Issues Drying Vehicle After Washing with ONR

Recommended Posts

Hi, all.

I own a 2022 Subaru Crosstrek (with a ceramic coating) and I recently starting doing rinseless washing with Optimum No Rinse Wash and Shine.  However, I've been having a lot of drying the vehicle after I wash with ONR.  It streaks/smears (not sure what the technical term is), forcing me to go over and over the same area to get it dry.  Not only does this take a very long time, but I'm also seeing new scratches and swirl marks on the vehicle, which I think are caused by this drying process.  I've tried using a drying aid, but it doesn't seem to help.  Also, this happens on both paint and glass, and even some other parts, like the metal roof rails.

Another very strange thing: After using ONR, not this streaking is happening even when I do a regular car wash by hand.  I thought that maybe the microfiber towels I'm using had gotten clogged or something, causing them to no longer pick up liquid.  However, I just bought a brand new Gauntlet towel from The Rag Company and it's doing the same thing.  I did not have this problem before using ONR.

Has anyone experienced this issue before?  Any help would be appreciated.  This is my first new and I'm (admittedly) very particular about it, so this has caused me lots of stress.  I would like to find a solution because I really want to use ONR.  I live in an apartment, so ONR seems almost ideal for me.  Below are some details that might help.

Thanks in advance!


Location: Arkansas (so the water is likely hard)

Vehicle: 2022 Subaru Crosstrek

Coating: Feynlab ceramic coating

Location used to wash car: My garage

Current wash procedure (excluding wheels):
1. Fill a bucket with ONR and tap water diluted at 256:1
2. Fill a second bucket with tap water to use for rinsing
3. Have a third empty bucket handy
4. Fill a spray bottle with ONR and tap water diluted at 256:1
5. [If needed] Drive to car wash and rinse vehicle with pressure sprayer
6. Pre-rinse a section (one or more panels) of the vehicle with ONR from spray bottle (I may skip some parts if they don't need rinsing)
7. Dip a microfiber mitt (GTechniq WM2) in the ONR bucket and wash the section, rinsing in water bucket as needed and squeezing water out into empty bucket
8. [Sometimes] Spray a little bit of drying aid (either P&S Bead Maker or ONR/water diluted at 16:1) on the washed section
9. Dry the section using a dampened microfiber towel (either The Rag Co. Liquid8r or Gauntlet)
10. Pass over the section again lightly using a dry microfiber towel (Chemical Guys Wooly Mammoth) to remove as many streaks as possible (I often make more than one pass, but I try to avoid this as it could cause more scrathes)

Note: After doing the above, I still end up going back with a microfiber towel and trying to spot-treat areas that have streaks or wet spots.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Redgrandam Thank you for your reply.  When you say "care routine", are you referring to how I'm maintaining my towels?

For the towels I use on the paint/body, I typically wash them after each use.  I wash them in the machine washer using P&S Rags to Riches detergent (usually just 1 ounce per load).  I was washing them on the warm setting, but now I always wash cold.  Similarly, I was often machine drying them on the normal (not hot) setting, but now I'm hang drying them and just putting them in the dryer on the "fluff air" setting.

For my two older drying towels, I just tried pre-soaking them in water with Rags to Riches detergent prior to washing.  They soaked for a long time (maybe 12 hours or more).

If I misunderstood your question, please let me know so I can clarify.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

just a couple of thoughts, suggestions.  I always add a cap of ONR to my rinse water to soften/remove minerals.  I do not use ONR as a drying aid, even at quick detailer strength, (though some do) - to me, drying aids should be extra hydrophobic like wax or sealant.  You mention going over the surface with a dry microfiber to remove streaking, I'd use a quick detailer there as well, to avoid marring. Subaru has notoriously soft clear coat (I had a WRX for years) and using a dry cloth could damage.

I've only had ONR streak when using too strong an mixture and never had any problem removing with a damp microfiber.  There is NOTHING in ONR that should mar or scratch paint, so it must be coming from your wash media - in my experience most damage is done during the drying phase, so maybe Red is correct?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree it would kind of make sense if the drying towels are the problem.  I might have done something to mess them up.  However, my brand new Gauntlet towel is having the same issue.

One more thing I just thought of: Previously when I washed with ONR, I was unknowingly mixing the pre-rinse solution too strong (like 2x or a little more).  I did this for a little while before I realized my mistake.  Could the stronger coating of polymers somehow cause streaking?  This seems unlikely, since I'm no longer doing that and I've washed the vehicle with soap at least twice since then.

@Redgrandam @Ron@Optimum - Would you mind sharing how you dry your vehicle (including which towels you use)?  I might just need to start tweaking my process until I find the variable that's causing the problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing that helps make drying easier is having good protection on the car. 

With my gauntlet I usually do two passes. First gets everything but sometimes leaves a few streaks. A quick second pass gets it all very easily. Assuming the car has protection already.   With my new Liquid8r I don’t usually need a second pass even. Washing towels I wash in cold or warm water, drying towels separate, I don’t use drying aids with my good drying towels. Drying on ultra low heat or hanging to dry.  Often I follow up after with a spray sealant (opti seal or something similar) with another towel. Any little streak or spots get cleaned up then as well.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I basically use Berchman's methodology (though I use 2 buckets). I use Hyper Seal (or occasionally Opti-Seal) as a drying agent.  My drying towel is the Opti-Coat Ultimate Drying Towel but sometimes I use an older waffle weave.  I never get ONR streaks but can get Hyper Seal hazing due to over application (easy to use too much HS), but wipes off easily. 

I mentioned above, using more ONR than formula calls for can leave streaks, but again, easy to remove and NO MARRING.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Crosstrek22 said:

Thank you all for sharing your drying techniques.  One other detail that would help me: Do you prefer to use a damp or dry towel for drying the vehicle?

If I’m using a really good twist loop I don’t make the towel damp first but I’ll often hit the windshield first so I suppose that will ‘prime’ the towel if needed. If that first towel gets too wet I’ll keep using it (but wring it out) and grab a smaller towel to follow with that is dry. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I do use the yellow ONR, with a big yellow sponge one bucket with grit getter.

Drying towels are 2 ea TRCs Double Twistress. One towel will generally do my entire S6 unless I do a pre wash. For towel care, I wash them by hand using Tide Free and Gentle. You would be amazed at how much crud is left behind by the washing machine. I have been using the same 2 towels for about 5 years, so I just ordered 2 more and some TRC Dry me a River towels, so we will see how those work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Gloss coating is the answer to drying the car I rinse car then soak hole car  with onr then wash the onr seams to suck right up in my mitt or just roll of car. Theres really nothing to dry . A quick squirt of optimum  wax and a 12x12 waffle  weave  . I can tell that it's time to gloss coat again theres a lot more water and  onr to pick up now. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.