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This start up cleans your car while you shop, work or watch a movie

James Risley

on Sep 19th, 2016


Cars can get pretty gross. On the outside, you have to deal with road grime, dead bugs and other unmentionables. The inside can be even worse, with stray crumbs lost forever between seats, used napkins stuffed deep into pockets and dirt accumulating in the footwells. Finding time to run to the car wash is hard enough — let alone actually detailing the inside.

Sparkl is a new startup launching in Chicago that brings the car wash to you, getting your vehicle clean while you run errands, work late or even just relax at home.

Lisa Souter founded the car washing startup after she just couldn’t find the time to get her car washed. Between working at her non-profit, carting around her kids and generally running around town, her car had turned into a disaster zone.

“My car was always so messy,” Souter said. “Sometimes, my boys even had to eat a meal in the car. And every time I tried to get a car wash, there was a long line or it was a 30 minute wait.”

She decided that bringing the UberX model to car washing would not only save her time, but it could also be a viable business model. With that in mind, she found a waterless cleaning solution and partnered with its manufacturer to arm a fleet of cleaners with a solution to clean your car anywhere.

Car owners open up the Sparkl app, select an two-hour time slot and choose between an interior or exterior clean (or both). Washers arrive with all the equipment they need to clean your car no matter where it is, even in garages or parked on the street.

“If you can walk around it, we can clean it,” Souter said.

Souter said the exterior cleaning leaves the car with a wax-like finish that keeps it looking cleaner for longer. But the real draw may be interior cleaning.

"What we found in surveys,” Souter said, “is that so many people care more about the inside of the car than the outside. Especially moms who have kids because the back seat becomes — it could almost be shut down by health inspectors.”

Another well-received Sparkl benefit is the eco-friendly waterless wash. Not only is the cleaning agent made of natural elements, but it also saves water. Standard drive-through car washes can use up to 100 gallons of water per wash and often let detergent run into the drain, while Sparkl's washer just wipe off the cleaning solution with a microfiber towel.

Sparkl is looking to partner with driving-focused startups like Lux, letting users get their valet-parked car cleaned. Sparkl is also planning partnerships with retailers so shoppers can plan to get their car washed while they shop. This weekend, Sparkl will be at the Bradley Place Block Party giving demos.

The company currently operates within the Chicago city limits and has four washers on hand. Souter has plans to expand to the northern suburbs later this year and will start looking for seed funding soon.