Quick Detailer vs Waterless Wash

The Quick Detailer category was created in 1981 when Meguiar’s released their Trigger Wash (subsequently renamed “Quick Detailer” to avoid confusion). Since then the rise of spray and wipe cleaning products has been rapid. The technology has advanced substantially to the degree that it is possible to use spray and wipe cleaning solutions exclusively in many climates.

What is the Difference between Quick Detailer and Waterless Wash?

The main question that emerges for people new to the detailing world is “what is the difference between quick detailer and waterless wash?” Both products clean through a spray on, wipe off system so what makes them different?

A good waterless wash will have higher lubricity, more emulsifiers (cleaning agents) and often synthetic wax protection. These characteristics mean waterless wash products can deal with much dirtier cars than quick detailers and don’t require waxing afterward.

Quick detailers, on the other hand, evaporate more quickly to ensure that there is no streaking. They typically can’t tackle moderate grime or dirt, and usually, don’t offer any protection. Both products include gloss enhancers to make the surface of your paint appear more liquid and shiny.

Why use Quick Detailer vs Waterless Wash?

The main reason to include a quick detailer in your arsenal vs a waterless wash product is that they’re cheaper, and they dry faster. This makes them an ideal solution if you’re going to be showing a car that hasn’t been driven for a while and might have accumulated a layer of fine dust.

 Comparing Waterless Wash and Quick Detailer:

Waterless Car Wash

Quick Detailer

Better on Dirt
More Affordable
Can be used as clay lube
Faster drying time
Offers UV Protection
Gloss/Shine enhancers
Part of a full detailing arsenal

Which do you prefer? Tell us in the comments!

[Learn more about Waterless Car Wash – Read our blog post “What is Waterless Car Wash“]

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  • I just brought the product from Amazon haven’t use it yet but smells good. I see you use a 1/2 0unce pour it to a water bottle it come with. So you get more for the price you pay. I use the interior shiny lubrication liquid and love it better then armor way better shine last it’s been three weeks now still shine

  • I realize this is not new content. Still, if comments will be read, I thinks IRS worth the effort. I have accumulated a LOT of experience with Waterless wash/wax, specifically Meguiars Ultimate brand, vs. their Ultimate and other spray detailer’s. On my black Jaguar XJ Vanden Plas, which has a very flat, mirror like paint job with not texture at all dies very well with the spray wash/wax product. The big difference is in a major issue with black, highly polished paint. Blotching, and uneven coating is a nightmare, so much so that I have been washing the car after paint correction, waxing and sealing to even up the surfacing and create a perfect coat. Now, my method is to simply do a spray and soft cloth buff with Ultimate Waterless Wash Wax. Superb for this issue. I also use it to detail a slightly dusty car. MUCH slicker than spray detailer and much preferred for the lubricity. Doubtful? Try this in place of spray detailer and see what I mean!