Quick Detailer vs Waterless Wash

Automotive -

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"]

Click here to search Quick Detailer on Amazon | Click here to search Waterless Car Wash on Amazon


  • Moe

    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

  • Densie

    I’m excited to try this product

  • Paul Beck

    I’ve used a quick detailer for years on my converted Corvair as well as on my daily driver pickup. The car doesn’t get much exposure to dirt so I use the detailer as a quick enhancer. The truck gets more exposure so it gets washed weekly and then hit with a detailer.

  • Don k

    Have a muscle car that gets washed 1x a year. After that I use waterless car wash. I love the product it leaves a remarkable shine. Throw away the hose

  • Daniel

    Good article, but I think you’e unwittingly sold yourselves short when you say that the reason to use quick detailers is that they cheaper. If you consider that the TriNova Waterless Wash concentrate comes in a 16 oz bottle and you use 1/2 oz to make an 18 oz bottle of spray, you get 32 bottles out of one bottle of concentrate for $24.97. That works out to just a little over four cents an ounce. Compared to a quick detailer product like Meguiars which is $7.97 for a 24 oz bottle, that’s 33 cents an ounce – about 8 TIMES as expensive as the TriNova Waterless Wash. So the TriNova product is WAY cheaper, actually.

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