Mr. Clean Autodry a Hand Saver?
Ban the bucket and throw the chamois away.
Thats how the press blurb for Mr. Cleans Autodry
system starts, which seems a tad surprising when my media copy of the product
showed up with a bucket. But thats okay; I guess they needed a package in
which to send it, or some other gimmic to pique the interest of jaded
Or maybe they just wanted me to have a bucket I could ban...
And it worked, as witnessed by the fact that I'm writing this.
I never hand wash my cars since, well, Im just too darn
lazy and there are a couple of good touch free automatic washes near my home
base. But since this is my job, and I take it reasonably seriously, I had to
try out this product lest people reading my review think Im all wet. No
pun intended, of course.
Anyway, Mr. Clean Autodry is a new car washing system that claims
to give you a spot free finish while eliminating the need for you to hand dry
your vehicle. Sounds good to me; now if only it would do the whole washing job
while I sit in the home theater
According to Procter and Gamble, the products development
began after the company identified a hole in the market for a product that
could deliver the abovementioned spotless finish without the aforementioned
hand drying. Basically, they say that car nuts love the hand dried look, but
arent too thrilled with having to use their hands to get it.
So the company spent 3 and a half years exposure
testing the product and ended up with something they feel worthy of its
eight international patents and approval by Motor Trend magazine. And
theyre confident enough to guarantee the finish without the hand
The system uses three steps to do the job, and the package
includes a big multi-function nozzle you put on your garden hose. That Big
Nozzle (which P&G calls a sprayer device) is what supposedly
eliminates the need for a bucket and in my experience it does exactly
that. Its like a big version of those pressure washers you can buy, but
without the pressure. In fact, that was my biggest complaint about the system:
not enough pressure. This could have been affected by the water pressure from
my home, I suppose, but regardless of the source of the problem I wished for
enough power to blast under wheel wells or blow bugs away from the bumpers. And
this didn't do it.
The Big Nozzle, sorry Sprayer Device contains
everything you need to do the job, once youve filled its various
reservoirs with the appropriate stuff. It has three separate spray paths for
different cycles of the wash; ones for tap water, ones for soap,
and ones for the filtered water that comes with the system and performs
the spot free rinse cycle.
The first thing you do when unpacking the system is install the
special filter into the handset, fill the soap reservoir with the
special Mr. Clean soap, and then attach the hose and grab your washing mitt
(not included). The Big Nozzle itself is quite ergonomic; its easy to
use, comfortable to hold, has a reasonably substantial feel to it, and includes
an easy to turn switch that activates each of the processs steps.
Once youre ready to go the first step is to use the RINSE
setting to hose down the vehicle. Then you switch it to the SOAP setting and
spray the vehicle again, followed by a rub down with the mitt or whatever rag
youre using. RINSE again to get rid of the soap (which is actually, at
least in my case, the most tedious part) and then move on to the magical Mr.
Clean AUTODRY step that delivers de-ionized water drawn through the filter you
installed at the beginning. Starting at the roof, youre supposed to stay
within one foot of the car while using a back and forth spray motion until the
regular rinse water has been removed.
Then, as the blurb says, watch the water dry spot free
before your eyes!
Well, you can do that if you want. I did the dirty deed in my
garage and long before the car actually dried I got bored with watching it
(its analogous to watching paint dry or grass grow, although it does
allow you to ogle your favorite set of wheels lovingly over a prolonged period
of time) and went inside for a well-earned beer. But eventually the car dried
and I was ready to give it a coat of wax, which has nothing to do wit this
article other than to illustrate that wild horses can, in fact, drag me into
such a task.
The process is very easy and straightforward, though my son and I
experienced mixed results.
I used the system on both of my cars, and was happy with the
results on one and not so happy on the other. Part of the reason could be the
cars themselves, and their respective colors and finishes. It worked very well
on my 1991 Infiniti Q45, which is a lustrous pearl white in color and still
carries a nice shine despite having been neglected by its previous owner (and
never waxed by me in the year Ive had it, which, I suppose, means it was
neglected by at least two owners!). The biggest problem with the Q was getting
the Big Nozzle within a foot of the middle of the roof, but thats not a
shortcoming of the Mr. Clean system; rather its a shortcoming of my
We also have a 1992 Toyota Corolla that was probably bright red at
one time but which looks like its been sitting under a bright desert sun
ever since rolling off the assembly line. This is despite the fact that
its been garaged since we bought it some eight years ago. Anyway, Mr.
Clean and (even worse) the subsequent wax job did a rather spotty
job on the Corolla. Perhaps this is an illustration of the differences between
a high end car's original paint and that of a low end car, so perhaps Mr. Clean
will work best with cars that are either reasonably upper crust or which have
at least been taken care of properly.
My son also tried the system on his black 2000 Honda Prelude SH
and his results were similar to mine with the Corolla. He found Mr. Clean left
a milky white film on his car, though he also admitted that me may not have
given it sufficient rinsing before going to the drying step. He
also complained about the lack of pressure, which as mentioned above may be
more of an indictment of my citys water works than Mr. Cleans water
Still, were going to keep using Mr. Clean at least until the
supplied equipment runs out - at least on the Q45. When will that be? The
little brochure/instructions thingy that comes with Mr. Clean Autodry says the
starter kit should be good for about 10 uses on average sized vehicles
(whatever that means!). And naturally Mr. Clean warns you not to mess with any
other type of soap; while they stop short of warning that youll burn in
Hell, they do say other soap could clog the system and dont contain the
Misters Dry Rinse Polymer thats supposedly the
systems deep dark secret.
Of course they could just want to keep selling you consumables,
too, not that there's anything wrong with that.
Pricing, in Canadian dollars, is $29.95 for the starter kit, $7.99
for a soap refill and $8.99 for a new filter.
You can find more information at