by Paul Williams

Don’t you just love things that are, “As seen on TV?” They must be good, otherwise why would that actor whose name you can’t remember be pitching them?

Water Blade and Dash Duster
Water Blade and Dash Duster, Photo: P. Williams, click image to enlarge

Not only is The Original California Water Blade, “seen on TV,” but it’s also “Made in USA.” It says so on the package, along with a nice stars and stripes logo so you don’t miss it.

In small print at the bottom of the package, it also says, “Manufactured by Xcel Manufacturing, Windsor, Ontario.”

I guess the Windsor Wipe doesn’t have the ring of the California Blade.

Wherever it’s from, the California Water Blade is a nifty supplement to a chamois for drying your car.

It’s basically a high-tech car squeegee, featuring a thick silicon blade with a “T” shape at the outer edge. The blade’s attached to a sturdy plastic grip, and the device is easy to hold and to manage.

My first attempt at using the California Water Blade was on a dripping wet Audi TT. It was no contest. The TT won, hands down.

After spending ten minutes fussing with the blade, the TT looked pretty much as wet as when I’d started. That car’s all curves and bends, and I couldn’t get the blade to work effectively anywhere except on the roof.

Next came a Nissan Sentra, which has more flat surfaces and is easier on the novice blade-user. Then I tried it on a Mazda Miata and an old Triumph sports car.

I improved each time.

Turns out, the more you use it, the better you get. Eventually you find yourself confidently zigging and zagging across the vehicle like a genuine Californian.

The blade will mould itself to curves and valleys, and one pass over a wet surface will completely remove water, leaving a totally dry panel. It’s especially impressive on the side of the car, when the blade is perpendicular to the road, and the water just drops off the car.

The blade is supplied in a reusable plastic package. If you nick or damage the T-bar edge you’ll certainly reduce its effectiveness, so I’d suggest keeping that package.

Some people have pointed out that if you get a grain of sand or grit on the blade, you’ll scratch your car. This is worth mentioning. However, the same caveat applies if you’re using a sponge or a chamois. I wiped the blade after each pass with my fingers, and didn’t have a problem.

In many cases the blade is faster than using a chamois. It does a great job on glass, and doesn’t leave water spots. But as I say, it takes a couple of goes to get the hang of it.

I liked the blade as a supplement to my trusty chamois, though. It’s taken years for that to acquire its particular texture and feel, and I still needed it for final touch-ups.

Also from the same company is The Original California Dash Duster (also called a Mini Duster). Apparently it, too, can be seen on TV, although you could actually clean your TV with this duster, as well as doing your dash.

The Dash Duster is a small version of the floppy, wax-impregnated dusters that guys with show cars use to keep their cars pristine. These are called California Car Dusters.

They really do pick up dust like a magnet picks up iron filings. Just pass it over a dusty surface and you’re done. They’re great for irregular surfaces, like radios and vents, and re-usable for years. Strangely, the more soiled they get, the better they seem to work.

Don’t wash it, though.

The California Water Blade retails for $34.99 at Canadian Tire. The Dash Duster is $14.99, and the full-size Car Duster is $24.99. Other retailers may have these products at different prices.

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