get eight sides to work with. Use at least one side per panel depending on how dirty the vehicle is.

foldedtowel

4. Work in small sections. 

Start with a 2ft x 2ft area for applying and buffing off the waterless formula. If your car is completely cool and relatively clean you may be able to work in larger sections.

2ftcleaningsection

5. Wipe in one direction. 

Follow the contours of the car’s body and wipe in the direction of normal airflow over the panel. This will help prevent re-soiling the areas of the car you’ve already cleaned. You should not use a circular buffing motion as if you were using a wax.

onedirectionwipe

6. Apply light pressure on first stroke to remove contaminants. 

You’ll want to apply light pressure on your first pass over the panel. We suggest using the wipe and ‘lift’ technique where you are simultaneously rotating the towel while wiping across the surface.

wipeandlift

7. Keep your buffing towel separate, clean and dry.

Pick one set of towels for the cleaning and one for buffing. For best results you want to have your buffing towels near 100% dry. Many times we’ve seen detailers use two towel colors so it’s easy to remember which is which.

cleaningpolishing

Eco Touch manufactures a complete line of professional detailing supplies in Dover, NH. We are a family owned and operated company since 2007. Have any other questions? Call us today at 888.375.7970.

James Dudra on Google+

Is a Waterless Car Wash Right for Your Detailing Business?

While waterless car washing has been taking off in recent years, many detailers (both veteran and newcomers) are not always certain if it is the right fit for their business. The following is a list of ways to know if using this exciting new technology is a good fit for your business.

1. Municipal regulations restrict detailers from openly discharing water into storm drains. 

This is a big one many new detailers forget about. It’s vital you check with your local/state government to see what regulations are in-place regarding water run-off. We’ve received numerous calls from detailers who have been levied hefty fines from environmental agencies. Many states on the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) have implemented strict guidelines which prohibit detailers from washing cars and openly discharing soapy wastewater.

2. Keeping startup costs low.

Traditional pressure washing businesses require a large investment in equipment such as: truck/van, trailer, water tank, pressure washer and reclaim mat. You can literally spend thousands of dollars before you detail your first vehicle. We’ve broken down below what a theoretical detailing business would cost using traditional methods:

Van – $15,000 – $25,000
Detailing Trailer (pressure washer and tank) – $2,000 – $5,000
Reclaim System – $1,500 – $3,000
Chemicals – $50 – $500
Drying Towels – $50

Total Investment Using Traditional Methods- $18,600 – $33,600

Alternatively, starting up a detailing business with a waterless car wash product can cost less than $100. Seriously. The fact that you don’t need to haul around a large water tank immediately opens up possibilities. Live in an urban area? You wouldn’t even need a vehicle to haul around all that water.

2 x Waterless Car Wash 16 oz Concentrate – $40
24 x Microfiber Towels – $40
3 x Empty Spray Bottles – $11.25

Total Investment Using Waterless Car Washing – $91.25

3. Meeting consumer demands for green products.

When ‘green’ automotive products first came on the scene in 2007 many traditionalists in the automotive industry immediately wrote them off. “Oh it’s just a fad, wait a few years and it will go away”. Well, here we are in 2013 and we continue to see strong demand from consumers for these types of products. Consumers want to feel that they are making a difference, whether that’s in the products they buy or the services they offer. They key here is not making them pay more for it. When we get asked “how much should I price my detailing services at” we always suggest looking at local competition and doing a quick survey of potential consumers. Many times you’ll find that consumers expect to pay the same as what a traditional detail would cost.

These are just a few ways you’ll know whether using a Waterless Car Wash is right for your business. Have some other ideas? Let us know!

James Dudra on Google+

Detailer Showcase – Eco Performance, New Zealand

Eco Performance Logo

Over the past few years we’ve had the pleasure of working with Eco Performance based out of New Zealand. Eco Performance offers detailing services throughout the greater Christchurch area and is an authorized Eco Touch dealer. We sat down with owner Stephen Vogel and chatted about his experience in the industry, waterless car washing, and using Eco Touch products.

Can you give us a brief history of Eco Performance?

