The Greased Lightning lifestyle tested

Greased Lightning waterless car cleaning products are marketed as products of convenience. We try this new approach to car cleaning.

Greased Lightning products lined up

by Chris Williams |

One would expect a CAR review on products from a brand called Greased Lightning to begin with (and contain throughout) many references to the song from the infamous musical. But I am going to either dash your hopes or make your day by instead stating that this report contains no such references. Partly because Danny Zuko didn't mention car cleaning in any of the verses, but mostly because it'd make for insufferable writing and reading.

Instead, pay attention convenience seekers because Greased Lightning aims its products squarely at you. Its flagship product, Showroom Shine, is a waterless car wash that is meant to be fast and effective, compared to the traditional method involving car shampoo, a sponge, and your full car cleaning Spotify playlist. Allegedly, with Showroom Shine, you'll be able to wash your car in less time than one of Phil Collins' drum solos.

Consequently, you will not find Greased Lightning products in stores such as Halfords, but rather your local nursery or garden centre (or online). Such is this insistence by the manufacturer that Greased Lightning products are a lifestyle choice, you expect them to carry a slogan along the lines of 'Greased Lightning: It's a way of life'.

The concept we like, but the question remains: do the products work? We've been finding out.

The Greased Lightning products we tested:

Detailed notes on each product further down, but first here's what we tried and where you can get them.

Showroom Shine 1L

Showroom Shine 1L
Amazon

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The companyu2019s flagship product. A waterless wash that claims to give eight to 10 washes per bottle and saves 2,000 litres of water in the process.

Bug Buster 1L

Bug Buster 1L
Amazon

View offer

Designed for removing splattered bugs, solidified bird deposits, and other such mess. Can be used on glass too.

One Minute Wheels 1L

One Minute Wheels 1L
Amazon

View offer

The fastest wheel cleaner in the west, or something. Designed to be a quick detailer-type wheel cleaner.

World Class Wheels 1L

World Class Wheels 1L
Amazon

View offer

A more serious wheel cleaner that is more like 26JPNu2019s Fallout.

Brilliant Black 1L

Brilliant Black 1L
Amazon

View offer

A tyre shine and trim restorer.

Crystal Glass 1L

Crystal Glass 1L
Amazon

View offer

Have a guess - it's for see-through bits.

Stain Shifter 1L

Stain Shifter 1L
Amazon

View offer

A stain remover for upholstery and interior fabrics.

Dash Devil 1L

Dash Devil 1L
Amazon

View offer

Degreases and cleans plastic, vinyl, and rubber trim, and screens.

The test car

In a short-sighted move, we grabbed an old EP3 Honda Civic Type R. While it was in need of a clean, it's silver, which doesn't photograph terribly well in a car cleaning test.

But nevermind. Prior to cleaning, the old Honda was on par with someone who'd been on a three-day hike: very much in need of a clean without yet having reached the gross derelict stage. Thus, in a similar condition to many of our cars when we finally get round to cleaning them.

Dirty Honda Type R bumper
©Photo: CAR

Cleaning the wheels

For attacking dirty wheels, Greased Lighting has two products: a quick detailer-type option (One Minute Wheels) and one for deeper cleans (World Class Wheels). Greased Lightning told us that it brought out World Class wheels partly in response to some people’s unrealistic expectations of One Minute Wheels.

According to Greased Lightning, One Minute Wheels is a quick cleaner, not a deep cleaner, meant for quick but frequent touch-ups to keep wheels fairly clean and presentable.

One Minute Wheels result
©Photo: CAR

That's fair, and the respective products did what they're designed to do. World Class Wheels deep cleaned (see below) and One Minute Wheels quickly removed lighter dirt (see above). The way One Minute Wheels works is by spraying on, then rinsing off.

But World Class Wheels doesn't take much longer, leading us to recommend it over the One Minute Wheels. To get the best from World Class Wheels, move around the car, spraying each wheel; then go over each wheel again with a brush, before rinsing off. It's therefore pretty quick and easy too.

World Class Wheel result
©Photo: CAR

The only caveat we have with that recommendation is that if you've got wheels with an intricate spoke design, you'll probably want to pair the World Class Wheels with a detailing brush that can reach into the tighter areas.

