By Kathy Hosler
Grooming is a really labor-intensive career, and bathing the pets is one of the most time-consuming parts, yet bathing is an incredibly important part of the grooming process. You can’t get a great groom if you don’t start with a thorough deep-cleaning bath.
These days, salons and mobile units want and need to squeeze as much productivity as possible into their workday, and they welcome any piece of equipment that can help them achieve that goal. Hand-bathing can be costly and lengthy in human labor and energy. Bathing systems have become an indispensable item in most grooming establishments.
Let your equipment work for you. Bathing systems are highly effective, saving you time, shampoo, and water. You also save on electric or gas costs, because you don’t have to heat as much water. A bathing system also saves you energy and wear and tear on your body, since you no longer have to hand-scrub the pets. There are several different types of units (recirculating, non-recirculating, and micro-bubble). Each of them has a unique way to clean the pets, but all of them can make your work day and salon more productive.
Not every system will work for every grooming situation. For example, mobile groomers usually have to carry a day’s worth of water with them and have limited space in their holding tanks, so they can’t have bathing systems that use a lot of water. Most mobile units don’t have very strong water pressure; that limits the bathing systems that will work well for them. To get a better understanding of the different types of units and which one might work the best for you and your grooming situation, Groomer to Groomer asked several manufacturers to tell us about their systems and how they work.
“The Cosmos Bathing System has been in existence for over 25 years,” says Staci Adam, Sales Representative of Cosmos. “Our shampoo application system can be used in mobile situations or salon, and it can grow with your business. Whether you have one bathtub or many, you will only need one Cosmos System.”
The Cosmos Bathing System is a shampoo-dispensing system that is easy to operate. You put diluted shampoo in the stainless steel tanks, the compressor pressurizes the tank, and when you squeeze the sprayer, it applies the shampoo mixture onto the pet. Its variable pressure sprayer can even spray upside down to get those hard-to-reach areas. It works with any shampoo or crème rinse that you want to use. It can cut your shampoo usage by up to 50%. It speeds up washing time and puts the shampoo exactly where you want it. The Cosmos Bathing Systems can be rented or purchased, and they are custom installed by Cosmos technicians. If you rent the system, all repair and replacement parts are free.
“The Prima Bathing System has been available for 10 years,” says Gary Falkenberg, the owner, designer, and inventor of Prima. “The Prima is a very efficient system to clean the coats very quickly using the least amount of solution. Our unique high-pressure application delivers pre-diluted shampoo deep into the coat.
“No matter what system you use for bathing, the shampoo should remain in the coat for four minutes,” says Mr. Falkenberg. “This is a contact time that the surfactant in the shampoo must have in order to do its job thoroughly so it can encapsulate and remove the contaminates from the coat, the hair follicles, and the skin. Then when you rinse, they will be carried away with the rinse water.
“The main benefits of using the Prima Bathing System are a squeaky, clean coat with the least amount of shampoo and fast rinsing,” continues Mr. Falkenberg. “It takes less time and physical effort, there is no need for pre-wetting or hand-scrubbing, and no special plumbing or electric is required to install it.” Their new model, the Prima Encore, is a smaller version of the original Prima. It is ideal for mobile groomers.
The Quadrabathe Bathing System attaches to your existing water source, and it is made in America. “We designed our first Quadrabathe, a single product unit, for groomers, house-call groomers, and show people,” says Jeff Kandel of Quadrabathe. “It had to be portable and easy to use. Then we expanded to include a four-product system. With just the turn of a knob, groomers have a larger selection of shampoos.” In fact, you can control every function of the Quadrabathe (on, off, shampoo, conditioner, etc.) with one hand. The mixing unit is located right behind the nozzle.
Shampoo is drawn into the mixing unit and discharged through the high-flow nozzle. There is no hand-scrubbing. The water/shampoo mixture cleans the pet as it flows throughout the coat. “It’s not pressure that gets them clean; it’s the volume of water,” says Mr. Kandel. “To get the best results, you need to have a water flow (hot and cold combined) of at least five gallons a minute.”
