March is finally here, which means springtime isn’t too far
off. When it arrives, cleaning our cars is likely near the top of our to-do
lists. Rather than spending $30 or more on a luxury car wash, there are several
frugal ways to clean your car.
Do It Yourself at Home
Although this is certainly a “frugal” way to wash your car,
it certainly isn’t free. DIY car
washes involve a minimal investment in a bucket, sponge, towel(s), soap (some
people use dish washing soap), and a hose. For more detailed car washes, you’ll
also want to buy glass cleaner, specialized car polish, and a vacuum for
cleaning up the interior. If you don’t have these items already, you’ll spend
at least $10-20 upfront, and they’ll be reusable for the next several car
washes. Compared to your other options, this is the cheapest way to wash your
car but also the most time-consuming.
If you’re short on time but have the basic supplies,
consider hiring some of your neighbor’s kids to wash your car for you. $10-15
should be sufficient for a thorough wash, dry, and interior cleaning. You’ll
also be helping out the kids, who appreciate having some extra spending money.
Just make sure you tell them exactly how to do it!
Self-Serve Car Wash
Another extremely frugal option for washing your car would
be to take it to a coin-operated, self-serve wash facility. For as little as a
few quarters, you can wash and dry your car with professional-grade equipment
and even vacuum it out afterwards for another quarter or two. The only downside
to this option is that self-serve car washes are not widely available, but if
you can find one in your area, it’s likely a better option than doing it
yourself at home.
Drive-Through Car Wash
If you don’t live near a self-serve car wash, then check
your local gas stations for drive-through car washes. Usually they’ll offer a
small discount on the cost of gasoline if you purchase a car wash and fill up
at the same place. You won’t get your car’s interior clean, but the exterior
will look practically new after a quick trip through wash. Depending on where
you live, these drive-through car washes generally cost between $5-12
(sometimes more, if more options are offered, such as a waxing service).
Professional Car Wash
Coupons and Specials
Last but not least, if the aforementioned options are not
available, you can go to a professional car wash. Instead of paying full price,
call or check their website before going and see if they offer any specials at
the moment. Some car washes charge less in the morning or on Tuesdays (the
slowest day of the week for most businesses). Also, check your local newspaper
or coupon websites like SumoCoupon for
coupons to help you save on your next professional car wash (even though you
want to be frugal, don’t forget to tip the people who hand dry your car).
Kelly Kehoe is a staff writer for Money Street Smart and works with SumoCoupon.com, a site full coupons and coupon codes.