For those interested in purchasing mat cleaners, many options exist on the market. Not every model is equal, and not all machines are for every operator. Owners should weigh the pros and cons of each when shopping the equipment.

“An operator would want to get as many features as possible for the investment made,” states Bud Abraham, president of DETAIL PLUS Car Appearance Systems. “[They would also want] the most reliable machine available on the market.”

According to Abraham, some of the features carwash operators should look for in a machine include:

  • Stainless steel construction rather than painted to prevent rust, especially in areas of the country where salt is used in the winter. Salty water rusts the machines within a very short time if it is only painted.
  • Completely automatic. Some machines require the customer to “wash-board” each mat to clean it.
  • Machines that wash, dry, shampoo and dry, and dry brush and vacuum.
  • Machines where the mats fall in the front of the machine rather than the back, which wastes time for the attendant who has to walk behind the machine to retrieve the mat.

In Abraham’s experience, mat cleaners do not usually have maintenance problems other than normal wear.

“The most common wear items are the rubber roller inside, the scrub brush and bearings,” he explains. “But all of these last for more than two years; however, in higher volume washes they could wear out faster. The only regular maintenance is to keep the machine clean by flushing the dirt-catching trays.”