Express Car Wash Running Without Water

Henry Weinschenk, owner of Express Car Wash, sent out a press release this afternoon announcing that his business will remain open without running afoul of drought laws. His company received much criticism after saying last week that they intend to stay open in spite of the laws prohibiting car washes from running. Weinschenk says that they have switched to an entirely “dry-wash” based system, using a cleaning product called “Spotless” in a process developed by Express Car Wash as a result of the water restrictions. Keep reading to see the press release.


Charlottesville, VA. — After receiving a citation last Friday for still “wet-washing” some cars at customers” request, Express Car Wash went all “Dry-Wash” as of Saturday morning. The process was developed by Express Car Wash as an answer to the draconian water restrictions (100%), which were suddenly imposed on them on September 17, 2002; despite the fact that all carwashes in Albemarle and Charlottesville together only use 1/3 of 1% of the water supply.

Within days of the imposition of the ban, Express Car Wash started to experiment on their own cars with various non-traditional methods. Finally they settled for a process they christened “Dry-Wash” based on a product they have used for touchup purposes all along for more than 12 years. It is called “Spotless” and is manufactured by ZEP, one of the largest manufacturers of cleaners for industrial, commercial and institutional use in the U.S.

“Spotless” main active ingredient is Butyl Glycol, an oxygenated solvent that has been manufactured since the thirties and extensively tested all along. It is recommended for automotive cleaning, inside and out, including rubber and vinyl surfaces. Each car is sprayed with a mist consisting of approximately 2 oz. of “Spotless” diluted with 3 quarts of bottled water. This is followed up with a complete rubbing down with clean towels.

“The results of the process are quite satisfactory, at least for cars that have not been extremely neglected before,” said Henry F. Weinschenk, General Partner of Express Car Wash of Charlottesville. “Cars with caked-on mud cannot be processed with this system at this time,” he added.

Finally Weinschenk said, “To produce the mist we use stainless steel tanks which can be pressurized with compressed air. We have removed some of our equipment in the tunnel to allow our people to apply the mist there, while the cars ride on the conveyor. The work process is not yet optimized, but it is already obvious to us that the labor content of each car washed will increase by at least 35 to 50%.”

23 thoughts on “Express Car Wash Running Without Water”

  1. It’s good to hear that Express Car Wash has decided to comply with the city’s water use restrictions, however I detect a note of sarcasm in his press release, calling the water restrictions" draconian". I also didn’t see an apology from Weinshenk to the community, which also would have been nice. So I’m a hard-ass… I guess the old P.R. adage, "bad publicity is as good as good publicity" applies here for him.

  2. You know it is pretty sad that these yuppie-assholes just have to get their little BMW, SUV’s, etc. washed. I am saying this because out of curiousity, I drove by there, parked and observed the clientele late last week. They are too worried about their "image" to drive a dirty car. Oh, well…….

  3. Is this process environmentally hazardous? Where does the excess go…if there is any? Is the price the same? How about OSHA rules & regs…do the employees have any potential health hazards by inhaling this chemical?

    Drycleaning ain’t just for clothes anymore!

  4. Why be angry at yuppies when the police cars are all still being washed…

    I’m not advocating car washing… my car has not been washed for a year now.

  5. why does the fact (if it is indeed a fact) that police cars are being washed mean that you can’t be mad at yuppies?

    why not be mad at ALL selfish assholes who continue to use water needlessly, or rather who define "need" at ridiculously self-indulgent levels?

    frankly, i’d be surprised to learn that the cops were washing their cars with brand new water freshly drawn from the tap, rather than recycled water.

  6. On channel 29 tonight, it was pointed out that the local Pepsi bottling plant was the third largest local user of water. I don’t think car washes even made the list.

    Pepsi is a product that is enjoyed by yuppies and rednecks and everyone else, including me. But do we really need expensive sugar water during a drought? I think not. The water might be better used supporting our hospitals, schools, sanitation system, and firefighting.


  7. I just called a C’ville cop that I know and he said that the police cars don’t get washed unless there is a health risk, (blood, vomit, feces on or in it) Glad to see the City police are complying.

