The Five Cleaning Variables To Touchless Car Washing
by Simoniz U.S.A.
There are many factors and variables that play an important role in the touchless car wash process. Some we cannot control. There are, however, five variables we can control. These variables are primary requirements to cleaning cars. Therefore, it is imperative that we set and monitor these variables to ensure consistent cleaning. If any of these five variables are lacking or inconsistent, it will greatly reduce achieving your end result - a clean vehicle.
Dwell time is the amount of time a presoak detergent is allowed to soak on the vehicle surface without interference. Most presoaks will work best when allowed to dwell on the vehicle surface for a minimum of fifteen seconds. If possible it is recommended that presoaks be allowed to dwell for up to thirty seconds.
Water temperature is critical in a touchless wash process. A high water temperature creates a more active cleaning solution and will help to break a road film with an oil substrate, often the most difficult to penetrate. The temperature of the cleaning solution should be in the range of 110ºF to 140º at the spray nozzle or point of application, not from the thermostat on the equipment. Often in colder climates you will not clean vehicles if you don’t have the capacity to heat the water to 140ºF at the nozzle. Cleaning solutions in the range of 130-140º range will consistently produce far better results than those in the 100-120º range.
Water Quality refers to the hardness and total dissolved solids (TDS) in the water being supplied to the wash cycle, most importantly the presoak cycles. Water hardness reduces the ability of presoaks to perform their cleaning function. You must have softened water (3 grains or below), however the lowest possible is best in order to clean vehicles properly. This can be achieved with a water softener. TDS may effect the rinsing of the vehicle by leaving spots. The TDS can normally be removed with a reverse osmosis or deionization process.
Water pressure is important in both the high and low pressure cycles of the touchless automatic car wash process. The pressure must be consistent in the low pressure product application cycles to ensure the proper ratio of product to water. If enough of a pressure fluctuation occurs it can alter the important ratio of product to water regardless of the proportioner being used. In the high pressure cleaning cycle sufficient water pressure and volume must be applied to the vehicle surface for proper cleaning to occur.
Cleaning solutions are the most important variable of these five factors. Simoniz strongly recommends using atwo step detergent process when cleaning vehicles in a pressure spray automatic system. First an acid based cleaner (low pH) should be applied to the surface. This should be followed by an application of an alkaline based cleaner (high pH). The chemical reaction between the high and low pH materials, the heat of naturalization, works to break the static bond holding the dirt on the surface. Furthermore, certain road soils are solubilized by acids and other alkali, so with a two step cleaning we are better able to attack a broader spectrum of road film.
These five variables must be monitored on a consistent basis to ensure proper cleaning. When a drop off in cleaning occurs, all five should be checked immediately.