For those who would like to offer car sanitizing as a paid service or as a perk to customers, here are a few disinfectant systems available and some facts about this market.
We’ve mentioned BioPledge previously. It is a spray on option that sanitizes cars as an anti microbial disinfectant. It has not yet received approval as effective against COVID-19 specifically, but it is registered with the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) as a hospital grade disinfectant.
A quick Google search shows the BioPledge is used by some Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Subaru dealerships as well as some Tint World franchises.
BioPledge has the advantage of being a one-application system, where many others are two-stage. It it is certified to kill both viruses and bacteria and it claims to continue to offer protection for up to 30 days afterward. Company President Alex Baranga notes that for use in rental cars, it recommends reapplication every three or four customers, so if a customer is looking for long lasting protection, he may want to use the product more frequently. In any case, it can protect your installers when applied first and supposedly your customers thereafter.
Another system is called PermaSafe. This is a 3 year-old company that offers a two step system. The first step uses an EPA-registered spray that kills 99.99 percent of viruses and bacteria and is approved by the EPA for specifically fighting, SARS-CoV-2 the virus that causes COVID-19. It requires no wipe down after the initial spray application and it takes 7 minutes to apply. There’s a second stage offered by PermaSafe that claims to provide long lasting protection from mold, mildew and bacterial growth (NOT long lasting viral protection) for up to 90 days. That application also takes 7 minutes.
Germs can congregate in automotive air vents.
PermaSafe said it sells to thousands of dealers including car dealerships and it has a direct relationship with General Motors. To get started, a dealer needs an atomized mister, which ranges in price from $35 to $200, said Dan Brancaccio, a PermaSafe Managing Partner.
The company would not reveal dealer pricing, nor suggest a fee for the service.
Another system is Clorox Total 360. AutoNation offers the service for $29.99 as a spray-on that claims to leave a coat that protects against bacteria and viruses. One service rep at AutoNation told us, “It’s like a hand sanitizer but for your car.”
It uses an electrostatic sprayer, which is more sophisticated than the other services. The sprayer has a special nozzle for superior coverage. Clorox says the spray-on product is “Eligible for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, based on the EPA’s Emerging Viral Pathogen Policy.”
We were unable to speak with Clorox management so we cannot verify the company’s distribution policies.
By the way, Service Master charges $425/hour in the state of Connecticut to detail and disinfect a car. It uses a HEPA vacuum and an herbal CDC-recommended product. For police cars requiring disinfecting when someone with COVID-19 used the car, it charges $800 to $900 and uses a fogger.
We’ve mentioned ozone generators as another way to disinfect cars. According to Mobile Solutions‘ Bryan Schmitt, they are available at a starting price of $79.
Ozone generators are used in restoring vehicles that are filled with mold or other odors. When you run the machine, it breaks down oxygen molecules and changes them chemically. It kills viruses as well as bacteria.
The drawback is you can’t be in the car with it, and it needs 20 percent fresh air so you need to roll down the car’s windows part way. Then you let it run for about 90 minutes, so you will need to keep the car a bit longer, especially if you run it before starting the install (to protect your technicians) and then after the install (to protect the customer). But again, no one can be in the car while it’s running.
Schmitt believes you should charge about an hour of shop time, or around $60 to $120 for the service.
He suggests telling customers that sanitization is now a necessary procedure. “We want to be safe and we want you to be safe.”
Some words of caution. Ozone generators can damage some interior surfaces such as carpets, plastic, rubber padding, electrical wire coatings and fabrics containing certain dyes or pigments. That said, Car Toys offers an ozone service. We also suggest being careful in how you advertise the service as it is not proven to stop COVID-19, but it is effective against bacteria and as a general disinfectant.
To find out if a cleaning product is approved as a SARS-C0V-2 fighting agent click on the EPA website here. All sanitizing products have EPA master registration numbers on the bottle or container that can be plugged into the EPA site to determine if they are approved for fighting COVID.
Westminster Speed & Sound, MD uses a fogging system called Aquaox 275 but does not charge for it. The process takes about 10 minutes. Aquaox distributor Westminster Car Wash suggests charging $35 for the service. The company also provides a second stage cleaning agent for the steering wheel, door handles and other key surfaces and suggests charging $50 for both stages combined. Start up costs for using this fogging system are $405 for just the fogger and 5 gallons of the chemical agent. If you also add the disinfectants for steering wheels, etc, the start up package comes to $525.
We should note that our research found that fogging must be preceded with cleaning the car with soap and water or other cleaning agents prior to fogging for it to be effective. For more information on Aquaox 275 contact [email protected]
Aquaox 275 uses hypochlorous acid (HOCL), which is created by the electrolysis of salt water. Fogging HOCL has been shown to eradicate other coronaviruses.