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  • Writer's pictureH2NO Car Wash

Best and worst wash methods!

Updated: Dec 28, 2019

You love your car.

You want to take care of your car.

You SHOULD take care of your car! It's likely your biggest expense besides your living arrangement.


There are quite a few options of how to take care of it properly:

-Pay a commercial drive-through

-Pay a detailer

-Wash it yourself (many different ways there itself)

-Pay a mobile detailer

-Pay H2NO

We will do a little dive into the different methods.

*Disclaimer: each category has sub categories and should have a book written on each, but for our purpose, we will scratch the surface to get your started.


1. Commercial drive-through

We've seen them everywhere. You probably can't even drive a few miles in a city without seeing one.

If there's so many, then certainly they must be a great value and safe for your car!


The drive-throughs that use brushes to clean your car are used on dozens of cars that day. They contain numerous contaminants from the other cars and just because they are constantly being used to wash, does not mean they are clean. These brushes will scratch your top coat and if you're unlucky enough, your paint too.

Their sibling, touch-free or touch-less car washes are not any better. While yes, there are no brushes to scratch your car, they use much harsher cleaning products to get the dirt and grime off of your vehicle. These harsh chemicals can have adverse affects on your coat, strip waxes or stain other parts of your vehicle. Even worse, sensitive cars such a Porsche or Tesla can have seals broken or gaskets blown to leak. The amount of pressure used to get the water off of your car is not safe. If you have ever been sprayed by a pressure washer, you know it's not a fun experience. It's not a safe experience for your car either.

To their credit, they are somewhat environmentally responsible. They often clean and reuse their wash water. This reduces their gallons per wash from 100 to about 30-50 per sedan. That is still an incredible amount of water, but it is a step in the right direction. That much water per wash is still incredibly inefficient. There are other methods, like we use at H2NO, that will get you BETTER results with 99% less water and not damage your car in the process.

The TL;DR here to take away about drive-through car washes is that they are not safe for your vehicle. Their mission is to make your car APPEAR to be clean as cheaply and quickly as possible. Your car's safety is not even on the LIST of their concerns.


2. Brick and Mortar Detailer

While not nearly as common as commercial drive-through washes, the brick and mortar detailing companies are a good first step in getting your vehicle detailed.

Let's go over the pros and cons of them.


-They understand how to take care of your car

-They are likely a reputable business if they can afford to have an actual place of business

-Likely use the standard and most common methods of cleaning your car safely


-A company that has a brick and mortar store likely will charge higher than your typical mobile business to recoup the cost of the building.

-You must take the vehicle to them, just like taking a car into the shop for repairs.

-If you need something from your vehicle and they're closed or at lunch, you're not getting that item.

-Usually have typical business hours which will likely coincide with your schedule, requiring you to take time off to have it detailed or change your schedule.

-They typically specialize in details only. If you want a simple but safe wash, that is most likely not going to be offered.

-Need to make arrangements for getting to work once you drop off your car. Uber or Lyft is your best option if you don't have willing coworkers to help you out.

TL;DR: Brick and mortar detailers are a great place to get your car detailed if you have the budget for it. Also beware that they do not typically offer cheap and simple washes if you want a safe but quick wash. Before you leave, double check that you have everything you need, otherwise your important flash drive or lunch could be inaccessible until tomorrow!



Washing your car doesn't require a degree or certification BUT there are some things you should know if you want to take care of your car while you clean it. There are tons of resources available online with youtube and various websites. Discussing the HOW to wash is a whole nother book in itself.

There are many ways to DIY but we will generalize and list the general pros and cons.


Can be cheap (usually isn't if you want to do a thorough job)

On your schedule

Feeling of accomplishment

Learn new skill

Many different methods to choose from

No traveling to store/shop

Fun (for me anyways)


Can be time consuming

Can be expensive if you buy a lot of supplies/tools

Possibility of damaging your car

As a beginner, mistakes will happen

Many different methods to choose from (can be overwhelming)

TL;DR: DIY car washing can be a fun and rewarding experience. I recommend that everyone wash their own car once in a while. It builds character :). But with everything you DIY, there's risk. Not any life endangering risks like redoing your electrical outlets BUT there is risk. Damaging your car might not cause you any physical harm but it will definitely hurt your feelings and more importantly, your WALLET!


4. Mobile Detailer

The mobile detailer is very similar to a brick and mortar detailer except they service your vehicle almost anywhere you want them to. There are a few slight differences we can go over but in terms of care for your vehicle, it's generally the same.


-They understand how to take care of your car

-Likely use the standard and most common methods of cleaning your car safely

-Convenient, they come to you.

-Your car is available if you need anything from it.

-Generally not too expensive


-Need to research the business to ensure they are trustworthy.

-May not offer quick and cheap but safe washes

-Many detailers use power washers. Power Washers can damage your vehicle if used incorrectly or if you have sensitive parts/paint on your vehicle.

-Highly inefficient use of water

-One sedan wash can consume up to 70 gallons of water.

TL;DR: Mobile detailers are a better alternative for getting your vehicle clean instead of commercial drive through washes. They are usually cheaper than your standard brick and mortar detailer but of all the options available, they are the least eco-friendly.


5. H2NO Car Wash/Detail

All the pros of the mobile detailers with NONE of the cons.

H2NO only Pros:

Highly efficient use of water, most efficient of all methods listed.

Highly reputable company, registered with the state.

Only uses safe methods of cleaning your vehicle. If it's not 100% safe, we don't use it.

Only International Detaling Association listed company in El Paso

Run with passion and desire instead of greed and apathy

Rewards program: Rewards at 5, 10 and 20 packages with repeating system.

TL;DR: H2NO is the best of all worlds as we will take the greatest care possible when working on your vehicle. Reach out to us today so you can see what we can do for you!

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