  8. Yeah, but the plant is probably supporting hundreds of local families as they try to make money to feed their kids. There’s always a trade-off, and I don’t think it’s fair to punish workers for a situation that the city helped in part to create. As mentioned before, this drought didn’t suddenly happen – it took 4 long years of no rain (and NO serious conservation efforts by anyone) to get us here. I say it’s better to truck in water than to mess with the already-awful economy by closing factories.

  9. And sadly, that *is* the drinking water of choice for a lot of people, nutritional nightmare that it is.

  10. To be fair, We DO need to drink water. I spend way too much on sugar water, I suppose I’m just unhappy with the results when I put the sugar into the water myself.

    If I drank water out of the tap, I’d use the same amount of water wouldnt I? Although I agree it would be best if they could shut down, it really isnt possible, they make a lot of money and line the right pockets with it. Welcome to american democracy, money talks.

    There are hundreds of pepsi fountains all over town, mixing syrup with tap water. Do you advocate shutting those down as well? What are you supposed to do? Just go without tasty beverage?

  11. Funny, when Henry Wineschenk said the same thing in regards to him refusing to close his business, he wasn’t received too well here.

  12. I say it’s better to truck in water than to mess with the already-awful economy by closing factories.

    I say it’s probably better for the Pepsi bottling plant to truck in water if they need it. I suspect that if you do the math, it’s economically preferablefor the plant to provide for themselves than for us to provide for them.

    Anybody know how many people that they employ?

  13. Just so people know that there are still legit uses of the water car wash: My car was vandalized and covered with yogurt over the weekend near the corner by some jackass UVA students. For fear of the acid in the yogurt corroding the paint and the inevitable pungent smell, I needed to get it cleaned. The chemical washes don’t work on that sort of mess, however, so much to my dismay I had to use a hose and water to clean it off. Now, I’m not saying that this should be reason to keep wet car-washes open, but I just want to make it clear that not everyone who needs to wash their car, even with actual water, are "yuppie assholes".

  14. Yes, but people drink that fluid (which some people consider necessary for survival) while a clean car is in no way a necessity.

  15. Jinkster and I were talking about the employment aspect of the situation. Even so, people don’t need to drink Coca Cola products any more than they need to wash their cars.

  16. Definitly, that was a good use of water. We all have our priorities, and it is clear from the postings on this subject that most everyone thinks they’re morally piteous, even tho they know they’d have done the same thing in your situation.

    Remember those kalvin klein ads with pre-pubescent models in poses that look like they came from porn-movie auditions? That was a "media virus", you dont need credibility and authority to spout off media anymore, you just make it available and the global media organism regurgitates it over and over at us. Kalvin Klein couldnt BUY that kind of publicity.

    Same goes for the car wash, he’s a wise public relations man who pisses off the reactionary members of society. It is not worth a wise man’s time to be in the majority, by definition, there are already enough people to do that. How much time did you ever think of car washes until this week? Infact, you’ve thought about car washes EVERY day this week, even tho UVA is the biggest commercial user of water.

    Then what happens? poof, media virus number 2. UVA will shut down in november. Not true, but you dont need credibility anymore, you just need to let the idea free, and it snowballs all by its lonesome.

  17. My point was that unfortunately that’s how a lot of people consume their drinking water. Mixed with sugar and coloring. It may not be necessary to add things to your water to drink it, but water meant for human consumption is definitely higher on the ladder than a car wash. Sorry about your car, btw. That so sucks the big one.

  18. you stupid hippies slay me. beyond "looking good", washing your car helps protect the finish, and prevents rusting and corrosion. no wonder i see so many old, rusty VW bugs volvos rolling around town. maybe you should try some primer to cover those rust spots…it usually works better than a slew of grateful dead stickers.

  19. jeez…you people make it sound like EVERY potable beverage known to man comes out of the charlottesville resevoir. if you’re so worried about it, put down the bong and drive your dirty-ass volvo down to sams club and pick up some bottled water. NEWS FLASH – most of that stuff comes from someplace other than c’ville.

  20. i don’t fault you using water to clean a corrosive substance off your car. some people here seem to think that washing ones car is just about keeping it looking good. they have no idea that the finish on a vehicle is actually there to PROTECT it from rusting. i guess that’s why there are so many rusted out shitboxes rolling around the streets of charlottesville.

    if someone had doused my truck in yogurt, i think i’d have used the water to drown the SOBs.

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