With summer in full swing, it’s important to understand how the heat can impact your fleet washing detergents, washing process, and overall cleaning results. High temperatures can influence the effectiveness of your cleaning solutions and add challenges. 

How High Temps Change Detergent Performance

As temperatures rise, the surface temperature of the equipment you are washing will increase as well. This can cause your detergents to react faster than they do normally, especially in comparison to cooler weather.

This faster reaction time means that your detergents will 'work' more quickly than you're used to and increases the risk of the soap drying too quickly on the surface. This can lead to streaks and spots that are difficult to remove. You might be familiar with how a low pH acidic formula can cause bright or ‘white’ streaks when applied too strongly or in hot weather, but this can also also happen when using your alkaline, high pH soaps, causing the surface to brown.

Here are some tips to consider when washing fleets or heavy equipment during hot weather:

1. Don’t Wash Vehicles Straight from the Road

In hot weather, the combination of direct sun, engine heat, air temperature, and road surface temperature can mean that a vehicle coming directly from their route can be much hotter than one that has been parked in the lot. Try to wash the fleet before they go out on the road, or well after they have been parked for a while, to allow for the vehicle's surfaces to cool down. If you must wash vehicles coming off the road or parked in the sun, cool the surfaces with cold water to reduce the risk of streaking and drying.


2. Use Cooler Water for Fleet Washing

To reduce the speed at which the soap dries on the surface, we recommend using inlet (straight from the faucet) water temperatures or even using cold water while washing. If you’re bringing your own water, try to keep it stored in the shade. Cooler water helps to keep the surface temperature down, giving you more time to work with the detergent before it dries.


3. Wash in Stages to Prevent Drying

Instead of trying to wash the entire vehicle or piece of equipment at once, break the process into stages. This method prevents sections from drying out before you have a chance to rinse them. Focus on smaller areas, wash, and rinse thoroughly before moving on to the next section. This provides a full clean without the risk of detergent drying on the surface.


4. Best Washing Times for Summer

Whenever possible, schedule your fleet washing tasks for the early mornings or late in the day when the outside temperatures are cooler. This not only makes the job more comfortable for you and your team but also helps in managing the temperature of the equipment being washed. Some people will even wash in the dark, before the sun rises or after it sets.


5. Take Care of Your Team

Working in hot weather can be more than just physically demanding, it increases the risk of heat exhaustion and dehydration. Ensure that you and your team are safe. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of liquid with electrolytes throughout the day, taking frequent breaks, and staying out of the sun as much as possible. 


6. Additional Tips for Hot Weather Fleet Washing

  • Shade and Shelter: If possible, wash your vehicles in shaded areas or under shelters to reduce exposure to direct sunlight.
  • Proper Detergent Choice: Use detergents specifically formulated for hot weather conditions. Some detergents are designed to perform better at higher temperatures or are easier to use on hot surfaces, helping to reduce the issues caused by quick drying.
  • Equipment Maintenance: Ensure that your washing equipment, such as hoses and nozzles, is in good condition before you start washing. Check for leaks and wear and tear that could affect water pressure and detergent application. It's better to fix it before you’re stuck out in a hot parking lot trying to troubleshoot problems.


Contact Us for More Information

If you have further questions about washing during hot weather or in other situations, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly. Our team at Hydro-Chem Systems is here to provide you with the best solutions and advice to keep your fleet looking its best all summer long.

Stay cool, stay safe, and happy washing!


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