Part 2 of Different Ways to 2-Step Fleet Wash is a continuation of our blog on Different Ways to 2-Step Fleet Wash, Part 1: 2-Step Systems. In this, we will discuss more ways to 2-Step Wash, this time without using any specific system or equipment that is designed specifically for 2-Step Washing.
Single Pressure Washer - Manual 2-Step Valves or Moving Lines
If you are using a single pressure washer and not utilizing the systems in Part 1, you can perform your 2-step wash by manually switching detergents at the pressure washer. This method can also be performed using upstream or downstream injection.
With this process, the user will have to walk back to the pressure washer or have another individual change chemicals. Similar to the Pro Control Remote, switch detergents before you are finished applying each step to minimize waste.
For best practices, we recommend using a manual valve system for drawing detergents through their own dedicated line. You could physically switch the draw line from your injector between the detergent stowage containers, but this could potentially contaminate the products with backflow or the residue on the lines.
Manual valve systems, like our Easy 2-Step Injector or 3-Soap & 5-Soap Manifold, will separate the detergent lines from the containers while injecting into a singular line to the pressure washer. These systems are available for purchase from HCS or could also be assembled using common parts & accessories.
Dual Pressure Washer - Dual Downstream Application
If you have the capability (or are planning to) operate multiple pressure washers at the same time with multiple users, consider a dual downstream application method.
In this process, each detergent in the 2-step process is injected separately by pressure washer injectors dedicated to a single chemical. The washer with the step #1 will begin applying detergent to the vehicle while the washer with the step #2 will follow behind them applying their detergent directly over the step #1. Working about 20-30 seconds apart, both washers will then finish applying detergent and begin rinsing together.
Using the dual downstream method dedicating each pressure washer to a singular chemical, the users will not have to walk back and forth to the machine to switch between detergents. When downstreaming, the users simple have to switch from low pressure soap application to high pressure nozzles to discontinue the draw of detergents meaning a manual shut off valve or remote system is not needed.
The dual downstream method is a quick & efficient way to perform a 2-step wash process. Assuming you have the access to multiple pressure washers and users, this method is relatively easy to perform and lower cost/maintenance in wash parts compared to others.
Hybrid Model - Pressure Washer and/or “Soft Wash” System
Similar to the dual downstream model above, some may utilize a hybrid detergent application method using pressure washer injectors and/or direct application pumps like a “soft wash” system. Two users could work simultaneously like we described above or a single user could operate both systems.
In this model, the user can dedicate an individual detergent to each spraying system thus preventing the need to use switching mechanisms like manual valves, 2-step guns, or remote systems. Direct application pumps can include “soft wash” systems, 12-V pumps, air diaphragm pumps, or even pump-up sprayers & backpack systems.
The hybrid model can be beneficial in instances where the user may be applying more of one detergent than the other in the 2-step process OR may be needing a more concentrated dilution of a product. Direct application pumps can apply a more concentrated dilution of a detergent because it is not getting diluted further through a chemical injector.
Using this method can also be very efficient and lower cost/maintenance assuming you have the equipment. However, compared to downstream injection, applying detergents with a “soft wash” style system does reduce application pressure. Because of the lower pressure application and also because the products are being applied directly, you will want to adjust the dilutions of your detergents for these systems.
Low GPM/Low Volume 2-Step Solutions
For washers using lower GPM/PSI pressure washers or if you are simply not performing a high amount of 2-step washing, the methods & equipment listed above may not be compatible or economical for your needs.
Pressure washers below 3.5 GPM may not properly draw detergents using 2-step gun systems or other chemical injectors. Some machines may also have smaller ¼” high pressure hose fittings meaning standard ⅜” chemical injector systems are not compatible.
In these situations, there are low pressure application systems such as “Foam Cannons” or “X-Jets” that will quick-connect onto your pressure washer wand and inject chemicals from the detergent container. These systems are very low pressure and dilution rates can vary. For 2-step washing, you will also need 2 separate foam cannons and/or detergent containers.
Another option which is very simple but not efficient for 2-step washing is using pump-up sprayers. Often these sprayers are used to apply small amounts of specialty chemicals or more concentrated detergents like aluminum brighteners, degreasers, bug remover, wax, etc. These could also be used to apply your separate 2-step products using multiple sprayers. As mentioned, this is a slower application process with low pressure for 2-step washing, so adjust your dilution rates & size of wash area accordingly.