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Soft Cloth Car Wash – To Use or Not to Use?

  • Soft Cloth Car Wash
    October 26, 2020

    What do you expect from your car wash service? Attention to detail and a spotlessly clean finish are probably high on your wish list. There is a wide range of car washes available to suit your needs and preferences. This includes the soft cloth car wash tunnel system. Should you use one or is there a better alternative for you and your vehicle? To help you decide, look at the benefits and downsides in more detail:

    What Is a Soft Cloth Car Wash?

    It is a type of automatic car wash. You simply select your wash preference, then remain inside your vehicle as it passes through the tunnel system. The soft cloth car wash is what is also known as a “soft touch” or a friction car wash, because the cleaning cloths do come into contact with the bodywork of your car.  The soft “cloth” part of the wash system looks much like an oversized fringed curtain made of a soft felt material.

    Once the wash system is activated, these multiple, individual cloth strips rotate at speed. A combination of the efficient soap foam solutions and mild friction rid your car exterior of dirt, salt and grime. This is followed by a rinse and dry cycle to complete the process.

    Soft Cloth Car Wash Benefits

    Save Time

    If you have a busy schedule and you’re short on time, the soft cloth car wash might just be your thing. You can get your car cleaned in under 5 minutes depending on which wash package you choose. For example, the express-wash option is the quickest. It usually includes a pre-soak, foam bath, cloth wash and rinse, then a powerful air dryer finish. It is a fast and hassle-free experience. You are through the tunnel and on your way in no time.

    Affordable Option

    The soft-cloth is a good choice if you don’t want to spend too much money at the car wash. Most places offer different wash packages ranging from the lowest-price basic exterior to a more expensive wash with add-ons, such as a clear coat sealer wax finish or a tire shine. Choose what you can afford or what you think offers the most value for money. Prices vary but it is possible to get a single-wash pass with a high-pressure rinse and dry for around $6. Expect to double this price if you want extras. For example, you’ll pay more for an under-carriage wash, tire and wheel cleaning or a wax treatment.

    Good Washing Technique

    For an automated service, the soft cloth car wash has a fairly good washing technique. The gliding movement and gentle pressure of the pliable cloth strips are effective at distributing water and the foamy soap solution over the entire car, including those awkward-to-reach places. The movement of the soft cloths loosens any stubborn dirt spots and contaminants, including bugs. Finally, the rinse treatment washes away all the suds and dirt to achieve clean results. However, if you want more control over how your car is cleaned, or you need to pay special attention to a particular area that attracts the most dirt, then a self-serve car wash is worth a consideration.

    Soft Cloth Car Wash Opening Hours

    Soft cloth car washes with automated entry systems make it possible for the owners to increase trading potential by running a 24 hour car wash service. If you want to wash your car at midnight, no problem. Just bear in mind that if there is a mechanical glitch or problem at the car wash, there might not always be an attendant on hand to help you out.

    Downsides of a Soft Cloth Car Wash

    Damage Risk to Exterior Paintwork

    Any type of car wash equipment that comes into contact with your car exterior increases the risk of leaving micro scratch marks on the paintwork. This may be more noticeable with certain paintwork colors. If this is a concern, you might feel happier choosing a touchless washing system instead of a soft cloth car wash. For example, a laser car wash effectively removes dirt and grime without risk of damage to your car.

    Excess Water Usage

    The soft cloth car wash might be more environmentally friendly than power-washing your car on your driveway or using a touchless car wash but some of them still use around 98 gallons per minute (gpm). Furthermore, not all businesses use reclaimed water. If you want to do more for the environment, there are good eco alternatives, such as waterless car washes or a mobile steam car wash.

    Chemical Detergents

    Be mindful, too, of the soap foam detergents and conditioners used at a soft cloth car wash. Some of them may contain harsh chemicals that could dull the shine of your paintwork over time. In light of this, you might want to look out for eco-friendly car wash products and brands that are kinder to your car and better for the environment. Biodegradable soaps and organic car shampoo are safe and just as powerful and effective when it comes to removing road dirt, grease and salt marks from your car.

    Cloths Need Regular Maintenance

    A soft cloth car wash has the potential to clean a high volume of cars per hour. However, if the cleaning equipment is not properly maintained, it increases the risk of dirt transfer between vehicles. Over time, wash cloths can accumulate tiny particles of dirt and grit. When dirt particles mix with the foamy soap solution used to wash your car, it can have an abrasive effect on paintwork. If this downside of the soft cloth friction car wash puts you off, explore other options, such as the AquaJet touchless car wash.


    Soft-cloth automatic technology is improving all the time to give customers clean results while minimizing the risk of damage to paintwork. It is certainly a gentler option than the spinning plastic bristle brushes found at some automated washes. The soft cloth car wash is also affordable and quick. It cleans fast in 4 steps: pre-soak, friction wash, rinsing and drying. However, it is not always the most environmentally friendly choice, due to water usage and the chemical foam soaps. Furthermore, if you want attention to fine detail and a brilliant finish, an automated car wash is not for you.

    If you want a superior clean and value for money, seek out a more hands-on service where the professionals take good care of your car. Schedule an appointment with DetailXPerts, a green business that uses steam technology for exterior and interior detailing. Using steam to clean cars is always a good choice – better for both the car and the environment.

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