The exterior of a quick quack car wash.

The Intriguing History of Car Washes

The average person probably doesn’t think much about the evolution of car washing. After all, fully automated car washes have operated more or less the same way for much of modern history. Don’t let this fool you — car washes have a rich history just bubbling just under the surface.

Car Wash Conceptions

Car wash businesses first started appearing in Detroit, Michigan around 1914. This wasn’t the fully automated experience we know and love today. The car was manually pushed through the tunnel, where workers were inside to wash and dry the vehicle. Still, these early car washes operated efficiently for the time. Each worker in the tunnel had a designated job, from soaping to rinsing and drying the vehicle. As they toiled, more workers would push the car from the back. Workers would stay behind the car and push it through the tunnel until 1940. That’s when the first car wash featuring a winch system to pull the car through the tunnel was developed in Hollywood, California. Even though the car moved on its own now, workers were still in the tunnel to clean the car.

Full Automation Quickly Develops

Just six years later, car washes would feature an overhead sprinkler and air blower. These would rinse and dry the car toward the end of the tunnel. While this was happening, workers were presumably still adding soap and assisting with the scrubbing. And just five years after that, the first fully automated car wash opened in Seattle, Washington. This unlimited car wash was free to use, as machines did all the work, from pulling the car to scrubbing it.

Upgrades and Concerns

Car washes would continue to evolve quickly over the next two decades. Some of the inventions would feature soft cloth friction washing, wraparound brushes, and recirculating water systems. These upgrades are the reason a typical drive-thru car wash still has so many options. Even as these car washes continued to develop, there were some worries. While a worker can be careful not to scratch your car, the same can’t be said about a machine brush.

Modern Brushless Car Washes

There are many different kinds of car washes available for drivers to pick from. Some places still offer hand washing, while other car washes are entirely self-service. Then there’s the express brushless car wash that we offer at Quick Quack. Our brushless car wash system utilizes hand-cut cloth and high-powered water in order to give your car a safe clean. And we prioritize speed, too.

All-in-One for When You’re on the Go

Quick Quack car washes take three minutes or less, with a 100% clean guarantee. Our car washes offer vacuums and free dash wipes so that you can clean the inside of your car, too. Our goal is to get you back on the road in a nice clean car as quickly as possible.