How to safely clean a car without water

How to safely clean a car without water

With our system, making the shift to waterless wash has never been easier!

On light to moderate soiling, our eco-friendly Shift Waterless Wash will change the way you clean your vehicle forever. But, just how quick and simple is it to use? Find out right here…

How it works:
Shift Waterless Wash is designed to break down road grime, lifting it away from the surface and encapsulating harmful particles within the solution. By suspending these sharp fragments of dirt on a slippery polymer layer above your paintwork, glass and trim, essentially you can use your Shift Plush Microfibre Towel to wipe away the grime without it coming into direct contact with the surface. This makes the process completely safe and scratch free, because the product doesn’t allow you to inflict damage.

Washing your vehicle in this way without water is not only quick and easy, it has far less environmental impact. An average car wash can use between 75 and 200 litres of water, depending on the method, sometimes even more. Shift Waterless Wash is exactly the opposite, all that’s needed is our advanced cleaning solution and two cloths – one to wipe away the grime, and another to buff the surface to a high shine. That’s it, minimum effort, maximum results, and all without a bucket, sponge or hose in sight.   

Here’s how you can clean and protect your car, from start to finish, in just a few easy steps…


The Waterless Wash Process:
Shift Waterless Wash doesn’t just turn the car care world upside down, in a way, it flips the cleaning process on its head, too. With a traditional bucket and sponge wash you always start with the wheels, before moving onto the bodywork. But, with Shift Waterless Wash, it’s important to begin your wash on the cleaner areas of the vehicle first, this will eliminate the chance of transferring grime from dirty to clean areas. In most cases you’ll start with the roof, followed by the windscreen and side windows, before moving on to the upper sides, bonnet, front bumper, lower sides and rear end.    

Your vehicle should be cool to the touch - never wash in direct sunshine, or allow the product to fully air-dry as you wash.

Completing one panel at a time, start by spraying Shift Waterless Wash liberally over the whole area. The advanced formula will immediately start to break down, lubricate and encapsulate any dirt present.

Now you can wipe away the filth. For best results here use a Shift Plush Microfibre, this premium towel is designed to pick up the dirt particles and lock them safely away from the surface, to further prevent scratching. These particles will stay buried deep within the towel until you wash it out later.

For particularly contaminated areas - including those covered in bug splatter - we recommend starting off with our Bug Shifter Microfibre. This works in a similar way to the Plush Microfibre, but is specifically designed with a special weave pattern to trap and lock away the largest particles. After this you can return to your Plush Microfibre. 

Fold your Plush Microfibre in half, then in half again, and then once more. This will give you the perfect amount of towel for a single large panel.

Always wipe in one direction, avoiding using circular motions to ensure that no light swirl marks can be inflicted. Check your towel periodically, and refold to a new portion after each panel (or any time the microfibre is significantly soiled). Your Plush Microfibre is large enough to complete a whole large car or SUV.  


Once your panel is free of grime, you can buff off the excess product, and bring your paint to a high shine. What’s most important here is to use a fresh cloth rather than the one used to wipe away the grime. We recommend utilising our Shift Microfibre Cloths, which have been designed specifically for this purpose.  

For best finished results, we recommend bringing your glass to a sparkling, smear-free finish with Shift Glass Cleaner


Once again, a spray and a wipe (using a Shift Microfibre Cloth) is all you need here!

Only when all the exterior panels and glass has been completed, is it advisable to move on to the dirtiest part of your vehicle – the wheels. You can learn how to utilise Shift Waterless Wash on your wheels, and finish your tyres to perfection, in our full wheel cleaning guide here.