Steam Cleaning Fortador USA Brings Uptime, Efficiency and Style to RideKleen

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With new reality of pandemic world, Manheim Car Auctions needed a reliable, efficient cleaning and disinfection solution for its operations. The answer: Fortador Steamers.

Since 2013, RideKleen has been delivering mobile vehicle steam cleaning on public streets and in parking garages to fleets across the U.S.

“We take the mobile systems and go wherever the customer needs us to go. This customer service is important to us,” explains RideKleen Founder and President Pratik Patel.

While its initial success was further solidified by its acquisition by Cox Automotive (owner of Manheim), the company faced a looming challenge: It’s steam cleaning equipment.

Patel says the machines and the vendors that supplied them in the past had a number of issues, including:

  • Equipment needing lots of maintenance, which resulted in excessive non-productive, and costly downtime.
  • Vendors not having adequate customer support.
  • Outdated and/or not regularly updated or improved equipment.

Patel and his team looked for a better, more reliable machine and they found it in Fortador USA. “When we started to explore Fortador Car Steam Cleaners as an option, we found it was a much better built machine,” he says.

Implementing Fortador Steamers
RideKleen began using the Fortador steam cleaning solution in 2020, and has about five machines throughout the organization.

“We didn’t go all in at the beginning — we wanted to test them out first,” Patel says. “What we are seeing already is better reliability.”

Powered by a Lamborghini-built burner, the Fortador steam cleaning system is a portable, self-contained cleaning unit that thoroughly cleans and sanitizes vehicles in a few minutes.

Because it uses steam and gentle detergents, the non-touch Fortador steam cleaning system will not damage exterior or interior surfaces. The self-contained equipment doesn’t draw water from water lines, so you will not have to get a permit to begin using it. The hand-built burner also saves thousands annually in fuel costs alone.

Fortador’s portability was a key benefit for RideKleen. Because the company goes to its fleet customers to clean their vehicles, RideKleen needs a mobile unit that can be easily transported in the company’s trucks. With the previous solutions, this meant the unit had to be unloaded from the truck to do the work and loaded back on it when the job was done — a time-consuming and physical job for the cleaning crew.

This has been eliminated by Fortador.

“Here, Fortador was a little more innovative — they have a retrofit system — it’s a system in the vehicle on a rack system, so we can actually run the steamer in the truck,” explains Patel, noting that there are no issues with venting the exhaust, since the rack system allows the unit to be extended out of the cargo area.

RideKleen’s clients, which range from ride and car share companies to delivery companies, have been uniformly impressed by steam cleaning, although Patel admits they haven’t necessarily commented on the switch to Fortador products.

But what they like is the efficiency — a vehicle can be cleaned in 20 to 30 minutes with little water waste and no harsh or toxic chemicals. “The more efficient we get, the more efficiency we pass onto the client,” Patel says. “The better the equipment, the better the service we can provide.”

Patel notes that steam cleaning as a service “sells itself,” and, because it doesn’t use water or soap, always attracts the attention of passersby. Fortador has helped catch many more eyes since RideKleen was added it to the mix.

“The Fortador units look a lot more refreshed and modern, and clients and potential clients see us using the latest and greatest,” Patel says. “Even for employees, they want to be using these, because they look so nice. Your eyes just gravitate to the units. It makes a difference.”

Particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, more fleets are adopting steam cleaning as an alternative to traditional soap and water processes.

“Steam has always been known to be a natural disinfectant,” Patel says. “It gives clients peace of mind. A lot of what we’re seeing has been heightened because of COVID. Post-COVID people will now be educated about how dirty their vehicles are.”

The Benefits Add Up
It’s not just having an eye-catching unit that has made Fortador the right choice for RideKleen. The steam cleaning unit has delivered everything Patel was looking for.

These benefits include:

  • Better uptime and reliability.
  • Improved costs, due particularly to less regular maintenance.
  • Saving technician time due to better uptime; technicians spend less time switching out units for repairs.
  • Technician friendly equipment; the Fortador solution is easier to use than RideKleen’s previous vendors’ units.

Looking Ahead
As a member of the Cox Automotive family, RideKleen has begun working with the Manheim auctions to introduce steam cleaning during the vehicle prep process.

The auctions use traditional pressure washing, which takes about 35 gallons of water per vehicle compared to Fortador steam cleaning, which uses just one gallon.

“We’re working with Manheim to become more water neutral,” says Patel, adding that several auctions, including one in Canada, have begun using Fortador steam cleaning units. “We meet all environmental requirements. Steam cleaning has always been about keeping the environment safe.”

The multi-year project could save significant resources and costs, since Manheim operates more than 200 physical vehicle auctions worldwide. As part of the overall company’s sustainability efforts, Cox has made a pledge to become more water neutral over the years to come.

And Fortador will be part of this ambitious and achievable goal. “As we need to order more units, we’ll be adding more Fortador units and plan to make it our preferred machine,” Patel says.

Fortador is the European manufacturer of best-in-class mobile and stationary steam cleaners for professionals. The company has produced the first 16 bar or 232 PSI steam cleaning machine, all-in-one Fortador Pro Plus, which allows three operators to work independently. The solution cleans and washes upholstery, disinfects, and delivers two detergents of your choice with the steam. The diesel hybrid power plant is bult by Lamborghini Caloreclima and boasts fuel consumption of just 0.6L per hour. For more information go to

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Lev Tretyakov
Fortador Steamers
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