I had wanted to start my own business for a while but wasn’t entirely sure about what direction to go in. I had looked a various franchises but they all felt, to me, like I was buying a job. I started Eco Performance in late 2009 after coming across the concept of “waterless washing” during a late night Google search on business ideas. Initially it was part time, weekends and some evenings. I enjoyed the work and the customer base started to grow. I was unsure about giving up full time employment to go out on my own but in early 2010 I was made redundant from my job so that decision was made for me in the end! It’s never easy building a business from scratch but our customer base has grown significantly and includes regional councils, major corporations, rental companies, car manufacturers and of course a loyal base of private customers.

RoverHave you always been in the auto detailing world? What got you started?

I had absolutely no experience of the detailing world when I started! That said I have always had an interest in cars. When I was running the business part time I used that opportunity to build a skill base and took on board lots of advice and feedback. During those early days I just focused on “cleaning cars”, now the business has grown to full service detailing and all that entails. Plus it’s not just cars now, its cars, boats, campervans, motorcycles…..

What has the response in New Zealand been to Waterless Car Washing? Have people accepted it?

People have been very accepting of waterless car washing in New Zealand. There is certainly a lot of curiosity about how it works and barely a day goes by when I don’t get asked “how does that work?” When someone pays to have their car cleaned their biggest concern is obviously that the car looks great when you are done. My experience of Eco Touch’s Waterless Car Wash is that when used properly it actually cleans better than the traditional “hose and bucket” method. The environmental benefits are a pleasant surprisefor our customers and great point of difference for the business. 

Can you talk a little about your process for cleaning a car? Any tricks and tips you’ve picked up along the way you’d be willing to share?

Obviously from a business/customer service point of view there are discussions with the customer around their requirements and expectations before starting any job but the process for standard clean is usually pretty straight forward.

15122011267

- First up I have a good look around the car to make sure it isn’t too dirty for a waterless wash. If it is I will give it a quick pre rinse or if it’s really dirty it may need to be pressure washed and cleaned in the “traditional” way. I find 90%+ of the cars we do are able to be washed with waterless wash straight away.

- The first area I pay attention to are the wheel arches. These don’t often look that dirty when the car is dirty but dirty arches stand out something shocking on a clean car. Depending on where the car has been driven it may be necessary to pressure wash these areas even if the rest of the car is suitable for a waterless wash. The reason I start with this area is because cleaning them can often make a bit of a mess of the wheels and surrounding panels so it’s best to get them squared away early on to avoid rework (tip 1). 

- From there it’s basically working from the top of the car down then going back to detail the wheels, tyres and glass.

- So far as any other tips go, I wouldn’t want to give away and trade secrets :-) However the difference between a good clean and a great clean is often only 10 minutes – I always spend that extra 10 minutes to make sure everything is spot on. When working on a customer’s car I also always work off a checklist and go around the vehicle at the end of the job to make sure nothing has been missed. Often it’s the little 30 second jobs like a smear on a side mirror or dirt left under a door handle that can make or break a nicely detailed car.

WP_20121218 2Where do you see the detailing/car washing industry headed in the next 5 years? 

In the next 5 years I can see 2 trends developing in New Zealand. The first is an increase in demand for professional detailing services. New Zealanders have less and less spare time and coupled with the fact that Government regulation changes here are encouraging (gently forcing) people into newer, more expensive cars I believe there will be an increase in people wanting to pay to have their investment looked after. The second is shift towards more environmentally friendly products and services with genuine benefits. The key words there are genuine benefits. Every other product on the market these days is green or natural or kinder or safer and New Zealand consumers have ultimately become irritated by the vague claims. Eco Touch Waterless Wash has obvious environmental benefits and we have saved hundreds of thousands of litres of water using it. I have a few customers that got migraines/headaches after their cars interior detail that no longer do after switching to Ammonia free glass cleaner and water based cleaners and dressings. That’s an actual, tangible benefit. The vehicle detailing industry here has been as quick as anyone to claim they are green and environmentally friendly with most doing little more than meeting basic legal waste water handling requirements. Over the next few years they are going to have to start proving their claims to consumers or risk alienating them.

