How to Properly Message Your Wash’s Cleaning Products & Services During COVID-19

In searching for best practices for our wash partners during COVID-19, we discovered that many washes are using language to promote “sanitization” and “disinfection” products that may land them in legal trouble. Simply put, making false claims about EPA-registered chemicals is illegal, even if you didn’t knowingly mislead your customers.

Proper messaging is key in this situation, so we turned to our friends at Zep Vehicle Care for clarity on how car wash operators can responsibly promote products and services to customers during a time where there’s an added emphasis on keeping surfaces clean. 

Statements & Claims We Advise You Avoid: “We sanitize your car” or “we disinfect your car”

Blanket statements like these are legally impossible to claim, and are therefore in violation of federal law. EPA-registered disinfectants and sanitizers must be used strictly as directed by their label instructions in order for a business to claim that a surface is being completely disinfected or sanitized. 

Legally, the product has to be applied exactly as laid out in the products “Directions For Use” in order to make either claim. In order to ensure proper and complete sanitization, enough product has to be applied to cover the entire exterior or interior surface of a vehicle for the time indicated on the label. This isn’t always the case when working a busy line at a car wash. 

Statements & Claims We Advise You to Make Instead:  “We have disinfected high contact surfaces in your car” or “we have sanitized high contact surfaces in your car”

Operators can make this claim only when they applied the product as specified by the EPA-registered disinfectant’s label instructions to a very specific area in a vehicle, i.e. high contact points. 

Alternatively, when operators use EPA-registered disinfectants and sanitizers, but are not able to follow the label instructions to the letter, they could pivot to statements like: 

“We have cleaned your car’s interior with an EPA-registered disinfectant” or “we have treated your car’s interior with an EPA-registered disinfectant.”

Being up-front and honest about your products and their application, along with putting an emphasis on showing your customers that you take the situation seriously, is the key to proper messaging during COVID-19. As always, EverWash is happy to be a resource for you in delivering effective messaging to your customers onsite and off.

Below please find materials you can use on your social media to messaging safe, contactless washing during COVID-19 and beyond: