How to Use Different Cleaning Machines for Auto Detailing

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Courtesy of Daimer Industries Inc.

Auto detailing can be a more difficult and complex process than what its simple name implies. Many car washing companies make use of multiple cleaning machines for carrying out this cleaning task.

A vehicle has various types of surfaces inside and outside with varying levels of hardness. One cannot use a single cleaning machine to clean all types of surfaces. This article deals with the effective use of different types of cleaning machines, namely carpet cleaners, pressure washers, and steam cleaners, when auto detailing.

Carpet Cleaners
Carpet cleaning machines are not suitable for cleaning hard surfaces. For that reason, these are used only for cleaning the soft interior surfaces of vehicles. Carpet cleaners work by injecting a solution that contains water and a cleaning agent into mats, carpets and seat upholstery.

Surfaces can also be pretreated with a cleaning solution, which is then allowed some time to soak in. This allows the solution to work on the surface and break or weaken the bond between the surface and dirt. The next step is agitation of the surface.

Carpet cleaning machines are equipped with wands, which operators use to agitate and remove dirt and grime from deep within surfaces. When finished, the carpet cleaning machine then extracts the dirt residue, leaving the surface clean.

One important thing to note when using carpet cleaning machines for auto detailing is to try separate carpet and upholstery wands. Using separate wands would make the cleaning process faster and more efficient.

Heated carpet cleaners are best suited for auto detailing. Modern carpet cleaning equipment can provide an output temperature of 210°F. It would be better to use machines equipped with low flow technology, which allows carpets to dry in as little as two hours. Both these features help considerably in reducing the drying time of the mats, carpets and seat upholstery surfaces.

Pressure Washers
There are specialized pressure washers for car detailing business operations. Pressure washers for use as car wash equipment should have low output pressure – 1500 psi or less. Machines having a higher pressure level than this are not suitable for the cleaning of vehicles, as they can damage and dent metal surfaces.

Pressure washers are used mainly for cleaning the hard surfaces of automobiles, such as body, engine components, and other exterior metal parts. There are certain things to consider when using pressure washers as car wash equipment.

The first thing is flow rate. Flow rate is the quantity of water passed emitted by the machine as expressed in gallons per minute (GPM). For a car detailing business, operators often prefer low flow rates. Low flow rate means less water is passed to the surface, resulting in less waste water disposal fees and less water use in general.

Steam Cleaners
Steam cleaners, despite their high output temperature, can also be used for auto detailing vehicle interiors. The main advantage of portable steam cleaners is that these can be used to clean hard surfaces as well as to spot clean mats and carpets during the mobile car wash process. Steam cleaners are not recommended for cleaning the exterior of a vehicle.

Portable steam cleaners that provide dry steam output are best suited for mobile car wash businesses. Dry steam is a form of super heated water which has a liquid water content of less than 5%. Dry steam not only offers sharper cleaning but reduces the amount of water needed during the cleaning process.

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