Bodywork and glass

Before using the Showroom Shine, we applied the Bug Buster to some areas of the bodywork to get rid of the stubborn spots and much that had been glued to the Honda for some time. Recommended advice from Greased Lightning was that for the tougher debris, let the Bug Buster sit for a short while before wiping off. We tried it on the Honda's light gathering of bugs and sap. It worked very nicely.

Showroom shine is Greased Lightning’s big right hook; it's cake candles. We were excited to try this, curious to see if it cleaned as well as the No-H2O waterless wash we’d previously tested, while mercifully being more economical.

The idea with the Showroom Shine is to spray just enough of it on to cover a surface, whereupon it lifts the dirt; you then wipe it with a microfibre to remove said dirt. Finally, you then buff the surface with another microfibre to bring up the shine.

Greased Lightning cleaning result
©Photo: CAR

We were rather impressed with the results, not least because Showroom Shine managed to clean effectively without going through half the bottle. Does that make Greased Lightning’s claim of eight to 10 washes from a bottle accurate? It depends very much on the size of your car and how dirty it is.

We believe a one-litre bottle of Showroom Shine could achieve this number for smaller cars like our Honda or a Mazda MX-5, and possibly a lightly dirty family saloon or estate. But perhaps not quite for heavily soiled vehicles or large SUVs.

In addressing a fundamental concern with waterless car wash, the Showroom Shine did not scratch the bodywork at all. True to its word, it lifted the dirt, to allow for quick and scratch-free cleaning. Greased Lightning says Showroom Shine protects as well as cleans, thanks to the incorporated carnauba wax.

Water running down the side of Honda
©Photo: CAR

After cleaning, we poured some water down the side of the car to see how hydrophobic the finish is, and it did an alright job. You can brush the bodywork with your fingertips to feel the improvement too; the Honda’s panels felt smooth and silky.

We finished off the exterior with Crystal Glass and trim touch-ups using Brilliant Black. The former did a stellar job in removing specks of dirt without smearing; and on the initial application to the grille, window seals, and other bits, Brilliant Black works well. We checked back on it a week after application and it still looks good.

Applying Brilliant Black
©Photo: CAR

Interior

The main things you want from an interior cleaner are to leave a non-greasy, matte finish on surfaces, not to smell like a dog kennel, and able to be applied to screens. We found the Dash Devil achieves meets these requirements.

Following this success, we tried the Stain Shifter on an old mark on one of the seats but didn’t find any luck there. However, Stain Shifter isn’t alone and we have yet to find an upholstery cleaner that can deal with ancient stains. And we have since tried the Stain Shifter elsewhere, including around the house, and found it to be pretty effective on new stains.

Applying Dash Devil
©Photo: CAR

What we will say for both is that the one-litre bottles are a bit big to wield inside a car. This can be addressed by either spraying the solution onto a cloth before stepping inside, or buy the smaller 500ml bottles instead – the trade-off there being they won’t last as long.

Additional thoughts

Showroom Shine aside, all the Greased Lightning are pretty conventional. However, the packaging looks different to other car cleaning products because you can actually see the colourful solution inside the bottle, which you don’t get elsewhere. As a marketing exercise, it works well in distilling a bit more user confidence. They smell nice too, except for the World Class Wheels.

While we do really like the one-litre bottles, which are larger than what you’ll find elsewhere, the triggers could be more ergonomic.

If you plan to use several of Greased Lightning's products at once, we did notice that you do need quite a few cloths and applicators: you need two for Showroom Shine, two for Crystal Glass, a brush or cloth for wheels, an applicator or pad for Brilliant Black, and a cloth for interior cleaning. By contrast, a conventional car clean with water only demands a couple of microfibres, a wheel brush, and a drying cloth.

Verdict

Overall, we liked the Greased Lightning products because they do exactly what they’re meant to. They don’t overpromise or underdeliver. On their own or used together, they are effective and easy to use.

Having tried and tested Showroom Shine, we recommend it to those after a quick and effective cleaner. If it’s a deep clean you’re after, we suggest sticking to the conventional method of snow foam, car shampoo, polish, and wax.

Of the two wheel cleaners, we prefer World Class Wheels (though, our favourite wheel cleaner is from Bilt Hamber). It’s noticeably more effective and doesn’t take that much longer to use than One Minute Wheels. It’s a pity Greased Lightning don’t do a Showroom Shine-World Class Wheels two pack - it does one with One Minute Wheels.

Read next:

Paint protection options for DIY

The best tar remover for your car

The best headlight restoration kits

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