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Hogs Hair Brushes - What's The Deal?

The Debate: Synthetic vs. Hog’s Hair

In the self serve car wash industry, the owners and managers of each facility face a critical decision when installing the foaming brushes used by customers to remove surface dirt and debris. The choice: install low cost, coarse, synthetic brushes that customers suspect might scratch their paint jobs if applied too vigorously; or pay a little more for a higher end, natural foaming brush that is gentle and stands up to prolonged use.

Given that foaming brushes are the single most important item the customer sees and touches when entering a self serve, it essentially serves as a calling card for the business and speaks directly to the care and attention to detail the customer will receive. As such, many self serve operators are paying more attention to the choice of foaming brush to keep customers satisfied, earn repeat business and word-of-mouth, and at the same time save money and time on frequent replacement.

On one side of the debate are foaming brushes constructed of nylon, polyester, and polypropylene. These less expensive options save a few dollars on the front end, but if they scratch the vehicle’s paint are a sure-fire way to lose a customer for life, and even generate negative word-of-mouth. Because they are constructed of fewer, shorter, and coarser filaments per brush head, they wear out quickly, bend out of shape, and require frequent replacement.

The other choice comes from a surprising, but natural source – hogs. Hog’s hair, it turns out, is the perfect material when made into a brush. Hog’s hair is very soft and gentle. Since the hairs are tapered, they are much softer at the tips for gentle washing, yet retain stiffness for washing up close if scrubbing is needed. At the same time, it is durable and resilient despite bending and prolonged use. As such, one hog’s hair brush can outlive 3-4 less expensive options.

While hog’s hair foaming brushes cost a bit more than traditional brushes, they offer 43.2% more brush life. In part, this is due to an ability to quickly recover their natural shape even when bent 90-degrees. In contrast, once traditional brushes are bent, they remain out of shape and at some point have to be replaced.

The hog’s hair brushes offer us about 50% longer brush life than traditional foaming brushes, which lowers our cost of ownership. A small investment in hog’s hair brushes can pay off big in the long run.

Another advantage is that hog’s hair foaming brushes also have 6 foam holes on a typical 9-inch brush, this spreads the soapy foam more thoroughly than brushes with fewer foam holes. It also lubricates the brush so it cleans better and glides over the car surface. With more foam holes per brush, there’s better lubrication between brush and car surface. The continuous flow of soap foam helps to cleanse dirt, sand, and foreign objects off the brush, keeping the brush head cleaner so it won’t scratch. The hog’s hair brush has the smallest diameter tapered filament, which helps to make it the softest.

While they cost a bit more than standard brushes, they’ve helped car wash owners earn a reputation for quality that’s brought repeat business and allowed them to remain a high-volume operation.

So, we know that hog’s hair is a better performing brush and cost’s a bit more but a frequently asked question is why does the cost appear to be continually increasing??

Hog’s hair brushes and hogs in general throughout Asia have become so popular that the demand has surpassed the rate at which the hogs can physically grow the hair that we need to make the brushes. Hence, the increased demand for hogs often requires the use of growth hormones to increase the rate of production of hogs, but this does not translate to increasing the rate at which the hog’s hair grows and thus we’ve seen a recent rise in cost.

Date Published: 11 April 2018