Though it originally sold only two things—audio products and wireless phones—Car Toys has gradually expanded its repertoire. Today, with 50 locations spread across four states, electronics-certified technicians install everything from Alpine in-dash navigation units to phone-integration systems that sync iPhones, Androids, and tin cans to car stereos. Meanwhile, in the garage, detailing technicians meticulously spruce up cars inside and out, using deionized water, paint-friendly shampoos, and high-quality wash mitts to protect against scratches, swirls, and water spots. The team also sweeps through interiors with vacuums, hot-water extractors, and ozone deodorizing treatment, which kills airborne bacteria and nasty smells in one fell swoop.
On the corner of Washington Avenue and Heights Boulevard in the Heights, there’s a big blue building with a covered carport and a lot full of cars with all their doors open, this is Keep It Clean Carwash. Since 2004, Houstonians have been getting their cars hand-buffed by Keep It Clean team members. There are no big machines or drive-through sprayers here, it’s hand washing and detailing all the way. Customers can expect a wait on the weekends, when it seems like half of Houston is getting waxed and shampooed here, but they’re open every day except major holidays and during severe weather. Services range from a basic wash to show room detailing with leather treatments, rug shampooing and interior and exterior protectants.
Bubbles Express Wash swiftly gussies up sullied buggies with the three-minute Supreme Combo Express wash. The fully automated process begins with a wash, rinse, and dry, before your buggy's formerly spotted pelt is refeathered with tri-color polish, clear-coat wax, and a fast-drying agent. Wheels receive a tread-tickling scrub and high-gloss shine, and the auto's underbelly is showered and bolstered with a rust- and gremlin-repelling shield. Lastly, Rain Protection Plus is lovingly lacquered onto your ride, bringing a gleam to newly cleaned carriages while silently protesting Mother Nature's refusal to comply with "say it don't spray it" ordinances.
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.
All American Carpet Cleaning graces the carpets of more than 10,000 homes each year with its eco-friendly cleaning solutions. By using a high-pressure hot water extraction system, insured technicians can pull grime from deep-down carpet fibers without leaving any unflattering residue. Clients can also solicit All American’s car care division to scour interior carpets, restore headlights, or tuck in the sheets on an unkempt racecar bed.
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.