Cleaning a car at home with average, store-bought car wash soap isn’t actually the most environmentally friendly option. After all, once you rinse those suds off, where are they going? The grass? The sidewalk cracks? The storm drain? The groundwater?
Water Usage and Car Wash Products
Water is actually used at a much higher rate when hose washing. Yet water conservation is only the beginning. Washing at home or in a parking lot introduces harmful cleaning chemicals and phosphates from road film into storm drains that are intended to deliver rain run-off into rivers and streams. This impacts the plants and animal life in that ecosystem. Professional car wash companies empty excess waste into the sewer where it belongs.
When it comes to automatic washes, chemistry and pressure is favored over volume. Car washes use very targeted applicator systems with carefully monitored water usage as opposed to general home car washing methods. When your next door neighbor or enthusiastic youth group fundraiser wash a car, they usually use the hose. Hoses do move a lot of water, unfortunately that water comes out without a lot of pressure, and therefore without a lot of cleaning potential. Automatic car washes use minimal water but excel the pressure to get the most cleaning power from the water being used.
Mixing hose water with a car wash soap in buckets does helps conserve water, but even then the final rinse can use up to 50 or even 150 gallons very quickly. The water at car washes is mixed with cleaning solutions including presoak, body soap, sealant, and a spot free rinse aid. Since the chemistry is right, less water is needed to get a better clean at automatic washes.
Car washes also utilize high pressure rinse arches, allowing a small amount of water to hit the car with enough force to rinse off lingering grime or detergents without causing damage or wasting water. In the end, compared to that 100 gallons per car, an automatic wash can use as little as 50 total gallons, and of that 50 gallons, most isn’t actually expended.
The water at automatic car washes is largely reclaimed. Reclaiming water might sound odd, and make one think “who wants their car washed with water that’s already got dirt and sand in it from other cars?” In reality reclaimed water is grit-free and intensely filtered to remove foreign particles and contaminants . Car washes use water reclamation systems in order to cut down on the amount of new water they buy from the city each time a car is washed. The water is treated with detergents used to break up dirt and grime, and then sucked back up into a system that filters out heavy compounds and skims off light chemicals, leaving the water clean and ready for reuse.
Reverse osmosis systems add extra purification to the process, distilling water until it is even cleaner than your average tap water for a truly spot-free rinse. Modern reclaim and RO systems actually have automatic tunnel car washes using as little as 15 fresh gallons of water per car—less than two toilet flushes in most of the country.
So to sum it up, it is better for the environment, your vehicle, and your budget to use automatic car washes. At Flagstop Car Wash we use only the best equipment and products to ensure safety, clean water and minimal impact on the environment. Stop by one of our convenient locations and you and your vehicle will be feeling good knowing you’re helping to conserve water, while getting your vehicle sparkling clean.
Taking good care of your car means keeping it clean. To keep your car in the best possible shape, you should wash it regularly. Washing gets dirt and debris out of the frame and keeps the paint job looking spiffy, which will help maintain its value. However, there’s always the debate whether it is better to go through the automatic car wash, or hand wash it yourself.
Many individuals prefer to wash their own cars! But which way is better? Here are a few pros and cons when it comes to automatic vs DIY car washes.
Hand Washing Your Vehicle
There are a few reasons people prefer to wash their own cars. For one, people see it as a money saver. The other pro to DIY washing is that you can give your car the time and attention it deserves, which may lead to a more quality wash.
On the other hand, the tools and soaps that you’ll need to wash your own car cost about the same as taking your vehicle through the automatic wash. If you’re not willing to take the time to be thorough when you wash your own car, then you may as well take it to the local car wash, where the soaps and machines will be able to properly dig dirt and debris out of crevices.
While many individuals think that DIY washing is better for the paint job, the truth is that many store-bought soaps and sponges can actually harm the paint job. Some soaps wear away the exterior coat and paint. Scratching and scrubbing with the wrong tool can cause further damage.
Going to an automatic wash is far more environmentally friendly than doing the job at home. The soap and dirty water traveling down the street can actually pollute the environment. Phosphates in soaps can cause extra algae to grow, which will throw off the environmental balance where you live.
Benefits of Automatic Car Washes
The automatic car wash is created specifically to give your car a thorough but gentle wash. When you go to the car wash, you don’t have to worry that you’re ruining your paint job with hard sponges or sharp bristles. The flannel strips and the spinning sponge brushes in combination with jets shooting water will be able to help get rid of even the toughest, most stuck-on dirt and grime. Everything from the soap to the materials used is tested and safe. You can be sure that your car is getting thoroughly cleaned, especially all the nooks and crannies.
