Acid - A chemical substance
whose properties include the ability to react with bases or alkalies in water solutions to form salts.
Alkali - A chemical substance (such as hydroxide or
carbonate of sodium or potassium) which reacts and neutralizes an acid.
Alkalinity - A property of water soluble substances (or
mixtures) causing the concentration of hydroxyl ions (OH-) in water solutions to be higher than the concentration
of hydrogen ions (H+).
Biodegradability -The capability of organic matter to be
decomposed by biological processes.
Boom: In a self-service wash, the arm extension that holds a hose and nozzle for washing the vehicle. The
boom can be wall-mounted for 180° movement or ceiling-mounted for 360° movement.
BTU - British Thermal Units, a measure of energy.
Caustic - A strong alkali. When used alone the term
usually refers to caustic soda (sodium hydroxide).
Centrifugal Separator - Device to remove large dirt
particles from reclaim water flow.
CFM - Cubic feet per minute.
Chemical Metering and Feed System - Apparatus for
delivering chemicals from the equipment room to the application in the wash bay.
Chlorination - Process of adding chlorine to water to
inhibit bacterial growth.
Cloth Friction Wash - Using wash
material against the vehicle's surface to remove dirt.
Correlator: In-ground device to align the vehicle wheels with a wash conveyor by providing a mechanism for
the vehicle to slide laterally. The Correlator is located at the beginning of the entrance of the
Detergency - The ability to clean or remove soil.
Generally detergency is associated with the action of a cleaning agent such as soap, detergent, alkaline salt, or a
Dissolved Solids - Fine particles of dirt and other
debris in water not distinctly visible to the naked eye.
Exterior Wash - Carwash service that includes only a
cleaning of the outside of the car. Often this refers to an unattended wash, where no detailing services are
FNPT - Female National Pipe Thread
Foam - Bubbles formed on liquids by the process of
FOB - "Free on board" means that the seller delivers
when the goods are loaded. This means that the buyer has to bear all costs and risks of "loss of" or "damage" to
the goods from that point..
Front-to-Rear Cloth Mitter Curtains - Cleaning
material moving parallel with the travel of the vehicle.
Full-Service Wash - A conveyorized or tunnel wash
that provides a complete wash, vacuuming and drying, usually by hand.
FWP - Front Wheel Pull
Gantry - A framework that spans a distance, often
moving on wheels.
Greaseless - Not requiring lubrication.
Hand Wash (conveyorized) - A conveyor wash with
workers wearing large mitts that wash the vehicle, rather than using mechanical mitters and side
Hard Surface Cleaner: A product formulated for cleaning painted surfaces, washable floor
coverings, plastics, metals, porcelain, and other surfaces.
Hz - Hertz
Kwh - Kilowatt per hour
Lubricity - The measure of resistance to friction on a
Micron - One millionth of a meter.
Mitter - Machine that suspends and oscillates wash
material on the horizontal surfaces of a vehicle to effect cleaning of the top surfaces of an automobile
Motor Control Center - Enclosure containing starters,
switching, and overload protection devices for electric motors which are utilized throughout a carwash system to
operate various motors on different devices and machines.
Opaque - Not letting light pass through; not
transparent or translucent
Over-and-Under Conveyor - Type of conveyor that has
hidden pushers continuously traveling on a level under the surface. Only when a pusher is needed to push a car is
one lifted into the working position.
Ozonation - Process of injecting ozone into water to
inhibit bacterial growth.
Palletized - Self-contained in a single unit, mounted on a
pH - A measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution,
numerically equal to 7 for neutral solutions, increasing with increasing alkalinity and decreasing with increasing
acidity. The pH scale commonly in use ranges from 0 to 14. [p(otential of) H(ydrogen).]
PLC - Programmable Logic Controller.
Polish Wax - Foam applicator which applies a colored
chemical to the vehicle as it passes through the wash bay. Provides extra service that generates additional revenue
and is eye pleasing to the motorist.
POS - Point of Sale.
PSI - Per square inch of
Reverse Osmosis - The removal of organic and
suspended impurities from water by the use of one or more semi-permeable membranes.
Rinse Aid - Wax-like chemical applied to the vehicle
surface after the final rinse for easier water removal during the drying process.
Rocker Panel - Portion of a vehicle's side that is
below a straight line between the tops of both tires.
Roll Bar Assembly - Rotating device that spans the
correlator and directs a vehicle's tires onto the wash conveyor.
Roller-on-Demand - Carwash conveyor operational
feature that moves a pusher into working position on the conveyor track to move a car through the carwash.
Rollover Wash -The type of wash where the customer drives
into position and sits stationary while the equipment moves over and around the car.
Rust Inhibitor - A chemical applicator for the under side
of the vehicle in the wash process that inhibits rust formation.
RWP - Rear Wheel Push
Self-Lubricating - Pre-lubricated and not
requiring additional lubrication.
Self-Service Wash - A wash where the customer
performs all the labor. Generally, the customer drives into a bay and washes the car by means of a high pressure
hose and a foaming brush.
Silencer - Pan-like dryer attachments filled with acoustical
foam that cover the dryer producer inlets to reduce noise levels.
Spot-free - Carwash industry term synonymous with
Letting light pass through while diffusing it.
Triple Polish: Foam applicator which applies
three different colored chemicals to the vehicle as it passes through the wash bay. Extra service that generates
additional revenue and is eye pleasing to the customer.
UHMW polyethylene - Ultra High Molecular Weight
polyethylene, a type of plastic.
Undercarriage Wash Applicator - Device to deliver
high volumes of wash water to the underside of vehicles to remove mud and salt. Can also be used as a rust
Material - Industry term for cloth used for cleaning in
a friction wash.
Water Hardness - Soluble metal salts, (principally
those of calcium and magnesium, and sometimes iron and manganese) that when present in water in sufficient amounts
create cleaning problems. These metal salts remain on a vehicle after the water evaporates leaving white spots.
Weep System - A system using dripping water to
prevent freezing in hoses in cold climates.
Wetting Agent - A substance that reduces the surface
tension of a liquid, causing the liquid to spread across or penetrate more easily the surface of a solid.
Wheel and Tire Chemical Applicator - Device for
spraying cleaning solution onto wheels and tires.
Wrap Around Washers - Rotating brushes attached to
knuckling arms for cleaning the front, sides and rear of vehicles.