How to Keep Your Self-Serve Bays Clean

A good first impression is vital to your success and convincing customers to clean their vehicles at your car wash. Would you wash your vehicle at a car wash with algae growing on the walls and stinky pits? We would not, and don’t believe you would either. In this brief guide, we will teach you how to keep your walls clean and remove smelly sludge from your pits!

Cleaning Walls

As customers wash their vehicles, chemicals, and dirt accumulate on your walls. Over time, algae, mold, and other similar organisms will start to grow if your walls are not cleaned. A regular cleaning schedule is key to keeping them nice!

Klean-Wall Review

Chemicals to Use

We bet you’re asking, ‘What do we use?’ We’ve always had good feedback about Klean-Wall, and our most experienced customers have found it to be the most effective wall-cleaning chemical. This product removes stubborn grime from fiberglass, brick, block, glazed tile, metal surfaces, and painted walls. Plus, we carry the non-hazardous, HF-free version – Klean Wall II – if you prefer to work with something safer!

Some car wash owners use hydrofluoric acid-based cleaners and diluted muriatic acid. When applying the hazardous products mentioned, wear the proper PPE to protect yourself. If your employees are performing this task, make sure they know they are required to wear PPE. You can typically find the recommended PPE in the product’s SDS sheet.

Surface Cleaners to Use

Another option is to use a surface cleaner, such as Mosmatic’s Graffiti Remover or their Universal Pressure Cleaner, to remove dirt using high pressure. These two pressure cleaners should remove most dirt and grime, although they probably won’t be as effective as chemical cleaning. They are a great option for your less problematic walls or they can be used to hit walls quickly in between heavy-duty chemical cleaning sessions. You might also consider using pressure cleaners and chemicals in conjunction with each other for maximum effectiveness.

Removing Sludge from Car Wash Pits

Cleaning out your self-serve bay pits is a dirty job. Unfortunately, it is something that must be done or you run the risk of your bays smelling funky. A bad odor will turn away customers. Plus, excessive sludge can cause other problems such as clogged pipes and overflow to name a few.

Government Regulations

There are a few ways to tackle removing muck from a pit. But, before we dive into the methods, we have to remind you that there are EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulations for handling hazardous waste that you MUST follow. Plus, there may be additional regulations from your state and local governments that you might need to follow in addition to the EPA rules.

Full Car Wash Sludge Pit

Sludge Removal Methods

The most common method is to remove the sludge and allow it to dry. Muck in your pits can be removed using a Ring-O-Matic, Handi Clam, or even a traditional shovel. You will need a place to store the waste until it dries. Once the waste is dried out it is often considered non-hazardous and you will be able to transport the waste to a disposal site. However, this is not always the case. Please check the regulations to remain compliant with the EPA and your local authorities. These rules will also tell you where you are permitted to dispose of the sludge.

The other method is to hire a waste disposal or pit cleaning service to pump sludge from your pits. These companies will transport and drop off the muck at a disposal site. However, there are two caveats to this method. You can be held responsible if the waste is disposed of illegally by the company you hire. Plus, this is the more expensive method if you work with a reputable company that adheres to government regulations.

Masking Odors

Once the sludge is removed from the pit, throw some of National Chemical’s Pit Deodorizer in the pit to freshen up the aroma of your self-serve bays and mask the odor from the pit between cleanings. There are many other products out there you can use to rejuvenate the air in your bays too!

Now that you understand the ins and outs of cleaning the walls and pits in your self-serve bays, you can make sure your wash always looks presentable and smells nice for your customers which ensures they will have a great experience visiting your wash!