A waterless car wash or dry wash is a technique used to wash a vehicle with only 2-3oz of water.
This technique uses a product that contains many different ingredients, including wetting agents, lubricants and protectants. The detergents and wetting agents in the product combine to soften and emulsify surface grime, while a specific blend of fluids and lubricants attach a microscopic layer of protectant to the surface.
The protectant is often an extremely rare (and expensive) substance which provides a bonded layer of protection against any remaining abrasive not broken down by the detergents and wetting agents.
The protectant often contains extensive cross linked polymers, which make it extremely effective as a car wax or glaze. The product often contains a complex mixture of cleaning elements along with the glaze ingredients.
With proper application, the product lifts dirt from the vehicle by emulsification. The product surrounds dirt molecules, lifting them from the paint surface, before you start to wipe. At the same time, the application process initiates the cross chain polymer linking process that results in an extremely shiny, highly protective glazed finish. All this happens very rapidly due to the balance of ingredients within the product itself.
The application process does not involve high pressure nor extensive rubbing and also does not require “soaking” – using a high volume of product. When used as directed the vehicle will shine, and water will bead on it.