I’ve always washed our cars myself, but are there services to do it for you at home and are they any good?
Home car wash services do a great job on all aspects of cleaning your auto, from $20 for a basic exterior wash, $40 for inside and out, and up to $300 for premium valeting and detailing. Just make sure you check the HOA rules for car washing on your driveway first.
Let’s dive down into the subject of home car washing services in more detail, and find out how much they cost, exactly what they offer and how they work…
How Do Mobile Car Washing Services Work?
We’ve all been there: Sunday afternoons on the driveway, cleaning the car, when there’s a hundred other places we’d rather be.
This is why a mobile car washing service is such a great idea. You don’t even have the effort of driving to the car wash, as a team of pros pull up in your driveway and do the job for you.
You can find a mobile car wash simply by Googling your local area, or a friend may be able to recommend a service. There are also apps (such as MobileWash) that hook you up with a local company. Then, you simply arrange a convenient time.
There are different levels of car washing, from a simple exterior hand wash, right through to detailing (more about this later) and specialist services such as leather upholstery cleaning.
The car wash company will tell you if you need to do any prep before they arrive (such as removing child car seats). Payment is often upfront, especially if you book online or via an app.
How Much Are Mobile Car Washing Services?
Mobile car washing service costs vary quite a lot. This can be due to the size of your vehicle (an RV has a lot more surface to clean than a small saloon), and costs can differ between different parts of the country. If your vehicle is really in need of a clean, this could be a factor as well.
So broadly speaking, here are some ballpark costs for mobile car washing:
- Exterior clean (often called a custom or exterior hand wash): $20-50
- Exterior “deluxe” clean and wax: $40-$100
- Wash with trunk rims and tires: a bit more than a custom hand wash, so around $30-50
- Exterior and interior clean (the basic interior clean is a wipe and a vacuum): starts at around $40
Many firms offer wash or valeting packages, with names such as silver, gold and platinum service. This lets you choose the finish that best suits your budget. If you have a large SUV in need of a clean, you can expect to pay $10 or $20 more.
Some companies offer add-on services. This could be leather conditioning, upholstery steaming, or even engine cleaning. All these services will add to your bill, but as they’re pretty specialized, it can be worth the money to have them done properly.
Watch out for things such as spot cleaning or bug removal. These are time consuming tasks so don’t always fall under general cleaning. If your car comes back shiny but still with bug marks, don’t be cross with the valeter: the chances are, this counts as a specialist service, which needs to be ordered from the add-on menu.
Can I Get a Car Detailing Service That Comes To My House?
Car detailing is like car valeting plus, and both can be done at your home. A car valeting service will thoroughly clean the inside and outside of your car until it smells like a bouquet of flowers and sparkles in the sunshine (you certainly won’t want to let the kids and dog back in for a while…).
A car detailing service does this and more. Detailing aims to return your vehicle to as close to its “as new” state as possible. So marks and scratches will be treated, and rather than simply cleaning your alloys, they’ll repair any chips.
This is a premium service,and it will cost more than a standard valet. Packages start at around $50 and can be as much as $300, depending on your car, the level of detailing needed, and where you live.
The detailing team can come to your home, or even to the office provided you have a suitable parking spot.
Will a Car Valeting Service Come To My Home?
Yes, you can get your car thoroughly valeted from the comfort of its own driveway. Many firms offer this service, which is really convenient, as it saves you from waiting around while your car is cleaned.
There are firms that will valet your vehicle at your office, too, so it’s all ready for you to drive home in that evening (and you don’t waste any time waiting for your car to be ready). Just check with your workplace first, as some employers would rather that cars weren’t cleaned on their premises.
That could also be an issue at home. Some homeowners’ associations (HOAs) won’t allow residents to wash their cars, even on their own driveways.
If you think this could affect you, check with your HOA before going ahead and booking the valeter. Hopefully your chosen valeter will have their own premises, so you can take your vehicle to them instead.
Is it OK To Wash Your Car at Home? (On The Drive or in The Street)
Of course, you can wash your car yourself at home. It’s not as convenient, but it will certainly save you a few dollars and you can clean it at a time that suits you.
As we mentioned above, some homeowners’ association regulations specifically say that no work may be carried out on a vehicle, even on your driveway. If this is the case, you’ll need to take your car to a commercial car wash.
For this article, let’s assume that you are permitted to wash your car at home. Should you hire a pro or do the job yourself?
As well as the convenience of having someone else wash your car for you, there are a few good reasons why a professional clean is better than a DIY job:
- The equipment. A professional cleaner or valeter will have all the best kit for the job, from high pressure washers down to tiny brushes for reaching those tricky areas inside the cab.
- The materials. Again, professional valeters have all the fancy bodywork polish, fabric shampoos, leather feeders, glass cleaners, alloy shiners and so on that we ordinary amateurs rarely invest in.
- It reduces the risk of scratching. Be honest: do you religiously wash your car from top to bottom, making sure that the dirt and grit from the bottom of the chassis doesn’t get onto the upper parts? We might all start out like this, but we usually slip up… A pro will be extra careful about this sort of thing, and will also have a larger selection of cloths and sponges to minimize spreading grit.
- Regular valeting keeps your car in great condition, helping to reduce its depreciation, and making it more saleable should you decide to trade it in.
- In fact, if you’re thinking of selling your car, a professional valeting or detailing service is a must…
- If you go up a level and choose a detailing service, you get a whole new level of skill. Scratches and chips will be fixed, and the car’s bodywork will look so much better. Damage to paintwork can lead to rust, so regular repair work will help to prevent this.
- Hiring a professional car cleaner will save you time. You can carry on with your daily life while your car is being washed, happy in the knowledge that at least one task is being taken off your hands.
However, if you’re one of those folk who like to do things themselves, you can do a great job of cleaning your own car at home. Take a look at this tutorial by detailing expert Pan the Organizer, who takes you through how to wash your car like a pro.
You know what? After looking into home car washing services in more detail, it might be time for me to finally hang up my pressure washer.
It looks like the professionals will do a far better job and achieve a much better finish than I ever could – and at a price that’s pretty competitive too.
I think it’s time to download that MobileWash app. 🙂
Homeowner and property investor Larry James founded Take a Yard in 2020 to bring you the very best outdoor living content, based on his years of experience managing outside spaces. Read more >