The 5 Things You Need to Know Before Selecting COLORS for your Car Wash Triple Foam or Detergent

How long did it take you to select the color shade for your triple foam or detergent?

Maybe weeks so you could match it just right to your company logo? Or so you could have the perfect eye-popping florescent?

But have you heard the horror stories within the industry regarding using the wrong dye and resultant staining and wash-off problems?

There are literally thousands of dyes and pigments to choose from when you formulate your detergents. So how do you choose? They should all work the same, right?

Well, maybe not…

It’s in the Numbers


Let’s face, when it comes to detergent chemical formulations, there are innumerable types. Which is a positive because with so many varied end-use applications and desired performance characteristics, a wide selection of chemicals must be used to meet all the needs.

However, when formulating a detergent, certain technical questions should arise.

  • What is the detergent pH?
  • Will the colorant stain the material it is cleaning?
  • Will it stain adjacent material?
  • Do we want it to fade in sunlight, or be stable to it?
  • Will the chemical additives be compatible with each other?

And then, once these and other questions are satisfied, the final colorant choice must also satisfy all of these technical parameters:

If you don’t look at the numbers in your chemical formulations, you could create disaster for automobile owners:

Sometimes known as “Smurfing a car” these stains can cause serious trouble for the car wash facility and ultimately for your company.

To avoid this all-too-common problem in the industry, here are five things YOU need to consider while choosing the right colorant for your car wash foam or detergent:

  1. pH Stability – pH is a measure of how acidic or basic a chemical system is. Colorants have specific pH ranges where they work the best. What’s YOUR pH?
  2. Chemical Compatibility – will your colorant “play well with other” chemicals in your system or formulation?
  3. Solubility Compatibility – how much color can you mix in to your system and will it stay mixed with your other components?
  4. Staining Characteristics – will the colorant wash off after use, or will you be “smurfing a car” or staining a surface you meant to clean?
  5. UV Stability – the sun can act on bottles of colored detergent or cleaner to degrade or destroy the color. You don’t want your beautiful bottle of blue detergent to turn swampy green upon sitting on a store’s shelves!

Luckily, we have done much of the homework for you! Click below to download our Technical Guide: “How to Choose the Right Detergent Color”.