Mr. Clean Carwash & Auto Dry Product Review
If you're like us (and we hope for your sake you aren't!) you don't enjoy washing cars. Actually, it's not the washing so much as the drying that we find distasteful. We need to keep clean towels in the garage — not an easy
task, since we're always kicking up dust, metal shavings and all sorts of debris — so that they are on hand when washing takes place.
Assuming the towels are clean, there's still a chance that we'll create micro-scratches in the car's finish while wiping. If we miss a spot while washing we will grind that dirt into the finish while drying. Typically after a car wash we find ourselves hanging wet towels on the trunk lids of our cars. There's got to be something better...
Mr. Clean AutoDry Carwash.
Enter Proctor & Gamble with their new product: Mr. Clean AutoDry Carwash. This is the same Mr. Clean product line that's been around for 45 years, although never directed toward the car-care market. What they came up with is this:
We spoke with Dr. Alan Goldstein, P&G's chemist who developed the system. He's a car guy who steered the company to create a product that addresses the fact that people are still washing and drying their cars the same way they've done for the last 100 years, in spite of major improvements in car finishes. In fact, people are still using harsh detergents (dishwasher soap, for instance) on car finishes, not to mention the incorrect use of towels and chamois.
Instead, Dr. Goldstein reasoned, a product should be offered that contains the correct soap formulation, the ability to control all wash functions in one unit, and a "drying" system that will eliminate hand-drying. That's where the chemistry comes in...
The system uses a specially-formulated soap that helps to float the dirt/grease away, plus a deionizing cartridge that filters particulates and other impurities out of the wash water during final rinse. Theoretically, then, the rinse water will "sheet" away, leaving the car dry and free of water spots. Since the system is self-contained, there is no need of a wash bucket. According to instructions, all you do is hold the wash system in one hand and your sponge/rag/brush in the other.
We loaded the liquid soap (it smells great, by the way!) into the system's tank and then inserted the deionizing cartridge. Once the hose was connected we were ready to wash. It only took a minute or two to get used to the controls. The thumb-switch on the top turns the water on and off, and the rotating control at the front moves from "rinse" to "soap" to "dry" mode. As with all other forms of washing you first start with an overall rinse.
You start by rinsing the car.
Washing, we found, takes less overall effort. There's no bending down to get fresh soapy water from the bucket. When you set the control to "soap" all you need to do is turn on the water switch, then turn it off while you scrub. You can direct soapy water to any point on the car you wish.
Soaping the car...
Once an area (or the whole car if weather permits) is washed all that is necessary is to turn the control to "rinse." A little while later the car is rinsed clean. Now comes the "magic" portion of the system. Turning the control to "dry" and switching the on water produces a thin sheet of water out of the nozzle. This sheet rinses off the wet car, at the same time altering surface tension. You can see the film of water as it "flows" off the car.
If you look to the right of the hood scoop, you can get a sense of the sheeting action of the water.
Does It Work?
Well, we've washed a dozen cars so far in varying weather and sunlight, and it's worked precisely as advertised. We've let the cars dry and then looked for water spots, especially on the glass. Aside from areas we missed in the rinse/dry operations there is no spotting or residual film. As you can see in these photos, this black Mustang came off perfectly clean with no water spotting.
The verdict: The Mr. Clean system works! It's easier and faster than washing the car in the conventional way and it lessens the chances of scratching the finish. On our "wrench rating" we give it five out of five.
Mr. Clean's advantages come at a price, of course. The basic system, at discount houses, costs $19.95 (in 2006) and refills of soap and filter cartridges cost $14.99. These are good for at least 10 washes, so figure in the long run that it will cost you $1.50 each time you wash the car.
It also washes windows, siding, lawn furniture and anything else, so figure that into your budget as well. Overall, we think it's a very good product.