The great debate in the car wash industry rages on, and it appears it will forever remain; is it better to use touchless car wash equipment to clean a car, or go with a soft cloth hand wash for a more personal touch? Spoiler alert: there’s really no right answer here for everybody! It really comes down to what you’re willing to provide as a car wash contractor, and what various customers may be looking for when it comes time to clean their car.
Still, even with no truly definitive answer, we can nevertheless go over the pros and cons of each method for you here. That way, you may be better able to quickly and easily determine what you’re willing to offer your customers, be it a self-serve car wash or something else, and how you might be willing to set up and run your car wash company.
As you can probably suspect, hand washing (also known as soft cloth, or friction washing) allows for the person doing the actual work to better lift all kinds of organic matter from a car. That includes reaching down into hard-to-get areas, like around the license plate, or in small crevices around the sides and rear of the vehicle that can sometimes be missed by the machine version. A hand washer working with a soft cloth can also double down on difficult, high-traffic areas, like the “eyebrow” residue caused by the wiper blade path and left on upper windshields; that level of customer care is critical to properly and completely wash a car.
Of course, hand washing also has negatives to it; for one, using a soft cloth in that manner can make worse already broken or damaged pieces of a car, including loose mirrors, faulty power antennas, loose molding, or other small body issues around the vehicle. The cloth itself can also cause small scratches and general wear and tear on the car itself if the vehicle isn’t properly power sprayed and/or conditioned before the hand washer goes to work. Those are entirely preventable things when it comes to a touchless car wash, but you must consider these issues when the work is done by hand.
On the other hand, touchless washing done with a high-pressure water flow and the right mix of chemicals can be an incredibly efficient way to wash and clean a car. The chance of damage is significantly reduced by going touchless, for obvious reasons, and electronic and digital sensors within the touchless was that can “see” the vehicle and follow the contour of the car allow for a remarkably personalized, effective wash. In addition, touchless washing is also ideal for oversize vehicles and a wider spectrum of body types, where hand washers may struggle to complete a task in a short amount of time. Hands free is the way to be, it’d seem!
Of course, there are downsides to touchless washing, too – namely the concern in striking the right chemical balance to effectively wash the car without altering it slightly and potentially staining a vehicle’s paint job or body look. Those cases are remarkably rare, though, and technology has come quite a long way in improving the touchless car wash to make it remarkably personalized for each specific customer.
So, which is better for you? Well, only you can make that decision! As a car wash equipment supplier in Canada,, we simply know and understand how to make touchless car washes efficient, easy to operate, safe to use, and effective in keeping your car clean and well-maintained!