How to Wash a Car Without a Hose and Save Water

The weekend is around the corner and you can’t wait to get those dirt off your car. Probably it has been months since you last washed your car and it has accumulated so much dirt that it’s beyond recognition. But one question you will be asking yourself is if it’s possible to wash your car efficiently while saving water. If yes, the second question you might want to ask is how to wash your car without a hose to save water.

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Washing a car is quite simple. What is difficult is trying to minimize the amount of water you use in washing it. Some people have tried different car washing techniques, like using a hose to wash to conserve water. Still, it’s not so effective as you will waste more water. People living in states like California are the perfect examples of people who are seeking ways to conserve water because of the water laws.

Others don’t have an idea of the technique to use to save water while washing their cars. It’s quite complicated, but don’t too worry, we will teach you how to wash a car without a hose.

How Much Water Do You Need to Wash a Car?

Typically, a regular washer needs about 300 liters of water to wash a single car or approximately 100 gallons of water, which is quite huge. Some washing techniques like using a garden hose to wash your car could cost you up to 200 gallons of water. In places where there is drought or where there are stringent laws guiding the use of water, washing a car effectively while conserving the water becomes problematic.

However, you don’t need to be bothered because we will list and explain water saving methods you can use to wash your car.

How to Wash a Car Without a Hose

There are various methods you can employ to reduce the quantity of water used in washing your car.

The Use of a Waterless Car Cleaner

Different brands of waterless car cleaners are available in the market such as the Eco Touch Waterless product (Amazon Link), Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax (Amazon Link), etc. It’s crucial that you choose the brand that’s effective. You can read customers’ reviews to learn their experiences while using the product.

These are biodegradable products that can give your car a proper wash with minimal or no water. Waterless products are now used in place of soap and water, due to their effectiveness. Some of them like the Eco breaks down the dirt particles.

What You Need

  • Waterless cleaning solution.
  • Two microfiber towel.


  1. To use a waterless product, soak a microfiber towel in the waterless cleaning solution. Make sure the cloth is dampen before cleaning the car.
  2. Spray your car with the waterless cleaning solution to moisten a small area of the car. Avoid spraying over the entire car as the solution tends to dry up easily before you can begin wiping. So you should work in small sections before proceeding to the next until the entire car is saturated with the cleaning solution.
  3. Take your dampen microfiber cloth and work it on the moist surface of the car in circular motion.  Repeat the process over each area for about 20 seconds. Start from moist areas that are close and move along the surface as you wipe. For example, you can start cleaning on the bonnet and move your way to the driver side door.
  4. Once you have worked your way on the moist areas, it’s time to rinse off the cleaning solution. Now, soak the microfiber cloth in a bucket that’s filled with a cup of water for five seconds. Once it’s saturated, work the cloth on the areas where the cleaning solution is present. Continue to do this until the solution is completely rid off.
  5. Once you are done rinsing, dry the area with another microfiber cloth. Make sure you leave no stain of chemical on the paint. Repeat the process until the entire car is cleaned and dried. Your car should look attractive and shiny.

The Use of Bucket of Water and Wet Sponge

This method is ancient and the most popular method of washing a car. If you have been using this method to wash car, then you should be thankful because you have succeeded in saving several gallons of water from wasting. If you haven’t started using this method, then we suggest that you begin.

What You Need

  • Full Bucket of Water.
  • Detergent or soap.
  • Wet Sponge.


  1. Get a bucket and fill it with two – three gallons of water.
  2. Add biodegradable soap or detergent in the water and mix until it foams. Be careful not to add too much detergent as more water will be needed to rinse them off your car.
  3. Dip the sponge in the bucket of foamed water and sponge down the car. Start from the windows because this area is usually the cleanest and won’t get the soapy water dirty easily. Next is to wash the roof and then work your way to all sections of the car. Repeat the process until you have completely washed the car.
  4. When the water gets dirty, empty it out, and replace with another clean water with soap inside. To avoid continually replacing the water each time it gets dirty, get up to three buckets and fill two of them with soapy water. Then leave the remaining water to use and dry the suds.
  5. After washing, you can rinse the car with a dry towel or use the third bucket of clean water to rinse the suds. Using a garden hose to rinse the car will only end up wasting the water that you are trying to conserve.

