Affiliate Disclosure: The products outlined below were sent to us by Rain-X at no charge. Automoblog earns from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate, including the cleaning products featured here. These commissions come to us at no additional cost to you.
Although famous for its wiper blades, Rain-X has an entire line of cleaning products for your car. The team at Rain-X sent us four of their most popular to test out, including an exterior detailer, fast wax, glass cleaner, and a waterless car wash.
We tested each on our 2022 Ford Escape after several days of rain across the Detroit metro in early May. During that time, we drove I-96 and M10, two busy roadways with heavy traffic here in the Motor City. This caused a lot of grime and dirt to build up on our lower quarter panels over those few days, and we were excited to see if anything Rain-X sent us could help.
Here is our quick but detailed (see what we did there) review of everything Rain-X sent us.
Exterior Detailer & Water Repellent
Exterior detailers give you that extra “pop” after washing your vehicle. They are also super convenient if you need a quick touch-up between washes. Over the years, we have had excellent luck with Meguiar’s Quik Detailer, but the Rain-X also gave us that nice post-wash shine. The Rain-X detailer looks like skim milk in the bottle, but it provides your paint with a much-needed dose of caffeine!
The Rain-X formula is easy to apply with a clean microfiber towel and helps repel rain or other water you encounter while driving. Rain-X classifies this as a “2-in-1” product, meaning you have an exterior detailer with a water beading effect. For best results, avoid using it in direct sunlight as the hot paint will cause it to evaporate.
Where to Purchase
As of this writing, a four-pack of Rain-X Exterior Detailer and Water Repellent is available on Amazon for about $50.
The Rain-X Fast Wax gives you the benefits of a full-on wax job in a fraction of the time. While you can apply it to dry paint post-wash, you can also use Fast Wax while your car is still wet, which is the preferred method for us.
The Rain-X Fast Wax is pretty goopy and can feel awkward to buff out on dry paint. Instead, try applying it to your car right after washing. This way, you can combine drying and waxing in one step, and the water on your vehicle will make the liquid (ish) Fast Wax much more cooperative.
Where to Purchase
If you are a purist, there is no substitute for a traditional and proper wax job. But if you are pressed for time, Rain-X Fast Wax will do the trick. As of this writing, you can grab a four-pack on Amazon for about $28.
Glass Cleaner & Interior Detailer
We have grown accustomed to having a separate bottle of glass cleaner and a separate bottle of interior cleaner, but Rain-X goes for the two-in-one approach here. The big selling point is the convenience of not having to switch bottles while working in your car, and the combo fluid provides equal shine quality as both a glass cleaner and interior detailer.
While interior detailers have their obvious benefits, we sometimes feel glass cleaners are overlooked. Glass cleaners will increase your visibility, especially at night. And do both the exterior and interior sides of your windshield. You might be surprised at all the gunk that comes off.
In 2019, Rain-X received a Product of the Year award in the Car Care category for its Waterless Car Wash and Rain Repellant. The Product of the Year award originated in France more than 30 years ago and now encompasses 40 countries. They accept entries yearly of packaged goods that demonstrate consumer innovation, with a winner named in each category through an online study conducted by Kantar of 40,000 consumers.
Based on our experience, the award was well-deserved for Rain-X.
If your vehicle isn’t too dirty, a bottle of this will save you from slugging quarters in the wash bay. It’s ideal for the weekend warrior who likes to park in the driveway, roll up their sleeves, and show their car off to the neighborhood. Waterless Car Wash & Rain Repellent is the “full package” from Rain-X. You can use it as a liquid car wash without the water, or for an on-the-go touch-up. It’s even safe to use on glass.
We used it on the “problem areas” of our Ford Escape, including the lower quarter panels. Even after a proper wash with the scrub brush and everything, our lower quarter panels always need a little extra love. The photos below will enlarge so you can see exactly what we mean.
Post-Wash Photo: Immediately after using the spray gun and soap brush. You can see the leftover, stubborn road grime on our lower quarter panel.
And finally, this third photo is after hitting the lower quarter panel with some Rain-X Waterless Car Wash. We were pleasantly surprised at how well it worked to remove the excess dirt, grime, and tar down by our front wheels.
Rain-X will always be our first choice for wiper blades, as they have never let us down during our typically harsh Michigan winters. Now, for the summer months, we are content to keep using the Rain-X products outlined here, and we feel confident recommending them to you as well.
However, we also recommend trying a few different brands and seeing which one you like best. We have used products from Armor All, Meguiars, Mothers, and Turtle Wax in the past, all with positive results.
A bottle of Armor All Tire Foam has been in our garage since we purchased our first truck in 2001. Turtle Wax we have been using even longer, since our high school years in the late 90s, but think their newer “Hybrid” product line is fantastic. Meguiars we started using in 2011 for our then-new EcoBoost F-150. We tried Mothers in 2018 for the first time on our Fiat 500X. And now Rain-X for the first time in 2022.
Each brand has strengths and drawbacks, so try a few out and see what you like. The four links above – one for each brand – will help you decide which is best for your vehicle.
Keeping your vehicle clean is an essential part of regular maintenance, just like oil changes and tire rotations. Consider washing your vehicle as often as possible, especially after a blizzard or rainstorm. It’s a good strategy for keeping your car’s body and chassis in good shape as the miles pile up. When you finally get something new, you will be glad you invested in the elbow grease. Washing (or not washing) your vehicle can affect its resale value in the long run.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Society of Automotive Historians. He serves on the board of directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, is a past president of Detroit Working Writers, and a loyal Detroit Lions fan.