Hand wash. Hand wax. That's what it says in bold letters right above the entrance of The Wash's modest, white concrete-block building. The staff keeps it as straightforward and simple as that. Car-wash technicians lather up and wipe down vehicles by hand, shine tires with Armor All, and vacuum interiors free of loitering carpoolers. Skilled in thorough detailing, they also condition leather and chrome and deodorize car cabins.
A pair of husband and wife teams preside over Texas Splish Splash Hand Car Wash's original Webster and brand new Pearland locations. At the base of a comprehensive service menu, lamb's mitts buff out scratch-free shines and lull restless cars to sleep. By-hand detailing services ranging from window cleaning and carnauba wax to paint restoration and tar removal help customers thwart the damaging swirls of machine-wash procedures. Rain-X products and air fresheners cap off services to cars, trucks, motorcycles, and RVs, and the Pearland location's stocked snack area caps off satisfied customers with coffee, sodas, and empty cups with toupee tape.
Over the last 20 years, Classy Chassis Car Wash's clientele has morphed from '92 Mustangs to 2012 hybrids. But no matter the make, model, or year of the vehicles that roll onto the lot, Chassis's staff of technicians and detailers stick to a consistent formula of washing, waxing, and shampooing cars in order to keep them pristine. A slate of wash packages incorporates rinses, tunnel waxes, and tire shines in the pursuit of that perfect gleaming finish. On the detailing end, technicians coax a blinding shine from the exterior with high-speed buffers, gild the newly minted colors in paint sealants, and soak the upholstery in shampoos. Even engines can join in on the fun as they get a wash and shine to impress mechanics and inspire pistons to incorporate graceful dance moves into their mechanical repertoire.
There's a reason why owner Bill Lawrence decided to set Bubbles Hand Car Wash apart with upscale services and a pleasant ambiance. As Lawrence relayed to Allison Wollam of the Houston Business Journal, he was charmed by a clean, welcoming car wash he visited shortly after moving to Texas from New York, where car washes typically charged a convenience fee to any customer who smiled. Lawrence knew he could cater better to luxury car owners like himself with a conveyerized hand-wash system that combined the convenience of the tunnel model with the hands-on meticulousness of a traditional hand wash. His idea has caught on with some very high-profile customers. Houston Texans linebacker Mister Alexander trusts his ride to the skilled hands of Bubbles’ technicians, as do Houston Rockets players Hakeem Olajuwon and Kenny Smith, not to mention former president George Bush.
Even patrons without a Porsche or a professional sports career appreciate Bubbles' gentle lamb's wool mitt washes and eco-friendly soaps, sealers, waxes, and conditioners, as proven by the business’s 2010 and 2012 Houston A-List awards for Best Car Wash. Customers seem to be as taken with the company’s facilities as they are with its services; each lobby invites relaxation with free WiFi, a bemusing gift shop, and shoe shines so effective that patrons need only stand beside their vehicle to check its undercarriage. The community-conscious car washes also use less than a quarter of the water typically expended during a home wash, and the locations offer free car washes for military personnel on Veterans Day.
The crew at Soap Hand Car Wash employs deep-nap mitts and a three-bucket technique that uses less than 10 gallons of water per wash. From Bucket 1 they pull amber-colored lamb's wool mitts and scrub wheels, tires, bumpers, undersides, and other gritty areas. Then they strap on white synthetic-wool mitts from Bucket 2 to clean the paint. Bucket 3 holds clean water, which the detailers use to rinse out the white mitts before dunking them in fresh soap and cleaning the paint a second time. Their special yellow sponges (made by Pinnacle) remove bugs without messing up the finish, and their terry towels (white for windows and painted surfaces; blue for everything else) leave all cars—including Maseratis, BMWs, Bentleys, and antique Mercedes-Benzes—dry and swirl-free.
Soap’s detailers build wonders on that three-bucket foundation. Dressings spiff up leather, tires, and wheels. Shampoo cleanses carpets. Orbital buffers add shine, and vacuums scoop up interior crumbs before they rot and conspire to poison the Garfield window cling. Wax upgrades are available, including handcrafted premium carnauba Lusso Oro wax and Pinnacle Souverän show-car wax.
While they wait, drivers can sip complimentary coffee or access free WiFi in the waiting room, which is equipped with flat-screen TVs. A kids' area entertains youngsters as they dream up ways to retain the lot price of their Matchbox cars.:m]]
Every car is different, but they all look good after a fresh wash. The technicians at South Beach Auto Spa keep that in mind, delivering expert detailing services while taking the extra steps needed to protect vehicles. On top of traditional hand wash and wax services, the staff offers three- and five-stage polishing that buffs out nicks, scratches, water spots, or hood paintings of Princess Leia. Techs even use different wash sponges on the wheels than on the body, ensuring that sponges don't pick up the brake dust that can scratch a car's paint finish.
One of only a few local shops lucky enough to carry 3M products, South Beach Auto Spa also protects auto interiors with tint-installation services. Customers can gauge the potential appearance of different tinting films through a simulator, opting for color-stable, crystalline, or premium films. All tinting films are digitally cut using software and a Roland plotter, and help fend off UV rays and adverse temperatures while increasing each auto's security and appearance.