Car wash, sometimes written as carwash, or auto wash represents a facility used to clean the exterior of motor vehicles. In some cases, the interior of the vehicles, as well as the process of applying car polish and/or car wax is also included. This kind of service is called car grooming, mostly in countries of the Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Car wash can either be self-serve, fully automated or full-service with attendants who wash the vehicle. It is not rare to see events where people pay to have their cars washed by volunteers so money is raised for some purpose. Probably most popular type of car wash event is bikini car wash.
Car washes have changed a lot with the development of the technology. Car washes from 1940s looked nothing like these we have today. There are many types of car washes, divided based whether they are automatized or not, which washing techniques they use, if they are done by employee or not and so on. Some categories of car wash types, such as tunnel car wash or touchless wash can be put under one category, in this case automatic car wash. What modern car wash facilities utilize is use of soap and other cleaning solutions to loosen and eliminate dirt and grime, promoting strong move in the industry to shift to safe cleaning solutions. This is due to hydrofluoric acid and other hazardous chemicals were sued as cleaning agents. Requirements, by law, for most of today’s car wash facilities are treating and reusing their water and maintaining waste water discharge permits so waste water does not end up in the storm drain leading to rivers, lakes or streams as it is with driveway washing.
In some points of view car wash can be considered as problem for the environment. The primary environmental considerations for car washing are use of water and energy resources, contamination of surface waters and contamination of soil and groundwater. As matter of fact, the professional car wash industry has actually made a great progress in reducing its environmental footprint. Many car washes also use different technologies to also reduce the use of energy. Some countries, like Germany for example, have gone all the way and made it illegal by law to wash car on the street or in driveway. This will be accelerated even more due to new regulations and consumers demands. It is not rare to see car washes using water reclamation systems so water usage is reduced. Contamination of surface water comes from the rinse discharging to storm drains which leads to rivers, lakes and streams. Pollutants from these waste-waters are phosphates, oil, grease and lead. This pollution mostly comes from driveway washing, parking lot washes and professional car washes that do not gave interceptor drains. These interceptor drains are used to remove the captured contaminants before the water enters sanitary systems. Contamination of soil comes from underground fuel tanks of auto servicing operations which commonly are ancillary uses of car wash site.