Product Review: Griot’s Garage Spray-On Car Wash

By Kevin Miller

Washing my own car in my driveway is a truly a favorite hobby of mine. Quality time with the hose, sponge and car is among my favorite ways to spend a sunny day. Unfortunately, because of environmental concerns, an increasing number of jurisdictions are introducing regulations prohibiting individuals washing cars in their own driveways. At a recent Earth Day event in my Seattle-area suburb, the city government had a table dedicated to environmentally-friendly car washing, informing citizens that if water from car washing finds its way into the storm drain, the washer is in violation of an environmental law, as the storm drains empty directly into the state’s scenic Puget Sound.

The city was offering either a voucher for a free car wash, or a free eight-ounce bottle of Griot’s Garage Spray-On Car Wash ($6.99 retail at the Griot’s Garage Website). Being familiar with many other Griot’s Garage car care products, I eagerly took the free sample. As soon as I got home, I broke out my microfiber cloths and went to work on my wife’s decade-old black Saab 9-5 sedan, which hadn’t been washed for about 6 weeks of use in rainy Seattle weather.
The instructions are simple enough: spray the solution onto a dirty car car, and wipe off with a microfiber cloth, turning the cloth frequently without bearing down on the paint. It sounds easy, and is truly not difficult to use. I was surprised at the fact that there weren’t dirty streaks left after wiping, despite how dirty the car was. Even on my car’s black paint, the Spray-On Car Wash didn’t leave many streaks, and left the finish looking shiny. It worked on painted surfaces, glass, and wheels, though I followed up with glass cleaner to get streaks off of the glass. Washing the whole car used nearly the entire eight-ounce bottle, and three microfiber towels, as well as about 40 minutes of my afternoon.

The car did look clean (though some minor streaks were visible after pulling the car out of the garage), and my wife appreciated the fact that I’d given her car a little bit of love. Her one comment (or complaint) was that the product left the surface of the car feeling a bit slimy. While not nearly as satisfying as spending a couple of hours in the driveway with the hose, bucket and sponge, Griot’s Garage Spray-On Car Wash is an easy way to get the car fairly clean without a hose and bucket. Though it isn’t my favorite way to wash cars, the product is a workable solution to cleaning vehicles in areas with ordinances prohibiting outdoor car washing.

Author: Kevin Miller

As Autosavant’s resident Swedophile, Kevin has an acute affinity for Saabs, with a mild case of Volvo-itis as well. Aside from covering most Saab-related news for Autosavant, Kevin also reviews cars and covers industry news. His “Great Drive” series, with maps and directions included, is a reader favorite.

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3 Comments

  1. Thank you for the review, we’re glad you had a chance to try Spray-On Car Wash!

    It might be that the light streaking and “slimy” feel were caused by the product not being completely buffed away. After removing the dirt and majority of the moisture, use a separate towel for a final buff to make sure you remove any remaining residue.

    If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our how-to video. The technique I’m describing is addressed from 2:19 to 2:24… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyaXXMNxFLY

    Thanks again for the write-up. We love this kind of feedback!
    ~mike

  2. I agree that dumping a bucket of dirty water mixed with soap and washing liquid is not an environmentally friendly act. But, what about using a bucket of water without any added chemical? How is that different from the rain washing down the cars parked in the street? Both methods use no chemical and both drain the dirt into the sea.

  3. It is understandable when car washing is banned because of water shortages as in Australia and other states. I understand that the Washington ban is to avoid pollution of the waterways. What is the problem if detergents are not used? I read that originally washing was to be permitted, if on grass or if the run-off water was prevented from going into the drains. Does that still apply? How do you prevent scratching, when using the waterless method, if there are gritty deposits on the paint?

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