Can I Wash My Car With Just Water?

Can I wash my car with just water? If you own a car, this though probably came to your mind.

Whether it’s trying to get the perfect wash or attempting to remove stubborn stains, it can take up a lot of time. The easiest way to give your car a fresher look is simply washing with water, and yes, you can do it, but it might not be effective.

Benefits Of Washing Car With Just Water


If you’ve ever washed your car with just water, you know it’s not the most effective way to get it clean. But besides being cheaper and quicker, there are some other benefits washing your car with simple water brings. 

First, it’s less harmful to the environment. In rare circumstances, by law, you can be required to wash your automobile using just water. Car washing soaps are prohibited from entering storm drains and sewers in several American localities.

That’s because a lot of the ingredients in these detergents have the potential to damage animals and degrade water quality. Therefore, if you reside in a region with such rules, you will only have the following alternatives for vehicle washing: 

  • Rely on a corporate car wash; 
  • Use a surface that will absorb water to wash your car;
  • Use simply plain water to wash your automobile.

Second, it can be better for your car’s paint. Soap and water can strip away the wax and protective coatings on your car’s paint, exposing it to the elements, while simple water won’t damage your paint in the same way. [1]

Cons Of Washing Your Car With Just Water


Though water is the key ingredient while washing your car, car owners still need to take some notes before depending on it during a car wash.

So, is water bad for cars? Technically, no, but let’s break down critical takeaways you would need to consider. 

Washing a car with water on a hot day is a typical mistake many automobile owners make. The water on the car’s surface will swiftly evaporate due to the high temperature. As a consequence, there will be unsightly wet marks and streaks all over the car. 

Your windshield or glass may also sustain damage from the mixture of hot air and cold water. These auto components are prone to cracking when subjected to such temperature changes. 

Therefore, make sure your car’s surface is not hot to the touch before you start spraying it with water. 

Moreover, if you live in an area with hard water, washing your car with just water can actually leave behind harmful mineral deposits. These deposits can lead to unsightly water spots and even paint damage. [2]

Furthermore, using just water to wash your car means you’re not getting the same level of cleaning power as you would with quality car soap. Soap helps to loosen and remove dirt, grime, and other build-ups from your paint surface. 

Finally, washing your car with just water can also cause scratches and swirls on the paint surface. This is because water itself is not a lubricant, so it can’t provide the same level of protection as a quality car shampoo.

Overall, while it might seem like a good idea to save time and water by skipping the car soap, it’s not doing your car much favors. For a truly clean finish, reach for a quality car shampoo the next time you hit the driveway. [3]

How To Clean Car With Water Only


If you’re still looking to save money and avoid harsh chemicals, a quick guide could help you get your car a fresher look with just water:

  • Avoid Exerting Excessive Pressure 

Use only pressure washers with a PSI rating of no more than 1900 PSi for washing cars. 

  • Maintain Your Distance 

The more space you have between you and the automobile, the more intense the spray will be; keep at least 18 inches between you and the car. Moving closer to or further away from the automobile may alter the pressure. 

  • Utilize The Proper Nozzle 

The white nozzle, which has a lower pressure and can be used safely on a car without harming the paintwork, should be used to moisten the vehicle first. Soak it a bit, and switch to the green nozzle to thoroughly rinse the suds. 

  • Dry Your Car With A Clean Towel Or Chamois 

Rust can form on any metal surface left wet, so it is essential to dry your car off as much as possible after washing it. In addition, drying your car after washing can help to prevent dirt and grime from being trapped underneath the wet surface, which can lead to scratches.

Overall, with a bit of elbow grease, you can wash your car with just water and get it looking clean and shiny.

Why Shouldn’t You Use A Garden Hose To Wash A Car? 


A garden hose may seem like a convenient way to wash a car, but there are several reasons why it’s not a good idea.

For one, a garden hose causes a huge water waste. The normal garden hose consumes 10 gallons of water per minute, and a vehicle wash at home typically takes 20 to 30 minutes. Car washes, on the other hand, utilize a small fraction of that, thanks to modern water-saving technologies.

Second, the water pressure from a garden hose is not high enough to really blast away dirt and grime. Typically, a car pressure washer has a power of 1,500 PSI (pounds per square inch). In comparison, that of a garden hose is just 40 PSI.

Moreover, you may not be able to clean every part of your automobile that needs cleaning since a garden hose might be challenging to operate.

Should You Wax Your Car After Washing With Water?

Regardless of whether you wash your car with soap or merely water, it should be waxed. Washing your car is the first step in the process of keeping it looking like new, but it’s only half the battle.

The other half is waxing your car. Many people think that waxing is just something you do for show, but it actually serves an important function. [4]

4 reasons why you should wax your car after washing it 

  1. Waxing protects your paint. Your paint is subject to all sorts of environmental hazards, from the sun to road salt to bird droppings. Waxing creates a barrier between your paint and these hazards, protecting it from their damaging effects. 
  2. Waxing makes your car easier to clean. A layer of wax makes it easier for dirt and grime to slide off your car’s surface, so you won’t have to scrub as hard when washing it. This will help you avoid scratching or damaging your paint. 
  3. Waxing gives your car a deep, glossy shine. A well-waxed car has a deep, glossy shine that makes it look like new. This is the result of the wax reflecting light off your car’s surface. 
  4. Waxing can help you sell your car. When it comes time to sell your car, a good wax job can help you get a better price. A shiny, well-protected car will always be more appealing to potential buyers than a dull, unprotected one. [5]

Wax can be used in different ways. You can rub it in by hand or use a car wash’s high-pressure feature. A lot of self-service stations have a setting for wax. It lets you use the spray wand to spray wax on your car. You must apply a thin coating to a clean body. The surface will be sealed, and salt and dirt won’t be able to damage the paint.

How To Dry Your Car After Washing With Water


As we talked already, it is important to dry your car after washing with water to prevent water spots and to keep your car looking clean. 

Any decent cloth can be used to clean a car. But if you use a towel made for this, the process will go much more quickly and easily. These towels are strong and absorbent, swiftly removing filth and debris. In order to quickly dry your automobile, they should also be simple to wring out. 

For the finest automobile drying towel, opt for one with thick, sturdy material and wide loops that make it simple to wring out. In order to prevent tearing, the seams should be strengthened. 

Cotton or microfiber towels work best for drying up your automobile. These substances are excellent in absorbing water without producing lint.

Before you begin drying your automobile, wash the towel separately to prevent dye transfer on lighter-colored vehicles. A towel without any finishing treatments, such as shine or shrink resistance, is also ideal since they might create problems while cleaning your automobile.

Gloves are another excellent and adaptable option for thoroughly drying your automobile after washing. Nitrile gloves are among the most popular options for vehicle detailers. Gloves made of nitrile are very strong and chemically resistant by nature. Additionally, they are quite reasonably priced and do not trigger allergic responses like latex gloves.

Can I Wash My Car Interior With Just Water?

When it comes to car interior cleaning, simple water might not be a smart idea. Water can cause streaks and smears on surfaces, making them more difficult to clean and maintain. 

Water can also cause mold and mildew to grow, which can damage surfaces and lead to health problems. 

And most importantly, water can damage electronic components and upholstery. Thus, it would be best to use a mild soap and water solution or a purpose-made car interior cleaner when cleaning a car’s interior. 

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Wrapping Up

Overall, it is evident that proper cleaning practices are essential to maintain your car fresh. By making sure to wash your car regularly, you can prevent the build-up of dirt and grime that can lead to unwanted odors and stains. 

Thus, if you want to keep your car looking and smelling its best, be sure to wash it properly, either you prefer just water, or soap.