Automated Car Washes vs. Hand Washes

Automated car washes are a huge presence in the Car Detailing industry, but how do they stack up to the good ol’ hand wash? A carefully done two bucket hand wash is always going to be a great way to ensure your car gets squeaky clean, but it takes a lot of time and effort, and often has a strong impact on the environment, raising the question is it really worth it?

Let’s compare: Automated Washes vs. Two Bucket Hand Wash

Automated Washes


  • Speedy and efficient: Drive in, drive out. 10 minutes is the maximum amount of time you are going to spend getting an automated wash, whereas hand washes can last 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Consistency: Automated washes are designed to wash any car effectively, leaving you with a consistent result every time.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Contrary to popular belief, almost all modern car washes are much better for the environment than hand washes, as they are under legal obligation to dispose of their wastewater in a


  • Damage: Although generally a lot safer for your car than a poorly administered hand wash, certain older automated washes can actually damage your paint 
  • Water spots: If not effectively dried, some automated washing can leave water spots on your paint, giving a less than ideal look to your freshly washed car.
  • Polish?? Wax?? Sealant??: Automated washes can only go so far, providing no “extras” for your cars exterior. This can be frustrating if you are trying to restore your clear coat, etc.

Hand Washes (Two Bucket Method)


  • Comes To You: We use the two bucket wash method at Cleen Detailing, giving you the ability to get your car detailed in the comfort of your own home, convenience is a top priority!
  • TLC: The tender loving care of a hand wash can not be topped by an automated wash. Crevices and corners can be thoroughly cleaned that might be missed by an automated car wash service, and overall the quality of a well executed hand wash tends to be higher.
  • Perfect Finish, Every Time: With a professional hand wash, you are guaranteed perfection every time. If an area isn’t fully cleaned, you just pass over it again!


  • Water Waste: When washing by hand, tons of contaminated water trails into the sewers. Here at Cleen Detailing we take the environment very seriously, which is why we commit to low water usage and using only green soaps.
  • Scratching: If not executed by a properly trained employee, it is easy to scratch the paint of a car by rubbing dirt and contaminants back in while scrubbing it clean. We ensure all of our employees have received intensive training before the wash mitt ever touches your paint, so you can be sure you will get a nice, swirl free wash.

At the end of the day, both wash methods are great ways to go. A professional two-bucket hand wash is always going to be thorough and effective, but takes time, whereas an automated wash is a great way to quickly keep your car clean. Here at Cleen, we recommend a hand wash when you are really looking to get a deep exterior cleaning, and automated washes for maintenance exterior cleaning throughout the year. 

Experience #CleenEffect today, and get a two bucket wash executed in the comfort of your own home!

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