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Touchless Car Wash Near Me: The Ultimate Guide

Touchless car washes have grown popular in recent times. The concept of not having to use water to wash your car appeals to many car owners.

This guide endeavors to demystify touchless car washing and demonstrate why everyone ought to do it.

Turbo Ceramic Waterless Detailer
From Dirty Car To Shiny In 15 Minutes

Turbo is our anti static waterless car wash and quick detailer with ceramic. It helps enhance the longevity of Mirror Shine or Ceramic Shine and applies easily anywhere, anytime. You'll get high gloss shine and hydrophobic shine. Great for touch ups in between traditional car washing or as a waterless wash. The anti-static feature is well loved by supercar owners because dust  and dirt stays off. 

★★★★★ "Never bringing out the hose again. I use this every few days to remove dirt and debris from my car. Definitely prevents dirt from clinging to the coat. Awesome product." - Lewis R. 

SHOP NOW

Why Do People Like Touchless Car Washes?

  1. Protects car paint from swirls and scratches: It’s said that over 90% of the swirls and scratches that cars get are caused by improper car washing or drying techniques. When wash mitts or towels that have bits of dirt and debris are pressed against a car’s paint, they cause marring and micro-scratching. Such marring is an even bigger problem on black or dark-colored cars, as the darker hues make it easier to spot the scratches and swirl marks. Touchless car washes enable you to avoid all that because except for high-pressure water, nothing else is pressed against your car’s paint in such washes.
  2. Saves time: Touchless car washing significantly cuts down on the time you spend cleaning your car. Working the surface of your car using wash mitts takes time, and so does drying it using towels. Touchless car washing takes that away. You simply hose down your car to pre-rinse it, spray it with foam, hose it down again to rinse it, and then dry it using a blower.
  3. Saves money and resources: You get to save a lot of water through touchless car washing, and you also won’t have to buy wash mitts and towels when doing these washes.
  4. Less likelihood of damage: When washing your car the conventional way, it’s easy to damage loose car parts or accessories accidentally, e.g. antennas. Touchless car washes help you avoid such damage.      

Helps to keep the car clean between thorough wash-downs: When your work schedule is tight, it can take a while before you can spare enough time to give your car a full scrub-down. A quick 20-minute touchless car wash can help you keep your car looking awesome until the next time you give your car a full physical wash.  

DIY Touchless Car Wash Vs. Visiting An Automatic Car Wash

Granted, full-service automated touchless car washes are convenient. They’re quite affordable, they can get the job done in even less than 10 minutes, and they’re easy to find these days. However, most automated touchless car washes are run on a tight budget, so they tend to use harsher car cleaning products than those a professional detailer would use or recommend.

These harsh car cleaning products can eat away at the coat of wax, polish, or sealant that you may have applied on your car. If you haven’t applied any extra coat of protection to your car paint, don’t take your car to an automated touchless car wash because the harsh cleaning products can damage the clear coat layer of your car’s paint. In-person touchless car washing gives you more control over the soap and equipment that’s used for the cleaning process. With better soap and better equipment, you achieve better results.

Also worth noting is that the fixed jets of pressurized water in automated car washes cannot reach all the corners and crevices of a car in the way that a person can reach them using a handheld pressure washer wand.

The large blow dryers in automated touchless car washes also seldom dry off a car well because they often aren’t well targeted. In-person touchless car washing again wins in this aspect because you’ll have more control over the drying process. You’ll be able to focus your blower on all hard-to-reach spots to remove all the water.

Step-By-Step Guide To A Touchless Wash

When doing a touchless car wash, remember to close your car’s windows and doors tightly to keep the pressurized water from entering the cabin. You would also do well to shorten your car’s exterior antenna to avoid damage when you’re hosing the car down. The touchless wash should also not be done in direct sunlight or when the car’s surface is hot. Do it in a garage or other shaded area when it’s not cool outside.

Step 1: Pre-Rinse

Pre-rinsing the car simply involves hosing it down using a pressure washer. The purpose of the pre-rinse is to soften and/or dislodge large bits of dirt and debris before doing the foam cannon wash; a medium pressure setting for the pressure washer will suffice. It’s wise to start spraying at a distance of 4-5 feet away from the car. As you gauge the water pressure, you can move closer, but not too close.

Step 2: Foam Cannon Or Foam Gun

The next step is spraying your car with foam (using a foam cannon or foam gun).

A foam cannon is more ideal. It’s an attachment for a pressure washer that evenly applies car wash soap to your vehicle. A foam gun is a garden hose attachment that gets the job done, but of course doesn’t shoot out at as high a pressure.

Using the soap-to-water ratio recommendations on the label on your car wash soap bottle, pour your car wash soap into the foam cannon canister and add the right amount of water. Swirl the mixture around to mix it up (don’t shake it vigorously). You then reattach the canister to the rest of the foam cannon and attach the foam cannon’s ¼-inch quick connection plug to your pressure washer gun. After that, adjust the soap control knob and nozzle control knob to your liking, turn on the pressure washer, and start spraying your car with foam.

The soap control nozzle controls the amount of soap that is drawn up the suction tube when the pressure washer is activated, so adjusting it to draw up more soap will result in thicker foam. When the foam sits for longer, it gives the detergents or active agents in the soap more time to break down and lift dirt and grime from the car’s surface.

Step 3: Rinse

Again, when rinsing, use a medium pressure setting, as you don’t want to harm your car’s paint. Also, adjust the nozzle control knob to cause the stream of pressurized water to spread over a large surface area. Keep a safe distance from the car (4-5 feet), just as you did when doing the pre-rinse.

