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Far from Clean: Labour Exploitation in the UK’s Hand Car Wash Sector

Jardine, Akilah; Trautrims, Alexander; Gardner, Alison

Far from Clean: Labour Exploitation in the UK’s Hand Car Wash Sector Thumbnail


Akilah Jardine

Assistant Professor in Public Policy & Administration


Stefan Gold

Marlen Gabriele Arnold

Ximena Rueda


Hand car washing, the process of washing a vehicle by hand, is a relatively new business activity in the United Kingdom (UK). Prior to 2004, hand car washes (HCWs) were virtually non-existent (Clark & Colling, 2018). However, it is estimated that between 10,000 and 20,000 HCW operations exist in the UK today, making up 70% of the share of the car wash market and inhibiting the growth of the automated car wash industry (Petrol Retailers Association, 2018). Many have sprung up on the side of the road, in petrol stations, disused forecourts, supermarket car parks, and former public car parks, offering a low cost and conveniently accessible car wash service (Jardine, Trautrims, & Kenway, 2018). In an age of technological advances, such labour intensive operations are fuelled largely by an abundant low-skilled workforce.

Acceptance Date Mar 25, 2020
Online Publication Date May 31, 2021
Publication Date May 31, 2021
Deposit Date Mar 26, 2020
Publicly Available Date Dec 1, 2022
Publisher Routledge
Book Title Base of the Pyramid Markets in Affluent Countries: Innovation and challenges to sustainability
Chapter Number 6
ISBN 9781138390119
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Bottom of the Pyramid in Affluent Countries on 31/05/2021, available online:


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