A car wash is a type of maintenance that is sometimes forgotten. The rain helps, but it won’t get rid of the dirt that is hard to clean. With a good car wash, your car will always look clean and shiny.

When you don’t have the time, energy, space, or tools to wash your car yourself, you can take it to a car wash. But then you have to ask, “How much does it cost to wash a car?”

Most car washes don’t cost very much. Most of the time, they cost between $5 and $20. Depending on what kind of wash you choose, that range can change a lot. Costs can go up if you get the inside of your car cleaned really well or have the tires shined. It also depends on where you get your car washed.

There are different kinds of car washes, so it depends. A self-service car wash might cost as little as $10, while a full-service car wash might cost as much as $100. The price can also depend on other things, but there are ways to save money on car washes.

We did a lot of research and put together a detailed guide on “How much does a car wash cost?” Read on to find out how much it might cost to wash your car.

What’s Included In A Full Car Detail?

As we said before, detailing can take a lot of time because usually every part of the car is cleaned. The high-tech tools for cleaning your car get rid of all kinds of dirt inside and outside.

Inside, all of the surfaces are cleaned. This includes the trunk and any other space for cargo. A steam cleaner will probably be used to clean the seats, carpet, and mats. Leather will be cleaned, conditioned, and shined. All of the glass is cleaned with a product that makes it shine for a long time. After everything is done, deodorant is put on the car to make it smell great.

A polishing compound is used to get rid of any oxidation on your outside lights. It is then sealed with plastic, which helps keep it from fading.

Your wheels will, of course, be cleaned on the outside. But the wheels will also be shiny on the inside. After it has been cleaned, a protectant is put on it to help keep it from rusting or corroding.

Some places that do detailing will even clean the engine. It gets sprayed with a small amount of water, scrubbed with a degreaser, and then rinsed clean.

How Much Does a Car Wash Cost?

How Much Does Automatic Car Wash Cost?

Automatic Car Wash
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Compared to other types of the car wash, the average cost of an automatic car wash isn’t too high. A basic automatic car wash usually costs between $10 and $20. But you shouldn’t use this car wash too often because the bristles on the brushes can scratch the paint of your car if you use it too often.

In most automatic car washes, there are big brushes, high-pressure jets of water and soap, and a conveyor belt that pulls a car into a tunnel where the cleaning parts are. This method is a quick and easy way to clean your car.

How Much Does Self-service Car Wash Cost?

Self service Car Wash
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Self service car washes cost between $7 and $15 on average, but the price depends on the services you choose on the machine. Most machines that you use to wash your own car have settings for washing, soaping, and rinsing. Advanced machines also have options like pre-soaking, high-pressure rinsing, and more.

If you live in an apartment and don’t have a place to wash your car or don’t have the right tools, a self-service car wash is a great option.

How Much Does Touchless Car Wash Cost?

Touchless Car Wash
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This type of car wash is also automated, just like the touchless car wash. The average price for this type of car wash is also around $10 to $30.

But one difference is that it washes cars with high-pressure jets and strong soaps. This kind of car wash is less likely to damage the paint on your car than an automatic car wash.

How Much Does Hand Car Wash? 

Your car will be better off if you wash it by hand. When done by hand, it usually takes a team of people to soap, scrub, rinse, and dry your car with care and attention to detail. Hand car washes usually also include cleaning the outside of the car and vacuuming and cleaning the inside.

Some drivers like hand washing better than machine washing because they don’t leave scratches, swirl marks, or water spots. The average price is $20–$30.

How Much Does Cost of a machine car wash? 

Automatic car washes are the cheapest and most basic. They use a drive-through machine with large cylindrical brushes, soap, and high-pressure hoses that spray your car from the outside as it rolls through on a conveyor system. Machine car washes are quick and easy, but the machine’s stiff cleaning bristles can scratch the car if you use it too often. When the car comes out of the machine, sometimes workers will dry and wipe it down by hand.

Some “touchless” car washes don’t use brushes, bristles, or cloth to clean the car. Instead, they use powerful sprayers and strong detergents. But they aren’t as good as hand washes at paying attention to the little things. Cost: $10 to $20 on average.

How Much Does a Full-service car wash cost? 

When you get a full-service car wash, you’ll spend a lot more money than when you just wash the outside. A full-service car wash package, which includes multiple services to clean and detail your car, will cost you between $150 and $200. Yes, the prices are higher, but your car really does deserve to be treated well every once in a while. When you pay for a full-service car wash, you are making an investment, not just spending money. A well-kept car can get you a higher price when you sell it, and it will also attract potential buyers. Top car wash experts say that getting a full-service car wash once or twice a year is the best way to keep your car in good shape without much trouble.

How Much Does a Car wash cost in a gas station? 

A basic wash and dry at a gas station car wash will cost you anywhere from $5 to $15. But you have to be careful about the cleaning tools that are used there.

How Much Does the Cost of mobile car wash services? 

Want to avoid waiting in lines? You can have someone come to you to wash your car. Mobile car washes offer a lot of the same services as hand car washes, full-service car washes, and detailing shops, but they can cost up to twice as much.

