Product Review – Lucky Earth Waterless Car Wash

August 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Car, Consumer Goods, Events, Front Page, Reviews

Lucky Earth Waterless Car Wash is easy on your car and the planet. Photo: J Wasson

Lucky Earth Waterless Car Wash is easy on your car and the planet. Photo: J. Wasson

Way back in June, I got an email from someone representing Lucky Earth products. She wanted to send me a sample of Lucky Earth’s Waterless Car Wash. “Sure,” I replied. “I’ll give it a try.” The sample bottle arrived a few days later, along with a packet of two “Super Cool (TM) Microfiber Towels.” By then it was early July. The items sat on a shelf until today. You can probably see where I’m going with this: I’m not a fan of washing my car.

Think this car needs a good cleaning? Photo: J Wasson

Think this car needs a good cleaning? Photo: J. Wasson

Today is a beautiful day. Not too hot, cold, or windy. Not a rain cloud in sight. With perfect weather at hand and a few spare minutes, I thought I’d give the car wash thing a try before dashing out to meet Joe and some friends for lunch.

Armed with my spray bottle and the two towels, I took a few quick squirts at my car and started wiping with a dry cloth. My initial reaction was lukewarm. I didn’t like the thin spray, and I didn’t think I was getting enough dirt off. But time was short, so I threw the spray bottle and towels in my Prius and drove away.

After lunch, the weather was still perfect. Finding no good excuse to avoid the inevitable, I decided to try again. In a rare flash of brilliance, it occurred to me that I should probably read the directions. Oops. I had done three things wrong: 1.) I hadn’t sprayed the towel first. 2.) I hadn’t used the second towel to buff lightly after removing the dirt with the first towel. 3.) And I hadn’t tried turning the nozzle to get a wider spray. Lessons learned.

I tried again, wiping down only the left side of my vehicle, so that I could compare it with the unwashed right side.

I cleaned the left side of my car — and half the top. This is a view from the rear. Photo: J Wasson

I cleaned the left side of my car — and half the top — with Lucky Earth. This is a view from the rear. Photo: J. Wasson

Wow! In just a few minutes, the left side of my car was glowing like new. The right side was still covered with dirt spots and — worse than dirt — aphid droppings from a tree that shades our driveway. You’d have to experience aphid droppings on your car to know what a mess that can make.

It was the aphids, in fact, that compelled me to wash my car in the first place. Their droppings make sticky spots that act like dirt magnets. I had been concerned that the spots wouldn’t come off without scrubbing, but the Waterless Car Wash cut through them with ease.

The bottle promises 7 to 10 washes, which may well be true. I’m not sure whether the amount I sprayed is typical or a little more than usual. My car was pretty dusty, but not nearly as bad as when I lived on a gravel road. My guess is that the kind of mess I used to have on every car I drove in the country would require a lot more of the liquid to clean it off. But I don’t want to underestimate this stuff.

Good for the Planet

So, what’s environmentally friendly about Lucky Earth Waterless Car Wash?

To begin with, you aren’t using water. The Lucky Earth site suggests that a typical garden hose runs at about 10 gallons per minute. Of course, that depends on how wide open you turn your tap. With fresh, clean water being in short supply, using it to wash a car hardly seems the best thing to do.

A car wash company may recapture, recycle, and reuse some of the water that flows onto your car. The end result is a lot less water used, but not all companies do that. If they don’t recycle the water, you probably use nearly 40 gallons to wash your car at a car wash.

By the end, the dirt was on the cloths (left is the one I washed with; right is the one I buffed with), and the bottle barely used. Photo: J Wasson

By the end, the dirt was on the cloths (left is the one I washed with; right is the one I buffed with), and the bottle barely used. Photo: J. Wasson

And let’s not forget that we generally use soap products when we wash our vehicles. You may choose a non-toxic, phosphate-free variety for your car; but, unless there’s a sign telling you otherwise, you can be confident that the car wash down the street doesn’t.

Here’s what the label on Lucky Earth Waterless Car Wash says:

  • Non-Toxic
  • Environmentally Safe
  • Hypo-Allergenic
  • Phosphate Free
  • Fragrance Free
  • No Dyes
  • Paraben Free

Shop Around

One question I had about using a waterless car wash was cost. Though I don’t go there often, I generally pay about $5 to have my car washed and waxed at the local car wash. If I’m not feeling quite so rich that day, I’ll choose a shorter wash without wax for $3 or $4.

