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When it comes to washing your car at home, there are various methods. Some car owners only use one bucket, while many others use two. After all, it only makes sense to rinse your wash mitt or sponge after getting it dirty when washing the car. But what about using no bucket when washing your car? Is that a good idea?

How do you wash your car without using a bucket?

A car wash man cleans a luxury Porsche.
A car wash man cleans a luxury Porsche. | Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images

Washing your car without using a bucket is akin to washing your body with soap and loofah. Instead of having a bucket in place to rinse the wash mitt and get it sudsy, you simply apply soap directly to the mitt. According to Detailed Image, you can then rinse the wash mitt by setting on the windshield and spraying it down.

In theory, this process could make the sponge cleaner than if you used a bucket since the mitt is being rinsed directly. After rinsing the mitt, you can apply more soap to it and wash the other panels as you normally would while rinsing the mitt whenever needed.

Afterward, clean the mitt by spraying it down and letting it hang dry. Remember not to let it touch the ground, as it will attract more dirt and debris if it does.

What are some disadvantages to washing your car with no bucket?

A man washed a car without a bucket.
A man washed a car without a bucket. | China Photos/Getty Images

Although this no-bucket method undoubtedly saves time, there are some disadvantages to doing it. According to the comment section in the article linked above – which is filled with alleged professional detailers – the no-bucket method can waste a lot of water and soap. Considering you’ll likely have to spray the wash mitt down several times to keep it clean and dab it with soap, you could inevitably be wasting both resources.

Using a bucket or two, on the other hand, only requires you to fill up the buckets once and use a small amount of soap. There’s also a chance of creating swirls in the paint by using this method since all of the dirt and debris may not be completely rinsed out.

Interestingly, some commenters say they use multiple wash mitts to keep clean ones on rotation and minimize swirls during the no-bucket washing process. So, there could be some value in using that method.

If you would rather not use a hose or a bucket, consider a waterless car wash

If you like the idea of not using a bucket when washing your car and want to do away with the hose as well, you may consider doing a waterless car wash. This method requires you to buy a waterless wash solution from a trusted brand like Chemical Guys and a few microfiber towels.

To wash the car, you simply spray on the waterless wash solution and then wipe away the dirt and debris with a microfiber towel. With the paint still wet, you can then go back over the wet panels with a dry microfiber towel to dry them.

Although the waterless method is unorthodox, it could be a good time saver for those that live in apartment complexes that don’t have a water supply. Ultimately, you can wash your car without a bucket or water if needed. However, just don’t let the keyboard warriors online know; they may shun you for not properly washing your car.


What Is a Waterless Car Wash?