To learn more about Eco Performance, visit them online at http://www.ecoperformance.co.nz/

Diluting Waterless Car Wash Concentrate

Many of the automotive detailers and enthusiasts we work with opt to buy our popular waterless car wash in concentrated form. Unlike the RTU (ready-to-use) product, the concentrate dilutes 1:10 with water. In other words, you need to take 1 part concentrate and add 10 parts water for a total of 11 parts. We’ve listed out some of the most common dilutions below to help save you the guesswork.

For simplicity’s sake we’ve rounded some numbers up or down slightly as a little rounding does not affect the performance of Eco Touch Waterless Car Wash.

  • 24 oz. RTU – pour 2.25 oz. (4.5 tablespoons) concentrate into 22 oz. water
  • 32 oz. RTU – pour 3 oz. (6 tablespoons) concentrate into 29 oz. water
  • 1-gallon RTU – pour 11.5 oz concentrate into 116.5 oz. water
  • 5-gallons RTU – pour 59 oz. concentrate into 581 oz. water
  • 55-gallons RTU – pour 640 oz concentrate into 6400 oz. water

You may find that as you get into diluting larger volumes of product it is easier to actually weigh out the product rather than measure. Here are those dilutions for your reference:

  • 5-gallons RTU – pour 3.8 lbs concentrate into 38 lbs water
  • 55-gallons RTU – pour 42 lbs concentrate into 417 lbs water

So, now that we know the exact proportions, how do we go about actually filling and mixing the product in the most efficient manner? Here are some handy tools to assist along the way:

1) funnel
2) empty bottle/container
3) water source (distilled or tap)
4) drum pump (optional for pumping from 55-gallon drums)

The basics needed for diluting.

Steps to diluting Eco Touch Waterless Car Wash Concentrate
1) Shake Waterless Car Wash Concentrate well. If the product has been sitting for some time a bit of separation would be expected.

Shake bottle well.
2) Fill your primary vessel (bottle or drum) with water.

Fill bottle with water.
3) Pour/pump out appropriate amount of concentrate.

4) Pour concentrate into water and shake well. If you’re diluting into a smaller container you’ll find the funnel is handy and won’t waste product.

Photo1 (3)

Now that the product is mixed together you’re ready to start cleaning! Make sure to seal and cover the mixed product in a climate controlled area for best results.

Can I use a Waterless Car Wash in the winter?

One of the most frequent questions we get asked during the chilly winter season, is if Eco Touch Waterless Car Wash can be used. The answer is both yes and no…and here’s why.

There are a few factors which will determine whether or not it’s appropriate to use Eco Touch Waterless Car Wash in the winter.

1) Outside temperature.

2) Temperature of car panels.

3) Condition of vehicle.

Let’s start with the outdoor temperature. If it’s below freezing you’ll want to proceed with caution. Eco Touch Waterless Car Wash does not contain any alcohol, petroleum distillates, or other chemicals which would lower its freezing point. From an environmental and safety standpoint this is obviously a great thing. Unfortunately, when it gets below freezing you may find that the formula does not work as effectively, or may actually freeze on the panel. If this happens simply pull your car into a sunny location/heated garage, let it thaw out and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth.

Our preferred method of performing a waterless car wash during the winter is waiting for a sunny day and letting the car panels warm up. Before spraying the formula, do a quick check of the panel by putting the back of your hand to feel if it’s warm. If so, you’re good to continue with the waterless wash.

Acura TSX with moderate soiling. Suitable for a waterless car wash.

Acura TSX with moderate soiling. Suitable for a waterless car wash.

One other factor to consider is the dirt-level on the vehicle. Here in New England during winter, we get some very dirty cars. If you see contaminants such as heavy salt or clumps of mud/sand, be sure to pre-rinse these areas first. Then follow-up with the waterless car wash. We always recommend “common sense caution”. If you think a car is simply too dirty, pre-rinse it. It’s okay to use a little water now to assist in the cleaning process. If your car has a light-moderate coating of contaminants you can go right ahead with a normal waterless wash.

So that covers using our waterless car wash during the winter. Have a question for us? Email it to info[at]ecotouch[dot]net.