The power of colour in a car wash

Foto: Dave Lundy (Flickr)

Does pink foam in the car wash create a clean car experience for the consumer? And what are the best colours for the corporate identity of a car wash? CarwashPro spoke with Mark Kotterink of the Dutch Color Institute about the power of colour in a car wash. “People are always looking for balance, for harmony”

Here’s an interesting question for you: do you feel assured that coloured foam will ensure a good wash result? . According to colour expert Mark Kotterink, the ‘laws of colour’ play a big role in a customer’s perception, something which certainly applies to customers in a car wash. “Research shows that consumer behavior is determined for about 80 to 90 percent by colour”, Kottering states. “This means we can safely say that colour largely determines the success of a product and the turnover of a company,” he writes in a blog for the Dutch Colour Institute.

Blue and white

A colour is composed of three elements: hue, lightness and saturation. Clean colours are colours to which no black has been added, so with a clear hue. Kotterink: “for car washes, that clean feel is of course of great importance. So I would advise choosing bright colours for a corporate identity.” The colour expert adds that colour unconsciously evokes associations. Blue and white are associated with cleanliness. Green, on the other hand, is associated with nature and sustainability. “So it will not be a surprise that many car washes’ corporate identities feature these very colours.”

Pink foam

Back to the first question: does coloured foam in the wash bay or tunnel create the desired feeling of cleanness and does it satisfy customers? According to Kotterink, it all depends on the intention of the car wash. “Colour creates perception, so for those who want to surprise customers with a different colour foam, this works very well. A car wash owner could also decide to use only the visual power of colour, for example by adjusting the lighting.”


Certain colours (white, blue) are associated with clean results on a subconscious level. On the same level, there is also a sense of value attached to certain colours. “Burgundy red is associated with a feeling of wealth, while bright orange on the other hand looks cheap,” says Kotterink.

In choosing the right colour a number of things play a role, including harmony, aesthetics and perception. It is the coherence between these elements which has to be right, says Kottering. It’s not like perception is more important than harmony.

Find the balance

Kotterink once again emphasizes that the impact of colour on consumer behavior is tremendous. “What colouring is about is that you have to keep in mind that people are always looking for balance, for harmony. If that’s not there, then we feel uncomfortable and uneasy. In that, colourists have a big responsibility.”

Author: Rene Passet

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