Friday, January 30, 2004

P&G's Mr. Clean keeps
its promise during tryout

We tried it

By Lauren Bishop
The Cincinnati Enquirer

For months, Procter & Gamble has been tantalizing car owners with the promise that its new product, Mr. Clean AutoDry Carwash, will eliminate the need to dry a car by hand. But does it really work?

Ken "Chip" Byrnside Jr., owner of Finish Line Power Wash, tried the new product, which consists of a hand-held spraying device that attaches to a standard garden hose.

The device includes different settings for rinsing, soaping and rinsing again (a sponge or car wash mitt is still needed to thoroughly soap the car).

After the final rinse, the car owner sets the device to "Mr. Clean AutoDry," which delivers a final rinse of de-ionized, or filtered, water for a spot-free shine, according to P&G.

Byrnside tried the device on two vehicles - on in a heated garage, one outside - on a recent below-freezing day. His verdict?

"It seems to work as they say it does," said Byrnside, who also uses de-ionized water in his business washing cars at dealerships.

But Byrnside cautioned against throwing away your chamois just yet, especially if you own show cars or are especially picky about how your car looks.

Byrnside also questioned the long-term cost-effectiveness of the device. A chamois might cost $15 up front, but a car owner will get hundreds of uses out of it, he says.

P&G, which does not set retail prices, estimates the device will sell for about $24.99. Owners of average-sized vehicles should get three washes out of the starter kit, depending on usage, according to P&G. Refills of both the soap (about $4.99) and the filter (about $5.99) will get you about 10 washes, according to the company. The average cost per car wash is estimated to be $1 over the life of the unit, P&G says.

Mr. Clean AutoDry Carwash is scheduled to arrive in stores Sunday.

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