Soft Touch Vs Touch-free Car Wash: What’s the Difference?

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

soft touch vs touch free car wash

If you want to maintain your car’s shine and cleanliness but don’t have the luxury of time to do so, a car wash is your best option. For some, even if they do have time to spare, going to a car wash is still a choice they’d take.

When deciding to take your vehicle to a car wash, you would often hear about two popular methods – a soft touch vs touch free car wash. What you need to know is that a soft-touch car wash uses cloth while a touch-free car wash doesn’t.

If you can’t decide which one is best for you, here’s everything you need to know. There are many differences that set these two apart.


Comparison in Detail: Soft Touch Vs Touchless Car Wash

1. What is a soft touch car wash?


Also called a friction car wash, this type of car wash cleans a car with the use of soft brushes, felt-cloth rollers, and mild soap. Soft touch car washes remove the dirt through the rotating soft bristles of the brushes.

How does it work?

The car wash has built-in brushes that do the job of breaking down the dust, debris, and dirt of the car. It can reach all of its important parts resulting in a squeaky clean look once you leave the wash.

A soft-touch car wash, even with the use of brushes, usually does not damage the car’s surface. This is because aside from the soft felt materials used to clean it, the soap provides a lubricating effect that enables a smooth and damage-free glide.

After the process of deep cleaning, the car is then dried using a drying aid and an automatic blow dryer.

  • It effectively gets rid of all dirt on the car’s exterior whether it is organic contaminants or inorganic contaminants
  • It’s time-efficient. A soft-touch car wash only takes about 10 minutes or even less.
  • Even hard-to-reach spots, including the car rear, plate, and rocker panels can be cleaned thoroughly.


  • Big cars and trucks may not be able to fit the drive-in or all areas may not be thoroughly washed.
  • If the cloths and brushes used are not properly maintained, this can cause scratches to the car’s exterior.
  • The soft brushes and cloths can cause loose parts to be even looser or damaged.


2. What is a touch-free car wash?


A touch-free car wash also called a no brush car wash or a no contact car wash is an automated car wash that uses no cleaning equipment other than high-pressure washers and strong soaps.

In simpler terms, these are car washes without brushes.

How does it work?

Touchless automatic car washes work by using a sensor to determine the car’s size and shape. The sensor also guides the car in which direction and in which position to be.

The automation of the car wash rinses the car using jets and sprayers. It also covers the car in heavily strong detergents. These detergents are responsible for removing all the gunk and dirt.

The potency of the chemicals used in the no touch car wash is what replaces the usual scrubbing techniques of soft-touch or regular washes.

  • Protruding car parts are safe from getting damaged since vehicles are never touched.
  • It’s very time-saving as it only takes about 3 minutes.
  • It doesn’t scratch the car paint.


  • Both organic and inorganic contaminants may not be thoroughly removed.
  • Car paint may fade easily because of the harsh chemicals used.
  • Wax and other protective coatings may be removed along with the dirt.
  • Hard-to-reach areas aren’t cleaned thoroughly


Touchless Vs Touch Car Washes in Terms of Cost


While both of these car washes tend to be on the affordable side, you can be assured that paying for a quick car wash won’t cost you a fortune.

They are even cheaper as compared to regular manual hand car washes, meaning that choosing from any of these two can save you some extra cash.

However, if you really want to know which will cost you more, the quick answer is that touchless car washes are often cheaper than soft-touch car washes.

  • A soft touch car wash has a price range between $10-$15
  • A touch-less car wash starts from $7 to $15

Frequently Asked Questions


Do soft-touch car washes scratch?

Given that the clothes and brushes are properly maintained, scratches don’t usually happen. However, the chances are still there especially if it’s a subpar car wash.

In assuring no scratches, maintenance of the equipment used is a must.

Is a touchless car wash better than the regular one?

When it comes to the conversation of touchless car wash vs regular, which is better really just depends on the car owner’s preference.

And the answer to the question, “are touchless car washes better?” also varies from person to person.

But since regular car washes are prone to scratches on the car’s exterior, it is better to go for a touchless car wash which lessens the probability of exterior damage.

Where can I find car washes near me?

If you’re already planning to pack it up and get to washing your car, but don’t know where’s the nearest car wash around, searching up the “best soft-touch or touch-free car washes near me” will do you wonders.

One of the most common car washes is Kwik Trip. If you plan to have a quick car wash in Kwik Trip, you can find some great reviews and experiences on Reddit.

On Reddit, you can read about the difference between people’s experiences on Kwik Trip car wash touch free vs soft touch type. With this, you will know what to expect at the specific car wash you will go to.


A soft touch vs touch free car wash, both have drastic differences yet share the same objective which is to keep a car’s cleanliness in check.

As said earlier, in determining which is better, it’s deeply dependent on one’s preference. If you like to keep every detail and every crevice of your car spotless, a soft-touch car wash is the one for you.

On the other hand, if you want to ensure that your car gets out of the car wash cleaned with absolutely no scratches and damages, a touchless automatic car wash is your best bet.

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