Is it Cheaper to Wash Your Car at Home?

May 24, 2021


Many people wonder if it is cheaper to wash their car at home than take it somewhere. The answer really depends on factors like the type of vehicle you have, how often you wash your car, what kind of soap and other products you use, and whether or not you dry your car with a towel afterward.

In this article, we will cover some basic strategies for saving money when washing your vehicle in order to give an idea of what’s possible!

Washing Your Car At Home

You may be thinking that washing your car yourself at home may be the cheapest. However, when you consider the cost of water, soap, towels, sprayers, a house, etc., that may not be the case.

Saving Money When Washing Your Car At Home

There are many things you can do when it comes time to wash your vehicle at home that will save money, such as using items on hand instead of buying new products every single time. For example, washing your windows may be more affordable if you use old sheets than purchasing window cleaner each time! You might also consider skipping the tire shine this week – one less product means one extra dollar saved!

Washing Your Car at an Automatic Car Wash

Generally, washing your car at an automatic car wash can be fairly inexpensive. You will pay a fee (usually around $5) to wash and dry your car, but the cost is typically less than you would pay for all of that service at home.

While car washes do have different packages, generally the cheapest package is good enough unless your car is very dirty.

The prices will vary depending on the type of car wash and the package level. For example, some places offer free vacuuming while others do not come with any extras at all!

A lot of these places have monthly memberships as well, which is something that I take advantage of. For $19/m, I can have my car washed and vacuumed as many times as I want for the month. Not only does this save a lot of money, but it saves a lot of time and keeps my truck looking great.

Washing Your Car at a “Self-Service” Car Wash

Self-service car wash stations are usually cheaper than paying someone to do it for you. With that said, they usually end up costing more than the basic automatic car washes (assuming you stick with the cheapest package).

Self-service car washes also offer a wide variety of extras like vacuums, tire shine sprays, carpet and seat cleaning, and even air fresheners.

The Size of Your Vehicle Matters

If you have a large truck, SUV, or van, you will need to wash it more often than your average sedan. These larger vehicles can also take a lot more time.

A typical wash for a small car will take about 35 minutes while the time needed increases by roughly two minutes with each additional foot of length. A large truck could take an hour or more to wash if you want it done right, which is why many people have their vehicles washed at commercial locations where they are expertly serviced in less than half the time it would be done at home.

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About The Author



I've been detailing cars for years. I love cars but more importantly, I love clean cars. I created this blog to share all of my knowledge around keeping cars as clean as possible.