How Much Does Cost to wash a car at home? 

It will cost you less to wash your car at home than to take it to a car wash. You will only have to pay for the tools, which should cost less than $10 for a single wash.

Average prices for services that come to you:

  • $30–$60 per hand wash
  • Full-service wash and interior cleaning: $60–$150 (for regular-sized cars), $100–$175 (SUVs and vans)
  • Detailing packages to cost between $125 and $275 for regular-sized cars and between $175 and $325 for larger cars (SUVs and vans)

How Much Does It Cost To Shampoo A Car?

If you want to clean the inside of your car yourself, you’ll need a foaming cleanser and a seat cleaner that works with the material of your seats. Depending on the brand, each of these can cost anywhere from $10 to $25.

Car wash shampoo can cost a lot when used to clean the outside of a car. A gallon is a common size for car shampoo. Some come in a can, but buying a gallon size is better in the long run.

Factors Affecting Car Wash Cost

Aside from the average price of a car wash, there are other things that can affect how much a car wash costs.

Vehicle Size

SUVs and vans that are bigger would need more water and soap, and it would take more work to wash them. So it would normally cost more. To clean all the parts of a big car, you can expect to pay more than for a small car.

Additional Services

If you want extra services like washing the undercarriage, waxing the car, shining the tires, etc., it will cost more. About $5 to $10 would be charged for each service.


Tipping is expected at both self-service and full-service car washes. Doing so will show them how much you appreciate their work and make sure you get the best service the next time you get your car washed there.

How much you should tip depends on how much work was done and how well it was done. 10–15 percent of the minimum cost is a good amount to give as a tip.

And if you go to an automatic car wash, a worker might dry your car by hand. Most of the time, $2 to $3 is given for that service.

How to Save Money on Car Wash? 

  • Sign up for a service. Some machine and hand car washes offer monthly subscriptions for $15–$30 per month that let you wash your car as much as you want. You’ve already saved enough money for two machine washes at that rate.
  • Get a coupon. There are often coupons for discounts at car washes in local savings mailers, phone books, and on the Internet. Some will let you use coupons from their competitors or even give you one if you ask.

In fact, car washes are very helpful. But you might think that going to the car wash too often would cost too much. You can save money on car washes by doing things like:

Frequent Washer Discount

Companies that wash cars often will often give discounts to people who wash their cars there often. For example, if a car owner gets 10 car washes from them, the 11th car wash is free.

Monthly Subscription for Unlimited Car Washes

Most car washes also have monthly plans that let you wash your car as much as you want and save you a lot of money. Most of the time, it costs between $15 and $30.

Discounts From Gas Stations When You Purchase Gas

Some gas stations that also wash cars will give you a discount if you buy gas from them. You can use this discount when you need to fill up your gas tank.


Getting your car cleaned, either by washing or by detailing, is an important part of keeping it in good shape. Everyone likes to drive in a clean car that smells good.

How Much Does a Car Wash Cost (FAQs) 

How much does it cost for someone to wash your car?

Depending on the size of your car and any extra cleaning or treatments you want, a full hand wash of your car usually costs between $20 and $30.

What type of car wash is most profitable?

Car Wash with Full Service. It’s the most expensive type of car wash, but it can also bring in the most money. This car wash costs $15 on average, which is more than twice as much as an automatic car wash in a bay.

What does a basic car wash include?

The surface of your car will be free of dirt, salt, and other things after a basic car wash. Most of the time, this is done in an automatic car wash, where your car rolls through a machine with big cylinder-shaped brushes, soap, and high-pressure hoses. A basic car wash costs between $10 and $20 and takes about 10 minutes.

Is buying a car wash a good investment?

One of the most appealing things to new business owners about owning a car wash is how much money they can make. Small self-service car washes make an average profit of just over $40,000 a year, while larger luxury car washes can make their owners more than $500,000 a year.

Is it cheaper to wash your car at home or at a car wash?

For an average of $30–$80, you can buy kits with soap, microfiber cloths and sponges, wax, tire coating, interior cleaner, and glass cleaner. Most clothes can be washed 10–15 times. Even if you count the cost of water, it’s still cheaper than going to a car wash, but you’ll have to put in your own time and work.

Should I hand wash my car?

If you really care about keeping your car in good shape, you should make time to wash it by hand often. If you wash your car yourself, you can get to spots that an automatic car wash could never reach. This will make your car look better than ever.

How much water does a car wash use?

How much water is used in a car wash depends on how the car is cleaned: Automatic systems that use friction in the bay use about 35 gallons per vehicle. High-pressure touchless in-bay automatics that use high-pressure use 70 gallons per car.

What type of water do car washes use?

Most carwashes use one of three types of water: hard water, soft water, and reverse osmosis (RO) water.

How much does an automatic car wash cost?

A simple exterior wash at an automatic car wash will usually cost between $10 and $20.

How much does a self-service car wash cost?

Self-service car washes cost between $7 and $15 on average, but the price depends on the services you choose on the machine.

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