How to clean filthy Burning Man cars

Burning Man by Viaggio Routard

Every year after Burning Man, a San Francisco car wash encounters hundreds of extra customers with extremely dirty cars. Lucky for us, he shares a secret how to properly clean them.

Once a year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s dusty Black Rock Desert for Burning Man. An event which attracts many foreign visitors with rental cars and campers. Vehicles that all need to be cleaned before they are returned. And boy, do these cars get dirty. Incredibly dirty.

If you have never heard of Burning Man, imagine an empty, dusty desert first. Then imagine a complete temporary metropolis being built which is dedicated to community, art, self-expression and self-reliance.
Every visitor should bring at least 1.5 gallons of water a day, since there isn’t any water on the site. Of course, this water is not used to clean cars. More often than not, it’s only used as drinking water.

So it should be of no surprise that vehicles returning from the week-long event return incredibly filthy. This year’s record dust storms made matters even worse, leaving vehicles caked in desert debris and badly in need of a deep clean.

Tower Car Wash

One of the most popular destinations for drivers returning to San Francisco from the Black Rock Desert is Tower Car Wash on Mission Street.
According to general manager Steve Matijevich it’s one of the busiest weeks of the year, and he has to schedule additional staff to meet demand, he told SFGate.

It’s not so much the long line for washes, it’s the condition they are in. “It really isn’t that crazy; it’s just that we have a lot of dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty Burning Man dust-everywhere cars, which are extremely difficult to clean,” he told the local new site. Matijevich will never underestimate how dirty some cars can get when they go to Burning Man.

Burning Man by Nik Demidko

Burning Man Menu

For the last couple of years, Tower Car Wash has offered a special Burning Man menu, which includes detailing services formulated particularly to handle the issues the event presents.

According to Matijevich the secret is vinegar. A lot of it. He uses the liquid to dissolve the alkaloid in the fine dust on the cars. It’s a secret given by him many years ago, and he has been using it ever since.

The average Burning Man-visitor with the dirty car spends about$100 on wash services. $60 more than a regular customer normally spends. But at least the rental company won’t go berserk when you return the vehicle. Plus, you get to save your deposit.

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Author: Rene Passet

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