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Description: Mr. Clean AutoDry Carwash cuts dirt and grime for a spot-free clean and shine with no need to hand dry. So throw those chamois, shammies, or chammies (however you like to spell it) away—stat. Mr. Clean AutoDry Carwash is safe for all car finishes, does not strip wax, and helps protect your car's clearcoat by cleaning dirt and water spots—leaving a shine on the surface.
Keywords: autodry carwash car wash
Site Administrator
Posts: 5,322
Registered: October 2006
Location: NH

Site Administrator

Registered: October 2006
Location: NH
Posts: 5322
Review Date: Wed December 3, 2008 Would you recommend the product? No | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 1 

Cons: In short, the Mr Clean Auto Dry is a poorly-developed, marginally-useful product which I believe exists mostly so that Proctor and Gamble, whose core business is household products, not automotive maintenance tools, can sell the specific AutoDry soap

Call it The AutoDry with Spots
by Hib Halverson
Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
May 17, 2007

The Mr. Clean AutoDry is a piece of car washing equipment sold by the the personal/family/household care product conglomerate, Proctor and Gamble, which also markets such diverse brands as Ivory, Cover Girl and Metamucil. You’ve probably seen this product advertised in car magazines or on automotive-related television shows.

The AutoDry is made of high-impact, ABS plastic. The bottom of its body has a standard, garden hose connection. On its handle, it has a thumb-operated on-off valve and, on the top rear of its body, a three-position, rotary selector valve that allows the user to spray tap water, water-soap mix or de-ionized water.

Inside the AutoDry's upper body is a reservoir the user fills with a proprietary soap, a non-phosphate, surfactant with a "Dry-Rinse Polymer" intended specifically for washing vehicles and having nothing in common with "Mr. Clean" household cleaner or any other product made by Proctor and Gamble. A cavity in the lower part of the device's body contains a replaceable filter which, according to P&G media information, contains an "ion exchange resin" which, once the device is put into its "AutoDry mode," "..instantly produces de-ionized water." P&G terms this instant de-ionization a "significant technical breakthrough" and goes on to claim that the "....filter goes beyond water softening. It removes all minerals in tap water, leaving pure H2O, and displaces minerals on vehicle surfaces." The main point P&G uses to sell the AutoDry is that such a de-ionized rinse and the resulting dry, spotless surface eliminates time and effort necessary to dry the car by hand.

I've been testing the Mr Clean Auto Dry for several months and, to date, when connected to residential water systems, other than those which supply soft water at higher than normal pressure, the product was unable to function as advertised. Even when it does leave a spotless finish without requiring the user to hand dry the car, the life of the de-ionizing filters fall short of what P&G claims as their useable life.

I've washed four different vehicles; three of them Corvettes and all four different colors; on more than a dozen occasions in two different locations which have different pressures and different water hardness levels. The only time the Mr. Clean AutoDry has worked as advertised was on a white car, with a new filter installed and water service which was connected directly to street pressure and not running through the typical pressure regulator one finds in residential plumbing systems.

There are two types of AutoDry filters. The unit ships with one type, called a "Starter Filter," which P&G claims is good for three car washes. The AutoDry shipped to me for evaluation included three extra Starter Filters. None of these filters achieved the longevity claimed by P&G. In both test locales, each filter's third wash ended with noticeable water spotting and one of those unacceptable third washes was the white car. Clearly, the level of spotting had to be quite severe to show on a white car. Proctor and Gamble states that the filtering substance changes color from black to brown when the filter is exhausted. in every case, during my evaluation, the filters became unable to provide a spotless finish before they turned black. Proctor and Gamble advertises refill filters which are said to do ten car washes, however, the company was unable to supply those types of filters for this product review and it is unknown if their practical life is as P&G advertises.

The AutoDry, itself, has a couple of design flaws. First its hose connection does not swivel. As a result, when used with hoses that are resistant to twisting, the device either becomes clumsy to maneuver in one-handed use or the hose connection loosens and leaks. Another design flaw is that, when operating in the "AutoDry" mode, with water flowing though the de-ionizing filter, the unit is too restrictive to flow in any situation other than when it’s connected to a faucet with pressure higher than available from most residential water service. Because of this restriction, I found the AutoDry not capable of a useful time-savings because the unit's spray in the AutoDry mode is so weak a long time is required to rinse an entire car. In comparison, conventional washing, followed with use of a California Water Blade to dry the majority of the car and a touch-up with a towel to finish the job was as quick or quicker than using the Auto Dry.

When I tried to confirm what Proctor and Gamble advertises as to the cost-per-wash, I was unsuccessful. I found the AutoDry’s operating cost to be higher than what P&G states. Part of this is because the price for the filter refills P&G used in its cost estimates ($6-$7) is lower than the price generally being charged ($8-$9) at the retail level.

During my testing of this product, I communicated several times with Hass M.S. & L., the public relations firm Proctor and Gamble retained to do product promotion to the automotive press, and P&G's internal, PR staff. Once I began asking both about why I was having trouble with the product not working as advertised, communication became difficult. When I requested that both companies to supply documentation to support the test results claimed in information dispensed to media about the Mr. Clean AutoDry relating and claims made in P&G advertising, both companies stopped communicating with me all together. That is a very bad sign.

In short, the Mr Clean Auto Dry is a poorly-developed, marginally-useful product which I believe exists mostly so that Proctor and Gamble, whose core business is household products, not automotive maintenance tools, can sell the specific AutoDry soap and AutoDry filters.

If you want to quicken the car wash process and eliminate most (but not all) hand drying, don’t waste your money on the Mr. Clean AutoDry and its expensive refills. Buy a California Water Blade.

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