Step 4: Dry

We’ve written an entire guide on how to dry a car if you want to ensure you’re going about it the right way. For this simple wash, you can use a blower that’s built purposefully for drying cars. Leaf blowers are commonly used as well, but you have to be careful - an unclean one may blow out debris onto the car. They also tend to have large nozzles that make it hard to direct air to specific areas on your car.

When blow-drying your car, work from the top going downward. Work one section at a time and then blow air into all the crevices, door jambs, and vents to remove all the trapped water in those areas.

The Importance Of Ceramic Coatings

Touchless car washes are far more effective on cars that have been coated with a wax, sealant, or ceramic coating. When there is no protective coating above the paint’s clear coat layer, dirt sticks harder to a car’s paint. Other contaminants like road tar, bird droppings, bug residue, and tree sap may even get embedded into your clear coat layer. When that happens, a touchless car wash may fail to remove a considerable amount of the dirt and contaminants; a full scrub-down with wash mitts may be required to remove all the dirt.

However, when car paint is coated with a wax, sealant, or ceramic coating, dirt cannot cling to the paint as it would otherwise do. These protective coatings provide an ultra-smooth, level surface and have high surface tension, so dirt and other contaminants cannot stick to the surface; it may rest loosely on the surface, but it cannot cling to it. Therefore, when such coated car surfaces are sprayed with foam, the detergents in the soap easily lift the dirt off the surface. This then makes it easy to wash off most of that dirt when rinsing the car.  

One fine example of a high-quality car wax/sealant you can use to give your car such hydrophobic, anti-static properties is Torque Detail’s Mirror Shine. Mirror Shine has a polymer-based formula that bonds with your car’s paint, forming a glass-like layer of protection.  

For even better results, try Torque Detail’s Ceramic Shine. This product has tiny particles of silicon dioxide that create an even tougher glass-like layer over your car's surface.    

Drawbacks Of The Touchless Wash Method

Chemical Strength Vs. Agitation

The touchless wash method has its benefits, but in terms of effectiveness in removing dirt, debris, and other contaminants, it can’t compare with a physical wash-down. Agitation guarantees the dislodging of dirt and other contaminants; chemical strength doesn’t. The detergents in touchless car wash shampoos are designed to encapsulate and lift dirt from the car’s surface, but when caked-up dirt has clung hard onto a car’s surface, the detergents may only manage to soften the dirt. This is the case even with touchless car wash shampoos that have harsher chemicals. Most automatic touchless car washes likewise use these types of harsh cleaning products.

Touchless At Home Vs. Automatic Car Wash - Not The Same Thing

The touchless wash method has its benefits, but in terms of effectiveness in removing dirt, debris, and other contaminants, it can’t compare with a physical wash-down. Agitation guarantees the dislodging of dirt and other contaminants; chemical strength doBesides using harsher cleaning products that may harm your car’s paint, most automatic touchless car washes are designed to recycle the water they use when cleaning vehicles. They collect that water, run it through a water filtration system that reconditions the water, and then use it on the next vehicle. Because of this, the recycled water may end up having high chemical buildup that can harm your car’s paint. Therefore, it’s safer to do touchless car washes at home, where you can control the quality of the water, equipment, and cleaning products. esn’t. The detergents in touchless car wash shampoos are designed to encapsulate and lift dirt from the car’s surface, but when caked-up dirt has clung hard onto a car’s surface, the detergents may only manage to soften the dirt. This is the case even with touchless car wash shampoos that have harsher chemicals. Most automatic touchless car washes likewise use these types of harsh cleaning products.

What You Can’t Clean Without Agitation

There are certain contaminants that you cannot clean without agitation because of the way they stick to car paint. For example, bird poop and bug guts are acidic, so they eat into your car’s clear coat layer as they dry up. Tar, brake dust, mineral deposits, and traffic film, on the other hand, get embedded into your car’s paint when they’re kicked up by your car’s tires or the tires of other vehicles on the road. Because of that, touchless car wash shampoos may not have much effect against these contaminants. Such contaminants can only be removed through agitation.

Another Option: The Two-Bucket Method

Another method you can use to clean your car is the tried-and-true two-bucket method. You take two buckets and subconsciously label one as the soap bucket and the other as the rinse bucket.

Fill both buckets with water and then add your preferred car wash soap to the soap bucket and mix it into the water. The next step is to dip a high-quality wash mitt into the soap bucket and gently scrub the surface of your car, going from section to section. When the wash mitt gets saturated with dirt, rinse it in the rinse bucket, dip it again in the soap bucket, and continue washing your car. When you’ve scrubbed the entire car, rinse the car off with plenty of clean water.

Turbo Ceramic Waterless Detailer
From Dirty Car To Shiny In 15 Minutes

Turbo is our anti static waterless car wash and quick detailer with ceramic. It helps enhance the longevity of Mirror Shine or Ceramic Shine and applies easily anywhere, anytime. You'll get high gloss shine and hydrophobic shine. Great for touch ups in between traditional car washing or as a waterless wash. The anti-static feature is well loved by supercar owners because dust  and dirt stays off. 

★★★★★ "Never bringing out the hose again. I use this every few days to remove dirt and debris from my car. Definitely prevents dirt from clinging to the coat. Awesome product." - Lewis R. 

SHOP NOW

Bottom Line

All things considered, touchless car washes are effective, but they’re no substitute for physical car washes. They may remove 70-90% of the dirt on your vehicle, and so they can help to keep your car looking good when you’re not in a position to give your car a full physical wash. However, after you’ve done a few touchless car washes, you must give your car a thorough, hands-on wash-down to get rid of all the dirt and contaminants that the touchless car washes may have failed to remove.

  • Published on Feb 05, 2021
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