Why do detailing enthusiasts hate automatic/drive-thru car washes?
You may have heard people talking about hand car washes being bad because they create swirl marks and use cheap chemicals, but there’s a whole other dark side of hand car washes you may not know about...
What are swirl marks and why are they bad
If your car has had a hard life, in certain light you will see swirl marks on the body of your vehicle, these are lots and lots of fine micro-scratches that appear like circles on your paintwork, in reality these are etched into the clear coat of your vehicle and can be avoided.
They are caused by contact with dirt and grit from wash mitts, contaminated wash/rinse water, dropped drying towels etc. All three of these are staple pieces in hand car washes.
Why does Virescent hate hand car washes?
As abandoned land becomes more affordable and drivers are in the hunt for cheap, effective car washing – some entrepreneurs have taken full advantage of this unused land and EU migration, to supply vulnerable workers with the promise of a stable wage. For many migrant workers, car washes are an easy first job to get into. They accept car wash work for a short period of time before moving into other industries. But there are also car-wash workers without further opportunities, working in these places for long periods.
Many car washes employ five to ten workers at a time and at £5-10 per wash, it’s hard to see how an unpredictable flow of jobs pays a living wage once you’ve factored in overheads such as
- Waterproof boots and trousers
- Safe disposal of contaminated run off etc.
You’ve also got to remember that for the little margins to produce these owners as much profit, corners are cut and ‘cleaning products’ often consist of unsafe hydrochloric acid solution, workers are breathing in the vapour and VOC’s and unsuitable discharge of polluted waters in imminent.
Are hand car washes causing environmental damage, and to what extent?
Then there is the environmental damage. What are they washing on and how is runoff disposed?
Tarmac for example is porous. Any chemical used in the wash is going to go straight into the subsoil. Concrete however prevents this but must run off somewhere. A proper filtration system should be used to stop chemicals entering waterways or sewers.
So what’s the total cost
£10 can seem like a bargain, if you’re not worried about environmental pollution, swirl marks & modern day slavery. In reality the real bargain is a wash at home, which can cost less than £1 when you realise a bottle of shampoo can be used time and time again.
You’d also be surprised how reasonable a maintenance wash can cost from a professional detailer, why not have a look on www.YourLocalDetailer.co.uk.
How can we change that?
DIY – Like all things, if you do it yourself you can control the cost and the practice.
Ask a mate – Chances are if you’re into cars, you’ll know a keen weekend detailer. Meet up and spend a couple hours with them getting your rides shining and some content for the gram.
Use a professional – Speak to someone who knows what they’re doing.. You don’t need a full 2 stage polish everytime your car is cleaned, in fact that will do more harm than good (your car only has one coat of lacquer and that needs to last the lifetime of the vehicle). However they can recommend a regular cleaning regime that will keep your vehicles protective layer in tip top condition.