When THe Right Chemistry Matters

From automatic to tunnel and from self-serve to full-service, car wash operators have one thing in common: identifying which chemicals work best for their environment and car wash type.

Yet, to achieve optimized wash performance, operators must factor in a variety of influences, including water quality, dispensing and application equipment, overall chemistry harmony, revenue goals, and customer expectations, as well as the weather and road elements of a particular geographical region.

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Although some of the chemicals listed in this category may be considered profit-boosting products (triple foam, protectants), most are a necessity for a friction, tunnel car wash to operate.

In addition to the standard wash chemicals, there are several chemical add-ons and upgrades that can help to generate additional revenue for a car wash.

Differing considerably from the chemicals used in the friction market, touchless car wash chemicals must not only be stronger, but require higher alkalinity and acidity in order to provide the cleaning power of a friction car wash. Also, because touchless operations rely on high-pressure water, the water must be properly conditioned, as well.

While most standard and ancillary chemicals come in handheld sizes for detailing operations, there are other profit-and-customer-experience-boosting chemicals detailers have access to that other car wash types don’t, including:

Water has always played an integral role in a quality carwash, but as concerns about the environment continue to rise, operators must also factor in the eco-conscious consumer and government regulations on water use. Whether it’s fresh, filtered (spot-free) or reclaim, operators must understand what type of water is being used during the wash cycle, the chemical delivery process, and the applications.


Water chemistry, which can change from hard to soft from municipality to municipality, along with chain speed, titrations and other factors, will influence the number of cars that can be washed with a drum of chemical. A water analysis can help determine your water quality, enabling a more accurate chemical composition with less water lost.


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