Detergents for washing cars and other vehicles used in the north of Europe contain completely different ingredients than the ones used in the south. This is partly due to the completely differing weather conditions and how the vehicle owner handles his/her vehicle. “The challenge in car washes in Scandinavia, for example, is that motor vehicles are equipped with studded snow tyres during the winter, which means that a great deal of dirt from the street is being distributed on the paint,” explains Sabine Both, Senior Technical Expert Home Care, I&I and Industrial Solutions at BTC. As a result, special solvents must be used which are not necessary in southern Europe. Irrespective of the weather, several formulations are typically used to achieve the desired solution. “The good news for BTC customers is that our range includes all currently known innovations, making it possible to find the best formula for the particular requirement,” says Both. This applies both to maintaining the exterior of the car and to cleaning and protecting the interior, for example the seats and dashboard.
According to Both, formulation experts are increasingly demanding substances that are environmentally friendly. These are available for all four components that can be included in modern car wash detergents – cleaner, dryer, paint protection and care, and lustre effects. “Good examples of this include the solutions in the Trilon®, Glucopon®, Lutensol® TO and Polyquart® Ecoclean ranges. While they are easily biodegradable, car wash operators do not have to worry about compromising on quality,” says Both.
On the one hand, formulation experts can produce products for conventional, fully-automated car washes from the variety of individual components. On the other hand, the ingredients are also suitable for do-it-yourself products and solutions for professional manual washing. The latter also includes the relatively recent trend of water-free cleaning. “This trend is already widespread in the USA and is now making its way to Europe too. For example, customers can benefit from a quick, free car wash while they are shopping in the supermarket,” explains Both. Once again, this goes to show that the variety of applications is extremely large. BTC therefore supports its customers not only through its full product range, but also through tried-and-tested formulation examples for many typical applications.
Dr Sabine Both has been working for BTC since 2011. After gaining her doctorate in chemistry, she has been active in developing cleaning agents. She knows exactly which purposes a particular product can fulfil based on its ingredients. “I was involved in the development of some of the cleaning component formulations in the BTC range,” she says. As Senior Technical Expert, Both currently oversees the Home Care and Industrial Solutions divisions. According to Both, the biggest difference between the two areas is that “private customers generally appreciate being regularly presented with a new or improved product. In industry, the motto is usually: If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” she says. However, there is one thing that often changes, especially with regard to cleaning products – environmental protection requirements. “If we are able to offer a solution thanks to a certain chemical composition, that’s always a great success,” says Both.