During my visits to car washes, I’ve had some great conversations with operators about chemical dilution. A common question I receive is: “Hey Jay, how can I use a HydroMinder to consistently dilute chemicals without premixing, especially hyper-concentrates like Kleen-Pak?”
Ultra-concentrated chemicals such as the Kleen Pak line require much higher dilution ratios not typically handled by older HydroMinder models. Before, the solution was to convert a HydroMinder 511 by switching the barb to a 1/4″ size and then installing either a lean or ultra-lean push-in tip. Hydro Systems recently introduced a line of HydroMinders designed to handle ultra-concentrated car wash chemicals, eliminating the need for that conversion. To learn more about these new models read the article titled HydroMinder Expansion: New Ultra-Concentrate Dispensing Solution from Hydro Systems.
Maintenance and Consistent Chemical Dilutions
During my time in the car wash industry, I learned a few tricks to keep dilution ratios consistent. The key is to keep a healthy maintenance program.
Inspect your chemical storage tanks and tubes that draw product for clogs, leaks, damage, and wear. After you examine your system either clean or replace components when necessary. Don’t forget to check your lines and foot valves for chemical backflow. Keeping foot valve screens clean is vital when using highly concentrated wash chemicals. Due to their high dilution ratios, concentrated chemicals must be drawn at the correct proportion to provide the best performance.
Especially during the summer, heat causes scum to grow in your holding tanks due to bacteria. Frequently inspect your tanks for scum build-up and thoroughly clean the tank if you see any accumulation. I want to stress that scum will grow back if you only remove it. The tank will need cleaned with bleach to kill the bacteria that causes scum growth.
Before setting up new chemicals, I recommend cleaning the tank to prevent cross-contamination. Don’t forget to clean your tank’s screen if it has one. Well-maintained holding tanks and tubing accurately draw chemicals at consistent dilutions and deliver excellent results that will please your customers.
Remember, your customers want to receive a superb show while using your self-serve bay. Check to make sure fragrance strength is pleasing, colors are bold, and the performance of each chemical is exceptional.
A well-maintained wash will enhance the performance of your soaps, keep your chemical costs in line, and make happy customers who will keep returning. For more info on HydroMinders, HydroMinders for Ultra-Concentrates, Kleen Pak products, other soap options and new dilution systems, please reach out to either Steve Kelly or myself, Jay Cogley.
This article was originally published in Kleen-Scene Issue 39.