You want your fleet of trucks to stay clean, but there is so much information out there about the different types of washes and the equipment used for fleets, how do you know what would be best for your fleet? In this article, we will cover a variety of truck wash equipment and discuss the top benefits, features, and applications of each equipment type.

First off, there are two main types of fleet washing - one that is automatic and done by equipment with little or no human interaction, often with a driver remaining inside the vehicle the entire time. The other is manual washing, or using your physical body to do much of the washing, with the washer outside of the vehicle the entire time.


Manually Hand Washing

When it comes to manually washing your fleet, it's important to consider the time investment required. While using a bucket filled with soapy water, brushes, mitts, and a garden hose is a common method for washing personal vehicles, it quickly becomes impractical for cleaning large trucks or entire fleets without the right equipment to streamline the process.

Manual hand washing is the simplest form of fleet washing and requires the lowest cost investment for equipment, chemicals, and training. However, it is important to evaluate the trade-off between low cost & simplicity versus time & labor efficiency. Pressure washing equipment, wash accessories, automatic cleaning systems, and professional chemical detergents will streamline your washing without sacrificing your cleaning results.


Brushes and mitts for hand washing

There are various types of brushes available for washing and cleaning your fleet. These include detail brushes, hand brushes, rim cleaning brushes, chemical & water-fed brushes, narrow or wider widths, multi-angled brush heads, and extension poles. All of which allow you to reach even the hardest-to-access areas of your trucks.

When it comes to mitts, you have the option of choosing between microfiber and natural wool materials. Microfiber mitts are great for cleaning your truck without worrying about scratches or leaving swirl marks. They are also machine washable, making them easy to clean and reuse. On the other hand, synthetic wool mitts are excellent at holding more water and creating suds. They often feature a cuff to keep the mitt securely on your hand and can be machine washed as well.


Pump-Up Sprayers

Pump-up sprayers are versatile tools used in a wide range of industries, including fleet washing.  These sprayers are capable of applying a pre-mixed chemical detergent directly to the desired cleaning area. Pump-up sprayers can be used to apply alkaline and acidic cleaners separately, though some models will be more or less resistant to certain types of products. To prolong the life of these sprayers, you should relieve pressure and flush with water.

Pump-up sprayers are ideal for applying detergents to smaller areas for concentrated cleaning applications. For example, applying bug remover to grills/windows/mirrors, applying aluminum brightener to metal surfaces, concrete buildup, hard surface cleaning, or degreaser for heavy areas of film/debris.  Pump-up sprayers could be used to apply chemicals to larger areas of a vehicle surface, but this is time-consuming and there is a risk of your detergents drying before they can be rinsed.


Pressure Washers

Pressure washers are a game-changer when it comes to manual washing, providing significantly higher pressure than a garden hose. This high-pressure cleaning equipment can wash away dirt or grime that other methods may not be able to remove effectively. Additionally, most pressure washers are available in portable forms, allowing you to clean your trucks in different locations instead of being limited to a stationary unit.

To ensure the longevity and optimal performance of pressure washers, regular maintenance is essential. This includes cleaning filters, inspecting hoses for any signs of wear or damage, and following the manufacturer's guidelines for maintenance schedules. By investing in a high-quality pressure washer with heavy-duty construction and durable components, you can minimize the need for repairs or replacements, leading to long-term cost savings on the equipment, and immense saved time.

There are multiple types of pressure washers, the main two being gas/diesel and electric, with different categories within each type, such as direct driven or belt driven. Read our blog here to learn more about the basics and typical PSI and GPM used in fleet washing.


Pressure Washer Attachments and Accessories

When using pressure washers, it's important to select the appropriate attachments and accessories to ensure safe and effective cleaning. These smaller attachments and tools play a big role in optimizing the pressure washer's performance and protecting your fleet from potential damage.

One of the essential considerations is the size of the lance and nozzle. The lance, or wand, is the extension that connects to the pressure washer's gun, allowing you to reach different areas of the vehicle. It's important to choose a lance length that provides sufficient reach without being hard to handle. Additionally, the nozzle size determines the spray pattern and pressure output. Different cleaning tasks may require specific nozzle sizes to achieve the desired cleaning results. Using the correct nozzle ensures that the pressure is appropriately distributed and avoids excessive force on the truck's surfaces.

