A History of Australia and The Automated Car Wash.

As with most industries in modern Australian capitalism, the car washes that we see around the country today were once organised and ran as small and humble local businesses, but have grown to become a massive industry which is worth billions of AU dollars. So much has changed over the 70 years since the first automated car wash opened in Australia in fact that we have decided to trace that story with you today, and maybe try to get some insight that will help us take a peek into the future of car washing and what it might all mean for the Australian car owning, and more importantly car cleaning, citizens. 



The year is 1946, Australia is still reeling from its involvement in the Second World War, a generation of Australians had seen many make the ultimate sacrifice, in a war taking place a world away, the brutality and pain of war left a generation scarred and a nation licked those wounds. With war though, as always, comes technological progress, across the world governments had pumped money into industry both for military and domestic production. The way we built and the way we lived was changed, we took one great leap forward even whilst we were taking such a massive blow. Over in America the first semi-automatic car wash was being pioneered in Detroit, Massachusetts, the motor city. For Australia though, the war and the manual technique of cleaning cars would linger in the national psyche a fair while longer.

The 1980s.


In the mid 80’s the worldwide economy was just recovering from the crashes and depressions of the 1970’s, with deja vu hanging thick as a fog over a world that could see the machine purring up once more, and the cycles starting again, from doom to hope, hope to doom, bust to boom, boom to bust. But Australia was full hope, with a political leadership that wanted to build on economic recovery. What they wanted to build was a new Australia, or to at least to recover a lost Australia:

The first problem is how to arrest the explosion in unemployment and then move towards its steady reduction with the ultimate goal of genuine full employment – the bipartisan goal adopted for the first three decades of the post-War era.” – Prime Minister Bob Hawke, National Economic Summit, Canberra, 11 April, 1983.

It was on this backdrop that the first automatic car washes came to Australia. The 1980’s loved its promises, this technological revolution was going to be different, it wasn’t going to build bigger armies and bigger machines, it wasn’t going to rule the world, it was going to change your world, the world of the consumer, the house wife, the middle man, the little guy. This revolution was going to touch your life, your wallet, and all you thought about your self. This revolution was one of ease and aspiration. And the future, oh the future.


What could be more futuristic than the automated carwash. What may seem odd to us now, and what we must understand, is that machines were not always trusted, machines were scary, machines were intimidating, now we were here being asked not just to get into a car, to put our lives in the hands of this machine, but to then drive that machine into another machine. A machine that would come crashing down on you with its arms and brushes, such a thing was terrifying, it was thrilling, it was easy and mad. It was the future.

Next time.

Next time on our History of Australia and The Automated Car Wash, we will look at what happened with the spread of car washes, and what might happen next. What might the future hold for car washing, we have self driving cars now apparently, will we have self washing cars? People now come to our houses to clean our kitchens, like Ovenu, perhaps car washes will come to our houses too? Or to our work? Tell us what you think. See you next tim

Car Washing and Drought in Australia: A Users Guide.

Hey there and welcome to ‘Car washing and drought in Australia: a users guide’ our guide to how the water restrictions that are in place around the country may effect you and how you clean your car. Australia is the world’s driest inhabited continent, we are all a little mad to be here in the first place, it’s no wonder that so many of us make sure we live down by the big blue!


Lazy bloody kangaroos! Don’t they know we are trying to work our way out of a recession!

We regularly have widespread drought in our fair land and that means water shortages all round. The state has long responded by imposing water usage restrictions to manage the problem. These restrictions can have some negative effects on businesses who may, especially in the summer months, have cooling systems that rely on the circulation of cold water. Such systems used to be common place but have been phased out and replaced by high functioning industrial fans from Beatson in most places. Still, it shoes the far reaching effects something as simple as water usage restrictions can have. One of the first targets for restriction is how we wash our cars. Washing your car at home with a hose uses a lot of water…

Portrait of man washing his car and smiling with daughter in background

Put that thumb away! Lives are at stake…

The restrictions vary around the country, with most states operating at various ‘stages’ at different times. Stage 1 for instance, the least restrictive stage, may say you can only wash your car at home once a week or at a commercial car wash. Stage 2 may say you can only do it once a month or at a commercial car wash. Stage three, the most restrictive stage, may say that you cannot do it at home at all, but have to take it to a commercial car wash.


At the commercial car wash yeah!

You can check your local restrictions and how they will effect your life both in regards to cleaning your car and more generally, on the internet and at your local government office. It is important that you do as you can be liable for a fine and maybe even prosecution if you break the restrictions. The more you know!

So be careful out there! Make sure you are aware of your local restrictions on water use!

How To Wash And Dry Your Car By Hand

Many vehicle owners would love to wash their own cars at home both as a way of saving some money and for therapeutic reasons. Frequent washing of your car helps to maintain its sleek finish if done in the right way. Failure to use the right method leads to damage of the car and paint; therefore, you have to do it just like the professionals do it. The first step would be parking the car out in the open where there is no direct sunlight and where you will have enough space to walk around it and clean everywhere.

Products To Use

Avoid using the same cleaning agents that you use for your household work as they are not friendly to the car paint. Use a car wash product available in stores. Mitts and sponges that are plush are the best compared to flat weave clothing like towels and dense sponges. You will also need about three buckets of water; one with the car-washing detergent, and two with plain water for rinsing. As for the sponges, it is also recommendable to use two different sponges so that the rinsing water does not have any trails of the detergent.

A car in the process of being cleaned.

Proper Cleaning

First, ensure that the antenna is retracted and all the windows are closed so that water does not escape to the inside. Secondly, try and soften or loosen the dirt by hosing off the car using a soft jet so that you don’t damage the paint. Begin washing the tires and wheels first so that the dirt does not splash on the clean surfaces. When cleaning the car, make sure you start with one side of the car and work from the top downwards to avoid doing a counter productive job. Once you are done with one side of the car, rinse it first before you move on.

Important Do’s And Dont’s

Always rinse the soapy sponge regularly as you wash so that it is clean at all times. This is the best way for you to prevent swirl marks caused by using a dirty sponge. When you are done, use a spray nozzle to rinse the bottom of your car at all angles. Use some fresh, clean towels to wipe the car after rinsing it with clean water. Do not attempt to dry the car yourself; let it dry up gradually out in the open. Wax and other polishing materials should be applied only after the car has dried up completely.