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Perfect Your Car Wash Chemical Equation for Consistent Wash Quality and Operation

Steven Watson - Territory Chemical Sales Manager — Mid-Atlantic

In the quest to produce perfectly clean vehicles, car wash operators search for the optimal chemical package for their site, one of the vital five factors of cleaning. The right car wash chemicals and their proper use are an integral part of making customers happy. That equation also benefits the proper operation, cleanliness, and odor of the wash and its reclaim system.

Chemicals can be a confusing, sometimes overwhelming component of the vehicle wash business for even the most scientifically seasoned car wash owner or manager. Howco chemical representatives lend their expertise to every customer’s operation, consulting with and teaching operators how to purchase, store, mix, and apply chemicals effectively and efficiently. These hands-on tutorials can include:

How Chemicals Interface With Various Reclaim Systems

Chemicals react inconsistently in different systems. Oils, hydraulic fluid leaks, grease, surfactants, pH levels, water sources, and unintended mixing of products can all determine how your chemicals react and perform in a reclaim system. Reclaim odors can also be exacerbated by incongruent chemical mixes.

Why Remaining Chemicals Should Not Be Mixed With New Supplies

Mixing chemicals not intended for combination can create noxious results. Most high pH soaps should never be mixed with low pH products.

The age and water content of some chemicals can also affect their efficacy. Aged or remaining chemicals should be disposed of or completely used up, respectively, before adding a fresh supply to a container for distribution.

When storing chemicals, it’s best to keep them unopened and in a temperature-controlled environment to ensure an extended shelf life until use. If some formulations experience temperature extremes, they will need to be discarded entirely due to demulsification.

Why It’s Counteractive to Water Down Chemicals

Car wash chemicals are carefully formulated to be used as specified for excellent results. Adding water to chemical supplies in an attempt to stretch the life of the product will inevitably backfire and sacrifice the quality of car washes. Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish!

Why You Should Use a Consistent Water Source

Since water quality is very important, water testing is a logical first step in determining what type of water is being used and how to best adjust when necessary. Ideally, hard water should be softened before being treated via reverse osmosis (RO). Less desirable water quality can not only react negatively with chemicals but also affect the operation and lifespan of various equipment parts. If both municipal and well water sources are used, that can add an entirely new dynamic to the chemical setup.

Proper Dilution Ratio to Compensate When Necessary

All chemical manufacturers have general guidelines regarding chemical dilution ratios, but it’s never a one-rule-fits-all scenario. Dilution ratios will be determined by water quality and various pH factors.

There are many car wash suppliers offering a multitude of products. Some manufacturers produce chemicals that work well with competitive products, while others don’t; when combined, the latter can produce disastrous results.

Howco chemical representatives are trained, deeply knowledgeable professionals who consult with and assist hundreds of operators in their unique scenarios. Most reps also have years of car wash management experience under their belts. Please contact Howco to learn how we can put that expertise to work for you in perfecting your car wash chemical setup.


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