I started in business in 1985 as a full service operator with a full service tunnel operation, including six self serve bays. Later another site was purchased with twelve self serve bays. Chemicals in any car wash are mostly a matter of preference from the following point of view and in this order: Cleaning ability, safety and cost.
Chemicals that clean well are at the top of the list as Cleaning is the lifeblood of any car wash. A lot of chemicals will produce suds, smell nice and will be colored. These inducements surely dazzle the customer and give him a good show, but suds, smell and color do not clean cars. The Car Wash owner must do much more with his car wash chemicals. Chemicals will come in acids (low PH), Alkaline (high PH), acids, etc. There are many blends to consider.
The majority of successful operators will apply a good presoak or Filmbuster to the vehicle upon entry. The Presoak or Filmbuster can either be an acid or alkaline, however most operators will prefer a low PH to get maximum cleaning especially during the winter months. Alkaline presoaks are good in summer when the vehicles are not as dirty and have a lot of bugs on the surface. An effective presoak or Filmbuster at tunnel entrance is a prerequisite to getting a clean car.
It is most effective for the presoak to dwell on the surface as long as possible before it is touched with other equipment known as mitters (hanging curtains) and wraps (swirling cloth). Presoak or filmbuster can be foamed on the vehicle and is recommended, since foaming lays on the vehicle surface longer in addition to being quite visible to the customer. In essence the presoak or filmbuster loosens the soil or dirt and thus is more easily removed during the wash process. The chemical used after the presoak is auto body shampoo. Body shampoo is very close to our filmbuster, but is applied after the pre-soak or filmbuster.
The last applied item in car washes is the rinse wax, pay wax or Dri and Shine (Crown Car Wash brand). The Dri and Shine wax coats the entire vehicle with a liquid protectant spray that seeps into cracks and crevices and also add shine to the vehicle surface. Dri and Shine wax has been a very popular addition to car washing chemicals. Another chemical used in the process is Triple foam. Triple foam is a wax applied through a foaming arch. It comes in colors – red, yellow, green. Triple foam is an excellent addition to any car wash.
One more item is the Magic wheel and tire cleaner. This is applied in your CTA unit. Some car wash owners however will still want to prep the wheels on some vehicles before tunnel entry. This can be done with a chemical resistant tank sprayer. Magic wheel and tire cleaner does a great job on wheels if mixed at 20:1 ratio and even works better if heated.
All of our chemicals can be used in tunnel washes, touchless car washes and self serve car washes.
Touchless car washes typically use our low PH presoak or Filmbuster followed by our body shampoo and finally by our Dri and Shine wax.
Self serve car washes will typically use presoak or filmbuster at 25:1 and then Body shampoo as high pressure soap. The Dri and Shine will be used during the wax application.
Enough cannot be said for good wax at the end of the wash process. A car wash owner will want the vehicle to have a nice sheen or as good a shine as possible on his clean vehicle.