I found a 32 oz. bottle of Lucky Earth Waterless Car Wash on Amazon for $16.99 plus shipping, without the microfiber towels, which are a necessary part of the cleaning process. With Lucky Earth promising at least 7 washes, the cost comes down to about $3 per wash — not counting the cost of the cloths, which are reusable. That’s comparable to the low-end car wash that I purchase.

The finished car: clean and shiny! Photo: J Wasson

The finished car: clean and shiny! Photo: J. Wasson

Shop Organic has the bottle of Waterless Car Wash, without towels, for $18.59 plus shipping.

Lucky Earth sells the bottle online for $14.99 and the set of two microfiber towels for $6.99, plus shipping.

At ShopNBC.com, I found the same size bottle plus 8 microfiber towels for $27.99, plus shipping. Having 8 towels at your disposal would be great if you have more than one car to wash at a time. They can get pretty dirty, and I doubt you’d want to use them when wet.

HealthyHome.com offers a Starter Kit that includes a bottle (size not specified, but it looks like it could be a 32 oz. bottle) of the Waterless Car Wash, two microfiber towels, and a bottle of Tire Shine for $29.99 plus shipping.

I was really surprised to see the exact same Starter Kit on Amazon for $39.99 (but, hey, they give you free Super Saver shipping).

The best deal I’ve found so far is MotherNature.com, where you can get the same Starter Kit for only $9.80 plus $4.99 shipping.

If you try Lucky Earth Waterless Car Wash — or any of other eco-friendly, waterless car wash option, please let us know what you think.

See you later. I’m off to wash Joe’s car now.

Julia Wasson
Blue Planet Green Living

Comments

6 Responses to “Product Review – Lucky Earth Waterless Car Wash”

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  3. Dan on August 26th, 2009 11:51 am

    Great article Julia!

    I’ll admit, i was EXTREMELY skeptical about the effectiveness of Lucky Earth’s products. i was also equally concerned with it leaving scratch marks on my car (i mean really… a wash without water? its GOT to scratch…right?)

    To my surprise, it left my prius with a scratch-free shine and cut right through the bird poop and tree sap that i had caked on my hood.

    I’m now a regular LE customer and i can squeeze about 9 washes out of one 32oz bottle. Since i buy them at whole foods (they just lowered their price to $12.99) that means i can wash my car for about $1.44!!

    I won’t go back to the old bucket and hose- that’s for sure.

  4. Julia Wasson on August 26th, 2009 2:46 pm

    Hi Dan.

    Thanks for your comment. Glad you liked the article!

    I’m with you in the skeptic department — I thought sure I’d get scratch marks, too. But it really was amazing. I did notice, a couple of days after I wrote the article, that I had some big smudges on one door. But that just shows that I didn’t do as good a job as I thought I did at wiping it off. Apparently I didn’t take all the time I should have. Still, it looks great, clean and mostly shiny.

    Thanks for the tip about Whole Foods’ price drop. We don’t have a Whole Foods nearby us, but I’m sure there are lots of readers who do. Your tip will help them a lot.

    Julia

  5. Anne Russell on September 1st, 2009 10:16 pm

    Okay, I have a sample bottle of this stuff just sitting around somewhere. I’ll give it a try the next time I come across it.

    How was it on windows? (Can I use it for patio doors, and mirrors? I can’t seem to to achieve that streak-free shine.)

    Thanks, as always, you’re the best BPGL!

  6. Julia Wasson on September 2nd, 2009 11:27 am

    Hi Anne.

    Check to be sure that the sample you have is the same waterless car wash brand that I used (Lucky Earth). There are others, and I have no idea how well they work.

    I thought that I had done a great cleaning job on my car, even on windows, when I first used it. I don’t drive my car all that much, so didn’t notice till we were on a trip this past weekend that the windshield was streaked. I may not have done a bang-up good job of cleaning, or my cloth might have been too dirty by that time. (I cleaned the inside windows after cleaning the entire car. Probably not the best move.) I’m going to try again with a clean cloth. If it doesn’t work well, I will give vinegar and water a try. I found this recipe in the “Ask Annie” column on http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10030.html/: “My favorite recipe is to combine 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar, and up to 1/2 teaspoon of liquid soap or detergent in a spray bottle. That’s all there is to it. (Make sure to label the bottle and keep it out of the reach of children.)” She says that most commercial window cleaners leave a wax film on the window that straight vinegar just can’t remove; hence, the drop of liquid soap. I hate cleaning windows almost as much as cleaning my car, but I’m going to give it a try. I’ll be interested to hear if you (or others) find the recipe effective, too.