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The Ultimate Car Wash

car wash

I had vowed that this time would be different. When I bought a new car last year, I promised myself I'd keep it picked up and wiped down. Then came the polar vortex, and I lost my will.

But when I saw a robin this spring, hope returned—for me and my car. I decided to scour the Twin Cities for the best wash I could do in an hour, without an appointment. Turns out that for the price of a nice lunch, you can get a pretty decent wash, vacuum, and wipe-down almost anywhere in the Twin Cities. But I was looking for a clean so thorough that it would restore my car and my spirit. And I found it—at Gerring's Car Wash and Detail Center in Wayzata.

By the time I got to Gerring's, I knew to ignore phrases like "rust inhibitor," "triple foam," and "wheel brite" and just ask for the top wash on the menu plus a complete interior wipe-down. A lot of places seem confounded by this request, but at Gerring's they were friendly, fast, and incredibly thorough. And after this winter, that's just the car wash I deserve.

Gerring's Car Wash and Detail Center, 1405 Wayzata Blvd. E., Wayzata, 952-473-4535, gerrings.com

Honorable Mentions

Most Forgiving: When we started taking stuff out of our car, the attendants at Soapy Joe's in St. Paul told us not to worry about it, and then they cleaned around everything and threw away all the trash. Amazing!

Most Social: At the bustling, uber-air-freshener-scented Downtowner in St. Paul, you can get a shoeshine while you wait, and everyone seems to know someone.

Most Spa-like: The Shoreview branch of Mister Hotshine has leather chairs, tasteful rugs, and a serene vibe. Plus, free popcorn. Warning: Not all Misters are created equal.

Most Target-like: Most care washes sell air fresheners, greeting cards, and snacks, but at Cloud 9 in Eden Prairie, you can also buy wooden Melissa & Doug toys, Alex craft kits, Little Golden Books, and jewelry. There's even a pleasant cafe-like waiting area.