I hate water spots, after I wash my car. I've always wanted a CR Spotless, but I've always been too cheap to buy one. $375 when toweling the car is easy and practically free. However, so many times I've ruined an afternoon of washing the car by missing a drip of water that came down and left a nasty water spot on the side of my car.
This system is easy to set up, and cheap to maintain. I have it on quick releases between my hose reel and my faucet. Read more to see what you need...
First, you need the filter housings:
I bought Aquatic Life Dual Deionization 10-Inch System with 10-Inch Color Changing Mixed Bed Resin Cartridges for Aquariums. This is two cartridges full of deionizing beads, that change color as they "wear" out.
Then, I bought connectors to connect it to a standard garden hose. You want one Dixon BMA974 Brass Fitting, Adapter, 3/4" GHT Female x 1/2" NPTF Male for the side coming from the faucet and one Dixon BA74 Brass Fitting, Adapter, 3/4" GHT Male x 1/2" NPTF Male for the filtered water side going to your hose. I used teflon tape to secure the adapters into the plastic housing, but it's not 100% necessary. I didn't want the stress of the canisters hanging off my faucet, so I got the hose extension as well.
Put the female hose barb on the "Supply" side and the male hose barb on the "Filtered" side and you're good to go! Install the quick releases if desired. The quick releases are completely optional, but I think they're a good idea. You can wash most of the car with unfiltered water and then just during rinse, hook the filter system up inline. I would avoid any quick release that has a stopper as they are convenient, they restrict flow too much to use with a pressure washer.
Once I had the filter all together, I did a before and after, with a TDS meter. (see below). My water supply is pretty hard (lots of minerals), at 154 ppm without the filter. After the filter, it was MUCH lower at 5 ppm.
My normal wash strategy now is to hook the hose up without filter, and blast off all the loose dirt with my pressure washer. I bought the Ryobi from Home Depot but had I had to do it again, I would have gone with the SunJoe, as it's a little easier to use. The hose reel on the Ryobi is worthless - you have to disconnect the high pressure hose each time you use it anyway. At least it's nice and quiet.
Anyway, then I wash the car with normal car wash soap if it's dirty, or my foam cannon and car wash soap if it's REALLY dirty or Optimum No Rinse if the car isn't that dirty. ONR is a really great product and really concentrated so even the 32oz bottle is enough for 16+ washes. There is a 10% off code for the Max Suds soap when you click on the link (at least 9/7/2017 - amazon kills codes quickly)
Once the car is clean, I hook the filter up inline, and give the car a good rinse, getting all the soap off. Then, disconnect the pressure washer and rinse the car straight from the hose, letting the sheeting action of the water pull the drops off. At this point, I use a portable blower to blow out the crevices around the grills, trim pieces, headlights and tail lights, but it's not necessary, since the filtered water won't leave water spots.
On my sports cars that I really care about, I will towel dry them, just to avoid dust sticking to the car while it dries. For my dailies, I am not that anal and just let them dry, even in the sun. Works great! (obviously, if you are washing in direct sunlight, you'll need to use the filter the whole time and get the soap off very quickly, so it doesn't spot)
If you want to replicate the setup, just click on the links! Thanks again to Mike C who showed me this setup.
Silicon Valley Dad, who loves cars, cooking, clothes and cameras