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Whiting Systems car wash chemical

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carwashireland

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After installing a Whiting Systems truck wash I decided to try their presoak on My Water wizard 2.0. The results were outstanding. Usage was low with great cleaning and brightening on alloy wheels. The product is called Tornado F5.
 

robert roman

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Tornado contains sodium hydroxide or caustic soda.

Tornado also contains sodium metasilicate, percent solution 1 - 5. A one percent aqueous solution of this stuff has pH of about 13 so it reacts violently with acids.

A place I worked at in late 60’s used caustic soda as base for detergent to hand wash cars. We had to wear rubber gloves up to elbow, full apron, rubber boots, hair net, etc.

Without gloves, the epidermis would begin to peel slightly from your hands by day’s end.

So, I’m sure Tornado produces squeaky clean because it removes all the wax and causes a bleaching effect.

Like a two-step touch-less process, continued use will eventually cause very small pits to form in the clear-coat. Detailer’s magnifying glass is needed to see them.

These pits allow oxygen in the air as well as UV to act on the pigment layer of color and effects underneath.

Overtime, color and effects are degraded (i.e. oxidation) and paint appears faded and less luster or depth.
 

rph9168

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When I was a kid working at my uncle's car wash he used to use caustic soda beads as his tire and wheel cleaner in his Hotsy. I remember how it would burn your hands and arms if it came in contact with your skin. It was unbelieveable how white the white walls came out. Back then when car wash chemistry was in in infancy it was the best way to go. Today it is often the main ingredient in truck wash soap because it is relatively inexpensive and a strong cleaner but way too powerful in a two step car wash application. While caustic soda is often used in tire cleaners (and even some inexpensive high pH products) today it is a very small amount and buffered to the point that it's main purpose is to boast the pH more than as the main cleaner. As Robert clearly states, it would not be wise to use the product in a two step process in a car wash.
 

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I think it is a blend of sodium metasilicate and potassium hydroxide (not sodium hydroxide or caustic soda) with a blend of buffers and surfactants. I know a couple of dealers that have tried it and confirmed it is one of the best products they have used. I believe this is a new formula from Whiting and may not be the original Tornado of which you speak. (I am a Whitings distributor but also a Coleman Hanna and Blendco distributor)
 

rph9168

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Sodium Hydroxide and Potassium Hydroxide are kissing cousins and Sodium Metasilicate is also a very high pH chemical. I would not recommend any product with high amounts of any of those chemicals for a car wash. They are very hot and could cause potential damage to a vehicles surface especially in areas with high temperatures. What few realize is that high pH products have a greater potential for damaging finishes than low pH products do especially those with plastic trims or single stage finishes.
 

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Thanks for the info Rph. As a touchless wash though I thought high p.h is a necessary evil. As long as the alkalinity is at an acceptable level then you shouldn't get any problems. In the past I have tried cheaper products that were caustic in a can and had quality and damage issues. I found with Blendco this didn't occur and now with the Whiting product it has still not occurred ( about 2000 vehicles washed so far with no problems).
 

rph9168

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The better high pH products are buffered which means they retain the strength of the high pH but reduce the possibility of damage. Again, I would not recommend using a truck wash product in a car wash due to the possibility of damage. I might also note the greater the frequency of using the wash increases the possibility of damage. A one or two time user might not have an issue depending on the condition of the finish and any existing sealant or wax. Once that is stripped off the possibility for damage increases greatly.
 

Greg Pack

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Speaking from long personal experience. I boost my current presoak with potassium hydroxide. I've been doing it for around 13 years after trying just about every presoak product I could find with limited success. Despite the warnings of the imminent threat to cars, children, the environment, whales, and other assorted small animals I put the solution on line. At this point I'm pretty sure I've washed my fifteen year old truck with this boosted solution probably at least 1000 times, and have let the solution sit on my truck for 15 minutes or more in the Summer while working on the auto dozens of times.

Here's the sum total of the damage: about five years ago, the black metal trim on my then eight year old rear window faded. My grill has started to fade in the past year. As far as customer damage to date, over the couple hundred thousand cars I have washed with this solution, I have paid for one quarter panel to be buffed out when a guy brought in a truck that had been repainted by a budget painter. The rest of the truck had a factory job and it was fine. I have also had to wax the stain out of some anodized black trim on a handful of cars. Both my truck and my wife get remarks on how good our older vehicles look.

Now that I have made this statement I will probably have to pay to have a guy's car repainted tomorrow, but the fear of pretty stout solutions on clear coat surfaces is overblown based on my experience.
 

rph9168

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What you do with your presoak is up to you but what you are doing is not for most to attempt. A lot depends on what your original presoak is and if it contained any caustic soda. Many already have it as an ingredient and others do not. When it is in a formula there are several techniques to make the product safer for use. A lot also depends how much you "boost" your current product as well. Using it as an additive without really having the knowledge is not a good practice. If you were using a better presoak I think you would not have to "boost" it. The additional cost of "boosting" your presoak might even make it more expensive than using a better, safer presoak.

