Professional car wash chemicals and vehicle appearance

There are many professional car wash chemical companies, just as there are a plethora of soaps, waxes and polishes in every store that carry home car wash supplies.

So, do the chemicals used in a professional car wash tunnel make a difference to the final vehicle appearance?  The short answer is: yes.

However, like most short answers it’s more complicated than indicated.  I could go into PH balance, titration rates and chemical balancing, but to keep things simple we will discuss chemicals in broad range.

There are lots of different ways to apply chemicals in the wash process.   The type of chemicals applied also depends on the dirt we are trying to remove from the vehicle.  For this discussion, we will use the process at Bubbles as our guide.

There are several different chemical process to the wash experience that work together producing the final clean shiny vehicle.  Not every wash gets every chemical.  

  1. Pre-soak detergent: –  breaks down the road soils and dirt to wash off the vehicle
  2. Foaming detergents – designed to help the wraps remove the dirt from the vehicle.
  3. Foaming Paint Conditioners – designed to lubricate the wraps and polish the vehicle surface.   Usually contains trace amounts of carnauba wax.
  4. Wheel cleaner – the most aggressive chemical in the wash process.  Breaks down wheel and brake dust.
  5. Tire cleaner –  designed to clean the tires as well as the wheels.  Not as aggressive as wheel cleaner.
  6. Clear Coat protectant – designed to bond to clear coats to help shed the rinse water as well as provide a protectant for road film and bugs.
  7. Drying Agent – this product is designed to help shed the excess protectants/water from the vehicle before the final spot free rinse so the vehicle does not have any water/wax spots after the drying process
  8. Premium paint protectant – such as Turtle Wax ICE.  Adheres to the glass, paint and plastic to protect and shed water/dirt to keep the vehicle in pristine condition.  This product also produces the highest vehicle shine.

 Generally the quality and cleanliness of the vehicles are directly related to the chemical interaction with your paint and allowing the wash wraps to wick the dirt from your vehicle.  Each type of chemical has specific manufactures recommendations on how much should be applied to the vehicle as well as which chemicals work the best together to produce the outstanding results. 

Bubbles Express Wash proudly uses Turtle Wax soaps, paint conditioners and protectants.  We take an enormous amount of time in testing and fine-tuning our chemical applications to give the best customer experience.   All of our chemicals are ecologically friendly, breaking down in the reclaim system. 

If you are interested in seeing how we apply the chemicals, please don’t hesitate to ask for a backroom/equipment room tour.