Note that you should always strive to wash your car in a shaded area. Sunlight can lead to excessive evaporation of water. This, in turn will lead to increase in the quantity of water that you need to rinse your car. Your shade could be under the tree, in a car garage, etc.

Are There Other Alternatives to Conserving Water While Washing?

If you are skeptical about using the water cleaning solution or one cup of water technique, you can use a bucket and a hose, but you have to purchase a nozzle for the hose. The nozzle will do the work of rinsing, rather than actually doing the washing, which will save water more.

If you want to use the regular hose to wash, you will be wasting about 100 – 200 gallons of water, so a nozzle is your best bet in regulating the amount of water used.

Another method you can use to conserve water is by searching for eco-friendly car wash in your locale. Most car wash uses less water on average than regular car washers like the users. Also, these car wash centers have an efficient water and chemical recycling system. What this means is that the car wash station can reuse like 80% of the water. They also recycle chemicals like detergents and prevent them from interfering with the stormwater system.

If you live in a city or state where residential car washing is banned, you can take your car to these eco-friendly car wash centers. This commercial car wash center can use as little as 7 gallons of water and as high as about 18 gallons of water to wash your car.

Perhaps, the reason why you use so much water to wash your car is because of how much dirt the car has accumulated. Why don’t you give your car a regular wash? Instead of waiting for months to wash your car, do it often. Maybe every two to three weeks in between washes. This way, your vehicle won’t pile up so much dirt, and you will far less water to wash it. However, this alternative is not applicable in places like California and Los Angeles, where drivers tool a pledge not to wash their cars for 60 days in a bid to conserve water in an ongoing drought.

What Is the Cost of a Nozzle?

A hose nozzle could cost between $12 and $20, depending on the type, angle of the nozzle, and the location. You can purchase it in gardening and department stores.

Can a Power Washer Conserve Water?

Power washers are very efficient equipment that you can use give your a car a perfect clean. They can remove debris and grime from exteriors, floors, and even bodies of cars with about 70% less water than garden hose. Despite their efficiency, they consume a great deal of water, be it electrically-powered washer or gas-powered washers. However, this high water consumption is due to some factors.

Pressure washers depend on the pressure or the PSI, water flow rate, detergent or soap, and heat. For example, if you use cold water to wash your car, you are likely to use more water in washing your car. You will also have to increase the quantity of detergent or soap.

If you are thinking that power washers use more water than garden hoses, then you are definitely mistaking. Power washers use about 20 gallons of water in 10 minutes, while a garden hose uses about 200 gallons in 10 minutes. So you can see that power washers are water efficient.

Another factor that determines the efficiency of a power washer is the type of power washer used. Not all power washers use less gallons of water per minute. The higher the pressure, the higher the efficiency, which results in less water usage. For instance, gas power washers are more efficient than the electric power washers, which means that it will use less gallons of water per minutes versus the electric pressure washers. Notwithstanding, the PSI play a great role in this.

The only issue with power washers is the cost of actually buying it. When you consider the accessories and resources that ought to come with it, the amount can be somewhat staggering. Still, this is nothing compared to what it would offer you in the long run. Besides, it will actually save you more. Imagine washing your car in less than five minutes with less water and labor? Isn’t that great?

So in essence, power washers can actually help to conserve water, only if you know how to use it. The use of hot water, instead of cold water will result to less water consumption. Plus, using a power washer to remove grime and dirt from your car will save you time, labor, and money. Power washers can clean your car five to six times faster than other cleaning methods, including that of garden hoses. When it comes to efficient cleaning and reducing the amount of energy used in washing, power washers are incomparable.

As regards using a power washer, use a light-duty pressure washer with 1400 – 1800 PSI and a flow rate of about 1.6 GMP to 2 GPM, since it’s a car that you plan to wash. Doing this will translate to saving so much water. Always remember that using a very high PSI of about 4000 PSI will get rid of your vehicle’s body paint. So you need to be extremely careful and pay attention to the PSI.


If you are still asking if it’s possible to conserve water while washing a car, the answer is yes. You can get your vehicle to be completely spotless and rid of dirt without using so much water. You don’t need to hose down your entire car with water, then sponge down, and rinse again. It’s too much of a task and would consume water beyond reasonable doubt.

I’m sure you have pretty much learnt how to wash your car without wasting so much water in this article. Even if you are in a drought – stricken place like California, you can still enjoy washing your ride with no or minimal water with all the cleaning methods explained here.

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