Keeping Your Car Clean In Winter

If you’re fortunate enough live in an area that doesn’t see extreme winter weather (i.e. snow, ice, and sleet), then keeping your car clean through the winter months is about the same as the rest of the year. However, if you live somewhere that experiences the harsher side of winter, maintaining a fresh finish is difficult – but not impossible! Below are a couple steps you can take to make sure your ride stays as clean during the colder months as it does in the warmer ones.


Rinseless Washes:

If you’ve read any of our other guides on cleaning during harsh-weather months, you’ll notice we talk a lot about waterless and rinseless washing. And that’s for good reason! Thanks to the high-quality formulas we carry, you’re able to clean your car without having to use a hose or even running water (perfect for those sub-zero weekends)!

Rinseless washes, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by reading the name, don’t require any rinsing after use. When you think of washing your car, what part uses the most running water? The rinsing! So, when you are able to use a cleaning product that doesn’t require rinsing, it doesn’t matter if you have access to a hose or outdoor space for cleaning; you just need some product and a ton of microfiber towels!

Rinseless washing does still require a bucket of water (but just 1!) and takes a bit longer than a waterless wash – read more about waterless washes below!

Here are a few of our must-have products for rinseless washing during the cold winter months:

Speed Master Wolfgang Rinseless Sponge Bundle

DP Rinseless Wash And Gloss

DP Ceramic Rinseless Wash

Speed Master Rinseless Wash Sponge

Optimum No Rinse Wash And Shine 32 oz. - New And Improved

P&S Absolute Rinseless Wash

Cobra Shine And Buff Waterless Wash Towel

Cobra Chinchilla Buffing Cloth Combo

Waterless Washes:

Waterless washes are very similar to rinseless washes, but don’t require the use of a bucket of water. Waterless washes are simply sprayed onto the surface to be cleaned and wiped away using a microfiber towel. These formulas are full of lubricating agents that provide a smooth ride for your microfiber towel, slimming down the chance of wiping-induced swirls.

Many waterless washes also include some sort of protection, mainly carnauba wax-based protection but some of the newer formulas also include some SiO2 and ceramic protection as well. Look for a waterless wash manufactured by the same brand as your protection product (be it wax, sealant, or coating), as they’re generally designed to in harmony with one another.  Below are a few kits, combos, and single product listings that we would recommend adding to any winter cleaning collection:

Pinnacle Black Label Waterless Wash And Protect

Pinnacle Kwazar Liquid Crystal Waterless Wash Combo

P&S EC37 Epic Waterless Wash

DP Waterless Wash Duo

Wolfgang SiO2 Waterless Wash

BLACKFIRE Waterless Wash Kit

Cobra Shine And Buff Waterless Wash Towel

Cobra Chinchilla Buffing Cloth Combo

Both waterless and rinseless washes can be used on all surfaces of your vehicle’s exterior, including paint, glass, metal, plastic, and rubber.

In a pinch, a quick detailer can be used as a waterless wash, but those formulas don’t usually contain enough lubricants and more product may be necessary to clean an entire vehicle. Using a dedicated waterless or rinseless wash is more cost effective overall.


Quick Detailers

Quick detailers, as mentioned above, aren’t ideal for winter washing, but they are perfect for maintain your existing protection, as well as giving that protection a quick boost to shine. Many quick detailers are formulated with shining ingredients like carnauba that create a slick finish and helps with water beading. Quick detailers can be used directly after applying your chosen protection as one final wipe-down, as well as intermittently throughout the week between washes for a fast boost to your paint.

Check out our top picks for quick detailers and some must-have accessories that go along with them!

DP Graphene Quick Detailer Bundle

P&S Off Road Pit Stop All Purpose Quick Detailer

DP Ceramic Quick Detailer Bundle

Griots Garage Speed Shine PFM Towel Refill Kit

Pinnacle Ceramic Crystal Mist Kit

Cobra Chinchilla Buffing Cloth Combo

Your chosen protection product may have a corresponding quick detailer, such as the DP Graphene Quick Detailer used with the DP Graphene DP GR4 Graphene Coating. Some of these products are also available in all-inclusive kits for increased value and savings!

Full Coverage:

While this option may not be for everyone, we didn’t want to leave it out in case it applies to you! The best way to keep your car clean in the winter is to make sure it doesn’t get dirty in the first place. If you have extra garage space (and of course, an extra vehicle!) consider garaging your car for the season. Mostly popular with valuable show cars, keeping your car out of the extreme winter elements may be your best bet.

If you don’t have the luxury of extra garage space, check out some of the car covers we have available!

Car Covers By Covercraft

We also have interior protection products that are perfect for keeping your car mats clean, as well as other protective products for multiple surfaces.

WeatherTech Automotive Accessories

While the Autogeek team is fortunate enough to not have to deal with harsh winters (thank you, South Florida!), we do understand that keeping your car clean, even while it’s covered in snow, is important. Do you have any tips or tricks you swear by for winter cleaning? Let us know!