New Toronto car wash service comes to you

Only a certain special few (and everyone under five years old) can appreciate the thrill of driving through a commercial car wash. But such delights usually come in exchange of free time, with which most of us would probably rather hit the bar than the car wash depot. You could do the deed yourself, but washing your car in your driveway usually uses an obscene amount of water, nevermind the eco-unfriendly soapy runoff.

So York University students Karan Walia and Aysar Khalid came up with a plan — a business, rather — where the car wash comes to you. Washly is the proliferation of that idea. The on-the-spot car wash service has launched in Mississauga and is poised to hit Toronto in the spring, offering eco-friendly washes wherever you park you car.

The signup process for the actual wash is fairly simple; check-in on your phone or computer with your car's license plate, description, and parked location, request a time and pay via PayPal, and leave your car to be washed. The cost is $20, no matter the vehicle, and it can be washed anywhere — a lot, your driveway, the street, or any other easily accessible public area.

My first question when I heard about the service was how, exactly, Washly's "waterless" washes are eco-friendly. And naturally, like all other things in life, television offers the answer. Washly uses a waterless car cleaner that was featured on Dragon's Den called GoClean. It's basically spray on, wipe off, which is what the six contracted Mississauga washers and to-be-determined number of Toronto washers will use to pretty up your vehicle.

While the convenience of having your car cleaned while you sit at work is undeniable, there are a few pretty obvious limitations of the service. For one, if you're the finicky type, you won't be able to look over the washer's shoulder to make sure he or she wipes out all of those invisible spots. Paying ahead of time (which is required) just exacerbates those concerns. Then there's the interior of the car, which will, of course, be left untouched (though when I speak to Walia, he tells me they're planning to introduce interior packages sometime in the future). I'm also wary of how, say, mall security will respond to a cleaning on one of its lots, though Walia assures me that public washings shouldn't be an issue.

Once launched, the come-to-you car washes can be scheduled any time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and will be available all throughout the City of Toronto. To me, Washly seems an ideal option for a couch-minded car owner, questionable for a micromanager, and totally boring for a thrill-seeking five-year-old.

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