Self-service car wash

How to use Self Service Car Wash like a Pro

So if you don’t know how to use self service car wash you might think that this option is only for experienced car owners. If you think it’s better for you to go to a regular car wash not to mess up your car. Let me tell you something, you are wrong, nobody will wash your car as accurately as you will. Grab your best tools for car detailing, and let’s dive into self service car washing!

Nevertheless, using a self-car wash for the first time can be complicated and moreover dangerous for your car. Let’s go through the whole procedure step by step. So the next time when you see a self-service car wash you will be confident. Hope we will help you to avoid a lot of mistakes that even experienced self-wash visitors make. To be more confident in car care, check our post about do’s and don’ts in DIY car detailing.

how to use self service car wash

self service car wash: Step-by-Step Guide

1. Once you arrived at the car wash

  1. The first thing that you want to do is to get ready before you entered the spot. Usually, self-service washes have a lot of customers, so there are huge lines. You don’t want other people to wait for you too long. While you missed your line because of sitting on your phone, looking for a change, and so on. We need to pay with respect to each other, so everyone will have a pleasant time taking care of our cars.
  2. While you waiting for your line. Check the instructions on how to use this self-service car wash, which banknote denomination the machine accepts, and which buttons to click on.

2. Inside washing box

  1. Once you get inside the car wash box take your car mats out and hang them on special hooks on the side wall.
  2. Before you start, take your wheel cleaner and spray it on your wheels. You can check more about which wheel cleaner is better to choose
  3. Now it’s time to charge your money and take a spray wand for soap (needs to be signed as a wand for soap).

3. Car washing process

how to use self service car wash
  1. Soap your car, here you don’t need to rush but as well don’t make it too slow, it’s a place where time actually costs money. Spray it from the bottoms to the tops using horizontal moves. If your car is hot to the touch, Pre Rinse it before applying the foam. Don’t forget to foam carpets.
  2. Give some time for soap to work and to run off the car, while you are waiting you can clean your wheels with your brushes. We discussed which brushes you can use for your wheels
  3. DO NOT USE ANY BRUSHES ON YOUR PAINT. Your car has sand and dirt on it, if you will use even the softest brush on the planet, you will leave scratches and swirls on your paint.
  4. After 2-3 minutes once you applied foam, take a water spray wand and press on high-pressure rinse.
  5. Same way, starting from the bottoms to the tops, without rushing, taking care that you did not miss any areas, rinse the foam. You should hold the spray wand around 5-7 inches away from your car paint not to harm the car’s surface. Don’t forget to rinse the car mats as well.
  6. Last in-bay step, press on spot-free rinse and rinse your car one more time. Here you don’t need to be so accurate, you can make it fast. You are doing this to rinse off the technical water which you used before. Technical water can cause water spots on your paint that are hard to remove.

4. Final steps after washing

Adams towel
  1. Once you are done with washing, move your car to a parking lot. Now you can start drying the car. You can find out more about drying your car and which drying towels is better to use.
  2. Don’t forget your car mats!

how much does a self serve car wash cost?

The car detailing market size is growing, so more people are getting into car care on their own, but we need to keep track of how much we are spending on such a hobby. That is why you can find here the average process in different parts of our world. Pay attention that prices can vary on the location of a car wash, the level of service, and the services you are going to use.

RegionAverage Price for Washing a Mid-Size SUV
United States (East Coast)$5 – $10
United States (West Coast)$6 – $12
United States (North)$5 – $10
United States (South)$4 – $8
Canada (West Coast)CAD 6 – CAD 12
Canada (East Coast)CAD 5 – CAD 10
United Kingdom£4 – £8
AustraliaAUD 6 – AUD 12
IndiaINR 200 – INR 400
Europe (varies by country)€4 – €10

What are the Disadvantages of Self Service Car Wash?

  1. Limited Equipment and Options: you do not have access to all necessary equipment as in a professional car wash, and you cannot bring and use all necessary detailing tools, as it may be not allowed by the car wash.
  2. Low water pressure: As self-service car washes are typically public facilities, the equipment may be subject to wear and tear or occasional maintenance issues.
  3. Time pressure: when you wash your car at home, you don’t feel that you should be in a hurry, like you might feel washing your car at a self service car wash, knowing that behind you there are other people who are waiting for you to wash their cars too.


I want everyone who doesn’t have the option to wash their car at home and doesn’t want to wash a car without a hose, to know how to use self service car wash and enjoy making their car clean. I hope my guide will help every beginner to complete this mission and to use self-service wash without additional stress.

It can happen that you will not have time to visit a car wash, but you need your car to be clean, remember that you always can order car mobile detailing, which will solve this problem!

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, or doing something, not as an ”experienced” car wash visitor. Sometimes such ”experienced” visitors make more mistakes in washing cars than complete beginners.

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