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Rinse and Rodeo

Drive on up to locally-owned Ted’s Express Car Wash

Article by By Valerie Bianculli

Photography by Candace Smith, The Essence Photographer

Originally published in Arvada Lifestyle

When Ted Lopez took a leap of faith and decided to venture into the car wash business, he had no idea what adventures he was about to ensue. “I don’t know beans about a car wash,” Ted laughs. “My wife and I were at Freedom Street Social talking to a realtor friend of ours when we discovered there was an opportunity to buy a car wash that hadn’t opened yet. It was all my wife Lila’s idea,” says Ted.

Shortly after that encounter, Ted’s Express Car Wash came to life in November of 2023. A longtime entrepreneur, “I told myself that I would never do another business that I didn’t know something about,” laughs Ted “And here I am with a car wash.”

Those two-and-a-half minutes of driving through a car wash may seem pretty routine to most people, but to Ted every ride through is an opportunity to engage with people in the community and ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction.  “When you go through a car wash, you just ride through. It’s a long tunnel, you pop out and it’s like oh that was great. Bunch of water, high pressure and some suds,” he says.

In reality, running a car wash is much more advanced than just soap and water. “It’s actually pretty complex,” explains Ted. “There are different levels of chemicals and additives and a fairly sophisticated programming system that is used to wash cars. Every inch of the tunnel has a different impact on the quality of a car wash.” And it’s entertainment for that short ride, too. “We’ve got colored lights and we make it a little bit of a show,” says Ted.

Ted wants his customers to leave happy because they’re also his neighbors. “I care about every car that comes out. We are always looking at the cars to make sure they look clean. You can usually find me either in the tunnel or out talking to people, getting their feedback.”

When customers visit Ted’s Express Car Wash, they are not only greeted by the whir of machinery but also by Ted’s signature look. “I’ve worn a cowboy hat for 90% of my life” explains Ted. “I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere and I have a lot of cowboy hats that I wear all the time. Sometimes people will see me in the grocery store or out having lunch and say to me ‘You’re Ted, aren’t you?’ It’s been funny getting recognized.”

In addition to keeping the cars in town clean, owning the car wash has also given Ted and his family a further developed sense of community. “It’s been really cool to get to know so many people—nice people” he says. “The best part is being able to provide such a good service to those people and it’s something that we’re really proud of.”

To learn more about the washes and memberships offered, visit

  • Lights, colors and soap blend and whir as cars get cleaned.
  • A happy customer at Ted's Express Car Wash.
  • Owner Ted Lopez and team take pride in keeping customer's cars clean.
  • Customers enjoy complementary window cleaning supplies.
  • Complementary, powerful vacuum bays await.

Businesses featured in this article