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Water-free car wash a solution for permanent-drought future

Water-free car wash a solution for permanent-drought future
Water-free car wash a solution for permanent-drought future 02:32

WALNUT CREEK (KPIX) -- On Sunday afternoon in Walnut Creek a benefit car wash was held that was missing one seemingly key ingredient: water. It was a demonstration of the growing popularity of getting cars clean without wasting H2O.

Normally you rinse a car, wash it then rinse it again.  But, in a time of drought, people are looking for new normals -- at least Jennifer Anderson was.

"I needed to know what they were doing," Anderson said.  "Because I saw them wiping down another car and I thought, 'OK, how are they doing this?'"

What she was referring to is a process called No H2O, a waterless car wash system that Brian Stranko uses in his mobile detailing business. He said the chemicals in No H2O emulsify the surface and create a faint positive charge. Then, wiping with a microfiber cloth produces a slightly negative charge which loosens and removes the dirt.

He says a normal car wash uses an average of 35 gallons of water but here there were no hoses, no buckets -- just a spray bottle and some cloths.  

"I'd say we can even get a car cleaner with our products than you can with a regular wash because we're using the types of things that actually break down dirt," Stranko said.

It was hard to tell if it was the chemicals or the elbow grease but Stranko's daughters, who work in the family business, swear it's easier and eliminates the extra steps of all that rinsing and drying.

"All you have to do is wipe down, one and then wipe down, two," said Emma Stanko, demonstrating the dual-cloth technique.  "It's that easy, honestly."

The results made a believer of Anderson, who smiled as she scanned the gleaming exterior of her Honda.

"Looks great.  It's never been that clean," she said.

Was she surprised? "Yeah," she said. "A little bit, yeah but it looks great.  I love it!"

A way to wash cars that eliminates the wate is something most people haven't considered but now people are considering lots of new things as the shortage of water becomes ever more serious.

"If you're not aware, it's hard to know where you've been," said Brian Stranko. "And everyone cares about it and they're looking for easy solutions to help do something about the drought."

Sunday's car wash was a benefit fundraiser for the Fallen Heroes Fund, a local support group for the families of first responders killed in the line of duty.

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