By: Scott Campbell, Global Product Manager, Hydro Systems
The car wash industry has exploded in recent years, growing at a rate of between 3 and 4% each year in North America. Today, there are 62,668 car wash locations across the country that service the 77% of drivers who prefer a professional car wash to washing their vehicle at home. This number is up from 48% of drivers who preferred car washes in 1994.
Car washes have several benefits compared to washing a car at home. They are more sustainable, as they use less water and leave less room for chemical runoff into the environment. Some states, including California, even fine people for washing their cars at home because it wastes so much water. Car washes are also quicker, more efficient and are less likely to damage a vehicle’s paint job than a home wash.
The Chemistry Behind Car Washing
As the industry grows, car washes have looked to enhance their chemical efficiency. Some operations change the types of chemicals used based on the season. For example, Chicago car washes will use a different pre-soak chemical in the winter than they do in the summer when salt removal is not a concern. Other car wash businesses use different acid-based, neutral or alkaline-based chemistries depending on their preference.
Car washes have also started transitioning to superconcentrates, which are designed to lift dirt and grime from car surfaces more effectively. Depending on the chosen chemical, the cost per wash ranges from as low as $0.30 per wash to upwards of $1.25 per wash. By increasing the intensities of chemicals used, this reduces the volume of chemical used per car wash.
The Role of Chemical Dispensers
Chemical dispensers help car wash facilities keep up with increasing demand and the call for increased efficiency and results. Dispensers provide more accurate dilutions, reduce the amount of water needed per wash and help get vehicles through the wash even faster.
When looking to invest in a chemical dispenser, consider the following features:
Delivering Cleaner Cars
The bottom line of the car wash industry is that customers will keep coming back if their cars are cleaned quickly and effectively. Similar to choosing the proper air dryers and tunnel controllers, it’s essential to install and maintain the right dispensing equipment at your car wash. As technology evolves, it’s essential to choose a chemical dispenser that can keep up with modern industry demands.
For more information on this topic, read our white paper: Chemical Dispensers: The Driving Force behind Car Washing Success.
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