I discovered this product about a year ago and approached it with great reservations. I have used all the popular “detailer” products we all use at shows to remove dust and bugs from our show cars. Once I tried Prolong I stopped using all the others. I don’t normally recommend specific products but I really like this one. Richard Fleener
The science of automotive detailing
The tried-and-true practice of washing a car with soap and water isn’t just a means to achieving a shiny finish. It’s a traditional Saturday afternoon pastime, ingrained into generations of car-loving men and women, using techniques passed down through the years. Some people may scrub with a brush, while others may opt for a sponge or wool wash mitt. Some may clean from top to bottom, or bottom to top, rinsing the suds down the driveway or letting the soapy water soak into the lawn. No matter the method, one thing is certain: some of that dirt isn’t harmlessly whisked away from the car, but ground into the finish with every swipe of that brush, sponge or wool mitt. That’s why most cars have a slight swirl or “spider web” effect to their finish, and it generally gets a bit worse with every traditional wash. Are those light swirls necessarily a bad thing? To answer this question – and to better understand how Prolong’s line of automotive detailing products can outperform that bucket of soapy water – it’s important to know the basics of automotive finishes and what can damage them.
Enamel and clear coat are the two main types of automotive finishes in use today, and of these, clear coat (also referred to as a dual-stage finish) is most common on late-model vehicles. Clear coat finishes consist of two layers – a base coat of color topped with a clear gloss finish. The result is an extremely durable surface that holds up very well against scuffs, scratches and sun damage. Enamel finishes forego a clear topcoat for a single layer of glossy color, and though they can be quite tough in their own right, they generally aren’t as robust as their clear coat counterparts. Enamel finishes were still quite common through the 1980s and well into the 1990s and are more susceptible to sun damage, thinning the paint over time and “bleaching” the finish out if not properly protected. Clear coat finishes stand up better to the sun’s rays, though without protection, the clear surface can crack or turn white.
Both finish types also face a daily onslaught from the elements. Bugs, stones, sand particles, tree sap, road grime, bird droppings, acid rain and industrial fallout combine forces to pit, swirl, corrode, etch and otherwise eat away at the finish. Remember the spider web effect mentioned earlier? Those spider webs are actually microscopic scuffs in an otherwise smooth finish, and aside from robbing the finish of its shine, scuffs also provide more places for contaminants to collect. Washing with soap and water can remove contaminants, but they may not come clean without further damaging the finish; debris trapped in the brush, sponge or mitt – even microscopic particles – can actually contribute to the swirl effect. This cycle of damage continues with every wash, slowly reducing the shine even though the vehicle looks clean. The surface may eventually feel slightly rough to the touch due to contaminants embedded into these scuffs. It’s usually at this point when the wax comes out or the car goes to a professional detailer to get the shine back.
Auto detailing 101 says the following: A smooth, protected finish will have a better shine while being more resistant to contaminants and sun damage. With this in mind, here’s why Prolong’s Waterless Wash & Shine is actually better than using soap and water for daily washing of light to moderate levels of soiling.
- Waterless Wash & Shine breaks the cycle of damage
For anyone familiar with basic auto detailing, wiping down a dirty car with a towel and a bit of slippery liquid seems like blasphemy. Surely such an exercise would be just like running sandpaper over the car, but this is why Waterless Wash & Shine is so special. Using a citrus-based formula with special lubricating agents, Waterless Wash & Shine actually lifts dirt from the surface while dissolving it. Particles that aren’t completely dissolved are encapsulated by the lubricating agents, forming a barrier between the dirt and the car’s finish. The pictures below help demonstrate this process.
The rear bumper of this older red sedan features a scuffed and faded red enamel finish that is covered in a layer of dust. The mark in the circled area was produced simply by rubbing a finger over the finish with light pressure.
Even with light pressure, the dust on the car created a clearly noticeable scuff mark on the finish.
Only Waterless Wash & Shine has been applied to the area. It will be removed with a clean terrycloth towel after approximately one minute.
With the product removed, the scuffed area is still clearly visible while the surrounding area remains clear, indicating no further damage was done to the finish. Provided the towel being used is kept relatively clean, this is the typical result from using Waterless Wash & Shine on a finish with light to moderate soiling.
Waterless Wash & Shine’s non-toxic citrus formula not only dissolves and encapsulates dirt—it also attacks and dissolves contaminants
Whereas soap is fairly effective at handling dirt, it doesn’t do much for the tougher substances that vehicles face every day. From road grime to tar, tree sap, bird droppings and swarms of bugs, Waterless Wash & Shine safely removes them all with little to no effort, as pictured below.
Having encountered a swarm of insects on a recent trip, the front end of this clear coat pickup was literally covered in difficult-to-remove bugs. A dedicated bug and tar product would normally be needed to thoroughly clean this vehicle, followed by a typical wash to remove residual stains from the product. Waterless Wash & Shine accomplishes both in a single, simple step.
Within a minute of application, Waterless Wash & Shine is already dissolving the debris.
Three minutes later and long streaks are clearly visible beneath the larger spots. Waterless Wash & Shine both lifts the debris from the finish while dissolving it.
After approximately five minutes, the debris was easily removed with a single wipe. Unlike dedicated bug and tar products, Waterless Wash & Shine leaves the area clean and streak-free, requiring no follow-up detailing.
Waterless Wash & Shine cleans and waxes in one step, providing long lasting protection, and it can be applied in the sun or shade
Soap and wax generally don’t like to mix, so while there are other wash and wax products on the market, they generally aren’t very effective. Since Waterless Wash & Shine is in fact waterless and applied by hand like a traditional wax, it leaves a protective film that buffs up to a brilliant shine while repelling water, contaminants and harmful UV rays.
This sports car had been stored outside for several months, requiring a thorough cleanup of its older clear coat finish. The car was covered in tree sap and hardened dirt rings from decomposing leaves, as shown with the circles in the two photos above (top is the rear spoiler, bottom is a portion of the hood.)
Waterless Wash & Shine was applied liberally to both areas in direct sunlight and allowed to work for approximately five minutes.
Minor to moderate pressure was required to fully clean the vehicle, though no scuffs or scratches resulted from the extra pressure.
A quick water test reveals exactly where the Waterless Wash & Shine was applied on the spoiler.
Waterless Wash & Shine used in conjunction with Prolong Super Protectant offers an all-encompassing automotive cleaning and detail – from paint to rubber and vinyl surfaces – with only two products
Waterless Wash & Shine isn’t suitable for vinyl or rubber, but with Super Protectant on hand, cleaning and glossing items such as tires, rubber trim, and leather and vinyl surfaces is quick and easy.
Wipe off the excess quickly for a semi-gloss look, or let it sit for a few minutes to achieve a high-gloss shine.
Prolong Waterless Wash & Shine is revolutionizing the way people clean and maintain their vehicles. Paired with Super Protectant, this product combination can replace a cabinet full of cleaners at home, while offering convenient cleaning options while traveling.
Use it on the daily driver, pickup or the weekend fun car. Make it a new Saturday ritual or opt for a good cleanup every few months. Prolong Waterless Wash & Shine – it’s the new way to wash and protect a vehicle in one simple step.