The Evolution of Car Washes

Aug 14 2023

2 min, 6 sec read

First Car Wash:1910s

The first car wash opened in Detroit Michigan in 1914, but that was just a simple hand wash, only using a sponge and a pail of water. This was the original way to wash cars while everything was done by hand.


Automatic Car Wash:1940s
The very first automatic car wash opened in 1940 in which you would drive onto a conveyor belt. Along the tunnel attendants would wash and dry by hand

Very soon after that in 1946 Thomas Simpson used the same conveyor system but added a sprinkler overhead to pour water down onto the car. It still left most of the work on the attendants who still had to handwash the car.

Fully Automated:1950s

In the 1950s is when the Anderson brothers invented the first fully automated car wash out of Seattle Washington. It had automatic soap and water nozzles. While it also included fully automated brushes with an automatic dryer. This car wash revolutionized the game and brings us to how many car washes are set up today.


Steve Okun created the first flex-serve car wash. At the end of the car wash you would have the option to go into the full service or express detail cell. It gave the people the chance to have control over how they wanted their cars to be washed.

Express Car Wash:2000s

In 2001 Ben Alford opened the first modern-day automated express car wash. The only attendant that was needed was the one guiding the cars onto the conveyor. This was because this car wash had an automotive pay terminal and gate, which allowed people to pull up, and purchase a car wash then the gate would lift and the car would be able to go through the terminal.

In the last couple of years, car wash technology has been solely focused on making the car wash experience easier and better for the customer. Here at the Wash Shop, we aim to offer the best services to ensure that your car wash is problem free. We believe in applying the new car wash techniques with the old to combine for the best possible experience. We offer an automatic car wash with an automatic dryer. Then we will bring out the classics with a touch-up hand dry to ensure you aren’t left with any of those pesky watermarks. We offer you free use of any of our vacuums as long as you are a member. Check out our services and visit

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