Waterless Motorcycle Wash
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
| Owner Comments (Below)
Editor's Note: We
were originally pleased but not overwhelmed with the Dri Wash 'n
Guard product when we first tried it.
article was originally posted, DWG International sent us
the correct, retail sized container and the special
aerosol pump spray container used to apply the product, rather than the very
small sample sprayer that was used in the first trial.
The pump makes a big difference in the performance of
the product, and we've since become fans of Dri Wash 'n
Keeping a motorcycle clean
isn't always as easy as it seems -- or as easy as it should be.
Especially if you're a neat freak like me.
Something about hosing down a motorcycle and slobbering
car wash all over the exposed parts and wires just
doesn't seem right.
But motorcycles seem
to attract more grit, grime and bugs than anything else on the
road. That means that if a
motorcycle isn't cleaned on a regular schedule, it can
quickly develop a real bad case of the uglies.
squashed bug bodies need to be rinsed off pronto, or the
paint can be permanently damaged. If you've ever
been hit by a "love bug" in Florida, you know what I
mean. Those babies must have blood with an acid
content worse than the creature in the movie "Alien"!
After rinsing off the suds, I feel guilty unless I run at least a quick
coat of polish over the paint. Then there's the
chrome, so that gets a treatment.
And don't forget
about the wheels, the windscreen, the black plastic
parts that need Armor All and just like that, 3 hours of
good riding time are lost to an obsessive compulsive
cleaning disorder. Sure, the bike looks good for the
next ride or two, but in no time at all, the grime is
So when we received a
sample of DWG Dri Wash 'n Guard, I was intrigued.
What a concept: a product that can keep a
motorcycle clean without having to drag out the hose and
bucket every weekend! Dri Wash 'n Guard claims to be a
combination "car wash, polish and protective glaze which
is applied directly to a dirty surface without the use
DWG International, the manufacturer of
the product, says that the Dri Wash 'n Guard recipe has
"47 different ingredients" that have never been used in
the car care industry. Some of these ingredients
are special detergents and wetting agents that are
supposed to help loosen the dirt on a painted finish or
any non--porous surface, including glass and chrome.
|The retail sized
package of Dri Wash 'n Guard (main photo at top of
page) consists of a 16 oz. bottle of the product and
an 8 oz. mixing container that doubles as a
miniature pressure sprayer. Shake the
contents, fill the sprayer bottle about 3/4 full...
special pump cap and pump until pressure is felt.
The product comes in a separate 16 oz. container, which
must be shaken prior to use. It definitely does
not look like any other type of car wash, polish or wax
that we've ever seen. A milky substance that
settles on the bottom during shipping quickly
incorporates into the purplish liquid as the contents
The liquid is then poured in to a special "AIRosol"
spray container that's designed to lay
a fine mist over the surface to be treated.
The AIRosol container is pressurized by using a special
pumper top and about 5-10 strokes. We had
originally used a pre-mixed
sample of the product that came in a tiny 1/2 oz. or so
spray bottle, which made it difficult to use.
the AIRosol spray bottle that comes with the Dri Wash 'n
Guard package does a much better job and spreads a nice,
thin but hefty pattern on the painted surface. A
little bit of the sprayed liquid goes a very long way;
it doesn't take much at all to do the job, so a 16 oz.
bottle should last for many applications.
DWG International recommends
spraying on a light coat with a sweeping motion, and
then immediately wiping it off and buffing the finish
with a clean terry cloth towel.
Some of the Dri
Wash 'n Guard kits are supplied with an ultra-soft terry
cloth towel that's perfect for this use. The result is a finish that
DWG International says is "cleaned,
polished, sealed and UV protected".
looks that way to us -- it takes no time at all to buff
out the liquid and like magic a nice, clean, shiny
surface appears. When we tried the product again
using the normal size bottle and applicator, we were
much more impressed with its ability to quickly clean
the painted surfaces on motorcycles and with the quick
and lustrous shine that it produced.
It must have
been a matter of getting the correct amount on the
painted surface -- the very small sample bottle we first
tried did not allow the correct amount of liquid to be
sprayed on the test motorcycles.
that the Dri Wash 'n Guard Waterless Car Wash won't
remove tiny "spider web" scratches in the motorcycle's
paint; for that you'll need some elbow grease and your
favorite polish. But it cleans and shines in one
easy step, and that's important.
Small bottle or no, it still takes a while to get
used to cleaning and polishing a motorcycle's painted
surfaces without a hose and a bucket o' suds. It may not seem right
to drown a motorcycle with a garden hose, but it also
goes against conventional (read: old-fashioned) wisdom
to spray and wipe anything other than soapy water on a
Decades of habit and urban myth
have told us that lots of soapy water is best for
removing any surface dust and dirt and also for
loosening up the tougher stuff like bug residue and tar,
but now that we're in the 21st Century, I guess that's
When cleaning any painted surface,
it's important to do everything possible to ensure that no dirt particles
will be ground into the
finish when washing and drying.
A clean sheepskin
wash mitt is supposed to be the way to go when washing a
painted surface with soap and water. A clean terry
cloth towel will also work, but a sponge is a
no-no -- supposedly, it can collect bits of dirt and
sand and grind them into the paint, causing scratches.