It’s also much less time consuming to drive through a car wash than stand around scrubbing away the afternoon in your driveway. You can get your car cleaned within a matter of minutes and be on your way.
What Should I Choose?
There’s no exact right or wrong answer when it comes to washing your vehicle by hand vs. automatic washing. That’s why at Flagstop Car Wash, several of our locations include a self-service station, so that you can wash your car whichever way is best for you! If you’re looking to hand-wash your car with the best soaps and tools, check out our locations in Chester, Chesterfield, North Chesterfield, and Colonial Heights. You can also run your car through the automatic wash at any of our locations if you want to save time and make sure you get a quality wash!
There are plenty of reasons to consistently wash your car. Weekly washes keep your vehicle looking clean and amazing. They’re also necessary to maintain your car’s long-term health. Removing debris, dust, and dirt from your frame, wheels, and the windshield will help make sure your car stays in top shape. And the best way to make sure you’re washing your car as often as necessary is to get an RVA Wash Club membership.
A Wash Club membership makes it easier and cheaper simply because you can get unlimited services whenever you want or need them. Like any membership or subscription, you’ll only pay once a month, and enjoy plenty of features that will make car maintenance simple and accessible.
Here are five reasons to consider a wash club membership.
Convenience and Accessibility
Subscription and membership plans are all the more common for tons of products. From food deliveries to service subscriptions, we love them because they make completing tasks easier. We can all admit that we put off washing the car sometimes. Having to get there and decide on services and pay seems daunting. But what if you could go anytime you need, pull through with your membership tag, and make the entire process that much easier? With a membership, you can feel free to go whenever the mood strikes.
Stay Ready for the Unexpected
Nature can sometimes take you by surprise – and leave your car looking like a mess. Between bugs, birds, dust, hail, rocks, snow, mud, or any of the other things that affect your car’s aesthetic, you want to have the ability to tackle the problem quickly. With membership and unlimited washes, you’re always ready, no matter what.
With the RVA Wash Club membership, you can enjoy unlimited Best Washes, which includes an exterior wash, tire shine, Clearcool protectant, and wheel bright at any express wash location. Or, if you want even more services, you can take advantage of the other options at discounted prices.
Wash Multiple Cars and Save
The membership program is built to save you money, whether you own one car or several. While each car requires a subscription, you can have as many cars as you want on your account. It’s an easy way for families with multiple cars to keep track. Or, for businesses that rely on their vehicles and take them to get washed often – you no longer have to keep track of every single receipt, just your monthly membership fees.
Wash at Any Location
Flagstop Car Wash has 11 convenient locations located in and around the Richmond area. You can sign up for a RVA Wash Club membership at any of our locations, and your membership will work at all 11 of our car washes. Signing up takes minutes and you can quit anytime.
Get Great Service From Friendly Locals
Flagstop Car Wash has an A+ rating from the BBB, so you can expect excellent service from friendly staff members who are happy to answer any of your questions. Call us at 804-782-9274 if you want to know more about any of our services, treatments, or processes. Or, simply visit any of our locations and speak to our staff about becoming a member.
Keeping your car wheels maintained isn’t just about vanity, it is important to the integrity and longevity of the tires. At Flagstop Car Wash, we know all about what it takes to keep your wheels shining and functioning their best. Let’s learn about the ways Flagstop Car Wash can help you with the essential care of your wheels and tires.
Why Maintain Wheel Cleanliness?
As the wheels on your vehicle go ‘round and ‘round they are likely to take a beating from the rough surfaces they come in contact with. In addition, routine braking leads to the collection of brake dust. While this is extremely common, it isn’t something you want to accumulate over a long period of time. Brake dust is the breakdown of the pads’ and rotors’ tiny metal shavings. This dust is highly corrosive. If brake dust stays on your wheels and rims for a long time, it can eat into the rim coating. Although a good cleaning is a great idea, since you brake every time you drive, you need to be consistent with the removal of this dust so that it cannot begin a corrosion process.
Start with the Wheels
If you’re using the Flagstop Car Wash self-service wash bays, you’ll want to start with the wheels to get all of the dust and grime cleaned off prior to the car itself. Because these are bound to be the dirtiest parts of your vehicle, you want to avoid spraying grime from your wheels back onto a freshly washed car. Getting the dust and road grime off first helps prevent spreading anything to the rest of the vehicle. You will want to use a soft bristle and the appropriate cleaner for your rim type. Our professional customer service team can help recommend the appropriate cleaner for your wheel type if you aren’t sure of what you need.
