Top Gear

Aviation Dry Sparkle

From 24 (Starter kit) | Refill (4x300ml) £31.99 | Manufacturer

Starter pack comes with two microfibres, an applicator and 600ml of Dry Sparkle, enough to work your way through four to six aeroplanes
Things we like

Easy to use
Safe and effective
Pleasant aroma

Things we don't like

Bottle states keep away from children, so how are they going to help clean the aircraft?

It’s not that I don’t like cleaning aeroplanes, it’s just that it often ends up with cold water running down my arms when washing the underside of the wings or belly, and on colder days and at a strip with no easily available hot water, that falls quite short of the criteria for fun.

Pooleys has recently joined forces with a cleaning company to produce something called Pooley’s Aviation Dry Sparkle, a product that claims to deliver a waterless (and almost effortless) wash. So with the temperature a very pleasant 20°C, I headed to the aeroplane to give it a try. 

Pooley’s is selling Aviation Dry Sparkle in two kits, a starter kit which at £24 comprises two microfibre cloths, one 300ml bottles of cleaner with a fine mist trigger diffuser and a 300ml refill, and a pure refill kit for £31.99 which comprises four 300ml refill bottles. 

The blurb on the bottle says that it’s biodegradable and non-hazardous, and that it’s suitable for use on ‘aircraft, glass, plastics and many other surfaces’. 

Other suggestions include to clean one area at a time, and to do so by misting some of the cleaner onto a microfibre cloth as well as a light misting on the surface to be cleaned…

Folding one of the microfibre cloths in four, I give it a quick spray and do the same with the nose bowl on the C180. 

My first impression is that one or two trigger pulls go a long way. There’s a claim on the (300ml) bottle that it will clean about three aircraft if used lightly. I scoffed at this marketing line, but now I think it could well be right, assuming it’s used sparingly and maybe not on something the size of a C180. I apologise for not cleaning the entire aircraft three times to check… 

But, back to the task in hand… the light misting on the aircraft is left to settle for maybe 20 or 30 seconds, and then wiped gently with the damp microfibre. This bit always worries me, and makes me think that I might just be using any dirt on the surface to mar the paint, but the claim that the combination of microfibre cloths and the waterless wash chemicals lifts the dirt away from the surface may actually be correct – I certainly couldn’t find any scratches or swirls.

The next step is to gently buff the cleaned area with a clean microfibre (which I guess is why they give you two!). With the exception of a baked insect or two, the result is an impressively clean aircraft with no residue, no visible scratches and very little effort.

As stated on the bottle, Dry Sparkle is good for plastic, but as the 180 doesn’t belong to me I refrained from testing it, particularly as aviation perspex is about as tough and scratch resistant as chocolate. Using a couple of pieces of scrap perspex I gave it a go and found no problems, so tentatively moved to the 180’s glass, taking extreme care to use a completely clean microfibre very, very gently… The result was equally impressive and the chocolate, sorry perspex, remained unmarked.

So, that’s no more cold and wet weather arms for me. If it’s true that you can clean three aircraft with just 300ml, that puts the cost at £2.67 per aircraft, and if you only manage two per bottle, that’s still only £4, which in aircraft money barely moves the needle.



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