Less Water, Better Wash: The Superiority of Commerical Washes

Personal attention lends a luxurious air to any service; it is for this reason that many people think hand car washes are superior to commercial car washes. When a car is washed by hand, it receives the personal ministrations of either a professional car washer, or a car owner who cleans his vehicle with love.

But if you think washing your car by hand is a better option than cleaning it commercially, then research has proved you wrong.

In this economy, everyone is looking to trim expenses in some way. For some, cutting costs is a matter of coupon clipping, for others saving is a matter of cutting back on unnecessary purchases. Members of the latter group who have cut costs on professional car washes in favor of washing by hand will be surprised to find that their attentions are negatively affecting the car itself and our environment.

Researchers at both the Technical University of Munich and the University of Texas at Arlington have proven that hand washes inflict severe damage on the paint of all cars. After inspecting cars that had been through either process, microscopes revealed the paint jobs of cars that had been through a hand wash resembled a cratered landscape, with scratches reaching a depth of one-tenth of the paint job. Conversely, cars post-commercial wash had scratches that extended only 0.0003 mm in depth after 25 washes. That’s a notable and important difference.

Not only does washing your car by hand at home ruin the luster and longevity of your paint job, but it also pollutes the local environment. Unlike the water that enters sanitary sewers, the water that enters storm drains is not treated before it is channeled into oceans, lakes, and other bodies of water. That means the chemicals in the runoff from your home car wash are deposited into the water and soil of your local landscape, prime for poisoning those sites and wildlife.

The average homeowner uses 116 gallons of water to wash his car.

In a year that began with the driest January-March period on record, opting for a professional carwash–which uses 60 percent less water for an entire car wash than a homeowner uses for just the rinse–sounds like a great idea.

With all this in mind, do yourself a favor and save time and labor, your car’s paint job and the environment: wash your car commercially. No matter where you are, there will be decently priced carwashes that will help you save on maintenance later.