Urban trends: Washing the car without water

Published: April 20, 2012
Anas uses a water-based product and microfibre towels to clean the metal and plastic surfaces. A shiner is used for tyres.

Anas uses a water-based product and microfibre towels to clean the metal and plastic surfaces. A shiner is used for tyres.


“Many people do not believe that a car can be properly cleaned without using water. I keep my car dirty to show people who are reluctant about the products being applied to their cars for the first time,” says Muhammad Anas.

“I give demonstrations to convince car owners that it’s possible to clean their car without using water. I think this business is also about changing mindsets,” said Anas who owns a waterless car wash in Defence Housing Authority.

Fayyaz used to get his car serviced once a week. “On Sundays, I would go to a car wash and ensure that they left no water in the foot spaces, engine or the base.”

Fayyaz recently found Anas’s waterless car wash. After using the car wash, he said, “It is amazing that a car can be this clean without using a single drop of water.” He said he realised that using water for cleaning the car damages the paint and rusts the metal in the long run.

Anas uses a water-based product and microfibre towels to clean the metal and plastic surfaces. A shiner is used for tyres. “It saves time, conserves water and costs less,” he said. Anas has an authorised dealership from Waless, a waterless car wash business, in Dubai.

Anas said cleaning the car this way lowered the risk of rusting.

“A week after the ‘wash’, I just need to wipe with a cloth and it is shiny again,” said Gulshan-i-Ravi resident Salman who first used the facility two weeks ago. “A regular car wash costs Rs400 with polish,” he said. “This system is far more effective and lasts for over two weeks.

Fayyaz said the cleaning takes around 30 minutes. “If I am getting the floor cleaned, it takes another 30 minutes.”

Anas said he imports the detergent and polish. “The products are quite popular in the Gulf where water is scarce.” It is big in Dubai, Qatar and Kuwait and has recently been introduced in Saudi Arabia, he said. Anas has five men working for him. He also provides services at homes.

Anas said grit and sand sticking to the car floor is scabbed off with a cloth and then Freedom Original, a water-based product with surfactants, wax and a lubricating agent applied for additional cleaning. Eco tyre shine is used for tyres, he added. “A separate product, which removes stains, is used for the car’s interior.”

Anas says a survey he conducted before starting the business had shown that power cuts and water shortage were the biggest problem faced by his rivals.

So far, he says, he has cleaned 35 cars. Most of his clients are from Defence, Model Town and Garden Town.

“I will soon start selling the products. Most people are keen on buying the products so they or their drivers can clean their cars.

Tauqueer Qureshi, a former laboratory officer at the Environment Protection Department, said the lubricant agents, silicon emulsifier, surfactants and light abrasives do not have any pronounced environmental hazards.

“Surfactants may impact the life of micronutrients in fresh water but the impact is probably negligible,” he said.


Conserving Resources: ‘A car uses at least 150 to 200 litres water per wash’

Sustainable Development Policy Institute Water and Energy Adviser Arshad Abbas, said waterless car wash was a good idea particularly since waste water was not being recycled.

“It probably doesn’t clean the car as much as using water does. But it will serve Pakistan well as piped water is being used for washing cars.”

“It will not only conserve water, but will also save electricity,” he added.

Muhamamad Anas says he found a car uses at least 150 to 200 litres water per wash. Shawash, a local car wash owner, agrees with Anas’s estimate.

A Sustainable Development Policy Institute research report estimates that 60 gallons of water are used per car wash.

According to a 2008 Japanese International Cooperation Agency report, there are 350,000 cars in the city. Assuming an average of a car wash every week the water use comes to 7.5 million litres per day. At 2.5 litres per day, this represents drinking water needs of three million people, about a third of Lahore’s population.

According to a 2011 report of the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCSWIR), about 44 per cent Pakistanis (79.2 million people) lack access to clean drinking water.

A Wasa official said its tubewells pump water from an average depth of 150 metres.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (27)

  • Sky
    Apr 20, 2012 - 5:06AM

    I don’t know what to make out of it, but I would like to keep away from chemicals. May be its popular in Dubai and middle east where water is scarce but we have abundant. I don’t know how is it cheap to clean cars with imported chemicals and not water.

