History Of The Car Wash

Did you know that the first car wash dates all the way back to 1914? That was pre WW1 and there were only a small number of people who actually owned cars. Those who did took it to a place where the car was sent around to various stations, in a circle, to be cleaned. This process was commonly referred to as a “Merry go round”.

After WW1, the amount of people with cars increased. With an increase in car owners came an increase in the need for clean cars. By 1940, conveyor like car washes were launched, which let more cars get washed in a shorter amount of time. Only 6 years later, an automatic system was introduced. This system allowed cars to be hooked bumper to bumper and be pulled along the tracks to be cleaned.

Post WW2, many owners of separate car washes came together to form the Automatic Car Wash Association, which is known today as the International Carwash Association.

The 1980’s really changed the game with the introduction of computers. The Programmable Logic Controller was launched which allows the cars to receive a more customized washing through the tunnel. Although there have been improvements  made since, this system is substantially what you see today when you go to your local car wash.

Today there are an estimated 22,000 car washes, which serve an average of 71,000 customers per year. That is a lot of clean cars!

Towne Lak'e Carwash amd Detail

What is your first memory of the car wash? Leave us a comment below!

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