Car wash Chemical Part1
If we were restauranteurs we would know all about the ingredients we need and use to make great dishes. But we are car washers; and the fact is, our ingredients (car wash chemical) is very often barely considered. The only real consideration is price. Yet choosing the right chemical for your car wash is imperative to the success of the wash. Clean, Dry any Shiny cars lead to repeat customers, so here is the first part in understanding your car wash chemical.
 
Which chemical does what?
 
TFR, Pre soak and Detergent
This is the chemical that goes on the car first. This is normally an Alkaline solution (high p.h) that is designed to break the bond between the traffic film and the vehicles surface. A poor quality chemical may look foamy, but can be damaging to the vehicle and your car wash equipment. Truck wash TFRs are often sold to car wash operators because they are cheap. But you risk tarnishing chome, oxidising paintwork, stripping off the vehicles paint protection and ruining seals in chemical pumps and valves. This will cost you far more than you saved by going cheap! It will also cost you customers!
 
Brush wash foam
This is typically a weak detergent as the brushes do most of the cleaning. It does however need to contain lubricants to ensure proper operation of the brushes. Its also a great idea if this is scented and coloured to increase the show of your wash! This is great for jet wash foaming brushes too!
 
Coloured conditioners
When you wash a vehicle with an alkaline cleaner (high p.h) the car surface will obviously be high p.h. due to the cleaner. This creates a few problems. Wax doesn't adhere to the car as well, water won't rinse off well, so the car won't dry very well. Therefore its a good idea to put on a conditioner to lower the p.h of the car body. These also typically contain polishes and fragrance to add that "WOW" factor to the wash process.
 
Wax or Clear coat protectants
As with all other chemicals, there are many different types of wax. I often see wash operators only interested in the cheapest silicone based products that although mae the vehicle shiny, the shine doesn't last and a dangerous film is left on windscreens, that can make it very difficult to see when driving in wet conditions. A good wax or clearcoat protectant will give you a great shiny car and actually increase visibilty when driving in the rain as the water explodes off the windscreen. It also actually protects the paintwork from U.V rays, traffic film and other road nasties that affect your paintwork.
 
Cost per car V/S Cost per drum
Another consideration when buying chemical is calculating the cost to you, the operator. Do not base this on the price of the drum. Base this on the cost per car.  This is because some products are far more concentrated than others and the only real way to figure out what kind of value you are getting, is to calculate how much each wash actually costs you. Here is how!
 
Volumetrics.
Calculating chemical costs!
So in order to calculate how much each chemical is costing you you need first to get a small measuring beaker. This needs to measure in 5ml increments up to about 200ml. Now open your car wash door, pull out the suction hose from the chemical you want to measure pour this chemical into your beaker up to the 100ml mark and place this in your car wash. place the suction hose into the beaker and wash four cars to get a good average. Now see how much you have used and divide this by four. for example, if you have used 40ml then when divided you have used 10ml per vehicle. Next calculate the cost of your chemical per ml as follows. Find out your drum price and size in litres.  Divide this price by the litres to give the cost per litre then divide by 1000 to give cost per ml. for exaple my 25lt drum costs €40 so €40/25 = €1.60 divide this by 1000 = 0.0016 (cost per ml) x 10 = 0.016
This would mean that our cost per car is €0.016 (less than two cent)
Some chemicals may need 50ml per car and some may need just 3ml so this varies greatly depending on the chemical concentration
 
Finally
Changing your chemical to get great results is one of the easiest ways to improve your wash quality. So shop around, try other washes and get chemical wise!
 
Next Month
Car wash Marketing!
Happy Car Washing