Wax Those Wheels
Wax isn’t just an important step for the painted exterior of your vehicle, it can be just as important for your wheels. Wheel waxes are the only true way to clean, polish and protect in one simple step. Wax acts as a barrier to brake dust accumulation and adhesion. If using wax as recommended and as often as recommended, you will only need to clean with water between waxing times. Flagstop Car wash offers ample opportunities to get your wheels and tires clean.
Your Wheel Cleaning Experts
At Flagstop Car Wash, we want to help you get the most use out of your vehicle’s wheels. Clean wheels are more likely to operate as expected. Visit one of our eleven locations to start a cleaning routine that will ensure brake dust doesn’t erode any parts of your wheels or car exterior. Our RVA Wash Club is a great way to ensure that your car can get cleaning attention any time you need it. Check out our location directory today to see which convenient location can provide you with the services you need.
Keeping your vehicle’s windows clean has many benefits. Visibility is greatly reduced when windows are dirty and it increases the risk of glare. Your defroster works better with a clean window, allowing it to quickly clear off condensation or ‘fog’ that sticks more easily to a dirty windshield surface.
The proper items will make the process of window cleaning much easier especially when cleaning them yourself. The only essential items for DIY window cleaning are:
- Automotive glass cleaner. Make sure to check the label before use, because some cleaners contain ammonia which can damage tint and seals.
- A microfiber cloth that hasn’t been used with other cleaning solvents. The residue from other cleaners should not come into contact with your window glass. Even if you’ve washed the cloth, you could end up with a greasy, oily windshield from wax or other detailing compounds that don’t wash out.
Exterior Window Care
As you drive on busy roads a variety of residual oils can build up on the outside of your windows. The exterior is especially vulnerable to substances that can look unsightly and inhibit vision. Bugs easily stick to exterior surfaces and are especially unsightly and hazardous when they stick to mirrors and windshields.
If you notice any substance on the exterior window glass it’s important to try and remove it as soon as possible with a low pile soft clean cloth and a safe cleaning solution. The longer grime sits, the more chance it can lead to further buildup. Bird droppings are especially unsightly and the longer they are left on the glass the more difficult it will be to clean. Washing your car every time the windshield gets dirty may seem expensive and cumbersome, but the RVA Wash Club membership we offer at Flagstop Car Wash will save you time and money with unlimited exterior washes for a low monthly fee. This membership service allows you to use any location as often as you like, so you can keep contaminants like bird droppings from lingering on your windows.
When cleaning any portion of your vehicle, it’s important to remember that parking out of the direct sun will help cleaning go smoother. If a vehicle is being heated up by the strong rays of the sun it will cause cleaning fluids to dissipate before they have a chance to work. If you’re washing the entire vehicle you should wash your windshield last, as dirt from the roof will trickle down onto the exterior of the windows.
Interior Window Care
You might be surprised by how dirty the interior of a vehicle’s windows can get. Dust and dirt particles are constantly moving throughout the air in your vents and therefore can easily build up on the inside of the vehicle glass. As we carry passengers, especially children and pets, the interior of windows can really get filthy.
To thoroughly and more easily clean your interior front windshield, sit in the passenger seat. This position allows easier access to the window without your steering wheel becoming an obstacle. Spray the cleaner liberally on the windshield and wipe from top to bottom as you move across the entirety of the glass.
Keeping the exterior of your car clean also helps keep your windows clean since most dirt on the upper exterior of your vehicle will eventually find its way to your windows. Our self-service bays are a great way to keep your vehicle shiny and clean. You can also drive on through for an express wash. Flagstop offers 20 self-service car wash bays throughout the metro-Richmond area. We also proudly offer unlimited car washes with the RVA Wash Club so please stop on by or visit us online for details on this exciting option as well as our other services. Here at Flagstop Car Wash, we provide all the materials you’ll need to keep those windows smudge-free and clean all day long.
Most of our convenient locations offer vending machines with top-notch, do-it-yourself detailing products. From towels to window cleaner, we have it all and look forward to helping your car look it’s absolute best. We look forward to seeing you and your car very soon.
Vehicles are subjected to daily dirt and grime. As you travel around your car builds up immense amounts of debris, some of it not even visible to the human eye. Just about every inch of your car is vulnerable. We all know a clean car looks great but some of these unexpected benefits of regular car washing might surprise you.
- Preserve your paint. The effects of built-up dirt, oils and various other substances can be very detrimental to your paint job. As dirt settles into your clear coat it can cause scratches and dullness to your exterior paint. If you get a stone chip in your clear coat, salt or grime can buildup and attack the metal. Bugs are obviously unsightly when they hit your vehicle, but they also release amino acids that can damage a vehicle’s clear coat. The sooner you remove any dirt or other residues the longer your vehicle will retain its “new paint job” look. Flagstop’s car wash services will help keep that grime and dirt off your car and from settling into the paint.
