Car wash chemistry
For the most part, a clean car comes down to two things, water and chemical quality. Often water quality is over looked and this can be very costly in both chemical costs and unhappy customers. Let’s focus on water quality first. When looking into a water supply for optimal cleaning results, we are generally going to focus on two things; water hardness, and total dissolved solids (TDS). You will see water hardness measured in grains, referring to the presence of magnesium and calcium salts of carbonate, sulfate and chloride. Typical drinking water can range anywhere from 1-250 grains of hardness, with the goal being a hardness of less than 1 for detergents and soaps to preform optimally. TDS measures all organic and inorganic material present, including minerals, salts and metals. Drinking water can be found with a PPM as high as 500 and as low as 20 with a PPM less than 20 being required for spot free performance. Hard water with high levels of dissolved solids will stress your wash system long term, leading to a shortened life span, poor wash quality and increased down time. Together with adequate water softening and a well maintained reverse osmosis system superb wash quality can be achieved. Even in areas with excellent city water supplies such as the lower mainland of British Columbia, noticeable results can be seen when a water softener and RO system are implemented. In many areas, softener and reverse osmosis systems are an absolute must to keep customers happy, and to ultimately extend the life of your wash system.
Once acceptable water quality is achieved a quality chemical can do its job. This is where many operators can miss the mark. Chemical is not where you want to scrimp on costs. A Happy customer will generally be a return customer over and over. We tell all of our customers you don’t have to spend more than your competitors on chemical you just have to purchase a QUALITY chemical. Decide how you want the application process to look (one step or two) Have the supplier set up your chemical for you. A factor that is often overlooked is the pH of a given product, especially when considering touchless wash systems. The majority of detergents you see in your day to day life, including dish and laundry detergents are alkaline (high pH). This is due to an alkaline detergents ability to clean the majority of grime and soils ones vehicles are faced with. Some inorganic materials, such as minerals and road contamination, are best removed using a low pH detergent. Introducing an acidic, two step pre-soak system can take your wash quality from good to great, most notably on the vehicles wheels, glass, and lower portions. Another benefit of incorporating low pH solutions into the wash system is improved drying agent/sealant application. These products prefer a neutral to low pH surface, which is better achieved when low pH products are introduced with a high ph leaving customers with a Spotless, dry and shiny vehicle.
Clean Touch offers the industry’s only comprehensive chemistry program, with environmentally safe and sustainable cleaning solutions for all self-serve, Automatic in bay and Tunnel conveyor systems. With a wide range of products we are happy to go over any of your questions or Carwash Concerns with you.