The soap is supposed to
help float away the dirt and also acts as a lubricant to
theoretically carry away the particles without
scratching. Warm soapy water can be used to soak
bug residue and tar, which then should be fairly easy to
remove with a light rub from a sheepskin or terry wash
But DWG International claims that their
product can be used to spray and wipe, because the
"detergents and wetting agents in Dri Wash 'n Guard
combine to soften and emulsify surface grime", so I'll take
their word for it.
recommends that Dri Wash 'n Guard is used only on
surfaces with light dust or dirt. DWG
International's website FAQ page states that "Mud, clay,
granules, heavy salt spray, bugs, heavy tar and tree sap
are examples of things that cannot and should not be
polished with DRI WASH 'n GUARD".
The FAQ goes on
to state "Let common sense be your guide-if in doubt,
rinse off the vehicle before applying DRI WASH 'n
It's interesting to note that DWG
International calls the product a "polish" in this case.
Unfortunately, mud, clay, bugs and tar are some of the
most common substances that seem to be attracted to
motorcycle finishes, so this caveat is something to
consider, but for average dust and road grime, it seems
to work very nicely.
The product sprays on easily in a
very fine mist, and it clings to the painted surface
differently than the other products, so there must be
something different about it. Maybe it's the
It seemed to
remove light surface dust and dirt more efficiently than
the other products that we tried, and it doesn't take
much effort to wipe it off and buff the surface.
The Dri Wash 'n Guard left a nice shine and it also left
a "slippery silky"
feeling on the finish, similar to what would be expected
after using an automotive polish.
For comparison, we also
tried Meguiar's "Quick Detailer Mist & Wipe", which
can also be used as a waterless cleaner, according to
Meguiar's claims that Quick Detailer Mist & Wipe can be used
"right after a rainstorm, dust storm (!) or any other
condition that ruins your 'just waxed' appearance".
The wording on the container also states that the product has
a "safe, high lubricity formula (that) lifts off dirt
and grime without scratching".
product beaded up and didn't cling to the surface as
well as the Dri Wash 'n Guard, so it might not be as
efficient in lubricating all the surface dust. It
didn't feel like it removed the dirt as well as the Dri
Wash 'n Guard; it felt more like the dirt was being
pushed around rather than lifted off.
Quick Detailer left a shine on the painted surfaces, but it
didn't have the same silky feeling as the Dri Wash 'n
Guard. Our impression was that this product works
as a quick polish, but isn't as effective as the Dri
Wash 'n Guard when used as a
Just for kicks, we also
tried Plexus "Plastic Cleaner Protectant & Polish"
in a spray aerosol can,
although the manufacturer makes no claims regarding its
to clean dirty surfaces on anything other than plastics.
This product was slightly more
effective at removing some
of the tougher spots of bug residue and tar. But
it's not really designed to be used as a replacement for
regular car wash. It leaves a "slippery" feel to the
We then tried Sprayway
Glass Cleaner (see the wBW
review), which we've found to be a versatile
cleaner for use on motorcycle helmets, visors and windscreens.
This product is also effective at removing bugs and tar,
but it does not leave that "just waxed" feel, so
we'd have to guess that it does not provide any surface treatment, which is to be expected.
We don't suggest that this product should be used as a
substitute for car wash either.
We've also discovered that
"Tar, Grease & Sap Remover" is a good product to have around the garage,
and it works great for cleaning tar spots and grease or
especially from engine casings. It's not very
effective at removing the bug residue on our sample
Because this product is designed to remove
grease, it also removes any traces of polish or wax
from painted surfaces, and it gives the surface a "squeaky
clean" feeling that usually means that any protective
wax coating has been stripped off the paint. We
suggest using this only on engine casings
but not on painted finishes.
Finally, we have Glass
Plus, the old standby. I go through gallons of
Glass Plus and we always keep a few bottles handy in the
garage. I've been using this product as a
"waterless" cleaner for many years. When I'm in a rush and don't want to break
out the garden hose, I've found that a good soaking with
Glass Plus and a clean terry cloth towel seems to do a
pretty good job of removing dirt and grime from a
motorcycle's painted surfaces or engine parts.
Spraying some Glass Plus on the bug residue and letting
it soak for a while seems to help make it easier to
clean. I still feel guilty about doing this, but
is somewhat assuaged by telling myself that the volume of
liquid in the Glass Plus
helps to slide the cleaning towel over the surface and won't cause any
However, the product is not designed
to leave any protective agents on the paint, so it's
usually necessary to treat the surface with a coat of auto polish;
something like the Meguiar's Quick Detailer works well
in this application.
We've changed our mind about Dri-Wash 'n Guard when it's
used as directed and it's applied with the special pump
sprayer. It is effective at removing dust and dirt,
and it definitely seems to work differently than any other products
that might be used to clean a motorcycle. It left
a nice finish that feels similar to a just-waxed
Soap and water may still be called for
when the grime or mud is extreme, but Dri Wash 'n Guard
will save a lot of time keeping your bike looking great
with a minimum of fuss.
Our experience shows that
the 16 oz. bottle lasts a long time because a small
amount of the product goes a long way, so the price may
be worth the savings in time and effort. I
absolutely hate dragging out the hose and bucket, so I
think the cost is definitely worth the reduction in
More information also at
Waterless Car Wash Products
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From "G.B." (4/09): "I just thought I would
mention that the best thing about waterless cleaners is you can
wash your bike during the winter. I ride to and from work
year round as well as riding missions with the Patriot Guard and
the American Legion Riders. Nothing like flying down a 4
lane at seventy when it was 5 degrees.
During the last half of December, all of January
and February my garden hose is winterized (coiled, un-hooked
from the faucet and drained) hanging on the side of the house.
Usually it is froze in that coiled shape and is basically not
usable, not that I would want my hands in cold water outside in
the Kansas winter. This is really when a waterless cleaner