Keeping It Clean

With its swimsuit-clad employees, Baywash Bikini Car Wash hits pay dirt.


Dressed in her work clothes, Nicole Apple cleans
a windshield at Baywash Bikini Car Wash 

In recent weeks, I have begun to pay a lot more attention to my car’s appearance.

This heightened awareness began to emerge, coincidentally, just after I spotted the Baywash Bikini Car Wash at South Semoran and University boulevards. Baywash is similar to other car washes in that it offers washing, waxing, detailing and so on. The place, however, does have one small distinction: The women who work there are young, attractive and dressed in skimpy red swimsuits.

It is, of course, solely my newfound concern for my car’s appearance that brings me, on a sunny Monday afternoon, to Baywash, where I am supervising (not leering at, mind you) two bikini-clad women as they wash, rinse and vacuum my car. The charge: $10. Trucks and SUVs cost $15.

Diligently scrubbing away at the front of my Toyota Corolla is Shelby Hasselbach, an 18-year-old Apopka brunette who has been on the job more than a month. Working on the rear bumper is Priscilla Smith, 19, a blonde from Geneva who has been with Baywash only five days. (She wears a pink-and-white patterned bikini because her official red one has yet to arrive.)

Baywash was started in May by Steve McMahon, 42, a commercial mason from Winter Park who was ready for something new when the construction business cratered. Thirteen years earlier, he’d gotten the idea for Baywash while watching the then-popular Baywatch show, which starred David Hasselhoff and featured buxom beach bunnies in one-piece red swimsuits. So naturally McMahon got the idea that motorists would want to get their cars washed by women in red bikinis.

Sounds good to me.

So far, it’s all been good—at least for male customers.

“We get women,” says McMahon, “but not as many as we’d like.”

No surprise there, considering that some women may find the whole concept uninviting if not offensive. Still, there must be a market for such a service: In late August, McMahon and a partner opened a second Baywash on East Colonial Drive, near Fashion Square. And he plans to add even more locations.

“We take a little longer than other car washes,” says McMahon, “but customers don’t mind.” I certainly don’t mind—because, of course, the women are getting my car so darn clean.

Also on the job this afternoon is Jennifer Wojtas, 21, a confident 21-year-old blonde from Deltona with an easy smile; she’s busy spiffing up a BMW that’s parked just behind my car. Wojtas, Smith and Hasselbach (not Hasselhoff) all say they like working outdoors and that tips generally run $5 and up.

Still, they allow that the job does have its drawbacks. Occasionally, customers make crude remarks and so do people driving by. As if on cue, some guy in a passing car suddenly lets out an ear-splitting wolf whistle.
The women roll their eyes and smile knowingly.

With those teenie-weenie bikinis and all the bending and stretching these women are required to do, I have to ask if wardrobe malfunctions are a concern. But all three have nothing serious to report.

“Maybe just a slight wedgie here and there,” Wojtas admits. “Not so bad, really.”