- Protect your investment. Keeping your car clean inside and out helps retain its value. When shopping for a used car you look at how well it was cared for by the previous owner. It’s vital to keep this in mind when you have a car that you might sell one day. Washing your car regularly helps prevent rust and scratches as well as paint fading and damage, all of which take away from the value. If you ever want to trade-in or sell, you’ll want your car looking its best. An important rule to remember is “the better your car looks the more value it will hold over the years”.
- Stay safe. If your car accumulates debris it can actually become a safety hazard. Car windows, mirrors, and headlights have a tendency to easily accumulate oil, dirt, and even bugs. Even a very small amount of buildup can greatly limit visibility. If you notice any type of debris on windows and mirrors be sure to wipe them off. Our express wash with our specially formulated Bug Buster option is your best line of defense against unsightly buildup.
- Confidence and pride. Think about when you are getting ready to go out to a nice dinner and want to look your best. You put on your nicest outfit and shoes because you want to look good and feel good. The same feeling applies to driving around in a clean, shiny vehicle. When your car is dull and dirty you might even be embarrassed to be seen driving it, but when it’s clean you’ll want to show it off. At Flagstop we take pride in helping your vehicle look its best.
- Prevents illness. You might be surprised to know that a dirty vehicle can actually affect your health. As you run errands or go to work you encounter surfaces that have germs, so you wash your hands several times a day. The germs that come into contact with your car are also a cause for concern. As you drive throughout the day, think of all the contaminated surfaces a vehicle can come into contact with. Roads are very dirty, even if they appear to be clear. Keeping your car clean goes a long way to help you avoid germs that can get on your door handles and other exterior surfaces. At Flagstop we even have a location that offers a 24-hour in-bay automatic wash. This particular wash service is always open rain or shine. This location offers plenty of do-it-yourself cleaning products in a vending machine so you can keep your vehicle clean at any hour.
Flagstop Car Wash is proud to offer you convenient service locations and we encourage you to take advantage of the RVA Wash Club membership which offers unlimited washes with no contracts or hidden enrollment fees. Keep your vehicle clean inside and out and enjoy your vehicle at its best. Visit us online or stop by one of our locations and see what all the buzz is about. We look forward to seeing you and your car soon.
Salt is disastrous to the appearance and function of vehicles. Not only is it a nuisance, it can also cause untimely damage and disrepair if not treated quickly. During the winter months, salt is often applied to the roads that we drive across daily. Although this can help with safe driving, salt is not something that you want to leave on your car for an extended period of time.
Spray Your Car
One way to provide temporary relief from salt damage on your car is to spray it off regularly utilizing the self-service and full-service car care we offer at our convenient locations. Just a simple spray off can help break down the excessive sodium chloride that can happen when driving on salted roads. If you’re unable to do a detail of your car, a quick wash off at least once a week can provide an effective measure against the degradation of the paint or plastic of your car. For a quick wash, stop by a Flagstop Express Exterior or Self-Service wash location. If left for an extended period, the salt can even begin to affect the carpet and interior of your car, so act quickly.
Try a Home Remedy
Although the most effective way to ensure thorough removal of salt build-up, especially on the undercarriage is to utilize a car wash membership, you can use some home remedies in between your car wash visits. If getting into the car wash once a week just doesn’t fit into your busy schedule, you should at least make the effort manually clean off some of the interior salt with a homemade solution. The best option is to use a mixture of half water and half vinegar. The best option is to use hot water in your mixture and pour it into a spray bottle. With this option, you will be breaking down the salt bonds that adhere to your carpet and interior. After spraying, use a brush to work into the carpet and vacuum. Doing this will extend the life of your floor mats and carpets which is often the first line of defense against salt corrosion.
Visit Flagstop Car Wash
If you’re able to visit once a week or so, coming into Flagstop Car Wash is the best way to remove the salt build up on your car. We use the highest-quality products to remove salt both inside and outside of your vehicle. Our full-service car wash offers washing, cleaning, vacuum, wax, seal and shine. Our wax and seal is a great way to combat the build-up of salt as you drive your daily commute. We also offer the Unlimited RVA Wash Club, a monthly membership that allows you to stop by for a wash any time for one low monthly fee. There are no contracts and you can cancel at any time. Our team wants to make sure you get the most out of your vehicle investment.
