The type and amount of chemical will vary from region to region, location to location and, often, even process to process. No all-in-one chemical is available for every specific need a carwash may require, especially if multiple services are offered to customers.

“Our industry is not a one-size-fits-all,” explains Craig Celentano, vice president of distributor development for Qual Chem. “The details of amounts, low or high pH and the best process will be determined by the desired results of the operator and with some help [from] a qualified [chemical company representative].”

Finding the right chemical may come down to trial and error. However, general best practices can be followed to help carwashes select the best chemical for the job at hand.

“[Carwash owners and] operators first need to determine what combination of performance variables are required to meet their own personal goals and then talk with their solutions supplier to understand what product options are available,” says Doug Marquis, assistant vice president for Lustra Professional Car Care Products, a division of Cleaning Systems Inc. (CSI).

He continues, “A properly trained and experienced chemical technician will be able to explain what chemical product options are available to meet the operators’ own criteria, [as well as] evaluate what equipment variables might come into play and affect the intended outcome.”

Regardless of the chemical type, one constant all carwash owners and operators should consider is quality.

To determine if a chemical is of high quality, Marquis suggests evaluating the following factors:

  • Technical expertise of the chemical formulation
  • Quality of the ingredients used in manufacturing
  • Consistency of the manufacturing process.

“Reputable chemical manufacturers should have highly experienced chemical formulators on staff. They should purchase materials from globally recognized raw chemical supply companies and have material testing systems in place,” states Marquis. “[Furthermore], they should ideally be [certified by the] ISO (International Standards Organization) to ensure they have manufacture control and measurement procedures that are stringently followed.”

Nevertheless, an effective product is just one of many components necessary to achieve excellent chemistry. Considering the impacts from outside influences, such as water quality, temperature and storage, is just as, if not more, important for accomplishing a high level of performance, which affects the quality of the chemical and, in turn, the overall quality of the carwash.

Read more on the importance of chemistry here.