Water is precious in Jordan, where shortages have prompted decades of rationing and exacerbated tensions with Israel. Nader Atmeh and his sons, Hassan and Moutaz, want to do their part by eliminating the traditional car wash in the Middle East. They say their waterless washing business, Keenwash, is saving Jordan hundreds of thousands of gallons a year.
Keenwash uses a nontoxic, almost entirely biodegradable spray-on liquid. Mixed and bottled at the Atmehs’ factory on the outskirts of Amman, the water-based blend of surfactants and polymers softens and emulsifies dirt so it can easily be wiped off a vehicle’s exterior with a cloth. Cleaning a midsize sedan such as a Toyota (TM) Camry or BMW 3 Series uses about 5 ounces of the liquid and takes 15 minutes or so. (A typical drive-through wash uses about 50 gallons of water.) Keenwash operates three cleaning stations in mall parking lots and sends cleaners to homes and businesses. It doesn’t plan to sell its line of cleaners in stores; its business model is to sell franchises to aspiring entrepreneurs.