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3 Really Easy Ways to Wash a Car Without a Hose

Don’t have access to a hose, but still need options for keeping your vehicle clean? You do have a couple of options.

In this post, I’ll outline three basic ways to wash your car without a hose. A couple of these will assume you have access to water, but there are waterless methods I’ll describe as well.

Keep in mind that if your vehicle is extremely dirty I would not recommend washing a vehicle without spraying it off first, but for most people these methods are safe as long as you use common sense.

Depending on your budget, all of these methods used products that you can pick up for under $30 make it possible to wash the dirt off of any vehicle at any time without running water.

If you live in an apartment and want a few more tips, check out my post 7 Tips for Washing a Car in Your Condo or Apartment.

1. Rinseless car wash products like Optimum No Rinse (ONR)

If you’re not familiar this is a product that many auto detailers use. It basically requires one gallon of water and a concentrated formula of a product called Optimum no rinse (ONR). This solution is formulated to wash a vehicle Without Water by using special polymers that act to protect the clear coat from scratching.

Rinseless washes are basically concentrated formulas that are meant to be diluted in about one gallon of water. Basically you apply ‘rinseless’ products with a wash mitt, and use plenty of water like you would when washing a traditional car. The only difference is these you obviously don’t have to ‘rinse’ off, you just wipe them off.

In my opinion, this is probably the safer option for most people, due to the fact that you still use water. Using sprays (like I’ll mention in tip #3) must be applied very liberally and carefully to avoid causing scratching.

The rinseless method is a little more forgiving, since you have water providing an extra barrier of protection between your wash mitt (or towel if you prefer) and the clear coat.

Where to Buy: You can find these products just about anywhere, including here on Amazon for around 15 bucks the last time I checked. This is really more of a specialty product that can be difficult to find on store shelves, so online may be your best bet.

Here is a short video I thought was helpful for how to use ONR:

2. Pump sprayer

This is a device that I purchased pretty recently that I really do like for washing certain parts of my vehicle without water. Pump sprayers are great for applying any type of wheel cleaner to your vehicle or presoaking a vehicle with ONR or another no-rinse product. Depending on how large the pump sprayer is, you may want to fill a larger pump sprayer with water to rinse off any degreaser or other pre-soak you have applied with the smaller pump sprayer.

These devices are by no means a replacement for a water hose, but if you are in a situation where having a hose is simply not an option, this is an effective way to make your vehicle a little bit cleaner without even touching it.

Where to buy: You can pick up a pump sprayer at most hardware stores like Lowes or Home Depot, as well as online. I brought mine on Amazon for less than 20 bucks.

3. Waterless car wash spray

Another option for washing without water is to use a waterless car wash spray like this one that I recently reviewed by Chemical Guys. These you simply spray on any panel and wipe away with a damp microfiber towel.

You want to make sure that you use plenty of product whatever using a waterless spray-on product, and I would not recommend it for heavily soiled areas of your vehicle. Anything clumpy (like mud) or dried dirt you will need to use water to remove safely.

While there are many waterless car wash products on the market, here are 3 of my favorites based on the brands I like.


If there is anything to remember about washing without a hose is to always use proper lubrication if applying any pressure to your vehicle. I would also pre-treat your microfiber towel or application device prior to running it across your paint. A damp towel even when applying these products is simply a safer option than a dry one whenever washing without a hose.

No matter the solution you use or the application method, it’s important to actually use a hose from time to time. There are simply substances like salt that water is more effective at removing (especially under the vehicle).

I hope these tips have helped!

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