Getting Your Kids Involved at the Car Wash

Getting Your Kids Involved at the Car Wash


Almost everyone has fond childhood memories of washing a car. Whether you remember standing in your front yard with a hose, a bucket, and sign informing passersby of your great deal on a car wash, or if you were permitted to scoot up to the front seat while the car whizzed through the automatic wash, chances are you and the family car had some good times together.

By getting your own kids active and involved at the car wash, you’re not only helping build new memories, but you’re promoting a healthy lifestyle that encourages responsible behavior. The next time you pull into a car wash, consider getting your kids to help in the self-serve bay.

  • Give Them the Hose: If your little ones aren’t too small, consider letting them handle the pre-wash or rinse cycle. The kickback on the full-power spray is too high for the youngest members of your family, but older kids will delight in having so much waterpower at their fingertips.
  • Soap Markers/Crayons: Soap markers and crayons exist for kids to play with in the bathtub, and most are mild enough that they can be used on cars, as well. Give them a chance to “draw” on the car while you prep it for a deeper clean.
  • Bring a Separate Bucket/Rags: Because the self-service wash runs on a timer, you might be hesitant to let your kids do the scrubbing, since they aren’t always as speedy as you’d like. Instead of handing over the wand, bring them their own bucket and scrubbers. This way, they can focus on one area of the car while you focus on the rest.
  • Put them on Spot Patrol: Little eyes might be better at spotting areas you missed or troublesome stains, especially on parts of the car lower to the ground. Put your kids on spot patrol, helpfully pointing out where you need to put your attention.
  • Indoor Car Duty: While you’re washing the exterior of the car, have your kids work on the interior. Hand them wipes to scrub down the windows next to their seats, or give them garbage duty to clear out the inside. This works well when you want the kids to stay inside where you can keep an eye on them.
  • Drying the Car: Drying the car is something everyone can do, so pack a few extra microfiber towels and put everyone to work. The good news here is that even if they miss a spot, it most likely won’t show.
  • Let them Choose the Final Details: A lot of people use the car wash as a reason to get a new air freshener. Let your kids pick the next scent or other final details so they feel like an important part of the decision-making process.

Remember, however, that safety is the most important thing. Don’t let unattended children run around, as there are lots of cars coming and going inside a car wash parking lot. Also, the pressure sprays tend to carry a lot more force than most people realize. Teach your kids to respect the spray and not to point it at other people, as this can cause injuries in your little ones.

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