I have been wondering about the effectiveness of touchless washing for a while, but I finally decided to take the plunge and get some kit to be able to wash the cars without the sponges.
First thing I discovered is that it is not 100% touchless. For a start, there is drying – I guess I could invest in a car size blow dryer, but that doesn’t seem quite as practical, and, if the wash has done its job, there shouldn’t be any contaminants on the paint to damage it anyway.
Secondly, there are times that touchless washing might need a gentle touch. For that, I added a microfiber mitt to the order.
Finally, there are so many options for snow foam soap out there that choosing this took as long as choosing the rest of the kit combined. in the end, I picked up two. A gallon of the Chemical Guys Extreme Bodywash + Wax, and a smaller bottle of Chemical Guys HydroSuds, their ceramic coating snow foam soap.
To make all of this work, I needed to get a pressure washer. After a little research, I settled on a Westinghouse ePX3050 electric pressure washer. Not the most powerful (I’m washing cars with it, so I did not want extreme power, which can damage the vehicle), and it was small. It also had a 4.6 star rating with over 1,800 reviews, so it seemed like a solid choice.
Added to that, I picked up a foam cannon from Tool Daily. which also had high ratings and was compatible with the quick fit attachment the pressure washer came with for its nozzles.
The first opportunity to use it was after our last road trip – the one to La Quinta in southern California. The cars we took on that trip both had a fair share of bugs on the front and general dust. The afternoon I chose to wash them, my sister-in-law also turned up with her brother’s Honda Pilot that was far dirtier than either of ours, so we did all three.
Took a little bit of adjusting to get the foam cannon to produce a nice thick foam that actually adhered to the vehicles, and we used about one bottle of soap mix for each car (the mix being just a small amount of the Extreme Bodywash + Wax soap with warm water to fill the bottle). The narrow opening on the foam cannon bottle, and the much wider opening on the gallon bottle of soap meant pouring directly was not an option. In the end, I opted for a paper cup, folding one side into a pouring spout. I am going to need to find a better solution for the future.
One vehicle at a time, I foamed it completely, the switched to the 25º nozzle to wash off the foam. Most of the dirt came off with that process, leaving just a few of the more stubborn bug marks and some tree sap on the Pilot that needed the attention of the mitt. Finally, I dried them off using my synthetic drying cloth.
Overall, I am really impressed. All three vehicles came out looking great. Ours both have NextGen ceramic spray on them, and the water was beading nicely after the wash. The Pilot has no paint treatments, and in fact the paint is starting to oxidize on the surfaces most exposed to the sun. While the wax in the soap didn’t seem to leave much of a coating, it did remove all signs of dirt, and even the tree sap came off with just a gentle wipe from the mitt. Given the rough-to-the-touch feel of the paint on some surfaces, it probably isn’t fair to expect the wax in a shampoo to help much.
Additionally, and importantly given our current drought situation, there seemed to be a lot less water on the road after washing all three cars than I would normally expect from washing one with a bucket & regular hose.
We have yet to try the ceramic infused snow foam, saving that for a day when the cars are not quite as in need of a wash.