Cars in Bucharest have a rough ride - persecuted by dirt from building sites, exhaust fumes, mud in the winter and dust in the summer - not to mention stray dogs marking their ownership of every bumper in a less than dignified fashion.
A clean-up is a regular necessity. But risking the traffic to drive to the car wash can take hours out of a busy person's schedule. Here ex-journalist Raluca Nicoara realised a space in the market in which to manoeuvre - a mobile car-cleaning service. A driver can stay inside their home or workplace, call up Nicoara's new business, Blink Wash, and a team of two will arrive at the door, clean the car's outside in a chemical solution, wipe the windscreens, mirrors and the dashboards, vacuum the carpets, then perfume and wax the car.
Not only convenient, Blink Wash also displays green credentials. The business uses a Brazilian system of car-washing discovered by Nicoara from the Internet - a plastic three-wheel trolley filled with biodegradable cleaning products, which is self-sufficient in energy and water. While a typical car wash uses around 100 litres of water per vehicle, Blink Wash has reduced this to five. Nicoara employs young men living in hostels or children's homes, such as Bucharest's Sfantul Petru si Pavel orphanage.
Angered by the number of youngsters without families who are exploited by local employers, she offers a fair deal to her staff - they receive a decent salary, plus food tickets, a mobile phone, on-the-job training and she is also looking to give them private medical insurance. "I want a big family business." says Nicoara, "and to coach new employees to take on future managerial roles."
Services which are simple, eco-friendly and with a social conscience often factor in these moral benefits at a higher price, but Blink Wash can clean-up the car's interior, exterior and throw in a wax for a highly competitive eight Euro. So is Nicoara making money? "We're already looking to expand," she says.