Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Cleaning and protecting with chemistry

March 29, 2013

Phillip Lawless: What are the main uses for chemistry in today’s carwashes?

Ken Bucher: Cleaning of course would be number one. Modern chemistry has provided many value added services, which are a true benefit to customer vehicles. These services include:

  • Clear coat protectants;
  • Tire shine;
  • Drying agents; and
  • Wheel cleaners.

Phillip Lawless: How can improper titration affect carwash results?

Ken Bucher: Products that are too weak won’t clean/perform well. Products that are too strong can cause other problems such as spotting or streaking and create a waste of chemical which is dollars down the drain.

Phillip Lawless: How can owners get a titration “tune up” so to speak?

Ken Bucher: Titration kits are available from your chemical supplier. Most distributors will perform a periodic titration check for operators to ensure their products are set up correctly. Kits also come with a complete set of instructions enabling the operators to perform these checks themselves.

Phillip Lawless: How have chemistry and the chemical industry helped improve the quality of automated car washing over the past few years?

Ken Bucher: Improved surfactants provide better cleaning. Also, improved performance of clear coat protectants and other value added products help truly clean, shine and protect a vehicle surface.

Phillip Lawless: How have chemistry and the chemical industry helped carwashes make more money over the past few years?

Ken Bucher: Modern chemistry has created more value-added services which creates higher revenues. More concentrated products have reduced shipping costs. Improved performance of chemicals offers customers a better value for dollars spent. Reclaim friendly chemistry helps operators save on water costs.

Phillip Lawless: What are some recent chemistry-based services that have proven popular with carwash customers in tunnels, in-bay automatics and self-serves?

Ken Bucher: Better clear coat protectant technology provides longer lasting and higher shine effects. Wheel cleaners can be used effectively without worry of causing damage. Water-based tire dressings avoid flammability risks.

Phillip Lawless: Looking forward, what do you think will be the biggest chemistry trends for carwashes in the future?

Ken Bucher: More concentrated products will help reduce container cost and shipping cost. Replacement of harsh acids (HF) with effective but safer materials.  Improved cleaning in touch-free operations. Even better performance for drying agents and protectants.

Ken Bucher is the president of Warsaw Chemical Co. Inc. The company's line of Car Choice Wash Products includes a selection of cleaners and protectants.