As I write this, it is -5 degrees Fahrenheit in Minneapolis, 8 in Helena, Montana, and -7 degrees in Fargo, North Dakota. You can bet there’s at least one sorry car wash worker on duty in each of those cities today.
When it gets cold, washing cars is one of the toughest jobs around.
“We always make sure we are following safety procedures and making sure guys are not out here in danger,” Andre Davidson, the manager of a Mister Car Wash in Des Moines, Iowa, told the local news station. Schools and some businesses were closed there yesterday, but for a car wash, this is the busy season.
That’s the irony in the life of a car wash employee: The days you least want to go to work are the same days car owners need you there most. The salt and ice caked on the body of a vehicle is like a magnet for rust, corroding and trapping oxidizing water on the metal.
According to the Springfield, Massachusetts, ABC affiliate:
The winter weather doesn’t keep people away from the car wash. Workers must stand outside to greet customers and make sure equipment doesn’t freeze.
“I have insulated boots, but my hands are probably the worst thing because I can’t wear normal gloves for gripping things so I double off on rubber gloves,” says Sonny Dickinson of Golden Nozzle Car Wash.
When you are outside for a long period of time you have to do whatever you can to protect your skin.
“Your hands will start getting numb, when that happens it’s your first warning signal that it’s getting to cold for you,” says Dr. John Santoro at Baystate Medical Center. “The risk is particularly to the parts that stick out: your ears, nose, fingers, and toes,” he adds.