Foamers are a popular option for some fleet washing applications, particularly in car detailing. However, their usage in fleet cleaning may vary depending on specific requirements and preferences. While foamers can provide a thorough and meticulous cleaning experience, it's important to note that they may slow down the overall cleaning process for fleets. In contrast, a 2-Step Process using the combination of a low pH and high pH can offer a more efficient and time-saving approach for fleet cleaning.

Chemical injectors used in conjunction with the pressure washer can be a valuable tool to increase the efficiency of chemical application. There are high-pressure and low-pressure chemical injectors which we have previously discussed in our blog. Chemical injectors will generally apply soaps quicker and with higher pressure than pump-up sprayers and foamers but require some adjusting to dial in the dilution rate for your chemicals.

Using the wrong spray attachments or applying too much pressure on the wrong area of your truck can lead to peeling paint, scratches, or other damage. For instance, using a narrow nozzle with high pressure on delicate surfaces like windows or trim can cause unintended harm. It can also greatly slow down the cleaning process. It's crucial to assess the condition of the truck's surfaces and make the best use of time by choosing the appropriate attachments accordingly. 


2-Step Guns and Remotes

2-Step guns and remotes are huge time savers for you and your fleet. The 2-Step Gun is a specialized wand or lance with many changes that allows the user to instantly change from their low pH acid (Step 1) to their high pH alkaline (Step 2) and to their fresh-water rinse right at the handle.  

There is also a 2-Step Remote system that does a similar process, allowing you to swap between Step 1, Step 2, and Rinse while using a remote. Remote systems have a small footprint and typically mount near the pressure washer to inject chemicals into a high-pressure hose. There are a few key differences between chemical remote systems and 2-Step Guns. First, 2-step guns allow the washer to switch truck wash soaps instantly at the wand whereas the remote system will have a timed delay while detergents enter & clear the high-pressure hose. Second, 2-Step Guns require a custom hose bundle containing high pressure water hose and chemical tubing, meaning it is larger & heavier.

Without these systems, users would have more manual work to do, including walking back and forth to the machine in order to switch over the steps or utilizing multiple pressure washers/chemical systems. There are other ways in which someone could do a 2-Step Washing Process without the Remote or Gun, check out our blog here for information. 


Automatic Wash Systems

Automatic wash systems offer a significant time-saving advantage for fleet cleaning, with the potential to be up to nine times faster than cleaning by hand. There are two main types of automatic wash systems, drive-thru, and gantry. Either type can be touchless, or use brushes (friction). We will briefly explain them, but if you want more detail, check out our blog

  • Drive-Thru - Just like it sounds, this is where a truck can drive through the wash system. The truck enters dirty and leaves clean. 
  • Gantry - Also known as the rollover system, is where a vehicle enters the wash at a predetermined location and stops. The gantry system then moves over the vehicle and cleans with high-pressure water and brush systems. 

Considering environmental factors, some automatic wash systems offer water recycling capabilities. This reduces water consumption and minimizes the environmental impact of the cleaning process. By recycling water, these systems promote sustainability while maintaining effective cleaning results.

With automated processes, trucks can enter the wash system and undergo a thorough cleaning without the need for drivers or operators to exit the vehicle. This not only saves time but also increases safety by minimizing potential risks associated with manual cleaning.

In addition to time savings and advanced technologies, automatic wash systems offer consistent and high-quality cleaning results. Whether using touchless systems that rely on the 2-Step Process and specialized cleaning solutions or friction-based systems that utilize brushes to remove dirt and grime, automatic wash systems provide thorough and efficient cleaning for each truck in the fleet. This helps maintain the appearance of the vehicles, improve brand image, and prolong the lifespan of the fleet.

Overall, when considering the time-saving benefits, environmental considerations, and technological advancements, automatic wash systems emerge as a compelling solution for fleet owners, particularly for larger fleets. By investing in these systems, fleet owners can significantly reduce the time and labor required for cleaning, enhance operational efficiency, promote sustainability, and achieve consistent, high-quality results for their entire fleet.


Embrace Efficient Solutions for Optimal Results

In conclusion, choosing the right fleet washing equipment is crucial for maintaining a clean and presentable fleet of trucks. Whether you opt for manual washing or automatic wash systems, there are various tools available to suit your specific needs.

Ultimately, the choice of fleet washing equipment depends on your specific requirements and preferences. By considering factors such as efficiency, cost, and desired cleaning results, you can select the tools that best suit your fleet's needs. Remember, a clean fleet not only enhances your company's image but also contributes to the longevity and performance of your trucks.  

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