OK, OK, I'll wash my car
And I won’t have to use water to do the job
By Jennifer Hadley 05/28/2009
There are few things in life that I find more annoying than having to wash my car. The last time I had done so was in October, when I reviewed Lucky Earth waterless car wash for the Wheels column. That’s not to suggest that my car hasn’t been washed in seven months. It’s just that I leave it to Marcus, who is kind enough to get the Xterra washed for me anytime he borrows it. Unfortunately, Marcus hasn’t borrowed it in months.
Let the record state that I don’t mind driving a dirty car. But I’m also none too keen on driving around a black truck that says “Hey Baby! Wash Me!” on the hood. So when I returned to my car after dinner last week to find that message inscribed in grime on the hood, I knew I couldn’t put off washing it any longer.
Coincidentally, the week before, when filling up with gas at the Mobil station in Toluca Lake, I was approached by Michael Coolidge, who was giving demonstrations of FW1 Project Top Secret car wash and wax. I’d never heard of the product, but the demonstration he did on the rear quarter-panel was impressive. According to Michael, all I’d need to get the Xterra looking spiffy again was a terry-cloth towel, a microfiber towel and 30 minutes. But what really sold me was that Michael told me one wash would keep my car shiny for two months. The longer I can go between washings, the better.
On the spot, I purchased two 17.5-ounce aerosol cans of FW1 Project Top Secret for $27. While paying, I was informed that a portion of proceeds from all sales of the waterless car wash and wax would be donated to the United States Wounded Soldiers Foundation, a nonprofit organization (uswoundedsoldiers.com). I was already buying the stuff, but knowing that my money was going to help wounded soldiers just sweetened the deal a bit. Michael also let me know that despite the fact that FW1 Project Top Secret is an aerosol, it does not contain any CFCs (those pesky ozone killers). Again, I had already bought the stuff, not even thinking about the poor ozone, but it did make me feel better about my purchase.
So on Wednesday morning, I got down to business. I read all of the instructions on both the bottle and the Web site (tswax.com), and headed to the alley behind my apartment to give my truck a good cleansing. I initially thought I’d wash it in my underground parking, but the bottle clearly says to use the product in a well-ventilated area, specifically warning against continuous breathing of the vapor and mist. It also says that it should be used in the shade, but, unfortunately, there was none to be found in my immediate neighborhood. I decided I could deal with a few streak marks, but wasn’t interested in experiencing headaches, eye-watering or dizziness that the product might cause if not used in a properly ventilated area.
There’s a reason this warning is on the bottle — you can smell the odor immediately. But the stuff is incredibly easy to use. Shake the can, spray it on a small area, wipe in a circular motion with the terry towel, then buff with the microfiber towel and the dirt comes right off. After 31 minutes of feeling very Karate Kiddish with “wax on, wax off” motions, and my right arm beginning to ache, I stepped back to review my handiwork.
The car looked great, with no remnants of the message left by my anonymous advice-giver. There were some pretty noticeable streaks, but in defense of the product, it was evaporating almost faster than I could wipe it clean in the blazing sun. And it certainly looked a million times better than before.
Overall, FW1 Top Secret car wash/wax was worth the money. I saved a ton of water by using a waterless car wash. I’ll save money in the future on car washes, as each bottle should afford me three to six washes and I’ll be giving a little something back to our wounded veterans.
But between you and me, waterless or not, I still find the act of washing my car annoying, so I’ll probably just encourage Marcus to keep borrowing it. But I will save him some money and just leave the FW1 Top Secret car wash/wax on the passenger seat. He’ll get the hint.
Contact Jennifer Hadley at firstname.lastname@example.org.