a peek inside the fishbowl

15 Apr, 2014

A waterless car wash? Yes, it can be done!

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Oh! Things!

Awhile back I received an email from Canadian Tire about the goclean waterless car wash, asking me if I wanted to try out a sample. I am often on the lookout for useful/new/cool things for my editor’s faves column in Capital Parent Newspaper, and this seemed like a good candidate. (I’d also seen goclean on Dragon’s Den awhile back and was intrigued!)

I don’t find it very easy to fork over money to go through a car wash, do you? I find it overpriced and more often than not we come out the other side with a sub-par scrubbing. The alternative is a DIY car wash in the driveway. Generally speaking, I don’t really care how dirty the exterior of our car gets. Mostly because I know (a) there’s always a rain shower just around the corner and (b) Mark is more likely to break down and do something about the car sooner than I do.

Why is it a good idea to opt for a waterless car wash? It’s simple really. First, it saves water. Washing the car uses hundreds of litres of water – DRINKING WATER. It’s a little crazy when you think about it, especially given how many people don’t have access to clean water… including people in our own country. Second, going waterless saves harmful chemicals from being flushed into the water system. Did you know that some municipalities have banned driveway car washing for this reason? Storm water does not get treated before it goes into the river. It’s worth noting that the City of Ottawa – although they haven’t gone so far as to ban the practice of home car washes – suggests washing vehicles at a commercial car wash instead.

I think the waterless option is better.

So my package of waterless car wash stuff finally arrived. Inside was a bottle of the waterless car wash, a package of four cleaning cloths, and some simple instructions that I can summarize thusly: spray, wipe, buff.

I asked Mark to help me out with our moderately dirty car. He was skeptical to say the least. Armed with a bottle of the stuff, along with two micro fibre cloths each, we went to work.


It took very little effort on our part. The whole car was done in about 20 minutes and did not require an extraordinary amount of scrubbing action. The instructions didn’t lie. We sprayed a section of the car, wiped the dirt off with one cloth, and buffed with another one. There were no buckets and sponges to lug outside, no need to drag out the hose or get elbow deep in dirty water. (I should mention we did not wash the windows or the tires with this stuff, but everything else got cleaned.)

Mark was quietly impressed with the whole deal. He didn’t think it would work, but it did. I think we’ll invest in their spot remover (ideal for dried bird poop and bug corpses!) and maybe their interior cleaner too. And then I’ll hire my kids to clean the car. ;)

It’s worth noting:

  • This stuff is not made of harsh chemicals that are damaging your skin/car/eco-system. It’s plant-based and biodegradable. (You can read more about it on their official website.)
  • It didn’t take very much of the spray to wash our car. I suspect we will be able to get at least 5-6 car washes out of one bottle.
  • You can find goclean at Canadian Tire for $15.29, and at terra20 for $10. (!) Regardless of where you buy the stuff, it’s cheaper than running the car through a commercial car wash.
  • I washed the cloths with the rest of our laundry and hung them on the line to dry. Now we’re ready for next time. That’s all there was to it!

For what it’s worth, the goclean waterless car wash did make the cut and appeared in the May issue of Capital Parent Newspaper, which you can grab at various locations across Ottawa or online right here.

Edited to add: want to try this stuff out for yourself? Enter this giveaway hosted by terra20!


6 Responses to "A waterless car wash? Yes, it can be done!"

1 | Alina

April 15th, 2014 at 11:59 pm


Hi Andrea, I tried to find the ingredient list of their products on their website, but I could not find it. Could you help me, please?

2 | Pitching paper towels: part one >> a peek inside the fishbowl

April 29th, 2014 at 12:41 pm


[…] The inside of the car is cleaned with spray cleaner and paper towels. (Although we’re moving away from that too.) […]

3 | Alex Marten

December 29th, 2014 at 1:50 pm


Exactly all these methods are applying in a lot of car washing and detailing service in San Francisco. Definitely I agree with all of your ideas. Waxing and spray cleaning methods are also trendy now a days.

4 | Steve Massimini

May 9th, 2017 at 4:29 am


I think having your car wash the old way with hand wash is consider the proper way of cleaning your car. but anyway thanks for sharing your idea on this. http://www.classicautobody.com/

5 | Terrence

November 1st, 2017 at 11:55 pm


I think cleaning car with water is more cleaner than hand wash and spraying but i agree some of your ideas by the way thanks for sharing :)

6 | Antonio lou

November 8th, 2017 at 7:50 pm


Done reading all the thread. So informative. I really need some of the information. Thanks!

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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