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The evolution of car washing: from hand scrubbing to high-tech solutions

Regular car washing has always been an important part of keeping vehicles fresh, maintained, and looking good. Recently there have been so many innovations in washing technology, but the most groundbreaking is touchless car washing. This article will look deep into modern car washing systems and high-tech solutions that are a far cry from the original automatic car wash invented in 1946. We’ll discuss their features, advantages, and how they have revolutionised this seemingly simple process.

Applying soap pre-wash

Automated cleaning

Automated vehicle washers simplified and expedited the car cleaning procedures. This enables you to save time, especially with washers that use high-pressure water jets, rotating brushes, and special detergents to clean your car thoroughly. For example, the folks at Express Tunnel Wash recommend using a super fast car wash tunnel that will make your car shine in just 5 minutes. This technology washes your car using a combination of brushes and cleaning solutions while it is guided through a tunnel at a drive-thru car wash. Also, different types are available, including touchless car wash, soft-touch wash, brushless wash, and others. You can choose which one suits your vehicle the most.

Rotating brushes in a “rollover” car wash

Introduction of AI

Traditional ways of car washing are a thing of the past. It has become clear that people need more efficient and easier solutions as time constraints increase. The emergence of artificial intelligence has come as a huge boost for the car wash sector, changing this job in so many ways. For example, AI makes it possible for system automation to optimise productivity and reduce personnel costs.

These systems can learn and adapt to different car types using machine learning algorithms, guaranteeing that cleaning operations are exact and effective. Also, AI improves car washing by facilitating fast processing times and individualised services which, in turn, improve the client experience.

Green technologies

The importance of eco-friendly ways has grown in recent years in many businesses, including the car wash industry. As more and more people look for ways to reduce their environmental impact, green technology has become more popular and almost a necessity. Minimizing the use of harsh chemicals and water waste are two main goals of green car washing technologies. 

For example, waterless car washing systems use targeted cleaning agents that do not require heavy water consumption. By minimizing water waste, these systems provide a practical and eco-friendly alternative. Also, to make sure that car washing doesn’t pollute the environment, many services use biodegradable and eco-friendly cleaning solutions. 

Water recycling

There is an urgent need to stop water waste, and the car washing industry is well aware of this global issue. This is why advanced water recycling strategies have been implemented. These setups gather the water used to wash the cars, filter it, and treat it so it can be reused. Car washing businesses can contribute to this by lessening their influence on the environment and installing water recycling systems. Also, by decreasing the need for an excessive water supply, a water recycling system can be quite cost-effective. 

Customised cleaning programs

Nowadays, car washes come with a variety of programs that are designed to clean all types of vehicles, no matter how dirty they are. Car washes come with many choices to meet different customer needs. Whether you need a fast rinse, a deep wash, or waxing and spot removal, there’s a program for any car.


Convenience has been the driving force for the development of vehicle washes. Now more than ever, car owners can easily clean their cars at self-service car wash facilities that offer user-friendly interfaces and cleaning directions. Many automated car wash services include drive-through services, allowing customers to sit and relax while waiting for their cars to shine again.

DIY pressure washers

Thanks to the DIY trend, pressure washers have become commonplace at car wash facilities. Vehicle owners can have more control over the washing process with the help of portable pressure washers. To get rid of tough filth and grime, these devices employ water jets at high pressure. Pressure washers are also multipurpose and efficient, and give those who like to get their hands dirty a good feeling of pride in their work. 

Also, the combination of autonomy and ease of use led to the rapid rise in the popularity of self-service vehicle wash facilities. This is a huge surprise and advantage for people who enjoy washing their cars at their own pace.

Self-service car wash centres are common in cities, providing numerous bays where you pay by the minute for access to various cleaning devices like soap, water blaster, vacuum cleaner, etc.

Touchless car washers

Touchless car washers provide customers with peace of mind since their cars won’t be harmed in any manner. Regardless of the make or model of your car, these washers will remove all traces of dirt and grime using powerful air and water pressures rather than mechanical agitation. 

Steam car wash

Steam car wash is another innovative car wash technology. Cars can withstand the steam and high temperatures used by this car wash service. Because they use water and other natural cleaning products, these vehicle washes are also better for the environment. There will be no chemical runoff that might harm wildlife or soil. 

Sonar profiling

When this technology detects a vehicle, it instantly adapts its hardware to the car’s dimensions. After that, the tunnel uses only as much soap and water as necessary for each car. With the brushes’ ability to self-adjust, even the most inaccessible spots may be cleaned to perfection. To prevent chemicals from spraying into open pickup truck beds, they include an automated shutoff feature. 

Cutting down on waste lowers operational costs, and by using less water, sonar profiling proves to be quite an eco-friendly washing strategy.

The use of modern and innovative car wash systems improves this industry at a rapid pace. These technologies provide delicate but efficient washing, often without physically touching the vehicle. Also, this technology has the potential to revolutionize car washing in the future thanks to its focus on preserving vehicle surfaces and adjusting to changing customer needs. Driving economy, convenience, and environmental responsibility are all added benefits of modernizing the car wash industry.

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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