Where Clean Meets Green: Freedom Waterless Car Wash

Where Clean Meets Green: Freedom Waterless Car Wash

Gregory Han
Aug 13, 2008

Green @ Home month might be over, but that doesn't mean we haven't stopped looking for ways to improve our environmental impact on a day to day basis. As noted a few times, water use is a big issue here in crowded and dry Los Angeles. Combine that with a car culture and one of the glaring suspects of excessive water use at home happens while Angelenos, such as myself, wash their motor cars. Since we don't have a garage, this happens more often than we like. But of recent, a whole new category of waterless washing products have hit shelves and the folks over at Freedom International were kind enough to send us a trial package of their non-hazardous water-based cleaning solutions so we could see how it fared compared to traditional washing...

Our car was fairly dirty from recent drives out to Mt. Baldy, a dull sheen of dust layered across our silver painted ride, making it a perfect testing example (excessively soiled, muddy or caked-on sandy surfaces need to be prewashed). We were sent their Freedom Formula One, a non-wax, organic plant based soap cleaner meant for every part of the car but the tires; Freedom Original Formula is a waterless carwash formula, but also contains Montan and Carnauba wax alongside organic soap; Freedom Tire Shine is a water-based tire cleaner that can be used on plastic, leather and of course, tires.

We spent about 20 minutes hand washing our car with the Freedom Original Formula solution, since it can be used in direct sunlight and is marketed as their more serious cleaner. Coupled with Freedom's microfiber towels (super soft, as they're made of 90,000 fibers per square inch), we followed the directions, spraying the formula onto the towels and gently rubbing the formula into small sections at a time, then buffing it clean.

Detailing tip:
apply cleaner and buff in one linear direction; do not buff in a circular motion. This motion improves shine clarity since a circular motion increases the chances of minuscule scratches being visible from every angle.

Colour us surprised with the results. As you can see above, we only got halfway done before we got called in for dinner, but the results were impressive considering we didn't use the hose, cleaning off the moderate amount of dirt was simple (we'd personally recommend you invest in a California Duster style brush before using to lessen the chances of micro-scratches to your finish and reduce cleaning time), and the spray itself smelled very mild and citrusy pleasant (it's also biodegradable, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, non-toxic, and VOC compliant; we didn't have any allergic reactions while spraying it around us unlike some traditional cleaners).

A closeup of the the dirty side versus the clean side on the left. We gently removed larger soiled debris like bird poop before washing, leaving us with a very easy to clean surface. Just be sure to keep one microfiber for cleaning and another for buffing.

Each bottle can clean a car 5-10 times. We only have half done, so we're going back out today to wash the other half, clean the interior and give the tire cleaner a try. We'd recommend the 2 Pack Combo if you're looking for their best deal (it seems like it costs more, but considering the use of water and the myriad of detailing products we've used, it comes out about even).

Are these going to replace our near obsessive desire for a super sparkling clean ride? No, as there are instances we'll still need to use water. But now after using Freedom's waterless car care products, we think we can get by with just a bucket of water and maybe just a quick initial rinse if we wanted to get super serious about detailing the car. On a week to week basis, these cleaners should do an excellent job maintaining the finish and protecting storm drains of chemicals and excessive water use.

Learn more about Freedom's line of products and order from their website here.

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