If you have questions about the best way to care for your salt-covered car, Flagstop Car Wash is available to help. Stop by one of our locations and our staff would be happy to suggest the best products for your specific needs.
When the trash begins to pile up and your console is getting sticky, it’s about that time to clean the interior of your car. After everything has been wiped down, cleared out, and vacuumed, you may find that your car still isn’t looking as nice as you expected. To give your car what it needs, you’re going to need to clean up your dashboard, without damaging it or leaving streaky residue. It may seem too difficult or a waste of time, but Flagstop is here to guide you through the process. After just a few simple steps, your dashboard will be looking good as new, and will make a huge difference in the overall appearance of your car’s interior.
Vacuum the Surface
The first thing you need to do is clear out pieces of trash, debris, and dust from the surface of your dashboard. This is important because it will remove anything that may be spread around or scratch your dashboard when you clean it.
After removing larger pieces of trash, grab a vacuum with a soft brush attachment on the hose. Use this to vacuum the entirety your dashboard.
Wipe Everything Down
Now that you have a smooth surface to work with, it’s time to wipe and disinfect your dash. Depending on what type of materials your dashboard is made of, you will need to use different cleaning solutions. Always do a spot test on your dashboard before cleaning to prevent more damage.
Vinyl, Plastic, and Rubber Dashboards
For a dashboard with parts made from vinyl, plastic, or rubber, you will need to use a mild soap. Wet a microfiber cloth, and put the soap directly onto the cloth. Wipe your dash thoroughly with the soapy microfiber cloth. To reach crevices and harder to reach areas, like air vents, use a soft bristled toothbrush or paintbrush with the soap to gently scrub the area.
For tougher stains, you can create an all natural dashboard cleaner from household products. Mix 2 cups of water with 3 tablespoons of vinegar, ½ teaspoon detergent, and ½ teaspoon oil-based soap. You can spray this mixture directly on the dirtier spots of your dashboard, let it sit for a minute, and wipe it off with a damp microfiber cloth.
Dashboards made with leather are a little more sensitive to chemical cleaners and soaps, which will dry out the leather, create cracks and dull its appearance. If your leather dashboard just needs a quick and basic cleaning, using only a damp, microfiber cloth will get the job done.
To fully clean a leather dashboard, use a damp microfiber cloth with either an oil-based soap, such as Castile soap, or a non-alkaline leather cleaner. Again, use a soft bristles toothbrush or paintbrush to clean hard to reach places. You can clean non-leather details and parts of your dash, like vent covers, with the gentle soap solution for vinyl, plastic, and rubber.
Don’t Forget the Details
It’s important to also clean your steering wheel, glass dash cover, radio system, gear shift, and center console. Wipe down these details with the corresponding dashboard cleaners based on what material they’re made of. For your radio and glass cover, wipe down with a glass cleaner and microfiber cloth to avoid streaking, glare, and dust remnants from paper towels.
You can also let the dashboard cleaners soak for five minutes in the dirty cup holder of your center console. Afterwards, you can soak up the residue with a towel and wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth.
Finish Off With a Polishing
Polishing your dashboard after it has been cleaned is a great way to give everything a little extra shine while also protecting it from wear and tear. You can buy some car dashboard polish and put some on a microfiber cloth. Do a spot test before applying all over. Wipe the polish all over the surface of your dash, applying more on the cloth as needed. Afterwards, wipe the dash one last time with a clean, dry microfiber cloth to clear out any residue.
You could also achieve the same results using coconut or olive oil. Again, do a spot test, wipe the oil on your dash, and go back over with a dry microfiber cloth. This will help to protect, condition, and shine your dashboard.
Now you have a brand new looking car interior! To further protect your interior, we suggest using a car windshield cover to block heat and the sun’s UV rays from fading or causing cracks in your dashboard.
Before you hit the road, consider stopping by one of Flagstop’s multiple locations to wash the exterior of your car and have the entirety of your car looking brand new. Too much work and not enough time? You can also leave it all to us, exterior and interior (including your dashboard), with our full service car washes.
We’re excited to announce that we’re building a new Flagstop Car Wash in Ashland, VA! As a business dedicated to growing and providing car wash services to customers all over Virginia, we’ll continue to expand for your convenience.
Flagstop Partners with Puritan Cleaners to Feed our Neighbors!
Flagstop Car Wash has teamed up with Puritan Cleaners to help feed our neighbors in the community who need support. Buying just one raffle ticket for $5 will provide 20 meals to a neighbor in need. Also, when you purchase a raffle ticket at any of the Puritan Cleaner stores, you’ll be entered to win $500 in FREE dry cleaning and a $50 Flagstop Car Wash gift card!