To reply to the original post here, truck wash products are designed to wash trucks - a much different type vehicle than is found at a car wash. The surfaces in a truck wash are seldom if ever waxed and are mostly powder coated panels on trailers or vehicle bodies or aluminum tanks. Truck wash chemicals are much harsher to perform a much more difficult cleaning like diesel smoke or excess dirt built up for infrequent washings. In addition due to the large volume of chemical required, the formulation are geared more toward cost than car wash chemicals that deal with waxed or more delicate surfaces. I would not recommend them for a car wash but that is the operators choice, not mine.
 

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Usually I would agree 100% that truck wash chemicals are for truck washed. I just been recommended by a knowledgeable guy to try the Whiting Systems product. I was told it was a new formulation that cleaned magnificently, would not eat a vesicles clearcoat and was safe to use. I tried it and found it to be the best product I have ever used. A large operator I know in Australia with 140 water wizards tried it and ex Jim Coleman company head of Sales Jerry Truelove also tried it. All agreed that this was the best pre soak they had ever used. I am just keeping folks informed.
 

robert roman

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There is no magical ingredient that can be added to potassium soap that is made for truck washing to transform into the best pre-soak ever used for touch-less automatic wash.

Potassium hydroxide is caustic potash or strong base.

I know a person in Vegas who uses potash to make biodiesel from the triglycerides in the waste oil from restaurant operations.

Doctors will use a 10% aqueous solution of potassium hydroxide to help decompose human skin. Weaker solutions are used to sanitize areas after surgery (i.e. removal of lesions, biopsy).

Since potassium hydroxide causes saponification of fats, it’s used to make potassium soaps which are softer than sodium hydroxide-derived soaps. Soft soaps require less water to liquefy and can contain more cleaning agent than liquefied sodium soaps.

The purpose of a buffer solution is to keep the pH at a constant level as strong acid or base is added to it.

So if the truck wash soap (Tornado) is designed to have a pH of 12.5 or 13.0, this is going to be the pH of the solution in application or nearly the same pH if a strong acid or base is added to it.

Regardless of the machine, touch-less cleaning process is much harder on vehicle surfaces than friction or waterless cleaning.

Touch-less uses about twice the amount of chemical as compared to friction. No doubt Tornado “cleans” cars well with water wizard or whatever but strong base strips wax.

Paint damage from strong, highly reactive soaps doesn’t happen overnight. I find it can take one to two years of repeated washings.

Cars look “clean” but run the palm of your hand over surface and it will squeak instead of glide across.

Reason is no wax and clearcoat surface is drying out. Again, if you look at paint with powerful magnifier, damage will look like very small and shallow, irregularly shaped pits.

This allows oxygen in air to work on pigment layer underneath. Eventually color and effects begin to degrade.

This is why I don’t use touch-less in-bays or tunnels.
 

rph9168

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All this reminds me of the problems touch free washing experienced in it's early stages. Most of the original low pH presoaks contained a lot of Hydrofluoric Acid. It was an excellent cleaner and very inexpensive. The problem was that it ate up pumps, equipment and concrete and had the strong possibility of being an health hazard. I view using caustics in high pH applications in much the same way. Long term use of them can damage vehicles and equipment and have the potential of causing a health hazard in regards to contact with the skin or eyes. I question why someone would chose to use a product with that potential when there are excellent alternatives on the market.
 

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I understand your health concerns but having just surfactants will not clean cars in a touchless. Alkalinity levels need to be kept at an acceptable level to avoid damage but good chemistry includes buffers to prevent damage. Good quality presoaks have alkaline builders, buffers, solvents, binders and other surfactants to ensure a good safe clean. Friction washes only need low alkalinity products with lubricants to get a clean. But after 15 yrs of dealing with friction washes, my preference would be touchless every time for an iba. Touchless makes more money, breaksdown less and is far less damaging than friction washes. Self serve is also good but many customers just want their cars cleaned for them. In Europe our market is dominated by rollover friction washes and as a result less than 15% of the population use an iba. In my opinion this is down to the amount of damage caused by friction.
 

rph9168

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We are getting off the subject here but the only way to consistently clean vehicles is with friction. Oil companies have and still drive the automatic market demands. Early automatics were used more as marketing tools to sell more gas than to make a profit. I was involved in early development of touch free washes on the chemical end and the issue to begin with was mainly reduce damage over cleaning. The more oil companies got involved the more they were concerned about damage claims than cleaning cars. The early touch free units really did not do much more than get the car wet. Today the demand is more driven by profitability. That is why you see fewer and fewer built with new locations. In the past an automatic was always a part of the plan for new oil company sites. In some towns there were three or four automatics on every busy intersection. Today many oil companies are being much more selective on the choice of sites and are turning back to friction to get cars more consistently clean to drive profitability.

Today's friction automatics do almost no damage and a better job of consistent cleaning than touch free. Most friction units use many of the same products used in touch free. Initially touch free products offered no "show" so they added foaming agents which ultimately made those products more user friendly in friction units. While lubricity is an issue in friction units many use a two step approach for their chemicals. I think the preference for friction in Europe is more related to the cost of operation over preference of customers. I have been in Europe many times and I think part of the reason friction is so popular is the cost of the chemicals and the types used. I have actually seen touch free units in Europe that used kerosene in the touch free wash process and other harsh chemicals. Water and sewer fees are also much higher there.