    On. The positive side I appreciate your hardwork and the services you provide for the people who want waterless washes.


  • Shaikh
    Apr 20, 2012 - 9:07AM

    I think its good effort, we should appreciate it. At least someone took start to replace the traditional ways. We must go for latest & unique entrepreneurial ideas. Through which better out comes will be shown and we may create more jobs.
    Keep it up !Recommend

  • Abbas
    Apr 20, 2012 - 9:58AM

    Sky, do you really think we have abundant water? Using chemicals might not be cheaper but it evens out when you see the amount of water people waste when they wash their cars.


  • Faraz
    Apr 20, 2012 - 10:44AM

    Water in abundance?? maybe that’s why electricity is so expensive?? and many of our poor people die because of unclean water and water-borne diseases so that people like you can waste all the clean water on cleaning their cars! Water can never be enough, the whole Pakistan-India issue stems from sharing water resources (among other reasons). Nowadays, products are manufactured with strict regulations (Dubai is not like Pakistan, if they are using it, it must be environment friendly). Embrace technology and don’t live in medieval times my brother where you can waster precious resources.


  • ASQ
    Apr 20, 2012 - 11:30AM

    water in abundance??kindly visit rawalpindi and tell people that water is in abundance!!!!!


  • karacheee
    Apr 20, 2012 - 12:11PM

    since when did we have water in abundance? news to me!


  • Apr 20, 2012 - 1:27PM

    Very good effort. In many part of the world, water has becoming limited. Not everyone can enjoy the abundance of water, thus water conservation is very important. The least you can do is not to waste it. How?simply by the innovative way the article presented. Waterless car washing! It is about time to embrace new ideas that the world has to offer and not to remain naive. The world is changing, the things your allowed to do such as washing your car with excessive water wont be applicable anymore to day.


  • Zabandraz
    Apr 20, 2012 - 1:45PM

    Water in abundance???WOW!!! That’s a FALSE STATEMENT my friend!!!!


  • Nizam
    Apr 20, 2012 - 1:59PM

    @sky. The way India is sucking out water from the rivers, it is likely that groundwater in Lahore be saline in another 5 to ten years. electricity for tubewells in India Punjab is free of cost, and at two or three points they are sucking river dry of clean water.

    This is how abundant clean drinking water is. In case you did not notice, the writer cites a PCSWIR report saying clean water is not available to 44 per cent Pakistanis. Try to live in the big world out there and look beyond your comfy home in Cantt, whereever!


  • Lobster
    Apr 20, 2012 - 2:57PM


    We have abundant

    I can only say ignorance is bliss, try living in any city in Sindh, including Karachi


  • Bliss
    Apr 20, 2012 - 4:41PM

    I have tried this thing. it’s quite good, they are right about the car staying clean for over two weeks. But for some reason its hard to stomach the fact that no water is used, when we are so use to water.


  • Zeta
    Apr 20, 2012 - 6:08PM

    we had in abundance until the indians started stealing from our rivers.

    OT: Very Good Initiative,


  • Apr 20, 2012 - 6:15PM

    Considering the water scarcity in Pakistan, it is cruelty to clean your car with water everyday. We should try to be more modest when it comes to car washing.


  • NuPak
    Apr 20, 2012 - 7:16PM

    It's a good time to mention; Even in U.S new trend is homeowners are collecting & saving rain water in big plastic barrels by placing them under roof drains for watering later indoor or outdoor gardens, washing cars or use for house pets etc. People around the world are re-placing old taps with "low-flow" taps and shower-head that release fine stream instead of "heavy" ones. Until you buy half-size flush tanks you can fill a "gallon or half" bottles to take away extra space from the tank by putting it inside the flush tank.

    You know; You can loose a “thousand” gallon of water from a leaking or dripping faucet/tap if not fixed in over few months. Also kitchen & clothes washing waste water is being used for healthy gardens now. Many concerned citizens have stopped shaving, tooth brushing our bathing while water is running, that also goes for washing dishes or clothes while water tap is just left-open on the side instead of filling tubs and wash with the reserved water.

    There are millions of ways you can save a "million gallon" in a day. But you have to have a resolve against wasting water. Hopefully the workers are protected against the sprays' toxic fumes for health effects later. All chemicals have it, no mater how nice they smell.

