icon Skip to content
Ask The Expert - Q&A with Mike! Why chemical safety is important.

Ask The Expert - Q&A with Mike! Why chemical safety is important.

We’re back again this week for another interview with the office crew to talk about safety. This time, we’ve got Mike here to get his insights on proper chemical handling and much more. Let’s jump right into it!

Q: Alright Mike, why are we talking about safety this week? Why is this an important topic?
A: Because people are more important than profits, by a long shot. From what I've seen, safety hasn't been taken seriously enough by both suppliers and customers in the industry. We work with professional grade chemicals that need to be respected. I believe we have a fundamental responsibility as a chemical supplier to our customers and our employees to ensure we are encouraging safe handling and use of our products.

Q: Let’s say you’re doing a typical brush / mitt wash on a big rig with our Bug Remover, Platinum Wash, and Wax Replacement. Do you take any safety precautions for a wash like that? If so, why?
A: Even if I were washing with hair shampoo, you'll typically always catch me wearing gloves and safety glasses at minimum. Why? Well first off, I get all up in there when I’m washing and no matter how good you are, you're going to get some blow back….STRAIGHT INTO YOUR EYES….some combination of chemical, road grime (who knows what your car has picked up off the road), dirt, oil, and more….I’m going to pass on getting that in my eyes….I enjoy having good vision too much, and letting chemicals fester in your eyes isn’t exactly the best way to show your eyes how much you love them. 

Q: Ok, well how about a 2-step touchless truck wash? What kinds of safety gear do you recommend using during the wash?
A: At minimum, I recommend safety glasses, gloves, and potentially a respirator if you are in a highly enclosed wash bay (or add additional ventilation). I also like to use a really long wash lance to help me avoid back spray. Always read the specific label warnings and SDS sheet for each product and different chemical you use. Treat all chemicals with the utmost respect and assume any chemical is dangerous when handled incorrectly.This isn’t unique to wash chemicals either, you should maintain the same attitude towards household cleaners. 

Q: People seem to be sketched out by truck wash acids in particular. More-so than your typical bucket soap. Why do you think this is and is it as scary as people may think?
A: I think it's pretty known that our skin does not like strong acid on it, but the focus is always on the skin burn. The skin burns can certainly be bad, but there are also other side effects to skin-acid contact that you can't see with your eyes. Thats why, again, I treat chemicals like lava. If you can simply learn to respect the chemicals and handle them safely as intended, then they are completely safe to use. Many things in life are dangerous if not handled appropriately. Imagine holding a kitchen knife backwards, or driving a truck with no safety gear (brakes, horn, seatbelt, etc). 

Q: Ok, we’ve touched on personal safety, but can you talk a little about the importance of using the right chemical to safely clean different surfaces? Specifically polished metals.
A: Thats really where we shine, pun intended. Since we started as an aluminum polishing shop (Shine N Go), cleaning polished metals without streaking whitening or etching them is our specialty. We created a good portion of our product line around this concept, and when you follow the directions of each product you can get good wash results without damaging polished surfaces. Keep in mind we do also offer chemicals that are not safe on polished surfaces as well, so always check the directions of each product you use to ensure it is safe for polished surfaces.

Q: How important is it to review SDS sheets before working with a new chemical?
A: I’m going to answer your question with a question. How important is it to review procedures for handling anything considered dangerous? I know I always compare the chemicals to lava, and I do recognize that by holding our chemicals in your hand, you’re not going to die, its not going to burn straight through your hand, etc….but my point is I highly recommend always reading instructions before handling any chemical. You should even be doing that before you handle house hold cleaners. Ever wonder how many people have mixed ammonia and bleach at home because they didn’t read instructions? 

Q: What do you think about how safety is handled in the wash chemical industry.
A: I stepped foot in the truck wash industry a couple years ago. This is an old industry with many well established chemical companies with much bigger teams and more resources. I'm disappointed at the lack of attention to safety. 
Some hard examples of our commitment to safety include how we package our products with clear warnings that we don't see on some other wash chemicals. Another example is with our approach to chemical handling for our customers. Every aspect of our systems are designed to reduce the amount of direct interaction customers have with the chemicals. One of the many aspects I speak of is optimizing chemical mixing/dilution to a safer experience. We achieve this by installing onsite mixing systems or providing ready to use solutions, instead of asking customers to mix down concentrates or mix harsh raw ingredients into a barrel with water and mixing dust into the air and exposing themselves to this dangerous process. To me its a poor and archaic process that was designed by someone to save a buck somewhere. 
Safety is and will continue to be a part of our identity, and we plan to set a standard of safety in the industry.

Q: Why are you so passionate about safety?
A: I’ve heard enough horror stories, and just one should be more than enough for anyone to want to take action and try to make a change. 

Q: Any other safety related thoughts to conclude with?
A: I personally think we cannot have a great company if we do not practice great safety. You are not a great person or company if you do not care about people whether thats your employee’s or your customers. I am a firm believer of implementing and emphasizing safety habits within our organization, and have seen first hand the positive ripple effects that can have into other behaviors and habits. 

Big thanks to Mike for sitting down with me today to talk about safety. It's unfortunately a very commonly overlooked topic in the truck wash chemical industry. If you made it all the way to the end of this article, THANK YOU! We hope you found this information useful. 

If you have any questions whatsoever or need a copy of any SDS for our products, shoot us a message! You can either chat us using the blue chat bubble in the bottom right corner of the screen, shoot us an email at help@washproduct.com, or give us a call at 616-777-7175.

Thanks again for reading,
Adam Ortiz
Chief Marketing Officer
Image Wash Products
Older Post
Newer Post