The car rental industry is making a push for greener car care.
From natural odor removers and eco-friendly washcloths to water-sparing car washes and wastewater capture systems, many products now on the market help car rental companies protect the environment and meet regulations while improving processes and cutting costs.
The Safe Fumigation Bomb
As odors stand as one of the biggest car care problems rental facilities encounter, it’s a necessity to have products capable of eliminating these smells. There are a number of products on the market that get the job done while protecting the environment and the user.
The Auto Shocker from Biocide Systems utilizes chlorine dioxide, a natural chemical made from a saline solution safe enough to sanitize fruits and vegetables in grocery stores. It works as a gas that expands over the course of an hour — similar to a fumigation bomb — eventually penetrating every porous material in the car. It kills the source of the odor by oxidizing the negatively charged molecules produced by the unwanted odor.
“The gas attacks the concentrated areas, finding them like a magnet,” says Juan Carlos Baselli, co-founder of Biocide Systems.
The product works on any type of organic material including marijuana, cigarette smoke and dead bodies — all-too-common odors that car rental companies need help removing, according to Baselli.
Auto Shocker’s nontoxic composition makes installation safe for the user; for example, gloves and masks aren’t necessary. The product is contained in a pouch, which the user places in a special cup with water in the car and then closes the doors. The process takes four to 24 hours, depending on the severity of the odor.
Its ease of use has led some companies to use the product as a preventive cleaning measure as well. “Some companies are finding that doing this once a month or every two months on their fleets is beneficial,” Baselli says.
Auto Shocker retails for $24.95 per case and $16.95 per individual unit.
A Bacteria Shield
Advanced Preventive Microbe Solutions LLC (APMS) produces Interior Shield, a non-toxic, antimicrobial odor preventer and eliminator.
Using a polymer coating that bonds to the treated surface, Interior Shield helps operators control microbial bacteria, which otherwise might cause mold, viruses and foul odors. It doesn’t dissipate and can’t be wiped off. The product employs an eco-friendly, rechargeable air-compressed sprayer that doesn’t use aerosol propellants.
“Interior Shield not only kills bacteria, but it also eliminates all bacterial odor caused by microbes or any organic material, whether it’s stale milk and food or body odors,” says Peter Leger, the company’s president, who notes that the product does not eliminate nicotine odors.
The solution itself has been in the market for years, used by the likes of Nike, Franklin Sports Gear and Bombardier Transportation. Leger says the company is just now bringing the business model into the transportation sector.
The treatment takes about a half hour for a compact car: 15 minutes to spray and 15 minutes to dry. Under normal circumstances a vehicle would only need to be treated once in a two-year lifecycle, depending on the use by customers, Leger says.
Along with the product and sprayer, APMS provides training and marketing materials, as well as window stickers to show customers the car has been treated with Interior Shield. Upon de-fleeting, Leger says treated vehicles should return a higher resale value.
All inclusive for the turnkey solution, rental companies would pay $12-$20 per application, depending on the size of the vehicle.