We’ve touched on this subject in previous blog posts (Catch-22: Car Washes Don’t Scratch Cars and Common Alaska Car Wash Myths: Debunked), but we wanted to share a little more on why our modern friction car wash doesn’t scratch cars. We’re calling it— The Great Alaskan Touchless Car Wash Myth!

If you’re not yet familiar with our Sudzy Salmon Car Wash, we are a Hybrid Tunnel Car Wash which is an entirely different system than a touchless car wash, the latter of which you may have heard is “better” or “safer” for vehicles in terms of avoiding scratches. However, that is not the case. In fact, Mercedes states right in their car care manual to “never clean your vehicle in a touchless automatic car wash as these use special cleaning agents. These cleaning agents can damage the paintwork or plastic parts.”

Our machine uses a standardized hybrid process to remove dirt—which is the real culprit behind scratches left on vehicles—and our friction system consists of soft foam cloth spinning at 90-100 RPM in a 5-foot diameter.

We also enlist our Sudzy Salmon team—yes, real people—to use pressure washers in a controlled environment to remove the big stuff, before sending your vehicle through a high pressure wash. Following this, your vehicle will encounter our friction system using foam cloth, which does not hold dirt, before finally getting to the rinse, shine, polish, and dry section. We do this to ensure the dirt film is removed before we apply clear coat protectant, high-end carnauba waxes, or Luminaura to protect your vehicle from the next layer of dirt.

Since the most common pre-existing damage we see on our camera system is loose or broken parts, chips, and scratches, we always ask that you keep in mind the Catch-22 of washing your car— It is dirt that scratches cars. Our machine operates in the same way, every time, and rarely changes, therefore it is important to note of any pre-existing chips, scratches, or swirling that are apparent on your vehicle prior to entering the wash.

What else can you do to avoid scratching? It may seem ironic, but coming once or twice a week makes your vehicle easier to clean and cuts down on the likelihood of scratching. With Sudzy Salmon’s friction wash, we are able to remove the dirt film using less caustic chemicals than your average touchless car wash.

And especially as we head into winter, you’ll find our car wash superior to hand-washing since using hard bristle brushes (to remove winter elements) can be the worst offenders for scratching!

But just in case you find yourself still on the fence about the Catch-22 of Car Washes and the Great Alaskan Touchless Car Wash Myth, here’s a little refresher about what makes our car wash stand out among the rest:


  • We use less harmful products.
  • Does a better job of cleaning your car without the worry of damaging your paint job over time.
  • More environmentally-friendly than touchless washes— we use a water reclaim and conservation system.
  • Our tunnel can accommodate more cars and provides faster wash times, taking up less of your day.


  • Mechanical action of cleaning is removed.
  • Tend to use harsher chemicals, typically hydrofluoric acid, to make up for non-mechanical action. This is actually worse for your paint job over time.
  • Longer dwell time of chemicals sitting on your vehicle.

See you at the wash!

Sudzy Salmon Car Wash
13120 Old Glenn Highway
Eagle River, Alaska
Ph: 907-622-SUDZ (7839)
[email protected]

First Class Experience with an Alaskan Touch