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Touchless Car Washing: The Future of Car Cleaning?

The popularity of touchless car washes is on the rise. This has led many individuals to be curious about whether they are the future of vehicle cleaning.

There are several benefits to a touchless car wash for both customers and owners.

Touchless washes, as the name implies, never make direct contact with the car's surface. A major reassurance to certain car owners.

In addition, with the right chemistry, touch free washes can perform just as well as friction washes in most scenarios. This could make switching to a touchless car wash a no brainer.

In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of a touchless automatic car wash and help you decide if owning one is the right decision for you!

What is a Touchless Car Wash?

A touchless car wash is a type of automatic car wash where the vehicle is cleaned without any physical contact.

The car is washed using increased water pressure and detergents specifically designed to work without friction.

Touchless car washes are faster than traditional car washes, and they typically use less water. While the most common type of touchless car wash is an in bay automatic car wash, touchless tunnel car washes are also found in lower quantities.

How Does a Touchless Car Wash Work?

Most of the car wash process is the same between a traditional automatic car wash and a touchless car wash.

  • The car is given a rinse or a presoak treatment to loosen any dirt or grime that is on the surface.
  • After the pre-wash, high water pressure nozzles direct streams of water and detergent at the car. The detergent breaks down any remaining dirt, and the high-pressure water blasts it away.
  • The final step is to rinse off all of the soap layers and dirt.
  • Optionally, a surface protectant or ceramic coating can be applied to the vehicle's exterior.
  • The excess moisture is then dried using high powered dryers, or left to air dry.

For more info on ideal tunnel car wash setups you can check out our Turtle Wax Pro Learning Center!

As you can see, the biggest difference is the fact that pressure washing systems are used in replace of rotating brushes and other physical systems.

Inside view of a car being washed

Is Touchless Car Washing the Future of the Car Wash Industry?

Touchless washes carry some unique benefits that a traditional automatic car wash cannot provide.

This leads some to believe that this style of washing vehicles is the future of the industry.

No Physical Contact

The fact that there is no physical contact to anyone's vehicle is the main advantage to using this type of wash.

Most vehicle owners are wary of automated washes because they fear their vehicles will not be properly cleaned without causing harm. However, with a touchless wash, there is no worry that the car will be scratched or damaged in any way.

This gives many people confidence to use an automated car wash when they otherwise would not.

Advances in Chemistry

The detergents and soaps used in touchless car washes are specially designed to work well without physical contact.

If a touchless car wash can produce the same level of clean as a friction one, then the need for friction washes depletes. As this technology continues to develop, it is likely that touchless car washes will become even more of a staple.

While a touchless car wash will never be able to achieve 100% of the results from a friction wash, it can come pretty close. The final product is a car that looks great to the naked eye and was cleaned without any risk of damage!

Benefits of Touchless Car Washes

There are many benefits to using touchless car washes. Let's go through them.

24/7/365 and Less Labor

Touchless car washes can be operated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with little to no labor.

This means that you can generate revenue around the clock without having to pay employees!

In addition, touchless car washes are less labor intensive than friction car washes. This is because there are no brushes or other moving parts that need to be monitored and maintained.

Less Water Usage

Touchless car washes use less water for every car washed, compared to other car wash options.

This is good news for the environment and can save you money on your water bill!

Less Risk of Damage

There is also less risk of damage to vehicles with a touchless car wash.

Though friction washes are completely safe for vehicles, even the small risk of paint damage can be negated by not having to touch a vehicle's surface.

Lower Money Spent on Repairs

Another benefit of touchless automatic car washes is that they have lower maintenance costs.

This is because there are no spinning brushes, cloth strips or other moving parts that can break down over time. This means that a touchless wash will last longer and need less repairs than other automated car washes.

Disadvantages of Touchless Washes

Though there are many benefits to a touchless system, there are also some disadvantages that should be considered.

Potential Lack of Cleaning Power

Some tough marks, grime and bird droppings may not be removed as effectively with a touchless wash.

This is because there is no physical contact to help break down and remove dirt. This can be an issue for those who want their car to be absolutely spotless or are trying to wash an especially dirty vehicle.

Some customers may be slightly dissatisfied, but touchless does an excellent job of cleaning cars in general.

In order to clean effectively in this environment you'll need great chemicals. That's where Turtle Wax Pro can help. We offer a variety of products that can be used in touchless car washes to help you get the best clean possible.

Turtle Wax Pro has everything you need to make sure your automated car wash is operating at its best! We have a wide selection of cleaning solutions, soaps, detergents, waxes and polishes that are designed to work well in a touchless environment.

Car leaving a friction car wash

How does a Friction Based Automated Car Washes Compare to Touchless Systems?

A friction based automatic car wash uses spinning brushes or cloth strips to clean a vehicle's surface.

This can provide a more thorough cleaning than a touchless wash but can also be more labor intensive and water consumptive.

Touchless car washes, on the other hand, use high-pressure jets of water and detergent to clean a vehicle's surface.

This can be just as effective as a friction wash but doesn't run the risk of scratching the paint or clear coat during cleaning.

So, which is better? It really depends on your needs and preferences. If you want a thorough cleaning with no risk of damage, then touchless is the way to go. If you don't mind more maintenance and a little bit of risk in exchange for the best clean then you are better off with a friction wash.

Are Touchless Car Washes Safe?

Are touchless car washes safe? The whole idea behind touchless is safety.

With no brushes or other moving parts, there is less risk of breakdowns causing damage to your car. In addition, the high-pressure jets used in automatic car washes are less likely to cause scratches than traditional brushes.

Keep in mind that when it comes to all of these safety conversations we are talking about the difference between a 99.5% expectation of safety with a 99.9% expectation of safety.

You are far more likely to scratch or damage your car hand washing it at home in the driveway than in a commercial car wash situation.

Should I Wash My Car At Home Or At A Commercial Car Wash?

An automated car wash is going to be much better than a hand car wash for many reasons.


In the time that it takes you to get your car washed at home, a commercial car wash can clean upwards of 60 to 100 cars. Why waste an hour at home with a hand wash and when you could go buy gas and get an automatic wash in less than 10 minutes. Much less time consuming.


The most important part of keeping your car looking like new is the car's finish. A hand car wash at home means you assume your own risks.

Hand washes also usually aren't done with the right soap which can lead to paint damage long term.


Without fully understanding the process of how to wash a car you are much less likely to remove all the dirt, grime and remove contaminants that could be embedded in the clear coat.

A touchless car wash or any other automatic wash is designed to get your car clean every time, hundreds of times per day.

Your clean car or truck might look clean after a hand wash but take it to a commercial car wash and you'll see the difference.

Turtle Wax Pro FIRE arch

Thinking about Opening an Automatic Car Wash? Use a Trusted Car Wash Supplier like Turtle Wax Pro

If you're thinking about opening a touchless car wash, be sure to use a trusted car wash chemistry provider like Turtle Wax Pro.

The chemistry your wash uses will make or break your success. Touchless washes, in particular, where the more powerful chemicals tackle all the washing jobs without assistance from physical agitators, are a challenge to get right.

Turtle Wax Pro is a leading provider of car care chemistry and we strive to help car care businesses succeed within the industry.

We work with many touch free washes, setting them up with the right chemistry needed to tackle any situation and stand out within the market.

If you have any thoughts about opening your own touchless car wash, get in touch with us today as Turtle Wax Pro can ensure you start off on the right foot!

If you have any questions about anything we discussed, reach out anytime. We are always excited to chat with people who are thinking about entering the car wash space. Happy car washing!

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