A Timeline of Car Wash History

Blog | Feb 21, 2017

It seems like second nature; when your car gets dirty, you drive it to your local car wash. However, how much do you know about the history behind the car wash and how we got to the system that is in place today? When did automated car washes first come into existence and what improvements have been made over time?

The first car wash in America opened in Detroit, the Motor City, in 1914. The car washes that followed were mainly manually operated until the 1960s and 1970s when patents for equipment such as automatic wheel cleaners and roller-on-demand conveyor belts standardized the industry and improved efficiency.

Around the start of the 21st century, car washes implemented technology that better recycles and preserves water to boost eco-friendly efforts and reduce electricity usage. Today there are an estimated 22,000 car wash locations around the world. Learn more about the evolution of car washes in our infographic.

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