The Problem With Traditional Car Washes

Car Care Eco-Friendly

By Walter the WashPro

What’s Wrong with Traditional Car Washes?

Getting a car wash is something that most people do at least once a month. Automatic washes are so popular because they’re so simple and useful for people who don’t want to wash their cars themselves. However, simplicity does not mean quality. The truth is, traditional car washes might seem harmless, but in reality, they are doing more harm than good.


When you go to a traditional car wash, your car is being sprayed with acid! Specifically, Hydrofluoric (HF) acid. If you’ve ever seen Breaking Bad, you might be familiar with the substance. Acid is used in car washes to eat away fine particles such as road grime, but they do much more than that. Yes, it’s true that acid does clean the surface, but if the acid isn’t removed immediately from the vehicle, it can be extremely harmful to the paint. This is because the HF Acid removes all the protective wax and sealant layers that are on the vehicle. These layers are what keeps the paint looking fresh and healthy, and without those layers, the health of your cars paint deteriorates quickly.

Human Health

Car washes that use Hydrofluoric Acid are very bad for human health. It’s an extremely toxic substance, and the people who work at these car washes often suffer from its effects. It’s so dangerous that you need to wear a mask when you’re around it. Do you want something that dangerous slathered onto your vehicle?


The brushes that are used in car washes are usually very abrasive. In addition to the acid damaging the paint on your vehicle, the brushes do even more damages. Every time you use a car wash with brushes, your car will have thousands of tiny scratches on it. Even if the brushes seem to be softer, they’re still abrasive enough to cause scratches while it cleans. It’s safe to relate them to a piece of sandpaper that eats away at your cars paint.  

Dirty Brushes

Putting aside the fact that the brushes in car washes damage the paint on your car, let’s just think about how dirty they are for a second. Do the brushes ever get cleaned? Nope! When they carry dirt off your car, and clean your car, the brushes bring all the dirt from the precious cars that they just cleaned onto your vehicle. Whatever the previous vehicle had on it, whether it be mud, dirt, salt, even feces, and who knows what else… all those materials will be brought onto your vehicle as well. 

Water Spots

Many car washes use water that isn’t filtered, so it can leave mineral deposits on your car’s paint if it evaporates too fast. Water spots aren’t just ugly- they can also be permanent. If you simply go into a car wash, then get back onto the road without drying it, damage can easily be caused to the paint— especially if it’s a sunny day outside because the water will evaporate faster. 

Windshield wiper with rain drop in raining season.

Drying Your Vehicle 

In order to avoid water spots, vehicles need to be dried. How? Either by brushes, machines, or a hand dry option. When cars are dried with towels, they are typically dried using cotton terry towels. This is ill-advised because cotton terry towels don’t dry the vehicle that well compared to other towels. More often than not, the towels used to dry your newly cleaned car are actually dirty! They are rarely cleaned, and even if the towel is dropped on the dirty ground, they will just continue to be used, rubbing the dirt from the ground into your paint.

Water Waste

Traditional car washes waste a lot of water, to say the least. The average automatic car wash wastes around 120 gallons of water with each wash. An eco-friendly car wash, however, can use less than a pint of water to wash your car.

Traditional carwashes use outdated and irresponsible tactics to clean cars, but what can replace it? Check out our article on Eco-friendly car washes:


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