Tips For Hosting a Car Wash Fundraiser

Hosting a car wash is a great way to raise funds. Plus, a car wash is a great way for members of your organization to get to know each other and have fun. A car wash fund raiser is particularly suited to teen school groups and organizations.

To host a car wash, you’ll need just a few items:


You’ll need access to hoses and a good water supply. This should preferably be in a concrete or asphalt parking lot, to minimize problems caused from the volume of water you’ll have. A parking lot on a street with a lot of traffic is the best location (perhaps a car dealer’s empty lot?), because it helps you to generate business. If you want to provide inside car cleaning, you’ll need electrical access for vacuum cleaners. Be sure to get appropriate permits if necessary.

Also – and you might find this surprising – there are many car wash facilities that are happy to loan out their facility on their off day to organizations that need to raise funds for a worthy cause. Check out several local car washes to see if they’re willing to work with you and what supplies or facilities they would actually make available to you.


You’ll also need car washing soap, rags, sponges, tire cleaner and window cleaner. All of these items can be purchased in bulk from your local warehouse store at a very reasonable price. Items like vacuum cleaners and hoses can be borrowed from organization members.

It's a car wash!


Advertise one or two weeks in advance and have a ‘Plan B’ for bad weather. Consider posting an ad in the local paper and the school paper if a school organization is hosting the event. You’ll also need signs for the day of the event, to attract passersby into your car wash. Tip: Selling ‘car wash vouchers’ ahead of the event is a very effective way to boost your fundraiser income.

You could also put an ‘environmentally friendly’ spin on your car wash fundraiser, by promising to use only environmentally friendly soaps and supplies.


Members of your organization can be on hand for the actual washing, rinsing and drying of cars. You’ll also need a few volunteers for collecting payment. Don’t forget to get change before the event, as lots of people will pay in cash.

Though some organizations offer a few different car wash options at different price ranges, it’s wise to have one price for one set of services. For example, for $10, your car is washed and rinsed, windows and tires are cleaned and the car is dried with a soft cloth. If you want an add on as a profit booster, charge another $5 for vacuuming the inside, if you have access to vacuum cleaners that can easily be moved around and that are OK around water, such as shop vacs.

A car wash fundraiser is a great spring project, and doesn’t require a lot of advance planning. Springtime is the perfect time of year, since the weather is nice and people are anxious to get their cars cleaned, particularly if you live in areas with high pollen. You’ll be amazed at how this fundraiser brings in profits and makes certain that your organization members have some good clean fun!

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  1. Posted by lalena 16th September, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Our last carwash fundraiser was amazing! We considered it a big success! A unique way that we managed to get a ton of participation was to use the forms we found on

    We used the free invitations to invite all of our team’s family and friends and then we created a volunteer form that organized all of our volunteers and the items that they should bring. It was a great day, and we put all the money toward our end of year party!

  2. Posted by Cynthia Loo Woo 23rd May, 2010 at 6:16 am

    Thx for the tips!! Would we need to pay to use a car wash facility?? If so, how much?? please respond!!! 🙂

  3. Posted by 1st June, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    It’s best to check with each car wash individually, as they will all have different policies and as to how much they charge. Good luck with your fundraiser!!

  4. Posted by Dennis Slota 31st January, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    This article did not address the environmental damage of directly discharging car wash materials into a storm drain where they are routed directly to a creek. There are no biodegradable soaps that don’t harm aquatic life. Likewise the pollutants and contaminants that are washed from the car are also directly discharged to a creek, where they impact aquatic life. Don’t wash cars on an impermeable surface that discharges to a creek!!

  5. Posted by 31st January, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    We agree Dennis, considering the environment should be first on the list! Car wash facilities generally have to adhere to all kinds of rules and laws and are required to treat the waste water and/or reuse it. However, if a car wash is done at a different kind of location, there should be a plan for what kinds of soaps can be used that are easy on the environment and it should be at a location where the waste water won’t run into a storm drain. We would hope that the governing body that issues a license for this kind of use would also work with the group and consider the environment when considering a location. Because of the risk to the environment, individuals shouldn’t wash their car in the driveway, where waste-water can end up in a storm drain and end up in rivers, lakes and the ocean.

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