Reader Question: Waxing Without Washing?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Mike asks: I own a 2003 convertible that is garage-kept and only driven in nice weather. Body and paint are flawless, but dusty and smudgy. It’s time to put a shine on the car. Do I clean it up with the traditional wash and paste wax, or is there a water-free alternative out there?Also: Thank you for your continuing jihad against face diapering.

My reply: I have the same issue with my ’76 Trans-Am, which mostly sits in the garage and never goes out in poor weather. But dust accrues, regardless. I try to avoid washing it – with water – by keeping it clean using “detailer in a can” (or spray bottle) that is specifically designed to safely lift dust and stains off the finish without abrading it. Megiuars and Mothers both make excellent products, available at most stores that sell car stuff.

You do one area at a time, obviously. Once the car’s finish has been cleaned up, you can wax it per usual – though I find the need to do so using this method crops up much less often as the finish stays shiny. These products are designed to leave the finish looking showroom new/streak-free.

But why not just wash the car – with water?

Because water accelerates rust, a real problem with older cars like my Pontiac. Less so with yours, but still. The spray-detailers “wash” the car without water getting into every nook and cranny.

When I do wash my car – once in a blue moon – I always take it out for at least a half-our drive, so as to air-dry all the places a towel cannot reach.

. . . 

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  1. There are excellent rinseless washes on the market. You can wash the entire car with less than 2 gallons of water. There are polymers in the wash that encapsulate the dirt and dust to prevent scratching. Optimum No-Rinse Wash and Shine is the one I use, but there are others on the market.


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