Based on my personal experience I would question your 15% figure but I have no real data to dispute it. In Europe many people do not even own cars. There is much greater use of motor bikes and bikes than here in the States. I also believe that maintenance of washes in Europe is not much of a priority. Many that I visited were dirty and applied small amounts of chemicals. I think in general car washing is not nearly as popular there as it is here regardless of the method.
 

robert roman

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Your market is also small compared to many others, cottage industry size, no disrespect intended.

In U.S., market is huge and over 70 percent of the total available market has been captured by friction conveyors and touch-less cleaning continues to decline.

Reasons are water and energy costs, equipment cost, maintenance, reclaim is tough to get right, people expect better finished quality, faster, etc.

As far as health concerns, some exposure to high pH cleaner like Tornado might cause light dermatitis on face, neck area and ears - mist gets on staff that prep vehicles near or inside tunnel or wash-bay.

Truck wash soap is designed strong because commercial truck paint is different than passenger vehicle clearcoat systems and commercial truck surfaces build up a lot more grime.

For example, Mack trucks have an acrylic polyurethane topcoat. Polyurethane resists chips and scratches and holds up better to strong cleaners than urethane paint does but the color is in the topcoat so it will eventually discolor.

If you want to get down and dirty, use HF or ABF (I forget the concentration) and your touch-less will put out the cleanest cars in town.

Of course, after a year or two, the vehicles of your most loyal customers will start to look like crap.

I would say you will eventually get the same result using truck wash.
 

rph9168

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I worked for a company that manufactured and sold a lot of car wash and truck wash products and there were very few crossover products. Generally speaking the formulations for car washes were designed to be far less harsh or "hot" than truck wash products. Truck wash products also tended to be less expensive due to their formulations and sold in bulk due to heavy application rates.

For some unknown reason many in the car wash industry believe high pH products are safer to use than low pH chemicals. As Robert points out there are many possible dangers using a harsh high pH product. In addition to possible skin issues there is also potential damage to the eyes, nose and throat. Used improperly or in the case of some of the low cost ones, they can damage a vehicles' finish and trim much more quickly than low pH products. Many operators do not take the same precautions for high pH products than they do for low pH ones. It is important to read and follow all safety guidelines for all car wash products. Basically all chemicals used in a car wash should be used with caution and protective gear should always be used.
 

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I built a wash in 1990. Over the years this wash has had 3 different touch free units, all using 2 step low/high. During that time, this wash has weekly washed a 1990 Cadillac. Documented washes. This car has had 2 owners that have both been fanatic about keeping it clean. That car looks like new yet today, with original paint, and is showing no signs of oxidation. Using quality chemicals correctly is very important, in all types of washes. It will be a sad day when this particular car, and it's owners, stop being customers.
 

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What I have read from this thread so far its saying to me that hi pH products are bad to clean vehicles with. My understanding is that hi pH products clean the organic soils off your vehicle and low pH cleans all the inorganic soils off your vehicle. I was told if you had to pick one over the other for touch free cleaning it would be hi pH soap to use because you will clean 90% of the soils you will run into. Also all of the hi pH presoak MSDS sheets I have ever come across either have Sodium Hydroxide and/or Potassium Hydroxide, and sometimes Sodium Metasilicate in it, so all of these are bad? How am I suppose to clean a car in a touch free automatic without NaOH or KOH? Basically you have left me really confused. Maybe I miss interrupted something here, can someone help clear this up for me?
 

rph9168

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Sorry the discussion went so far afield. If you pick one type of product for touchfree it should be high pH. You should try to avoid high pH products containing large amounts of caustics like sodium or potassium hydroxide whenever possible. While they may tend to be cheaper if they are not buffered properly they could cause damage. While many MSDS sheets will not list percentages of the ingredients they should be listed in order of the amount the product contains from high to low. So the higher on the list the more the product has. That should give you a good idea of how much a product contains.

Most of the better high pH products will not contain either but some may in small amounts. Sodium metasilicate is a high pH ingredient often used to build up the pH in many high pH products and is much safer than caustics. The original question revolved around using truck wash products which tend to be cheaper and higher in caustics in a car wash which not many would recommend.

Hope this helps you.
 

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A large operator I know in Australia with 140 water wizards tried it
Big country - few people. Wonder what single operator would have 140 water wizards???

In Europe our market is dominated by rollover friction washes and as a result less than 15% of the population use an iba. In my opinion this is down to the amount of damage caused by friction.
Where did you get the 15% figure from?
Also, I guess you would agree, you can't put whole Europe in one pot. Just compare Ireland with Greece, Germany or Hungary. In Germany, for example, there are no touchfree machines (well, I've never seen one). Too much road grime. People wouldn't get the cars clean unless using harsh chemicals that wouldn't be allowed.
 
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