  • Apr 20, 2012 - 9:19PM

    Dear All,

    Thanks for reading out regards to waterless car wash; however i need to clarify some points which were mentioned above by @sky.

    First that this liquid which we use is not chemical; and it have no harm to vehicle body or any.

    Point were raised regards to middle east; vehicle are manufactured in same way whole over the globe, so if water leaves rust and others on vehicle body and other it will do the same in pakistan.

    However we need to change the trend the way we wash/clean our cars and we destroys thousand of liters of water.


  • Allah rehm karay
    Apr 20, 2012 - 9:21PM

    I am an engineer and i know that subsurface water level underneath Lahore is going down @ 8 feet/ year…..that means our water resources are diminishing quickly …so we do not have water in abundance in a sustainable manner….plenty today but scarce in one decade or so……..!!!!!!


  • A. Khan
    Apr 20, 2012 - 10:26PM

    Car washes in Pakistan need to use pressure washers that use air to speed up the water through a nozzle. As the resulting spray is emitted at a high speed it can “wash” all dirt etc. using a percentage of the water used in conventional car wash.


  • Jaffar
    Apr 21, 2012 - 9:25PM

    water less car wash is great!!!!!


  • Hashim
    Apr 21, 2012 - 10:37PM

    Waless is an amxing product..


  • Apr 23, 2012 - 6:47AM

    I raily like this product because this product cannot only wash a car also polish the car. And what so good about this product is there is no bad effects on the body of the car.And the main subject of this product is tosave water .


  • Apr 23, 2012 - 8:45AM

    The only thing I need to tell you that there is no chemical included in the product and it is not harmful for the person who clean the car with it.The thing which is harmful for all of us is that we don’t no the importance of water yet. And the problem is the people dont won’t to see the new products which is good for all of us. I know that every body have there on point of view of about this product but should try once to clean there car with this product .


  • abc
    Apr 23, 2012 - 3:46PM

    Of course Waless owner i sgoing to get people to say there are no chemicals when the story clearly says that there are chemicals in it. Harmful or benign is another thing


  • waless.pk
    Apr 23, 2012 - 5:54PM

    Dear ABC,

    I think you need to see import rules and regulations you know why because chemica import requires a special DGR license and specified warehouse to store chemicals where as we dont use chemical its bio technology.

    Hope the given answer willsuffice your need.


  • abc
    Apr 24, 2012 - 12:37AM

    I’m sure its bi technology. but silicon emuslion, surfactants are all chemicals. It’s another thing they dont have any to-touch hazards. That’s why there are no such rules or regulations. Even water is a chemical. I wish u had studied some science Mr Waless.


  • PakShock
    Apr 24, 2012 - 2:30AM

    @abc: Wait a minute.

    How many people have you seen dying or getting sick from plain water except of-course by drowning in it. Water is definitely made up of Hydrogen & Oxygen but it’s considered life’s sustenance on the planet earth where as fumes from cars, coals, paint or man-made chemical formulas are not.

    Now if this cleaning solution is made from simple bio-degradable compounds that can be poured on plants and house drain without harming the ecological system it’s people friendly otherwise not, there are such cleaners I know. My concern is; how do you avoid rubbing dirt and grit back into the paint shine without washing them down first with water?Recommend

  • hassan
    Apr 24, 2012 - 2:39AM

    Well as i read up its water based product where i agree with waless.pk regards to chemical import. Abc is argumenting on some useless point instead of respecting new ideas which is echo friendly.

    What i understood from waless statement these no such chemicals which have no harm to vehicle body color or any.

    Abc (Mr.Albert Eistein)


  • Apr 24, 2012 - 2:58AM

    Finally ABC him self agreed that its non hazard chemical, i think you should think wide when some pass a comment instead of focusing one single statement.

    Why i still emphasis that its not chemical if you ask 100 people out in pakistan that water is chemical or not? Im sure you have an idea what there answer is going to be.

    If i say chemical then people out their will think its hazard and destroys our car color and body but originally it proctects doesnt harm.

    By the way the product we use is not only for cars it Could be use on planes,marines,yatch,cars,bikes…etc.


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