The HydroSurge BathPro 5.1 is a non-electric, non-re-circulating bathing system. It has an exclusive InjectAir technology that fuses water, shampoo, and air to penetrate the coat for a thorough cleansing and brings oxygen to the skin. There is no pre-wetting or hand-scrubbing needed; you just let the water pressure do the work. For best results, it is recommended to use only the HydroSurge Shampoos in the unit. Then you rinse the pet with fresh oxygenated water.
The Sav-Ur Fur Bathing System was developed by owner, inventor, and groomer Wilma Flies. “As a groomer myself,” says Ms. Flies emphatically, “I know how important the bathing portion of the grooming process is. Our unit is very cost effective, using any brand of shampoo or conditioner. It’s more efficient and saves time and comes with a three-year warranty.”
The Sav-Ur Fur System uses standard water pressure to dilute product and apply it directly to the animal using the unique Sav-Ur Fur nozzle. The patented nozzle is totally adjustable. It can go from very low pressure for using around the face area to more forceful for deshedding. The nozzle becomes an undercoat removal tool, allowing groomers to remove incredible amounts of shedding hair right in the bathtub.
Wilma has not forgotten the needs of the mobile groomers. She is putting the finishing touches on a new recirculating bathing system that will allow mobile (and any other) groomers to bathe and deshed in the bathtub. It will have a unique filtration system to capture the undercoat that is removed using the Sav-Ur Fur nozzle.
The Hanvey Bathing Beauty is a recirculating bathing system that works in a salon or mobile situation. You simply put one to two gallons of water in the tub, add any brand of shampoo that you wish to use, turn on the Bathing Beauty, and hydro-massage the shampoo mixture into the coat. This unit is not dependent on good water pressure.
“The pets get very clean with a recirculating system,” says Curtis Hanvey, engineer at Hanvey Engineering. “With the Hanvey Bathing Beauty, eight to nine gallons of shampoo/water mixture flows through the coat every minute. The soap molecules encapsulate the dirt, crud, and skin flakes. Once encapsulated, they will not redeposit on the coat. Then you simply rinse the pet with fresh water.” This Bathing Beauty conserves shampoo, reduces water usage by about one half, and makes rinsing the pet quick and easy.
There is another system for cleaning pets that a lot of groomers have not heard about yet: cleaning with micro-bubbles. “The micro-bubble technology has been used in Japan for more than six years,” says Jeff Wright, CEO of Thera-Clean. “This emerging technology is really simple but also very scientific. It’s just water and bubbles, but it’s how the bubbles are produced and their size that turn on the cleaning power.”
The Thera-Clean unit itself is about two feet by one foot by 14 inches high and is made in North America. It’s a recirculating system that has three hoses; one attaches to the bottom of the bathtub and pulls in water, and the other two are where the micro-bubbles come out. The machine super-oxygenates the water to produce micro-bubbles. The Thera-Clean Skin Health System generates micro-bubbles that are from 3 to 20 micrometers in size (that’s much smaller than the width of a hair). Micro-bubbles carry a slightly negative charge. That attracts positively charged molecules of dirt, dander, sebum, and other organic materials like bacteria, pollen, and fungus. The negatively charged micro-bubbles actually debride the positively charged material and pulls it into the bubble.
This gentle method of cleaning is non-abrasive. That is very important for pets that have inflamed skin. The pet is put in the water, and the micro-bubbles begin to clean the pet from the hair right down into the pores. This all-natural bathing system uses no shampoo or chemicals. The Thera-Clean system does offer a natural plant-based enzyme powder that softens and helps dislodge debris, allowing the micro-bubbles to adhere to and remove waste.
Monica Shigenaga, owner and founder of Cocojor Minicle Micro Bubbles system says, “The skin is the largest organ of the body—it acts like a third kidney. Our system harnesses the natural power of water to provide dogs with a deep, healing cleaning. It detoxes the dog from the inside out by increasing blood circulation and oxygenation, which often helps mitigate skin conditions.” Ms. Shigenaga says that using micro-bubbles is no “hocus-pocus.” This technology goes far beyond just cleaning the pet’s coat; it’s an important skin care system.
A great bath is the foundation for a fabulous groom. If you are still scrubbing dogs and cats by hand, you might well be pouring money down the drain. Invest in a bathing system, and the only thing that will go down the drain is the dirty water.